Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) presentation on Vanguard’s Big Problem

EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team) presented on Wednesday, April 20th at Radnor Meeting on how Vanguard is driving the Climate Crisis.   They explained the links between large financial banks and the investments that drive Climate Change, with Vanguard being a major investor in fossil fuels. That same week, EQAT conducted their monumental week-long march from Chester PA to Vanguard Headquarters in Paoli to draw attention to this issue. 

EQAT has been an iconic Quaker Group that embodies our values through direct peaceful action.  Since their founding in 2010 by George Lakey and other committed Quakers they have focused on direct action campaigns that connect the changes we need to make in the world with those Corporations that can make those changes.  After a 5-year campaign, EQAT convinced PNC Bank to stop funding the environmentally devastating mountaintop removal mining practices in West Virginia.

Annual Spring Retreat held on March 26 on Deepening Worship

Worship and Ministry invited us for Radnor’s spring retreat on Saturday, March 26 to examine our need for deepened worship to open our hearts to the Spirit and to one another in love. We reflected together on what hinders or sustains our connection with the Spirit, and how we can best prepare to enter into the worship experience and open to the Spirit as we worship. Nancy Bieber led the session.  Nancy is a member of Lancaster MM, is a spiritual director, psychologist and retreat leader with a particular interest in Quaker unprogrammed worship. Nancy is the author of Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment (2010) and Fianna’s Story: a True Story of Love, Grief, and Faith (2020). She publishes a monthly spiritual reflection Garden of the Spirit on her website (nancybieber.com) She has also taught and led retreats widely among Quakers and other groups, focusing on spiritual discernment, prayer and worship. All enjoyed a very spiritually fulfilling experience.

Forum held on Worshiping God in Places Appropriated by Force from Indigenous People

Many members of the Society of Friends worship God in places that have been appropriated by force from indigenous peoples. What challenges arise when they try to do that, and how do Friends respond to these challenges? This forum was led by Cherice Bock and gave us a chance to reflect on these issues. Cherice Bock is a Friend who lives in Oregon on the traditional lands of Kalapuya (now part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde). She is an adjunct professor of eco-theology at Portland Seminary and she leads Oregon Interfaith Power and Light at the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Cherice holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a doctoral candidate at Antioch University of New England. The forum was held on April 3rd.

Radnor Friends Taking Action to Protect Our Environment

The Peace and Social Concerns Committee presented a forum February 23 on “Taking Action to Protect Our Environment,” attended by approximately 25 Friends and Attenders. Jamie Lockard and Burt Dallas led the forum and noted the rise of environmental issues and awareness over the past 60 years. The degradation of our resources and climate change have reached a crisis stage in the current era.  The focus of the forum was to identify ways in which Radnor Monthly Meeting and its members and attenders can become more aware of environmental issues and take concrete action to improve and protect our environment.

Burt noted that caring for the environment is consistent with our Quaker values, including integrity, community, equality and stewardship.  He cited as one important example and action each of us can take is to consider eating a plant-based diet due to the massive resources required to raise animals for food, especially cattle. Articles were provided highlighting these facts.  For example, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce the beef in one hamburger.

Jamie then led us in breaking into four sub-groups to discuss addressing environmental issues at concentric levels: (1) individually, (2) at the Meeting level; (3) locally (township and county); and (4) nationally and globally.

Each break-out group brainstormed about ideas and items for action, summarized as follows (with apologies if any of the wonderful ideas and themes not captured here):

  1. Individual Actions
  • diet-based reduction of carbon footprint:  less meat/more plants
  • consult “Better World Shopping Guide,” which evaluates vendors and their focus on ecological issues
  • buy locally
  • choose business and products that use less packaging
  • take your own reusable shopping bag, versus using disposable plastic bags
  • recycle
  • home composting
  • switch to eco-friendly energy suppliers
  • green burials
  • carpool
  • energy efficient appliances/lightbulbs
  • turn down the thermostat
  • use clotheslines to dry laundry
  • use websites such as Nextdoor for recycling objects/furniture etc. rather than tossing them

2.   meeting Actions

Focus on the green space that we have at Radnor Meeting, including enjoying and respecting our grounds, making more use of the grounds, sharing our grounds with the community or other faith-based groups, having an inter-faith progressive garden tour, and cleaning  up a stream in our area (first day school activity?).

3. Local/Governmental level

Begin to work with other local faith-based organizations on environmental action, lobbying and legislation, including addressing such issues as maintaining open space, planting trees, recycling, better use of energy, charging stations for electric cars, litter pickup, stream cleanup, better public transportation and supporting efforts to adopt rules at housing developments to promote better environmental practices.

  1. National/global level
  • Improving public transportation to reduce the need for cars and imagining our area with less congestion
  • Supporting students from Radnor Meeting with scholarships to attend lobbying events (training the next generation)
  • Providing coordination/access to national efforts such as Friends Committee for National Legislation

The entire group then reconvened and reviewed the thoughts and ideas submitted.  One theme that emerged is that members of our Meeting want more information and resources to educate themselves about environmental issues so that they can act.  Those at the forum strongly supported updating the Meeting website to have more information and resources about the environment and actions we can take.

We will discuss the suggested items for action at the next meeting of Peace and Social Concerns and hope to be returning to the Meeting with plans for further action in the near future.  We appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and support at the forum, and especially thank Jamie, Burt and Steve Olshevski for their hard work, insights and energy in preparing for this forum and leading our environmental efforts.  We hope this will be an ongoing commitment of the Meeting.

Radnor Meeting Financial Contributions for a Better World

The Peace and Social Concerns committee announced contributions to the following organizations in June 2018:

  • The Broad Street Ministry for the care of Philadelphia’s homeless.
  • Tuition assistance for a SEGA School student in Tanzania Africa.
  • The First Place Transitional Home in Ardmore that provides a temporary home for refugees in this area and helps them find more permanent placement.
  • The Universal Hope Initiative is working to rebuild an apiary in western Puerto Rico that is an important source of livelihood for a community which was severely damaged by hurricane Maria.

In addition, there was a special collection in September 2017 to raise funds which we sent to Friends Live Oak Meeting to help Houston’s hurricane victims.