April 6, 2013
To Friends Everywhere:
Responding to an invitation from Friends Committee on National Legislation and the American Friends Service Committee, thirty-four of us gathered for “Re-imagining U.S. Foreign Policy,” a consultation based on a working paper envisioning a Quaker approach to foreign policy.
In our time together at Pendle Hill, surrounded by the signs of spring and the well-springs of spirituality in this beautiful place, we felt a renewed purpose. In two days of worship, conversation, singing, and work together, we had a sense of being invited to name something whose time has come. Still, we know that what we see here is only beginning to arise, and will need the prayerful and active support of many others who were not present in the room.
We recognize that we live in a dramatically changed and changing world, one with perils for many but also fresh possibilities. What we do now can make a significant difference. In this new context, we affirm our longstanding Peace Testimony, but realize that if it is to live and speak today it must be a call to build shared security for the human community and the commonwealth of all life. We must move beyond “War is Not the Answer” toward providing positive understandings of a new foreign policy.
This vision of shared security animated our discussions as we explored the possibilities of a world characterized by consistent respect for the worth and dignity of all people. Shared security frames an approach characterized by peaceful engagement in conflict, sustainable economies and wise stewardship of creation, global cooperation, rule of law, and restorative justice. Beyond asking, “how should the U.S. relate to the rest of the world?” we want to ask on behalf of all who live in this world, “what do we need the conditions of our common life to be?”
This gathering was one early step. As we move forward grounded in the faith and practice of Friends, we rededicate ourselves to continuing to embrace the diverse voices and gifts of our global community of Quakers, and to deepening the participation and leadership of our younger members.
God has given us good work to do. We invite Friends and others to join us.
“Re-Imagining U.S. Foreign Policy”Consultation Participants
Noah Baker Merrill
Renata Cobbs Fletcher
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