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INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS VOL 167 NO 30 3-5 News 3 South African students learn nonviolence skills at camp 4 The future of Quakers in Britain: essay competition 5 The power of community
Laurie Michaelis 6 What keeps us from the still, small voice?
Trish Carn 7 Comment
Martin Schweiger and Paul Green 8-9 Letters 9 Varieties of the number 357 (well before baked bean ads) 10-11 Three Quakers in eleven days reach unforgettable heights
Peter Davies, Lucy Ivankovic and Rosemary Rimmer-Clay 12 Arts: Visit St Ives while in York
Mike Tooby 14 A Quaker response to the crisis of climate change 16 q-eye: on the way to Yearly Meeting Gathering 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: Part of a sculptural assembly made by Harry Mercer, 1968, on the York campus. These two round metal sculptures (only one shown) are Algol. Algol is the name of a star, or rather a star system (Beta Persei A, B, and C) in which the large and bright primary Beta Persei A is regularly eclipsed by the dimmer Beta Persei B. However, this case, our interpretation is of wheels being interconnected in our world. Photo: Trish Carn. Images on this page from top: Drumming for peace at the nonviolent schools camp, Glencairn 2008. Photo courtesy of Cape Town Quaker Peace Centre, South Africa. See page 3. The Australian Quaker Centre at Silver Wattle, near Canberra. Photo: Helen Bayes. See page 3. Plinth photos: Lucy Ivankovic (above) on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, London and Rosemary Rimmer-Clay (below) auctioning her paintings. Photos: Above, by Zeljko Ivankovic and below, by Tony Tree of Brighton Meeting.
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the Friend, 24 July 2009 News
South African students learn
nonviolence skills at camp
Pupils from the South African city of Cape Town will be supported in becoming ambassadors for peace this weekend.
For the second year running, pupils and teachers will attend a ‘nonviolent schools camp’ that aims to embed notions of nonviolence in all aspects of school life and help turn children away from drugs and gangs. It is being run by the Cape Town Quaker Peace Centre as part of its nonviolent schools campaign.
‘What we realised is that in order to make the whole concept and idea of nonviolence meaningful for children and teachers [we need] to embed it in the curriculum’, explained Avril Knott-Craig, project leader for the campaign. ‘Unless it becomes a message that is constantly repeated in the syllabus
and the curriculum it becomes forgotten.’
As well as introducing concepts of peace and nonviolence into lessons, participating high schools also set up peace clubs and have pupils become ‘peace buddies’, ambassadors working to reduce violence in their schools. In one school, where pupils were organising fights each break-time as entertainment, members of the peace club would go and watch, making signs of peace in silence. This changed the dynamics of the event and ‘broke the spirit of the fight’, said Avril, leading to fewer fights at that school.
This weekend’s camp follows a similar event last year, which one participant felt had ‘really brought out the best in people’ and another
described as ‘an eye-opener that our youth is exceptional and that the future looks very promising’. The 2009 camp will involve fiftyseven participants from new and existing schools, as well as two officials from the education ministry; during the weekend, the campers will take part in considering how violence directly affects their lives and in designing curriculums for peace.
Currently, five of the eleven initial schools are still active in the project and will be joined by another five this summer. There are hopes to expand the scheme and to include junior schools in future, said Avril, but ‘we have many more schools that want to be involved than we can afford to be involved’.
Australian Quaker Centre to provide a place for learning and study
Australian Friends have stolen a march on their Britain Yearly Meeting counterparts by opening a Quaker Centre.
But unlike the British development, which will open in Friends House in October and is designed as a welcoming space to introduce Quakers to enquirers, the Australian Quaker Centre is aimed at Friends as a place of learning and study. It offers one- or twoweek-long courses in areas such as Quaker history, prayer, preparation for Quaker witness and indigenous spirituality.
‘There is such a hunger for spiritual growth, teaching and learning among Friends in Australia – and indeed in the Asia-Pacific region’, said Helen Bayes, the centre’s director for 2009. ‘I see a great need to understand and share more deeply about our distinctive ways and history, and to provide a wholly Quaker residential environment for spiritual transformation.’
The centre, which seeks to be for Friends in Asia
and the West Pacific what Woodbrooke is to British Quakers or Pendle Hill to American Friends, will be open for three months this summer and will be based at Silver Wattle, close to Australia’s capital, Canberra. In keeping with its aim to be a transforming community rather than a school, the centre will provide daily Meetings for Worship, opportunities to explore the local bush and chances to speak to resident Quakers and an Aboriginal elder, alongside the courses.
In future years the location and duration of the centre may change, depending on needs and funds. Helen spoke about the ‘new sense of possibility, an excitement for something continuous and permanent’ that is being felt by Australian Friends.
‘Quakers in Australia have more to say and do than we are clear about, in these times of challenging change and possibility. So we have been mobilised by the Spirit to help make our worship and Meetings stronger in the Spirit and more vocal about our faith and concerns.’
the Friend, 24 July 2009