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Mural From Philadelphia 2

Notes from the Field

Fourth Month was quite busy, beginning with the close of the SEYM 2018 Gathering on Firstday, 1 Fourth Month. Fourth Month also was full of queries. The SEYM Gathering began with the First Retreat, led by the Earthcare Committee. We broke into small groups for worship sharing on the query, “What are the things and/or experiences that fundamentally move us spiritually to care for the Earth?” Friends responses will contribute to an SEYM faith statement on care for the natural world.

Clearwater, Palm Beach, and Tallahassee Monthly Meetings also worked with the SEYM Queries & Advices Care of the Natural World, during their retreats this year.

Mary Dyer Statue, Friends Center, Philadelphia. photo:Beverly Ward


During the annual meeting of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Corporation, 12 – 14 Fourth Month 2018, Friends considered two sets of focus questions in worship sharing as part of a year-long strategic planning process. The sets of questions were:

  • Organizational Identity and Mission
    • How can we best articulate who we are and our core mission?
    • What is our most compelling vision for the world we seek?
    • What elements of AFSC’s identity are fundamental and should not be let go?
  • Programmatic Directions

AFSC has chosen to describe and group its work within the following areas: Building Peace, Immigrant and Migrant Rights / Human Migration and Mobility, Healing Justice (Mass incarceration/Addressing Prisons), Ending Discrimination/Inclusive Communities, and Economic Justice.

Mural in Philadelphia. photo: Beverly Ward

• Are these the right areas for our work for the next ten or more years?

• Is there work that is no longer as essential?

• Is there a way that we should focus and re-orient our work to meet the challenges of the current moment?

Of course, I am particularly concerned that the relationship between Earthcare and AFSC’s strategic plan is clear. Building Peace, Human Migration and Mobility, Economic Justice—all are impacted by climate disruption. (editors note: Beverly is a member-at-large of the AFSC Corporation.)

The Spring Steering Committee meeting of Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) was held 20 through 22 Fourth Month 2018, in Chicago IL.

Each morning of this gathering opened with worship sharing, with these queries:

Beverly Ward at the Lincoln Park Conservatory (Chicago) with a Sausage tree pod.


  • What experiences and inspirations in your life led you to become involved in care for the Earth?
  • What concerns and/or Leadings are moving you to action/Witness now?
  • Have you been faithful to your Leadings?


  • When you made the transition from youth to adulthood, how did your life change?
  • What choices did you make?
  • Looking back now, how well have those choices served you?


  • Is QEW helping you to move forward with your Earthcare-related leadings? If so, how? If not, how?
  • What are your needs for support now and in the future for your and our QEW Earthcare-related leadings?
  • How can QEW give that support to our testimony of care for the Earth?

The reflection on these queries over the past month or so has been very meaningful to me. I particularly appreciated beginning each day with worship sharing with Friends at the QEW steering committee meeting. I hope that these will be of use to you.

—Beverly Ward, SEYM Field Secretary for Earthcare

2 Fifth month 2018