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May 20-23 2016: Atlantic Friends Gathering

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in Events, News

Save the dates of the May long weekend — Friends from the Atlantic provinces and beyond will meet once again for a weekend of shared company and spiritual renewal.

Where?

Atlantic Friends Gathering is an annual event linking members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from across Atlantic Canada.  We gather at Camp Geddie, a Presbyterian Church camp on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. The spacious grounds, with nature trails and a spectacular beach on the Northumberland Strait provide a natural setting for renewal of our individual and group spirit. 

What?

This year the themes include “Sharing the Spirit in Our Lives” and “Actions to Assist Healing Between First Nations and Settlers.”  The programme is not finalized yet, but previous years have included film screenings, nature walks, discussions on spiritual and social justice topics, games, storytelling, dancing, and of course Meeting for Worship. As in previous years, there are no compulsory activities — and there may be kayaks and canoes available to borrow. The healing atmosphere of being in a welcome nature retreat offers an opportunity to open ourselves up to whatever we feel lead us.

 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Attend Atlantic Friends Gathering

  1. There are activities and events for people of all ages.  “Just Being” is also an activity.
  2. You can propose your own discussion or action group, about faith, action, service, or other topics
  3. You can stay for an afternoon or the whole weekend
  4. This event is especially well-suited for those who are new to Quakers; there are lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn from experienced Friends, participate in Meeting for Worship, or just enjoy the spirit and the place. 
  5. This event is especially well-suited for those who are experienced with Quakers: co-create the programme by bringing your knowledge to a discussion, meet others who share your concerns, and maybe even be the person a newcomer is looking for.

More Info

Contact email hidden; JavaScript is required for more info or to propose a Special Interest Group.  You can also check last year’s AFG website to see example activities and registration details.  Signup for email notification (at right) to get this year’s info as soon as it’s published.

Announcements Coming Soon About…

  • Registration
  • Cost (but a sliding scale will be available)

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in News, Quakers in the Media

Our letter to the Chronicle Herald was published last week.  Full text is below, or read it on the Chronicle Herald website.

“Quakers are appalled at the bigotry and discrimination targeting Muslims in Canada. Canadians must stand against the deeply divisive and harmful political rhetoric driving growing hostility. We ask our politicians and news media to take firm stands against Islamophobia, hate, racism, division and inequity.

Like Christians and Jews, most Muslims live by creeds that honour peace, love and commitment to God and to creation. We support their right to wear clothing they feel is appropriate, including the hijab, burka or nijab. When human rights, such as the right to religious expression, are denied for any Canadians, rights are made vulnerable for all.

A truly tiny number of individuals claiming to be motivated by Islam have acted or planned to act violently in this country. Individuals acting violently have also claimed Christianity, Judaism and Sikhism to be motives. We condemn all expressions of violence, as well as its roots in exclusion, injustice and inequality. Quakers support services for all Canadians, such as adequate housing, employment opportunities and culturally safe mental and other health services. Such services foster healthy and peaceful communities.

While the state must ensure our security, we join with others in profoundly questioning Canadian actions that appear to disproportionately impact Muislims, indigenous people and people of colour. These include increasing surveillance, extrajudicial renditions, security certificates and closing the space for legitimate forms of dissent. We are deeply concerned by the flawed “Anti-Terrorism Act” Bill C-51 and changes to Canadian citizenship (increasingly restricted through Bill C-24).

Countless people of all (and no particular) faiths work for justice and peace and against the marginalization of Muslims or other Canadians. Quakers work with them to put our faith into action.

Barbara Aikman, clerk, Annapolis Valley Religious Society of Friends”

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in Events, News

Ethical Dilemmas in Synthetic Biology: a presentation by Annapolis Valley Quakers
Information and discussion open to all.

Wednesday September 4, 7-9 pm

NSCC Kingstec Campus, 236 Belcher St. Kentville Room C278
Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/2TJXg

For background info download this PDF document: www.bit.ly/SynthBioKit
Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Below is a brief extract from the document referenced above. For full details, read particularly section three of the above linked document.
The document includes extensive references and links to relevant web sites.

Synthetic Biology: What is it and what is the range of views about its role?

Synthetic biology is the use of computer-assisted, biological engineering to create new biological systems and forms of life that do not exist in nature.

In 2011, a U.S.Presidential Commission defined synthetic biology as “an emerging field of research that combines elements of biology, engineering, genetics, chemistry, and computer science… [It relies] on chemically synthesized DNA [a building block of all living cells], along with standardized and automatable processes, to create new biochemical systems or organisms with novel or enhanced characteristics.”

Proponents of synthetic biology see its potential for developing new materials (e.g., a synthetic version of spider silk), foods (providing food in quantity in developing nations), medicines (e.g., production of an anti-malarial drug), energy sources (e.g. biofuels from algae), ways to remedy pollution (eg. detecting arsenic in water sources), and new means of computing. The military-industrial sector also sees potential weapons applications.

Those who are cautious about synthetic biology direct attention to what is absent in its development. They are concerned about what artificial organisms might do unexpectedly, since they have not yet existed in nature. They are concerned about the social justice aspects of synthetic biology: will the benefits of synthetic biology be distributed equitably among poor nations as well as wealthy ones? Will patenting of life forms lead to monopolistic control of benefits? Will large amounts of public funds be spent on unproven technology?

The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology, developed by a broad coalition of organizations from around the world (including the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches) begins with:

Synthetic biology, an extreme form of genetic engineering, is developing rapidly with little oversight or regulation despite carrying vast uncertainty. To protect public health, worker safety and ecosystem resilience, it calls for risk research and development of alternatives, a robust pre-market regulatory regime, strong enforcement mechanisms, immediate action to prevent potential exposures until safety is demonstrated, ongoing monitoring for unintended consequences, immediate action to prevent potential exposures until safety is demonstrated…a ban on using synthetic biology to manipulate the human genome in any form, no commercialized or released (building blocks) without full disclosure to the public of the nature of the organism and results of safety testing, and … a  moratorium on the release and commercial use of synthetic organisms and their products to prevent direct or indirect harm to people and the environment (until government bodies, international organizations and relevant parties implement strong precautionary and comprehensive oversight mechanisms).

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in News
“Mother’s Day began in America in 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation. Written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, her proclamation called on women to use their position as mothers to influence society in fighting for an end to all wars. She called for women to stand up against the unjust violence of war through their roles as wife and mother, to protest the futility of their sons killing other mothers’ sons.”

See http://www.nationofchange.org/radical-history-mother-s-day-1336835841

Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
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in Awards, Events, News

Marilyn Manzer was nominated for the 2011 Valley Arts Award because her contribution to the cultural life of the region has been consistently strong for over 25 years.

See http://www.deeprootsmusic.ca/artsaward.php for more details.

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in News

Quakers from around the country are converging on Kings-Edgehill School for the annual national gathering of Canadian Quakers from August 5th to 13th.

(Note that Meeting for Worship will be held in Windsor at 11am on Sunday the 7th of August, in the Concert Hall at Kings-Edgehill. There will be no meeting at Hortonville on that day.)

For more information on the gathering see http://www.quaker.ca/gathering

Welcome to the new AVMM web site!

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in News

Look for updates and new features over the next week or two!

Click on the Calendar link above to see our schedule.

Quaker Spice      Quaker worshiop is based on silence. All are welcome.