27 July 2023

Power of Goodness—ten years later

This is a screenshot—for version with live links, go to this page on the Friends Peace Teams site.

2012 edition of Power of Goodness arrives from
the printer in Chechnya.
On June 29, 2013, a bus from Grozny, Chechnya, arrived in Moscow, bearing a precious—for us—cargo: long-awaited copies of the book Power of Goodness, fresh from the printer.

That was the last edition of this book that I helped produce as a member of the publishing team. (It started out as a bilingual adaptation of the classic Lighting Candles in the Dark. Some of the history of the book's evolution and of its publisher, the Friends International Library, can be found at this post.) Starting that same year, 2013, the care and expansion of this publishing project became a program of Friends Peace Teams.

Before that transition, I had been involved with the Friends International Library and its publications for over twenty years. Another Friend, Janet Riley, had been serving continuously from the very beginning of the Quaker US-USSR Committee, over thirty years. Now we are both among the team members for Friends Peace Teams. Along the way, some of the stories in Power of Goodness are now available in six additional languages.

And Friends Peace Teams as an organization and network has also expanded mightily in these last ten years. The Europe group, on which I serve, is the newest, and works alongside groups serving the African Great Lakes region, the Americas (South and Central America), North America (focusing on "right relationship with Native Peoples" and economic justice among other concerns), and the Asia West Pacific group. There are also groups and programs (such as Alternatives to Violence Project, and, of course, Power of Goodness) whose work relates to several or all of these groups.

I've been serving about a year on the Europe group, mostly listening and learning. It's hard to summarize Friends Peace Teams in a few words, because it is very far from a monolithic, vertically-controlled organization. Here's how it describes itself:

We function as a network of autonomous regional groups who share power based on mutual discernment. We are a multilingual-rich community that supports native languages, using English as the base reference language. Our activities respect the dignity of all life and cultivate each person’s innate capacities; challenge exploitation, domination, racism, and colonization; and value honest, direct relationships among all people and with nature.

(Quoted from Friends Peace Teams' April-May 2023 Epistle.)

With such diversity and autonomy within its network, what is its underlying vision? To quote from the "Our work" page of the Friends Peace Teams Web site,

We rely on the power of the Living Spirit when we bring together people who have suffered on all sides of oppression, violence or war. Together we mutually discern how to create peaceful societies.

During this morning's videoconference of the Friends Peace Teams' Europe group, we heard reports from peace workers we support, and their contacts, in Ukraine, North Caucasus, Israel and Palestine, and Iraq. Among the concerns, not surprisingly, is the perennial question of where funds will come from, specifically, the funds to fill the gap in the North Caucasus budget (about $2,150) and to hire a badly-needed second person to serve the program in Ukraine part-time, about $500 per month starting in the fall. 

Screenshot; for live links go to this page.

One immediate need is for about $7,000 to help fund peace workers' participation in a Regional Training for Justice and Peace event scheduled in Poland, October 30-November 8. Many of the participants will be coming from Ukraine,  some in coordination with Mennonite Central Committee. If you would like an invitation to participate in the training (or have potential participants in mind for this event), OR if you can help fund it, you can find information on this page.

After listening to the Friends who are planning this event, I'm sure that the participants will appreciate the training and mutual debriefings that will happen there. Maybe even more important: they'll experience our support and encouragement in a very difficult time.

Friends Peace Teams online donation page makes it convenient to contribute to the whole network or to specific groups and programs. And this page explains several other ways to participate.

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Richard Rohr, Mike Morrell ... and Robert Oppenheimer?? A meditation on Trinity. "This is what the relational pattern of the universe is teaching us, from Godhead to geochemistry and everything in between."

A Palestinian response to Tom Friedman.

The war that you are not reading about: the one that began in April.

David Williams: If we're not caring for the old....

Robin McKie: The James Webb telescope and its "mindblowing" revelations about the unexpectedly rapid formation of stars and galaxies in the "infant" universe.

For everyone who loves Eden Grace, here's the slideshow from her memorial meeting last Saturday.

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