Author Archives: Laura Rediehs

About Laura Rediehs

I teach philosophy and peace studies at St. Lawrence University, and play flutes.

Part-Time Job Opportunity: Quaker College Fair Organizer

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has taken on responsibility for the Quaker College Fair and has posted this 6 month contract opportunity:

The successful candidate could work entirely or mostly remotely.

Please spread the word.

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FCNL Seeks New General Secretary

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is searching for a new Executive Director.

Here is more information: https://www.fcnl.org/about/work-fcnl/GSSearch

If you or someone you know might be interested, please spread the word!

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Quaker Institute for the Future 2021 Summer Research Seminar

We occasionally post announcements of potential interest to our members. Here is a Summer Research Seminar making use of Quaker methods of discernment and reflection:

Mark your calendars! The Quaker Institute for the Future’s 2021 Summer Research Seminar will take place by Zoom from August 16-20, 2021. Registration begins on May 1 and will close on July 15. Participants are encouraged to make a donation to QIF that is within their means.

QIF Summer Research Seminars create a venue for spirit-led research using Quaker methods of discernment and reflection. The seminars are centered around research presentations that include time for questions, clarification, and discussion, followed by a time of collaborative discernment conducted as a “meeting for worship for sharing.” Time is also reserved for theme-based discussions, worship sharing and informal interactions among participants. More information about summer research seminars are available at quakerinstitute.org.

We welcome those who wish to make a plenary presentation followed by worshipful discernment including all in attendance, as well as those who just wish to attend without making a presentation.

In 2021 for the first time, QIF is also offering $300 stipends to applicants aged 18 to 34 years old to make presentations on themes that resonate with the QIF mission of advancing a global future of inclusion, social justice, and ecological integrity through Spirit-led participatory research and discernment. Stipend applications are due July 1 and successful applicants will be notified by July 15.

Please contact Geoff Garver at gginmont (at) videotron.ca to register or for additional information about the SRS, including how to apply for a 2021 SRS stipend.

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QUNO Searching for New Director

Occasionally we post announcements of potential interest to our members. Here is a position announcement: please feel free to share with others who might be interested!

QUNO (the Quaker United Nations Office) in New York is currently searching for a new Director to follow Andrew Tomlinson after he retires this fall. We are accepting applications through July 2nd, with the posting available here: https://quno.org/new-york-director-applications

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FAHE 2021 Conference Epistle

To Friends and colleagues everywhere:

After a one-year hiatus resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, Friends Association for Higher Education held its 41st conference June 7-11, 2021 over Zoom on “Peacemaking in the Liberal Arts.” We have been invigorated by plenary sessions with George Lakey (author of How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning and Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Learners) and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge (whose leadership has included terms as Deputy Minister of Defense and of Health for South Africa), 23 workshops, worship and other opportunities for community and emboldened with better understanding of the foundations and history of the Friends Peace Testimony and renewed commitment to supporting our student activists as campaigners for the loving community we seek.

It is natural, Lakey explained, to fear and be repelled by the rising polarization around us. Polarization is an inevitable consequence of the extreme economic inequality and racial injustice of our society. Just as a forge makes metal malleable, so polarization provides the heat that drives societal transformation — for good (as with the Nordic countries in the early 20th century) or ill (Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in the same era). Since today’s polarization is inevitable, we must prepare to engage with it.

Lakey’s plenary and other sessions — by providing us with a better understanding of historical peacemaking that emerges from close study of Quaker origins in the 17th century, case studies of Friends service committees in the 19th and 20th centuries, the 1960s Civil Rights campaign, and the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa — gave us reasons for optimism.

Oppression and injustice cry out for forceful action and offend a loving God. But, the slave master’s tools cannot break the master’s chains. Successful transformation depends on vision (prophetic witness), inspired strategy and the health of the change community. It may well be that the key gift to us from early Friends is less the reality of our unmediated access to continuing revelation than the acknowledgement of the inner struggle to be faithful to the seed of God within.

Madlala-Routledge reminded us that the “search for Peace is always a collective effort. It starts with truth-telling, incorporates justice tinged with Mercy…and a lot of meeting with other fully-as-flawed human beings.” She gave us a careful accounting of the successes and continuing challenges of South Africa’s experience with Truth and Reconciliation.

We learned in this and other sessions that true dialogue requires the voice, attention to and acknowledgement of the other. Carefully tended dialogue transforms conflict, leading to reconciliation and forgiveness. There was even the suggestion that dialogue paradigms might be the key to ensuring that machine-based artificial-intelligence technologies serve humane needs rather than stunting what it means to be human.

When those administering or benefiting from oppression decline dialogue, we are called to other forms of nonviolent activism. George Lakey and others charged us as educators to support students in their growth as activists and politically engaged citizens. We learned that there is a place for many skills and roles in social movements: helpers, organizers, advocates and rebels. We learned of the ethical foundations and resulting efficacy of protest, noncooperation and nonviolent intervention in confronting injustice. We shared experiences and plans for specific programs on our campuses to promote global understanding, explore activist identities and promote Quaker leadership.

This year’s conference hosted a Campus Executives Panel with the highest participation yet of any of our conferences with six colleges represented. The discussion addressed stresses and challenges in a time of pandemic, with a valuable sharing of perspectives and experiences by all participating. We talked about the challenges of using Quaker decision-making processes on campuses where most of the community members are not from the Religious Society of Friends. Other topics included finding a balance of collaboration opened up by Zoom while people also experience Zoom fatigue; exploring the possibility of deeper relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as with Native Americans; recruiting Quaker faculty to the Quaker campuses as well as recruiting Quaker students; the challenge of maintaining integrity and continuity of tradition while dealing with marketplace forces; and perspectives on philanthropy. Because we met virtually, the campus executives were not able to share the traditional conversation with each other over a meal, but we hope that is remedied when we can meet again in-person.

In leaving our conference, we stand ready to share with Friends and our colleagues in higher education a renewed sense of what Quaker education can contribute to transformational peacemaking. For that reason, the vitality of our Quaker colleges and study centers remains a central concern of FAHE.

During FAHE’s annual meeting for business we accepted the invitation of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion to gather in person in June 2022. Come join us in the continuation of this good work.

With hope for our future work together,

Stephen Potthoff and Donn Weinholtz, Co-Clerks
Friends Association for Higher Education

Epistle committee draft adopted June 11, 2021

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FAHE Conference Concluded

This year’s FAHE Conference, “Peacemaking and the Liberal Arts,” has now concluded. Many thanks to all who participated for such a wonderful and inspiring week! We have now posted the conference Epistle.

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FAHE Conference Schedule

Have you been thinking about signing up to attend the FAHE online conference, June 7-11, 2021, but wanted more information first? Now you can see the full schedule to help you decide! Some highlights include:

  • A plenary session on Tuesday night by George Lakey on Gandhi and Early Quakers, with a follow-up workshop on Wednesday
  • A plenary session Thursday morning by Nozizwe Routledge on lessons from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Hearing Quaker college presidents and provosts talk about the challenges they have faced through the pandemic
  • A selection of presentations on Peacemaking and the Liberal Arts
  • Times to gather informally with other Quaker academics
  • Times for online Meetings for Worship, both programmed and unprogrammed

Please see the attached document for full details.

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QLHE: Pedagogy that Reconnects

Friends Association for Higher Education’s Quaker Leadings in Higher Education series presented:

Pedagogy that Reconnects:
Students and the more than human world

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
7-8:30 pm, eastern
 
To reconnect with the more than human world, we need to change our pedagogies. We need pedagogies that reconnect.  Craig, Stephen, and Sara Jolena will each share a number of specific strategies and practices so you can walk away with both expanded understanding of what this entails and a greater awareness of tools and techniques of what is possible in your own teaching.
 
Panelists:

Craig Goodworth
Installation Artist and Poet

Stephen Potthoff
Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Peace Studies
Wilmington College

Sara Jolena Wolcott
Educator and Founding Director
Sequoia Samanvaya LLC

Moderator:

David R. Ross
Research Professor
Department of Economics
Bryn Mawr College
 
Craig Goodworth is an Oregon-based artist working in installation and poetry. His practice encompasses drawing, object-making, research, teaching and farm labor. He has received fellowships in art and writing including a Fulbright to the Slovak Republic (2015). Along with exhibiting his artworks nationally and internationally, he’s engaged in various collaborations and residencies relating art to science and religion. Goodworth holds Master’s Degrees in fine art and sustainable communities. Originally from Arizona, his interests include land, place, mysticism and folk traditions.

Stephen Potthoff teaches as a professor of religion, philosophy and peace studies at Wilmington College (Ohio USA).  His academic background is in archaeology and the history of religion, and his principle research interests include indigenous religious traditions, ecospirituality, and the psychology of dream and visionary experience.  As co-editor, along with Cherice Bock, of Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability, his publications also include The Afterlife in Early Christian Carthage:  Near-Death Experience, Ancestor Cult and the Archaeology of Paradise (Routledge 2016).  A birthright Friend who grew up in New Garden Friends Meeting in Greensboro, NC, Stephen worships at the Wilmington College Campus Friends Meeting.

Sara Jolena Wolcott teaches at the independent international learning community she founded, Sequoia Samanvaya.   Her work re-membering the origin stories of climate change into the histories of colonization developed while she was a student at Union Theological Seminary.  She works with faith leaders, cultural change initiators, and others keen on the spiritual and cultural dimensions of creating a regenerative, just society.   She holds a degree in Anthropology from Haverford College, and followed her leadings around the need for cultural change as part of responding to climate change into international sustainable development for nearly a decade prior to starting her own initiative. A birthright Friend who grew up in Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting, in California, she sits on the board of Quaker Institute for the Future. She currently lives in the historic homeland of the Mohigan peoples, in the Hudson Valley.

Here is a video of this event.

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QLHE: Quaker Academics

Friends Association for Higher Education’s Quaker Leadings in Higher Education series presented:

Quaker Academics: Walking in the Light on Campus and Beyond

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cara and Sa’ed explore the intersections of their Quaker and scholarly identities.

Your voluntary contribution in support of FAHE and this lecture series is greatly appreciated.

Panelists:

Sa’ed Atshan, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology  
Visiting Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
Swarthmore College

Cara Curtis, MDiv
PhD Candidate
Graduate Division of Religion
Emory University

Managing Editor
Practical Matters Journal

Moderator:
David R. Ross
Research Professor
Department of Economics
Bryn Mawr College

Cara Curtis is a doctoral candidate in the social ethics at Emory University. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Fragmented Flourishing: Maternal Perspectives on the Good Life in an Unequal Social Landscape,” investigates maternal conceptions of “flourishing” in the context of U.S. inequality. Drawing on ethnographic research in a theological studies program for incarcerated women and in mothers’ groups at nearby affluent churches, the project argues that flourishing is “fragmented” within social inequality, but that opportunities for intervention can be found in women’s everyday lives. Cara is a lifelong Quaker who grew up in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and now lives in Atlanta.

Sa’ed Atshan is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, where he is also Coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. He earned a Joint PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies (2013) and MA in Social Anthropology (2010) from Harvard University, Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree (2008) from the Harvard Kennedy School, and BA (2006) from Swarthmore. He is the author of two books: Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020) and The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020). His forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories , is under contract with Stanford University Press.

Here is more information about this event, including a video of the session.

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QLHE: Creation Care and George Fox

Friends Association for Higher Education’s Quaker Leadings in Higher Education series presented:

Creation Care and George Fox: Linking 21st century praxis to early Friends

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
7-8:30 pm eastern US and Canada

Your voluntary contribution in support of FAHE and this lecture series is greatly appreciated.

Over the coming year, FAHE will devote a number of our QLHE events to themes emerging from the contributions to Quakers, Creation Care and Sustainability (Cherice Bock and Stephen Potthoff, eds.) — Volume 6 in the Quakers and the Disciplines monograph series. Join us for this first discussion of the links between intentional action to care for the ecosphere and the cultural revolution that emerged from the writings of seventeenth century Friends.

Presenters:
Cherice Bock
Portland Seminary at George Fox University

Robert Howell,
Aotearoa
New Zealand Religious Society of Friends

Walter Hjelt Sullivan,
Director of Quaker Affairs,
Haverford College

Moderator:
Stephen Potthoff
Associate Professor of Religion & Philosophy
Wilmington College

Here is a link to more information about this event, including a recording of it.

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