I have been reading Quaker Epistles from all over the world. In each region (divided by country or a large section of a country, Quakers meet once a year in what is called “Yearly Meeting.” (Yes, we do tend to keep things “simple.”)
The final “report” of the Yearly Meeting is called an “Epistle.”
From the past year’s Epistles, all Quakers seem to be confronting the same issues of Equality, especially the voiceless or politically denied. Quakers continue to place themselves in positions to help others: prisons, war-torn countries and in immigration.
Equality, Simple living and Community become intertwined when Quakers find ways of bringing all people into the “right sharing” of the world’s resources. Our “Simple Meal” at Yearly Meeting provides a small action with a much greater rippling effect.
Environment and striving to leave a smaller carbon footprint is clearly a global concern. From the individual to the community, seeking ways to lessen the need for expending our natural resources. Living Simply is certainly in our everyday awareness and efforts.
Peace is a cornerstone of Quaker action, although it takes a myriad of forms, from reduction in the production of small arms to seeking ways to offer services to refugees. From speaking “truth to power” and finding ways to bring quiet passion to our work.
“Truth to Power” continues to present Quakers with the determination to speak up, as well as listen for the ways in which we can intervene on behalf of making “things right” for all.
Being a Quaker means living a life of “quiet action.” It is a responsibility that continues to give meaning to our Inward Life as well as our Outward behavior.
Here are a few Quaker Epistles:
http://www.quaker.org.uk/netherlands-yearly-meeting-epistle-and-report (Netherlands Yearly Meeting)
http://www.quakers-in-ireland.ie/epistle-from-ireland-yearly-meeting-2011/ (Ireland Yearly Meeting)
http://www.nayler.org/?p=318 (New Zealand Yearly Meeting)
( Central and South Africa Yearly Meeting)
These Epistles from around the world give all of us a glimpse into the Spirit-led hearts and hands of so many working to achieve Peace, Integrity, Simplicity, and Equality for all. I am pleased to be a Quaker.