Acting in Faith

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By Madeline Schaefer
Published: June 4, 2014

In February of this year (2014), torrential rainfall in the East African country of Burundi led to devastating floods and the death of over 60 people, destroying properties and leaving 12,000 people homeless.  The Burundi government came to the aid of the victims by calling together various relief organizations to provide support, including the American Friends Service Committee, Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) and other Quaker organizations in Burundi.  Together, these organizations developed an Action Plan to respond to the needs of the thousands of homeless and...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: May 22, 2014

“How good it is, how pleasant for God’s people to live in unity.” – Psalm 133:1

The first time I experienced a gathered meeting was at Mid-Year Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative. We were in an old meeting house up on a hill that overlooked the prairie.  It was a windy day. As we sat in meeting for worship, the wind whipped around us.  The silence was deep and rich. As the wind swirled, stirring up dust and bringing a breeze into the meeting house, I could sense the Spirit also moving in the room. I felt as though we were one body, coming together.

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By Madeline Schaefer
Published: May 8, 2014

A few weeks ago I sat down with Linda Lewis, AFSC’s country representative for China and North Korea, during her visit to the Philadelphia office.  She spent much of her time on the East Coast speaking with AFSC donors and Quakers in the area about her work with farmers in North Korea. Linda’s passion for this work comes through in her presentations and her stories.  She may not discuss religion or spirituality with AFSC’s Korean partners in the region, but it was clear to me that the work was firmly rooted in the belief in a common humanity and dignity. -Madeline

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By Lucy Duncan
Published: May 7, 2014

I talked recently with Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Sombath Somphone, a Laotian man and close associate of AFSC who ran civil society programs in Laos until he disappeared in December, 2012.  Despite having close circuit television (CCTV) footage documenting his abduction, the Laotian government has denied any knowledge of Sombath Somphone’s whereabouts.  Shui Meng came to the United States recently to request the assistance of AFSC, Amnesty International, Quakers and others to take action to support the return of Sombath Somphone.  You can find many ways to support Sombath...

By Lucy Duncan
Published: May 2, 2014

I started taking yoga again a few months ago in a well lit, open studio in west Philadelphia. The teacher started the class by saying that yoga isn’t a religion; it is a spiritual practice open to all. When she introduced each standing pose, she talked about how important alignment is: that taking time to pay attention and settle into the pose with attention makes all the difference in how you practice yoga and in the benefits you receive from it. 

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