The two documents attached are of particular significance for faith communities in Canada. They have been released by the Commission on Justice and Peace (CJP) of the Canadian Council of Churches.
As the Quaker representative to the CJP, I am circulating these documents through the CYM office to Friends across Canada.
The first document is a well developed Federal Election Guide designed to be of use for talking with candidates on justice and peace issues.
The second document is the Report of the Justice Tour that was held in five cities across Canada this past spring. It provides a good sense of how church leaders and communities of faith are responding to the fundamental justice issues of our society.
I came to Quakers because I was looking for a Christian-based pacifist tradition, seeking companions and examples for the pacifist beliefs I had formed in isolation. I found the religious basis of Quaker pacifism very compatible with my own religious experiences. That there is “that of God” in everyone, and that everyone has the capacity to hear the voice of the Spirit and communicate it to others, was something I had felt for myself.
I was already worshiping alone in a way similar to the manner of Friends, sitting in silence and waiting for a religious experience like the two I’d already had in similar circumstances. While worshiping in Meeting I’ve had other profound religious experiences, though I’m not gifted with ministry very often. My personal worship is profoundly enriched by the company of my community.
I had a sex change many years ago, transitioning from female to male as a young adult. I’ve since described it as discarding that which was false, so that I spoke the truth with my words, my deeds, and my physical body. For me it was a powerful way to let my life speak, to act with the integrity Friends strive for. It was something I did years before coming to Friends, but it was another example of the way I wanted to live being the way Friends practiced their spirituality.
I became a convinced Friend very quickly after I started attending Meeting, though I waited a few years to take membership. The practices of the society made a lot of sense to me, and the accumulated wisdom of centuries of Friends is a wonderful spiritual and intellectual resource for me. When I’m feeling fearful, angry, or bereft, I can look to the experiences of people like me who have overcome their own human frailties to act with courage and love, upholding the values of peace and justice, speaking to the powerful and the powerless as children of God.
How do I recognize and respond to oppression?
Why bother with peace in a world full of violence?
How can nonviolence create positive chance?
CFSC is thrilled to announce that from August 24th to 30th, 2015 we will be gathering at Camp NeeKauNis (130 KM north of Toronto on the shores of Georgian Bay) to build community and share skills on these topics and more.
This is an exciting opportunity, bringing together a number of extremely skilled facilitators with experiences building nonviolent direct action strategies in Canada, serving on Christian Peacemaker Teams in conflict situations like Iraq, working in prisons using Alternatives to Violence Program and much more.
Swim, enjoy the woods, stay in a cabin, learn from expert facilitators, and contribute to rich discussions and exercises.
Date: August 24th – August 30th, 2015
Location: Camp Neekaunis, Georgian Bay
Note: Young Friends can apply for travel grants from CFSC