Thoughts, musings, queries, and other troubles on my mind…
The approval of my employment as the Field Secretary for Earthcare for Southeastern Yearly Meeting has touched me deeply on many levels. One of my first jobs was working with the clerk of Groveland Baptist Church, Birmingham (AL). This early link between community and spiritual support and skills has been important to my development. Likewise, the social activism of the time period — the late 1960s. These intersections also contributed to and otherwise influenced my academic studies in developing quantitative and qualitative, policy analysis, and community-based research skills. Many paths have led me to this work and I thank the many people whose shoulders I stand on.
One SEYM dear Friend wrote to me in her congratulations,
“I’m not exactly for the job, thinking that it’s [Yearly Meeting] landing the responsibility of climate crisis work to you: Let’s get Bev to enthuse us to change, etc.…people don’t change until they have to change. Yet, there are many advantages to your work amongst SEYM Friends. You can be a messenger between Meetings and Worship Groups.”
It is the delivery of the messages that I feel is most important in the work of the field secretary. How do we as a Yearly Meeting discern among our Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups the climate crisis issues we will address? How will we go about this work? How do we connect with our local communities? How do we speak out about climate crises from our faith? How do we connect with the wider Quaker world and beyond?
While I have the academic and other credentials, I put the moral and religious concerns at the forefront. The FSE position speaks to me as a portal to respond to the Friends’ testimonies. I want to encourage others to improve their Stewardship of the Earth. I may help to make the connections between the Peace testimony and the other testimonies. Through Integrity, I can help communities speak truth to power. Together, we can help to build Community by addressing environmental issues, particularly as related climate change. I will continue to address issues of Equality by striving for environmental justice and social equity. And, I will be of Service in this position.
From the outpouring of love and other supports I have received from the Yearly Meeting, fFriends, family, and the spiritual leading, I know that I am not alone. So many of you have reached out to say, “If there’s anything I can do…” I will hold you to your offers. (The FSE Anchoring Committee— Phoebe Andersen (Tallahassee), Bill Carlie (Orlando), Nancy Triscritti (Tampa), and Bonnie Zimmer (Gainesville), and the SEYM Earthcare Committee among others also will hold you to them.) For it’s really about SEYM sending me out not unlike on a traveling ministry in the oldest sense of being “under the weight of a religious concern.”
There is an African proverb,
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together.”
Thank you for accompanying me on this journey!
—Beverly G. Ward
Invite the Field Secretary for Earthcare to Visit
Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups may invite the Field Secretary for Earthcare to visit by contacting:
Beverly Ward, Field Secretary for Earthcare (FSE)
The FSE Anchor Committee:
SEYM Office: Vicki Carlie, Administrative Secretary