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FALL, 2002: Volume 7, Issue 3

From the Editor
By Val Liveoak

This has been a busy summer for me as I participated in the FPT Exploratory Team to Colombia, and then three weeks after returning from that trip, went to Africa for four weeks. Five weeks after returning home from Africa, I moved to Pendle Hill. I had the opportunity to see FPT and the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) in action on both trips. I was surprised to see that, despite differences in class, education and culture, the workshops brought hope, some new skills and more confidence in existing skills in nonviolent conflict resolution to people on both continents.


Val Liveoak cutting “ribbon” to open a THARS Listening Center in Bujumbura, Burundi.

I hope more Friends will become active in AVP—I know that many are already, and I also know that the Friends involved in AVP are only a few of the ~100,000 Quakers in North America. It seems to me that AVP is a very appropriate way to clearly communicate not only Friends Peace Testimony, but the belief that there is “that of God in everyone”. This is a message that Jesus’ ministry expressed, and that Friends hold dear. It is a message that gives comfort and sustenance to peacemakers in countries where overt violent conflict has nearly overwhelmed their societies, and where widespread hopelessness might be expected.

I think Friends who live in less difficult situations may be paradoxically more prone to hopelessness about the nature of conflict and violence in the world. In the US we find little hope in not only our government and the economic systems in which we live, but also in the media, our homes and communities and in our own thoughts. At times it seems insurmountable. We can learn from the sometimes desperate hopefulness of peacemakers in Colombia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and other places. They gladly grasp at anything that can give them the opportunity to find a way out of the violence with which they struggle.

This Fall FPT enters its tenth year of work. We have several invitations to work which we have to defer because of a lack of funds, and to some degree, a lack of trained personnel. At some point soon, I hope, I can step away from the duties of Administrative Co-Clerk, but since I am working as a volunteer, funds to allow that will also have to be raised. In a few weeks, we will send out our once-each-year fundraising appeal. Please remember these facts when you receive it and respond as you are led. It is also very helpful to encourage your Monthly and Yearly Meetings to include FPT in their annual gifts to Quaker groups, so please ask the appropriate committee to include FPT in the budget.

On Oct. 10-12 FPT’s Coordinating Committee will meet in Nashville TN. On Friday night (Oct. 11) we plan to have a potluck dinner and public presentation about our work, including reports from Africa and Colombia. Please join us for this event or for our working meetings on Friday and Saturday. If you plan to sit in on our meetings, please let me know at valliveoak@juno.com. For details about the potluck and presentation, please contact Kathleen Hardie, 615-352-7890 (Home).

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