Largest international Quaker gathering since 1967
I’m currently attending the World Conference of Friends (Quakers) at Kabarak University near Naguru, Kenya. One thousand Friends have gathered on the campus. They have come from many parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and North America.
This is the largest worldwide conference of Friends since 1967! The theme is “Being Salt and Light – Friends Living the Kingdom of God in a Broken World.”
A biblical text was selected as a guide for the conference speakers: “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 / The Message / a paraphrase).
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An appeal for world peace and eco-justice
“The Kabarak Call for Peace and Ecojustice” was approved on 24 April 2012 at the Sixth World Conference Friends, held at Kabarak University near Nakuru, Kenya. It is the culmination of the FWCC World Consultation on Global Change which was held in 2010 and 2011. It is being circulated with the Conference Epistle.In past times God’s Creation restored itself. Now humanity dominates nature and we must become careful stewards of all life. Earthcare unites the traditional Quaker testimonies: peace, equality, simplicity, love, integrity, and justice. Jesus said “As you have done unto the least… you have done unto me”. We are called to work for the peaceable Kingdom of God on the whole earth, in right sharing with all peoples. However, few our numbers, we are called to be the salt that flavours and preserves, to be a light in the darkness of greed and destruction.
We have heard of the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro and glaciers of Bolivia, from which come the life-giving waters. We have heard appeals from peoples of the Arctic, Asia and Pacific. We have heard of forests cut down, seasons disrupted, wildlife dying; of land hunger in Africa; of new diseases, droughts, floods, fires, famine and desperate migrations – this climatic chaos is now worsening. There are wars and rumors of war, job loss, inequality and violence. We fear our neighbors. We waste our children’s heritage. All of these are driven by our dominant economic systems – by greed not need, by worship of the market, by Mammon and Caesar. Is this how Jesus showed us to live?
We are called to let our lights shine
• We are called to see what love can do: to aid the widow and orphan, to appeal to consciences and bind the wounds.
• We are called to teach our children right relationship, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to live in harmony with each other and all living beings in the earth, waters and sky of our Creator, who asks, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world?” (Job 38.4).
• We are called to do justice to all, to repair the damage, and to walk humbly with our God, to cooperate lovingly with all who share our hopes for the future of the earth.
• We are called to be patterns and examples, in a 21st century campaign for peace and ecojustice, just as difficult and decisive as the 19th century abolition of slavery.
Therefore, we dedicate ourselves to let the living waters flow through us — where we live, regionally, and in wider world fellowship. We dedicate ourselves to the peace that “passeth all understanding,” to the repair of the world, opening our lives and hearts to the Light to guide us in each small step.
A spirit of renewal and divine awakening
I’m spiritually blessed and encouraged to be with so many people who are committed to following Jesus in service projects to men, women and children throughout the world. Our message of peace and reconciliation in this borken world is sorely needed. Here we are singing and rejoicing about God’s love, mercy and grace. Here we are revived to continue our work.
Here’s some upbeat conference singing in Swahili by our Kenyan brothers and sisters. They will put a smile on your face and bring gladness to your heart: