“As Quakers we are impelled by our faith to make our lives an active witness for peace and justice. Our historic testimonies to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenge us to alleviate suffering and seek positive social change.” (Quaker Faith & Practice, 8.11)
The interests of Abingdon Quakers are reflected in the Meeting’s support for charities and in individual members’ involvement in groups that work for peace and a sustainable environment.
Monthly charity appeals
Each month the Meeting makes a special collection for a charity in which a member has a particular interest. The charities chosen can have a local, national or international focus, and we contribute to both Quaker and non-Quaker (other religious or secular) organisations. Charities that we have supported recently include:
- Be Free Young Carers
- Abingdon Bridge
- The Porch (Oxford)
- Home-Start Southern Oxfordshire
- Oxford Friends Action on Poverty
- Quaker Council for European Affairs
- Quaker Social Action
- Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
- Prisoners’ Education Trust
- The Thembisa Trust
- Money for Madagascar
- The Marfan Trust
Faith in action
“The peace testimony is about deeds not creeds; not a form of words but a way of living. It is … a tough demand that we should not automatically accept the categories, definitions and priorities of the world.” (Quaker Faith & Practice, 24.11)
A number of members of the Meeting are active in the Abingdon Peace Group, which campaigns to:
- End the arms trade, ban all weapons of mass destruction, and understand and address the root causes of war;
- Support non-violent ways to resolve conflicts and promote the use of international law; and
- Work for a stronger United Nations.
Quaker peace activities:
You can find out about wider Quaker work on peace and related issues in Britain on the Peace page of the Quakers in Britain website.
In Europe, the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) brings a vision of peace, justice and equality to Europe and its institutions. QCEA advocates for a new approach to security, focusing on nonviolent approaches to conflict.
The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), based in Geneva, represents Friends’ concerns for global peace and justice to the international community.
Sustainability and the environment
“The environmental crisis is at root a spiritual and religious crisis; we are called to look again at the real purpose of being on this earth, which is to till it and keep it so as to reveal the glory of God for generations to come.” (Quaker Faith & Practice, 25.02)
Members of the Meeting are also involved with Abingdon Carbon Cutters, a community action group that aims to:
- Help reduce the carbon footprint of Abingdon in response to climate change; and
- Promote a sustainable and resilient lifestyle for our town as fossil fuel stocks decline.
The group focuses on issues relating to food, waste reduction, energy, education and transport.
Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of each month. To find out more visit Abingdon Carbon Cutters’ website and their Facebook page (for up-to-date news). Alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out about wider Quaker work on sustainability and the environment in Britain on the Climate & economic justice page of the Quakers in Britain website.
In the spring of 2021 twelve members of Abingdon Quaker Meeting formed a discussion group to respond to the concerns of Britain Yearly Meeting that we need to examine racism within ourselves and within the Society of Friends as a whole, in order to help to eradicate it and address the harm that it has caused both historically and in the present day.
During our work we collected a number of materials, which we have shared on our Resources on Anti-Racism page.
Image credits (from top to bottom): CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Leo Reynolds via Flickr; media library, Oxford Quakers website; Sally Reynolds, Abingdon Meeting; media library, Oxford Quakers website; CC BY-SA 4.0 Ted Eytan at https://www.ukcdr.org.uk/race-and-inequality-in-international-development-research-a-ukcdr-perspective/