Quakers based the American Mates Service Committee (AFSC) in 1917 throughout World Conflict I to offer younger conscientious objectors methods to serve with out becoming a member of the army or taking lives. AFSC members drove ambulances, ministered to the wounded, and stayed on in Europe after the armistice to rebuild war-ravaged communities.
Following that modest starting, the group drew on persevering with religious insights and labored with individuals of many backgrounds, nurturing the seeds of change and respect for all times that remodel social relations and methods. Based on their web site, AFSC has responded in quite a few methods to human struggling, resembling:
- After World Conflict I, feeding 1000’s of youngsters in Germany and Austria
- Serving to distressed Appalachian mining communities discover different means to make a residing within the Nineteen Thirties
- After World Conflict II, sending assist groups to India, China, and Japan
- Giving assist to civilians on either side of the Vietnam Conflict and offering draft counseling to 1000’s of younger males
- Sponsoring conferences for younger diplomats in rising African democracies
- Establishing financial growth applications in Asia, Africa, and Latin America from the Nineteen Seventies to the current
- Offering intensive help to the fashionable U.S. civil rights motion and public-school desegregation
- Working with Native Individuals, immigrants, migrant employees, prisoners, low-income households, and different communities on training and justice points
- Constructing peaceable communities all around the world.
In 1947, together with British Quakers, AFSC obtained the Nobel Peace Prize, which acknowledged their work “from the anonymous to the anonymous.”
To Identify This Day …
In her guide A Stone Bridge North, Kate Maloy writes a couple of predecessor of the AFSC, John Woolman, who labored to finish slavery regardless that he by no means noticed the fruits of his labor:
“I feel usually about John Woolman, the colonial Quaker who spent most of his life talking out towards slavery when slavery was a cornerstone of his new nation’s economic system. He by no means noticed the cracks he made within the cornerstone, and he died a century earlier than slavery was ever outlawed, however he by no means give up. He noticed a grievous fallacious and he pointed it out time and again and once more as a result of it was fallacious.
“Woolman speaks to me throughout the centuries since his loss of life. He’s in my coronary heart and soul, and he impacts the best way I dwell my life. His story is now as outdated as many witness timber within the close by woods, and it’s nonetheless sturdy, not as a result of he reached a selected objective however as a result of he labored on behalf of the sunshine in each particular person and trusted that mild to prevail.
“Not considered one of us will dwell lengthy sufficient to see a fraction of the distinction we make, however it’s important that we pursue our beliefs anyway. Most of the first Quakers by no means noticed freedom of faith come to England. A lot of the authentic suffragists by no means bought to vote. The murdered civil rights leaders didn’t get to see racial tensions ease. Only some idealists dwell lengthy sufficient to see their goals made actual, and but their affect lives after them, and their goals do, generally come true for others. Idealism at its finest just isn’t naïve however intentionally and knowingly harmless, regardless of the chances and proof towards it, regardless of the pressures of cynicism and expedience. It’s ceaselessly having to resume its innocence. Woolman knew this and struggled with it day by day of his life, but he drew the deepest form of pleasure from his effort, the form of pleasure that asserts the presence of God.”
Who’s your mentor for perseverance and idealism? Write a tribute to that particular person in your journal. While you look to somebody who conjures up you, you underscore the qualities you wish to emulate and start the method of integrating these qualities into your individual life.