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Saturday, July 11, 2020, 70 people gathered in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Plenary Session on Climate Change to share minutes and discuss yearly-meeting-wide witness for climate action.
Climate Change: Why Now?
Climate scientists sent an urgent message in 2018, calling for global action to make “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems” in order to limit global warming and its effects.
Facing this challenge, Quakers in quarterly and monthly meetings have expressed an interest in unifying their efforts. There is a historic and personal commitment among Friends to the testimonies of peace, equality, community, simplicity, justice, integrity, and stewardship for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Since The Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Thread Gathering in Jan 2020, the Eco-Justice Collaborative has been asking Friends to make the climate crisis part of the PYM community’s corporate witness. They have been taking a ‘minute of concern’ to individual meetings and the Quaker Life Council for consideration.
18 monthly meetings have approved a Minute on the Climate Crisis. These are Barnegat, Chestnut Hill, Central Philadelphia, Germantown, Green Street, Gwynned, Harrisburg, Medford, Newark, Newtown, Old Haverford, Providence, Radnor, Reading, Seaville, Swarthmore, Westtown, and Wilmington Meetings.
At this plenary, the PYM community evidenced a keen desire to bring forth more collective and community action.
PYM Friends appreciated the work of other organizations, including AFSC, FCNL, FWCC, QUNO and QEW, who have spoken about the impact of climate disruption on world peace, civil society, and vulnerable populations. Our Yearly Meeting community engaged in spiritual discernment around specific actions that can address the above concerns.
Friends engaged in an energetic discussion about what the Yearly Meeting can do. This discussion was centered in the following queries:
1. If PYM adopts a yearly-meeting-wide witness in the future on the climate crisis, how can we as Meetings, schools, individuals and other Friends organizations collaborate with one another and work more effectively to address Climate Change?
2. What roles do you see the YM playing in implementing this corporate witness?
3. What do you see as next steps for Friends to take? What are challenges that we face in achieving this?
4. How do we foster a Spiritual grounding to provide the resilience necessary to support the urgent challenges that are before us?
Friends who were not able to be present at the plenary are invited to review the advance documents and a video on the event’s page, and share any responses they might have to the queries. Please email your responses to email@example.com.
A Note About Accessibility and Support at Annual Sessions
Support including pastoral care staff and closed captioning were provided during the July 11 plenary and will be available for all keynote, worship, business, and plenary sessions.
Friends who have technical difficulties, need pastoral care support or any other kind of care support, can send a private message via the Zoom chat function to anyone who has “staff” in their name label. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the helpline at 717-340-2055.
Quakerism 101: What’s a query?
Meetings use queries as a guide for self-examination, as a framework for periodically examining, clarifying and prayerfully considering the direction of our individual lives and the life of the meeting community. – PYM’s Faith & Practice.