SUMMER, 2001: Volume 6, Issue 2
From the Editor by Val Liveoak
While most of the articles in this issue center on work in Africa, the article about Jorge Arauz’ realization of his leading to minister to an official of the International Monetary Fund shows how individual Leadings can be enriched and supported by a team of F/friends. Jorge has been involved in a number of prophetic activities in Philadelphia — establishing the Casa Amistad in North Phiiladelphia, which functions as a Center of Peacemaking in an urban community, and, since the beginning of the war in Kosovo, weekly prayer vigils in front of the Liberty Bell. I know he has labored with and been supported by Friends in these efforts.
Adding the dimension of corporate discernment to season and support individual Leadings of the Spirit is one of the most valuable contributions that Quakers can bring to the peace team movement. A Clearness, Care/Support or Oversight Committee may not have been considered a part of a “team” for a peace project, but I think that it is, and I consider this team’s work as important as the work the project itself carries out.
Understanding how supporters become a team — even when they are not the pilgrim/volunteer — is very important to FPT. Developing a more intentional approach to teambuilding and teamwork is one of the most significant things FPT can offer to the peace team movement. My understanding of team process has been shaped not only by Quaker practice and process, but also by the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP).
AVP has become a way that people — some of them very unlikely people — including prisoners, victims of violence and members of security forces, can empower themselves to practice nonviolence, or what AVP calls ‘Transforming Power.’ This active expression of the Peace Testimony is not unique to Friends alone, but can be learned and practiced by anyone, and the techniques to communicate it have overcome cultural barriers and national borders.
I hope more Friends Churches and Meetings respond to FPT’s call for Every Friends Church and Meeting [to become] a Center of Peacemaking. Active participation in an AVP program can be a very important step in that process.
Africans have demonstrated how hungry they are for AVP’s message. They and others around the world have invited FPT to help bring the Quaker Peace Testimony to their strife-torn countries. It has taken FPT over 5 years to be able to respond to the requests of Burundians and Rwandans.
Developing projects in other regions requires a great deal of unseen and unsung work on relationships and organizational infrastructure. This work is currently being done by a few dedicated volunteers who are to some extent supported by their Monthly and Yearly Meetings. Sometimes the support is not enough nor does it meet the needs of F/friends abroad. Quakers can begin equipping themselves to do the work by participation in AVP at home.
The situation with our work for peacebuilding in Colombia comes to mind. Over a year ago we made a commitment to develop work there. We need more people and support to move forward. I have learned that God’s Spirit opens the way, and that the resources of energy, money and committed individuals become available when the time is ripe.
If you would like to be a more active part of our work, as an individual or as a Meeting representative, please let us know. Financial contributions and contributions of airline miles or other in-kind services are also appreciated. Also please let us know of local peace team work that we can report. These reports are important to all of us as models for potential work in our own communities and Meetings. FPT will have displays and interest groups or workshops at Friends General Conference Gathering and a number of Yearly Meetings this summer. Please take advantage of these opportunities to find out more about our work. Information is also available at our website: www.quaker.org/fpt/