The produce of the Earth is a gift from our gracious Creator to
the inhabitants, and to impoverish the Earth now to support
outward greatness appears to be an injury to the succeeding age.
John Woolman (1720-1772)
The European sector of the Friends World Council for Consultation
has made an appeal for contributions for “finding the prophetic voice
for our time” at the Dublin Triennial meeting. Perth Friends have
prepared the following statement which could possibly be used as an
“It is love that you should strive for. Set your hearts on
spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message.” (I
This love is for God and for our neighbours. If we love God we
must respect and care for his creation. If we love our neighbours we
must care for their welfare. Many of our neighbours are starving,
suffering from wars, tyranny and injustice. Quakers have from the first
acted on William Penn’s words: “True godliness don’t turn men out of the
world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their
endeavours to mend it”.
Today we are called upon to act on the mending of our world,
which is in danger of irreversible damage by climate change, caused to
great extent by human ignorance, irresponsibility and selfishness. This
damage will impact most severely on the weak, the poor and the
This is a spiritual matter as well as one for practical actions
by scientists or governments. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
thereof.” Human beings have been given stewardship over the natural
world, but in our greed and foolishness are destroying it. The beauty,
grandeur and intricacy of the natural world bear witness to its creator.
It is blasphemy knowingly to destroy it. A prophetic message for our
times is that we must care for the beautiful earth, which we have been
given to live on.
…is one of the virtues for which Quakers in the past have been praised.
It is a quality worth having, but it is doubtful if it can be
reached by self-conscious effort or by adherence to a principle…
Integrity is a condition in which a person’s response to a total
situation can be trusted: the opposite of a condition in which he would
be moved by opportunistic or self-seeking impulses breaking up his unity
as a whole being. This condition of trust is different for the
recognition that he will always be kind or always tell the truth. The
integrity of some Dutch Friends I have met showed itself during the war
in their willingness to tell lies to save their Jewish friends from the
Gestapo or from starvation.
Kenneth c. Barnes, 1972. Faith and Practice No. 20.44
From “Advices and Queries”
Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be
evading? When you recognise your shortcomings, do not let that
discourage you. In worship together we can find the assurance of God’s
love and the strength to go on with renewed courage. (no. 11)
Are you alert to practices here and throughout the world which
discriminate against people on the basis of who or what they are or
because of their beliefs? Bear witness to the humanity of all people,
including those who break society’s conventions or its laws. Try to
discern new growing points in social and economic life. Seek to
understand the causes of injustice, social unrest and fear. Are you
working to bring about a just and compassionate society which allows
everyone to develop their capacities and fosters the desire to serve?
Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do? Do you
maintain strict integrity in business transactions and in your dealings
with individuals and organizations? Do you use money and information
entrusted to you with discretion and responsibility? Taking oaths
implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to a firm instead, be
aware of the claim to integrity that you are making. (no. 37)
If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of
integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Are responsibilities to God
and our neighbour may involve as in taking unpopular stands. Do not yet
the desire to be sociable or the fear of seeming peculiar determine your
decisions. (no. 38)
And from “This We Can Say”
I have long believed that speaking truth is both the simplest way of living your life and one of the most difficult to achieve.
Speaking truth with love seems the essence of the teachings of Jesus Christ and I suspect of all great religions.
Judith Aitchison 1996 no. 3.53
The Australian Yearly Meeting Earthcare Statement
We find delight in the grace of creation, and are humbled by the richness of its gifts.
Our very existence depends upon sustaining our intimate
relationships within nature. Yet much has been harmed or lost forever
through our lack of reverence, our ignorance, denial, waste and
ill-considered action. We have set ourselves against the Spirit. We have
ignored our interconnectedness with all other living things, weakened
our own well-being, and we have diminished the opportunity for fair
Once our lack of care caused limited damage. Now our
thoughtlessness endangers whole ecosystems, and even the entire
biosphere, through global warming, pollution, destruction of habitats,
and accelerated extinction of species. We also acknowledge that wars,
poverty and over consumption are part of this spiral of destruction.
We seek to transform this culture of domination and exploitation,
of false witness and idolatry, and instead develop a culture of caring
for the planet, preparing for future generations of living things and
honouring God’s gifts. Each of us must now strive to live a just life
which values the air, the waters, the soil, living things and the
processes sustaining all life.
Given the extent of the crisis and the need for transformative
change, despair and fear are likely to arise in us all at some stage.
We can be set free in the Spirit to live our lives in radically
We are called to consider the world as an enspirited whole, to
accept no boundary to repairing and sustaining the Earth for the future,
and to appreciate more deeply the creative energy in all living things
and life processes. We seek to mend what has been hurt, and to
strengthen our courage to discern and bear witness to this spiritual
care for the Earth.
Friends are not alone on this journey. We must listen to the call
of creation, recognise and respect the profound knowledge and wisdom of
Indigenous peoples and learn from scientific understanding. We will
work with those many others already deeply engaged, who make the links
between religious belief, lifestyle, social justice and peace.
We commit to the demanding, costly implications of radically
changed ways of living. Let us do so out of joy, celebration, reverence
and a deep love of life.
Adopted at Yearly Meeting 2008, Melbourne, Australia