World Quaker Day: Restoring the Earth and Growing Friends' Witness
Celebrating World Quaker Day at FCNL
As we celebrate the sixth annual World Quaker Day on Oct. 6, I am pondering how we can sustain ourselves in the work of long-term witness. As a newly convinced Friend and Young Fellow at FCNL, I see lifting up community and togetherness as one way forward in sustaining Quaker faith and practice.
I can use my own story as a guide. I came to Quakerism through witness and Spirit-led action. In fact, it all began with a former Young Fellow who graduated from my alma mater, Warren Wilson College. She recruited me to lead a delegation of my friends to attend FCNL’s annual Spring Lobby Weekend in 2018.
That spring, I brought ten of my friends to Washington, D.C. and joined over 400 other young advocates from across the country. Together, we learned about immigration reform and lobbied for more just immigration policies. Spring Lobby Weekend was one of the first spaces where I felt led by Spirit to witness on peace and social concerns. I was refreshed by FCNL’s approach to lobbying in the manner of Friends.
After years of cynicism, I started seeing that of God in each person, including the members of Congress with whom I disagreed. The passion of my young adult peers was contagious, the expertise of the conference speakers made the complexities of policy accessible, and the undercurrent of Quaker values and intentions grounded me. We were not all Friends, but we were unified by a thirst to realize the world we seek.
Simply sharing space and witness with other impassioned young people changed the course of my career and my life.
Simply sharing space and witness with other impassioned young people changed the course of my career and my life. I joined FCNL’s Advocacy Corps program the following year and spent nine months as a community organizer. Alongside my deepened commitment to restoring the world through FCNL’s work, I embarked on a journey of personal formation born out of Spirit’s call to action. I started attending my local Monthly Meeting and found a spiritual home in Quakerism. Now that I am launching my career in advocacy as a program assistant at FCNL, I can clearly see how Spring Lobby Weekend was the beginning of my path.
After my first Spring Lobby Weekend, I felt nourished by the long history of Quaker witness for peace and justice. As we work to address the climate crisis, we must provide more people with that opportunity to join our history—to feel energized by our community and inspired by our collective faith in action.
In March 2020, FCNL expects to welcome 500 young adults into that community when they gather at Spring Lobby Weekend to advocate on climate change. I'm excited to share what I've been a part of here at FCNL with more people.
Friends, both young and not-so-young, can witness for an earth restored. In celebration of World Quaker Day and sustainability, I ask that Friends consider sharing the same gift I received from Quakers. Spring Lobby weekend changed my life and I know it has the power to transform other lives, too.
Look for that young adult who yearns for a community to bring about the world we seek. Recruit a young adult to attend Spring Lobby Weekend today. Visit www.fcnl.org/slw for more information.