Welcome to our web site, wherein you will find a selection of statements
on the concept of "Unity with Nature" and our efforts to re-order
our lives toward a more harmonious and Spirit-filled relationship to Creation.
One purpose for posting this literature is to enable us to read, comment
and add to what has been written on the subject, so that we can come to
unity on this "emerging testimony." This is the category under
which "Unity with Nature" is found in the latest revision of the
book of Faith and Practice of Pacific Yearly Meeting. Will it have
fully "emerged" by the time of the next revision 10 or 15 years
"What do Quakers mean by a 'testimony'?" you may well ask.
A testimony, most Quakers will agree, is one of the essential principles
by which we guide the living of our lives. Each Yearly Meeting examines
itself every few decades and decides anew what these principles are ...
but by and large, they are the same ones Quakers have tried to live by for
350 or so years:
From these principles we derive "Advices" - time-tested suggestions
for our conduct as individuals and as worshipful communities, and "Queries"
- questions to ask ourselves (again, many are the same that Quakers asked
in the 1600s: "Do we live in the virtue of that life and power which
takes away the occasion for all war?"). Queries are not the same as
a catechism; there are no "right" answers. The goal is to remember
to ask yourself the question, and the asking will lead you in the direction
of the answer.
Given the short list of testimonies, the addition of a new one is not
undertaken lightly. Is "Unity with Nature" truly (or at least
ideally) a principle we believe in with the intensity that we hold the peace
testimony? Would we lay down our lives for it? Or is it a variant on the
testimony of simplicity, in conjunction with advices on stewardship, and
therefore not so new as we think? The 1985 Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith
and Practice queries on stewardship include: "How do we cherish
and protect the natural world, of which all people are a living part?"
Is this what we mean by being in "Unity with Nature?"
To help us reach unity on the subject of Unity with Nature, we offer
writings by Quakers past and present, from within Pacific Yearly Meeting
and elsewhere. The first group comprises material written or compiled by
PYM-CUN itself, the second and third statements and quotations by individuals,
and the fourth letters and minutes from meetings and other Quaker bodies
(including Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, FCUN, which spans the
North American continent). The latter, being collective works, will have
been seasoned and revised until they convey the "sense of the Meeting"
of the publishing organization.
Another purpose is to inform each other about ideas and actions that
come about because of our sense that unity only within the human species
(assuming that is attainable) is still insufficient. There are two new sections to this web site: one on current
and prospective service projects undertaken by Young Friends (college age
or recent graduates) with the sponsorship of PYM-CUN, and another on assessment
of sustainability of Quaker meetings and their members. You may be able
to help these new initiatives.
After the directory is a text window in which you may suggest other writings
to be posted or write comments on any of the postings. Or copy them (see
the notice at the bottom of this page) and make changes before e-mailing
them back to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below the text window are suggested readings and links to other web sites
for more information about the beliefs and habits of the peculiar people
known as Quakers.
-Eric E. Sabelman, Clerk of Pacific Yearly Meeting Committee
on Unity with Nature
Actions originating within PYM-CUN
Service projects and internships for
Young Friends. . . . NEW
Sustainability assessments for Monthly
Meetings and individuals . . . . NEW
Notes from PYM-CUN committee meetings
. . . . NEW
Reports on PYM-CUN electronic communications
& publications. . . . NEW
Literature from PYM-CUN
A report from 2000 Yearly Meeting, including
a vision statement about PYM-CUN and its purpose.
"Beyond Stewardship," a 1999
collection describing PYM-CUN's work in nature education and experience,
our association with EarthLight Magazine, advices and queries (including
some from a Minute approved by Netherlands Yearly Meeting in 1998):, some
individual PYM Friends' testimonies, and excerpts from a Philadelphia Yearly
Meeting Environmental Working Group letter to FNCL and New England Yearly
Meeting Friends in Unity with Nature's letter to Monthly Meetings.
"If we believe that there is that of God
in all living things ..." known as the "next step" letter,
the 2nd of two letters to PYM Monthly Meetings (2000), preceeded by the
"Light within" letter (1997).
Testimony on the Sacredness of Creation
- a draft testimony and advices composed in 1993.
The PYM-CUN founding minute, from
1985 Yearly Meeting following an address by Marshall Massey.
Quaker visions of Creation Restored
- a selection from Quaker writers from George Fox to the present.
God immanent in all things - two Friends
write on the continuity of life and the soul's inward journey.
Notes by Marshall Massey on the origin of
PYM-CUN and religious antecedents of our concern for Creation.
Expanded Quaker worship - an idea
and practice for inviting non-human creatures into the circle.
How not to serve Earth and Spirit
- an advice to avoid excess in the pursuit of environmental justice.
Personal testimonies - what we as individuals
believe and act upon .
An e-mail conversation among 4 Friends
about what a testimony is and should be
Poems and almost-poems, on knowing trees and
A story that will seem familiar
Selections from Harvey House's New Bible
(Harvey was a practical visionary in Orange Grove Meeting)
Short statements by individuals in group settings, often "Quaker dialog"
Quotations from 1997 Yearly Meeting
plenary presentation (including the words of non-Quaker Albert Einstein)
Young Friends voices at a 1998 Junior
Yearly Meeting interest group.
Humboldt Meeting's "Quaker dialog",
responding to the "Light within" letter
Santa Barbara Meeting's "Seekers' group",
responding to the "Light within" letter
San Diego & Los Osos "Quaker
dialogs", responding to the "Light within" letter
Inland Valley Meeting's "Quaker
dialog", responding to the "Light within" letter
New Zealand Yearly Meeting's minuted
Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting's letter
on Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) policy (2000).
Minute on the Care of God's Creation approved
by Friends United Meeting Triennial (1999).
Sustainable development as a Quaker
Testimony? A Challenge to Friends. (FWCC 19th Triennial Meeting, 1998)
Ecological Sustainability as a Witness
- Friends Committee on Unity with Nature (1998).
University Monthly Meeting's Minute
on Relationship with Creation (1997).
Grass Valley Monthly Meeting's minutes,
on on the "Light within" and stewardship (1998).
Use this window for your comments:
Individual authors, other than anonymous, have given permission for their
material to be posted. Minutes and letters are presumed to have been addressed
"to Friends everywhere." Permission is granted for reproduction
for noncommerical purposes, with the request that the source be attributed
and a copy be forwarded to email@example.com.
Please notify the same address of errors in content or problems with the
-Eric E. Sabelman