Friends General Conference

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Quaker Exhibits and Presentations: 2021 Updates

Friends are active all around the world in education, environmental justice, peace-making, community-building, spiritual enrichment, and even planned giving. These Quaker Organizations are actively working to bring people together to have a positive impact on the world. Each year at the Gathering Friends have the opportunity to hear from many different Quaker Organizations.  This year we sought a virtual way for Quaker groups to have a chance to share with Gathering participants the highlights and important activities of the past year. 

Please enjoy the reports below from the many active Quaker Organizations!

Bolivian Quaker Education Fund

Since 2002, Bolivian Quaker Education Fund (BQEF)  has been working to strengthen ties between Bolivian Quakers and those of the Western World through various educational and outreach programs.  Information about how these programs have touched and energized people can be found on the BQEF website and on our Facebook page. “Our graduates” are those young people who have completed a university or professional degree program with the help of a BQEF scholarship. They have gone on to: attend FWCC World and Section of the Americas conferences, serve on Latin American and International AVP Councils, earn a graduate degree at ESR, intern at U.S. Friends schools, participate in FGC Gatherings (including co-leading a workshop), travel to visit among Quakers in the UK and at Ireland YM, work with QUIP and publish a book, participate in international climate conferences, found a language center, and much, much more. BQEF’s programs open doors, developing channels through which the previously suppressed talent and creativity of Bolivian Friends can flourish, while fostering connections among Friends in Bolivia and elsewhere.

View this video about BQEF in Bolivia and Climate Change from June 2020 (25 min)

Earlham School of Religion

Rooted in the Christian Quaker tradition of contemplation that inspires action, Earlham School of Religion prepares theologically diverse students for a pluralistic world. Our curriculum unites spiritual formation, academic study, social engagement, and vital ministry. Together, ESR faculty and students engage in intense and thoughtful academic study. We seek a deeper connection with spirit. And we use the fruits of discernment–a value at the heart of Friends’ principles–to experiment with new, vital forms of ministry. We invite you to explore our programs (MDiv, MA in Religion, MA in Theopoetics & Writing, MA in Peace & Social Transformation, and Certificates), learn more about theological education in the manner of Friends, and see why ESR has been selected a Seminary that Changes the World.

View our Introduction to Earlham School of Religion video (10 min)

Earth Quaker Action Team 

Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is a grassroots, nonviolent action group including Quakers and people of diverse beliefs, who join with millions of people around the world fighting for a just and sustainable economy. EQAT's actions nonviolently confront the people who benefit from the current energy system, boldly challenging them to turn away from fossil fuels. EQAT uses nonviolent direct action because it works. Direct action has been crucial to the success of every major social movement over the last century, and was key to the success of EQAT's Bank Like Appalachia Matters Campaign, calling on PNC Bank to cease investing in mountaintop removal coal mining.  EQAT's current campaign to Power Local Green Jobs uses nonviolent, direct action to demand that PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest utility company, make a major shift to locally generated solar power that benefits low income communities and communities of color.

For more, see this timeline of EQAT's current Power Local Green Jobs (PLGJ) campaign, this EQAT photo and video gallery, or this 2018 profile from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Friends Committee on National Legislation lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship. Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL fields an expert team of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and works with a grassroots network of tens of thousands of people across the country to advance policies and priorities established by our governing General Committee. FCNL is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to live our values of integrity, simplicity, and peace as we build relationships across political divides to move policies forward.

For an update on FCNL’s recent work, read the FCNL 2021 Report to Yearly Meetings and learn more about FCNL’s impact.

Friends Fiduciary Corporation

Friends Fiduciary Corporation (“FFC”) is a non-profit established in 1898 and governed by an all Quaker board. FFC was founded by Quakers to serve Quakers.  Today, FFC is comprised of two components, socially responsible asset management and charitable services. The Planned Giving program was established in 2001 at the request a number of Quaker organizations that were unable to take on all aspects of planned giving themselves. Since its inception, the Friends Fiduciary Corporation Planned Giving Program has facilitated and stewarded over 563 Charitable Gift Annuities representing over $20 million in gifted assets.  The services that it offers are invaluable; in its nineteen-year history, the Program has distributed $6.2 million to support Quaker organizations and meetings across the county and across the theological spectrum.  While Friends Fiduciary currently provides management services exclusively to Quaker organizations, Planned Giving is an area where we also work with individuals. Our services for donors include Charitable Gift Annuities, Donor Advised Funds, Charitable Trusts, and stock gifts.

Friends House Moscow

Friends House Moscow is an internationally supported Quaker organization operating in Russia since 1996.  Our main activities are the support of local programs including assistance to orphans, disabled children, refugees and COs; support for Alternatives to Violence in the region; the translation and publishing on Quaker literature; and support for and broadening of the Quaker community in Russia and the region.

Read the May 2020 update from Friends House Moscow.

Friends Peace Teams

Friends Peace Teams is a Spirit-led organization that develops long-term relationships with communities in conflict around the world to work for justice and healing, and to create enduring cultures of peace. Operating in Africa, North America, Latin America, Asia, and the West Pacific, we strengthen, support, and promote peace activities with partners around the world. We rely on the power of the living Spirit when we bring together people who have suffered on all sides of oppression, violence, or war. Together we mutually discern how to create peaceful societies. 12 Quaker yearly meetings send representatives to the Friends Peace Teams coordinating council.

Friends Publishing

As an independent, member-supported nonprofit, Friends Publishing creates media that strives to deepen the lives of all spiritual seekers by communicating Quaker experience and faith as an offering of comfort, inspiration, and connection. We publish Friends Journal as a monthly print magazine and a website, including online-first features and freely accessible archives stretching back 65 years, and QuakerSpeak, a series of video interviews with contemporary Friends that has received nearly four million views. (Here are some of our favorites!) We also produce, a one-stop resource for information about the Religious Society of Friends online.

Friends World Committee for Consultation - Section of the Americas

Answering God's call to universal love, the Friends World Committee for Consultation brings Friends of varying traditions and cultural experiences together in worship, communications and consultation, to express our common heritage and our Quaker message to the world. The Section of the Americas helps Quaker meetings and churches spanning a rich diversity of regional cultures, beliefs, and styles of worship thrive through programs and services such as the Traveling Ministry Corps, providing bilingual resources, the Section Meeting and World Quaker Day. We envision a thriving and integrated network of Friends from the Arctic to the Andes, woven together in transformative faith, learning to love, listen, and witness.

Guatemala Friends Scholarship Program (Progresa)

Progresa was founded in 1973 to provide rural Mayans opportunity through education. We are a non-profit in Guatemala and under the care of Redwood Forest Meeting in California. In addition to providing scholarships, we train future leaders, promote community development, and most importantly, provide the means for our students to stay in Guatemala and maintain family and cultural connections. In 2021, we are providing 93 scholarships to students who represent 15 different linguistic groups. Their studies include medicine, nursing, social work, agronomy, education, math and physics, law, psychology, engineering, and more. Through an intense schedule of video conferences, we have been able to address the challenges of the pandemic, hurricanes, flooding, and subsistence farming in the time of climate change in support of our students. Look at our website to learn about Teaching English Experience-- which is usually held in Guatemala, but last year was virtual. It is a great way to meet our students.

Read our Update Spring 2021

Prisoner Visitation and Support

Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) a Quaker organization, provides visits to prisoners in Federal and Military Prisons throughout the USA. PVS needs more visitors. Visitors usually meet with several prisoners once/month for about an hour/prisoner. The same prisoners are visited monthly.  Many prisoners have been incarcerated for decades and have never had a visit. Can you spare less than a day a month to bring some light into a dark place?

Download a handout about PVS

Quaker Initiative to End Torture (QUIT!)

The Quaker Initiative to End Torture is a spiritual work to end the worst that humans do to one another. We hope the information and resources here will help you to join the efforts of many to end torture as a practice, a tradition, and a policy of governments. There is much good that needs doing. This work needs many good people to come forward with reverence to shed mercy and Light to all corners. A call for truth and a shared sense of humanity will move us further along.

Quaker Religious Education Collaborative

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is a grassroots network of Friends holding a sense of stewardship for life-long Quaker faith formation through religious education. We include Friends from all branches of our international Quaker family. We welcome all Friends involved in religious education. Join us in forming a community of practice to share resources, skills, gifts, questions and insights, and to support each other in the ministry of Quaker faith formation.

View our Introductory Slide Show in English or Spanish

Quaker Voluntary Service

Quaker Voluntary Service is a fellowship opportunity for young adults excited by the intersection of justice and Quaker spiritual deepening. This year, 36 Fellows are participating in this experiment, working at nonprofits in one of our five program cities, living in community together, and considering how their spirituality is integrally connected with community and justice. Fellows work with those experiencing homelessness, engage with climate change issues, support individuals in navigating the immigration system, teach in classrooms, work at neighborhood health centers, and so much more. Meanwhile, Fellows meet monthly with a Spiritual Nurturer and worship with Quaker communities. The current focus on the racial justice movement, global health pandemic, and economic crisis brings into even sharper relief QVS’s call to provide Spirit-grounded service opportunities for young adults.

To learn more about QVS in the current moment, look at the QVS Blog here.

Ramallah Friends School

In a region racked with violence, a Quaker school is thriving.  Ramallah Friends School is a pre-K through grade 12 International Baccalaureate school which has served Palestinian, Jewish, and Christian children for generations. How does RFS realize potential, fulfill dreams, and share hope for today’s Palestinian youth? How do we successfully educate these children in a region marked by violence just outside the gates of the school?  How does the school witness to Quaker beliefs and contribute toward peace and a better future for Palestinians?

Right Sharing of World Resources

Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR) was founded in 1967 by Friends World Committee of Consultation (FWCC) with the mission: God calls us to the right sharing of world resources, from the burdens of materialism and poverty into the abundance of God’s love to work for equity through partnerships with our sisters and brothers throughout the world. RSWR facilitates educational opportunities to learn about right sharing, and provides micro-enterprise grants in Africa and India to launch business ventures that empower women to provide basic needs for their families and communities. 

The School of the Spirit Ministry

The School of the Spirit Ministry (SotS) is dedicated to helping all who wish to be more faithful listeners and responders to the inward work of Christ. In the daily work of this Ministry we have the opportunity to reflect upon the presence of God in our lives and willingness to deepen our commitment to God’s comfort and guidance. Though many of our programming has been paused due to the pandemic, we have been hosting seasonal e-Retreats and are deep in the planning stage of our new program, Faithful Meetings.