2003 Gathering Message

Epistle from Original Pendle Hill Gathering

Pendle Hill

Wallingford, PA, USA

Third First Day, Sixth Month, 2003

To Friends Everywhere,

We greet you as 29 individuals, belonging to 19 monthly and 11 yearly meetings. Many among us are or have been actively involved with organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Friends Association for Higher Education, Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, Quaker Eco-Witness, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Friends General Conference and Friends World Committee for Consultation.

We have gathered at Pendle Hill to explore a concern we all share about economic policies as they relate to issues of peace, justice, equality and restoring the earth’s ecological integrity. We believe the human-earth relationship in all its aspects is inseparable from our relationship with the Divine. We are convinced that the current economic system should be of urgent concern to the Religious Society of Friends. It is intensifying economic and social inequities throughout the world, causing structural and physical violence, driving many species to extinction and leading our own species toward ecological self-destruction.

Through our worshipful deliberations, we have come to unity in urging all Friends, especially those in the United States and Canada, to make individual and corporate commitments to learning more about certain fundamental aspects of current economic policies and institutions as they relate to Friends’ historic testimonies. Specifically, we encourage Friends to ask themselves the following:

In light of Friends Testimonies, what is God calling us to do about the continuing and increasing marginalization of so much of the world’s population, the extinction of species and other environmental degradation? How do we integrate our human community within the natural world so as to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of future generations? What changes in the institutions of economy and governance are needed to promote effective stewardship of natural environment and caring for people and communities? What is it in nature and human knowledge that we have the right to own? How best can we promote the values expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter? How can we promote understanding and awareness of the consequences of increasing global interconnectedness and the urgency of addressing the dangers and opportunities that these present?

As we earn, spend and invest money, as individuals and as meeting communities, how can we live in the “virtue of that life and power” that leads us to treat all humans and the Earth as a manifestation of the Divine? Are we aware of the true cost of our consumption? Do we take into account our concerns for social justice as we earn, spend and invest money?

What information, tools and skills do we need to equip ourselves to work effectively for public policies that restore Earth’s resilience and increase social equity and strengthen community?

We have agreed to pursue a number of tasks designed to create and draw together existing material on economics and ecology as resources for our meetings and wider communities.

Quaker Eco-Witness, a project of Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, and the Environmental Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has collaborated in bringing us to Pendle Hill. They will also collaborate with us in preparing a collection of short articles, questions to help clarify Friends’ understanding and queries to encourage Friends’ individual and corporate discernment about the concerns we raise. We hope you will want to make use of these materials when they become available in the late fall or early winter.

How can we engage with others in ways that help us discern God’s will for us, at this critical stage in Earth’s history, as we labor with these concerns?

In the Light,


Guide to acronyms: MM = Monthly Meeting; YM = Yearly Meeting
Organizational identification as of June 2003

Will Alexander
California PolyTech State University (retired)
Kerala Friends House
Redwood Forest MM, Pacific YM

Peter Brown
McGill University, School of Environment
Montreal MM, Canadian YM

Angela Berryman
American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia
Coordinator Economic Justice Network

Kim Carlyle
Quaker EarthCare Witness
Swannanoa MM, Southern Appalachian YM

David Ciscel
University of Memphis
Memphis MM, Southern Appalachian YM

Al Connor
University of Michigan (retired)
Ann Arbor MM, Lake Erie YM

Gray Cox
College of the Atlantic
Acadia MM, New England YM

David Damm-Luhr
Quaker EarthCare Witness
Cambridge MM, New England YM

Steve Davison
Yardley MM, Philadelphia YM,

Ed Dreby
Environmental Working Group Philadelphia YM
Mt. Holly MM, Philadelphia YM

Phil Emmi
University of Utah
Salt Lake City MM, Intermountain YM

Elaine Emmi
Friends World Committee for Consultation
Salt Lake City MM, Intermountain YM

Rachael Findley
Strawberry Creek MM, Pacific YM

Walter Haines [list Mary Lou Peck separately]
New York University (retired)
Rockport MM, New York YM

Tom Head*
George Fox University
Multnomah MM, North Pacific YM

Maureen Heffern-Ponicki
American Friends Service Committee, Buffalo

Keith Helmuth
Penn Book Center, Philadelphia
Environmental Working Group Philadelphia YM
Central Philadelphia MM, Philadelphia YM

Ellen Helmuth
Friends General Conference
Central Philadelphia MM, Philadelphia YM

Marya Hillessend
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Leonard Joy
United Nations Economic Consultant
Strawberry Creek MM, Pacific YM

Christine Lewandoski
Yardley MM, Philadelphia YM,

Margaret Mansfield
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Moorestown Friends School
Mt. Holly MM, Philadelphia YM

Stephen McNeil
American Friends Service Committee, San Francisco
Strawberry Creek MM, Pacific YM

Anne Mitchell
Canadian Friends Service Committee
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy
Toronto MM, Canadian YM

Susan Nelson
Management Consultant
Cleveland MM, Lake Erie YM

Mary Lou Peck
Bennington MM, New England YM

David Ross
Bryn Mawr College
Friends Association for Higher Education
Nottingham MM, Baltimore YM

Ned Stowe
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Sandy Spring MM, Baltimore YM

Sarah Waring
University of Maryland (graduate student)
Barton-Glover MM, New England YM

Marci Wenzler
American Friends Service Committee
Indiana Legal Services
Bloomington MM, Ohio Valley YM

Add to list

Gilbert White*
University of Colorado (retired)
Boulder MM, Intermountain YM

* member of planning group, unable to attend