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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Quakers urged to be stewards of vision and values
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¬†Quakers in Britain held their annual Swarthmore Lecture on Saturday at Friends House in London. In Minding the Future, Christine Davis encouraged Quakers to see that stewardship is about far more than money and buildings. It is about handing on wisdom and insights discerned from experience. "We are stewards of vision and values," she said. "I'm like a magpie, I've learned to gather experiences, store the treasures and use them where I can," she said. "Quakers do not learn their faith from tradition. Insight and testimony must emerge from experience: it cannot be learned by rote. Our faith is crucial to shaping what we do and how we do it." "We live in a world of gross inequality, with huge population pressures, overexploitation of natural resources and rapidly accelerating climate change. We also have immature political systems in which dogmatic assertions are frequently described as if they were principles. People practise fear and exclusion rather than love, generosity and hospitality. What we have learned through our faith about love, and about simplicity, truth, equality and peace are not restricted to a small and narrow circle, but is for the ordinary everyday business of life." She spoke about her hometown, Dunblane, where, in an instant, an ordinary day became a horrifying day and16 schoolchildren and their teacher were shot, and as many were injured. She described how deeply the community was shaken and worked together to heal, to reassess faith and to care for each other. She was able to translate that experience to Northern Ireland where, as convener of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (Ireland) Committee, she visits work in conflict resolution and human rights funded by the JRCT. Experience tells her that divided communities are harder to heal. "Inspiration and insights about stewardship come from all parts of life," she said, challenging Quakers to mind the future adventurously. * Minding the Future The Swarthmore Lecture 2008 (ISBN 0901689882 price £6.00) is published by Quaker Books and is available from the Quaker Bookshop at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ phone 020 7663 1030 or fax 020 7663 1008.. For more information see:
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