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Mark Stanley Reflects on Discovering Quakers

Mark Stanley

Mark Stanley

This piece was originally published in the author’s blog.

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.

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Radical Nonviolence: A Camp for Peacemakers (August 24th to 30th, 2015)

How do I recognize and respond to oppression?
Why bother with peace in a world full of violence?
How can nonviolence create positive chance?

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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
Ages: 16+

Check out our website for more details: quakerservice.ca/camp

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Quakers at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Walk

Quakers from Ottawa and beyond, some of whom are pictured here, were a very few of the 10,000 Indigenous and Settler peoples who walked in the Walk For Reconciliation, on May 31st in Ottawa. The walk was one of the activities that were part of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report on the experiences and effects of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It was amazing to walk with such a diverse and committed community! The summary findings of the TRC in English can be found here.

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Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting, Elaine Bishop, attended the release of the report on behalf of Canadian Quakers. She invites everyone to respond to the invitation issued by Chair of the TRC, Justice Murray Sinclair, to walk the path shown by the TRC up to the mountain peak of reconciliation even though it will take more than this generation.

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Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture & Workshops by Alastair McIntosh- “Decolonizing Land and Soul: A Quaker Testimony.”

August 16-20, 2015, UPEI.

This year’s The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, named after a historic figure in Canadian Quaker history, will be delivered by Alastair McIntosh. McIntosh is a noted Scottish, scholar, speaker and author of many books including Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power and Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope, and the Human Condition. Alastair will be lecturing and facilitating workshops from August 16th to the 20th, 2015, as part of the annual gathering of Canadian Yearly Meeting 2015 at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Alastair McIntosh- “(C) Médiathèque Lafarge – Alain Le Breton”.

A member of the Religious Society of Friends in Scotland, McIntosh has built an international career as a scholar and public speaker, teaching and lecturing at a variety of universities, and as a frontline activist on behalf of environmental integrity and healthy, resilient human communities. He is especially known for the way he has combined scholarship in theology, poetics, anthropology, and human ecology with the organization of citizen based campaigns to save valued landscapes and human communities from industrial degradation.

All events are open to the public

Lecture
Decolonizing Land and Soul: A Quaker Testimony
Sunday August 16th, 2015, 7:00 pm

Room 242, Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium (McDougall Hall)
Open admission

In this lecture Alastair will share his unique experience that spans the Maritime provinces of Canada, Scotland and France. He has titled the lecture

“Decolonising Land and Soul: a Quaker Testimony.” He will explore the imperatives of Quaker witness for today and will touch on spiritual experience and the Cross as the supreme symbol of nonviolence in our times.

Like Quakerism in Canada, McIntosh is broadly universal in his approach to understanding theology. He sees that deep rootedness in the land and attachment to place provide human communities with the best realization of their spiritual potential. An affinity with the traditional spirituality of First Nation peoples is evident in this understanding.

Workshops
Monday August 17th to Thursday August 20th, 2015, 3:30 to 5:30 pm (Location to be determined)
More details to come! Stay tuned.

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Posted in: CYM, CYM 2015, News, Quaker Blog

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Register now for CYM 2015 in PEI this Summer!

Dear Friends, the Yearly Meeting Session 2015 is just around the corner. This year’s event will be held at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown (PEI) from August 14 to 22. The updated schedule is available here.

For more information download the information package (WORD or PDF). For the registration form please click here (Excel,* PDF or Word).

If you are flying, please do not forget to make your travel arrangements as soon as possible.

Also, please take the time to check some of the available offers for PEI visitors.

 

*This form can be viewed on an iPad, but cannot be completed unless Excel is properly installed in the device.

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