OutreachService and Social Action
Once, a visitor to a Quaker meeting stood up after five minutes of silence and asked, “When does the service begin?” An old Friend rose after a brief reflection and said, “Service begins when the worship ends.”
Friends’ faith has led them to take an active role in social issues and service throughout the history of the Religious Society of Friends. Historically, Quakers have passed down testimonies that embody much of what guides our practice. Quakers hold testimonies regarding integrity, simplicity, equality, peace, community, and stewardship. Because our experience changes as times change, the testimonies have evolved in response to changing contexts, new needs, and new perceptions of the world.
Boulder Friends, as a continuation of their worship, take an active role in social issues and service, both as individuals and as representatives of the Meeting. Some of Boulder Meeting’s current projects are described below, with links to additional information.
Assistance for the homeless in Boulder County: The Service Committee organizes meal preparation once a month at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, provides supplies and maintenance at the Echo House apartments for homeless families, and provides financial help to Bridge House. Individual Friends volunteer at Emergency Family Assistance.
Assistance to groups in need, here and abroad: Recent Meeting work includes aiding Sudanese refugees in Boulder, assisting rural communities at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and providing financial assistance for projects in a community in Togo, Africa.
Service and spirituality: Friend Bob Atchley explores the spirituality of service in “Mapping the Service Landscape” (PDF).
The Peace and Social Justice Committee currently focuses on action projects in these areas: Healthcare; peace building/war prevention; environmental justice & stewardship; immigrant rights/sanctuary; and racial justice.
The Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee seeks to increase our understanding and appreciation of Indigenous Peoples, to learn from them and their cultures, and to support them in exercising their rights and achieving their goals.
The IPC committee originally sponsored the project Toward Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, developed by Paula Palmer. The project offers workshops for adults and for students in middle school, high school, and college, examining the roots of injustice and the ways it is perpetuated in our communities, and considering steps we can take to build right relationship among all peoples. The TRR project is now a part of Friends Peace Teams.
Spiritual Activism Resources bibliography: A reading list on Spiritual Activism, Earth Care Witness & Creation Justice/Stewarship (PDF), compiled by Rich Andrews.
Minutes on Social Concerns
In our Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business, we occasionally make public statements on issues of social concern, called Minutes. Recently approved minutes on social issues are listed below.
Minute Condemning Organized Racism (August 13, 2017): For full text click Eradicate Racism.
Minute in Solidarity With the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Other Indigenous Peoples in Protecting the Earth (October 9, 2016): For full text click Standing Rock.
Minute in Solidarity With Black Lives (January 10, 2016): For full text click Black Lives Matter.
Minute on Confronting Racial Bias, in Solidarity with Charleston (July 12, 2015): For full text click Minute on Confronting Racial Bias.
Minute on Syria (Sept. 8, 2013): As Quakers, we oppose any military action throughout the world and, at this time, we wish to emphasize our opposition to U.S. military action in Syria. Military action by the U.S. and other foreign countries will not stop the killing in Syria or bring those responsible for the use of chemical weapons to justice. Only international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court are likely to be effective in establishing a negotiated peace agreement in Syria. Diplomatic engagement with all regional stakeholders is what is called for right now. We encourage the U.S. and other nations to commit their resources to relieve the suffering of the millions of refugees who have found it necessary to flee their homes in Syria.
Minute to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and to Affirm the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Mar. 10, 2013): For full text click IPC-Minute-March-10-2013.
Minute on Social and Political Activism Concerns Within the Meeting, adopted by Boulder Meeting on Sept. 9, 2001.
Disobedient Friends: A brief historical review of Quaker actions of civil disobedience, presented by Paul Wehr on Jan. 17, 2010.