On 8–15 January 2011, more than 270 Quakers from around Australia will gather in Wollongong for their Yearly Meeting. This gathering is social, spiritual, and a time for determining the priorities for the peace and social justice action to be taken in 2011 by the Religious Society of Friends, as Quakers are formally known.
The week’s program spans worship – which for Quakers is largely silent, a summer school focused on care for the Earth, and discussions of Quaker work in Australia. The Quaker group that lobbies in government on peace and legislation will report and seek inspiration for action in 2011. In 2010, Quakers strongly advocated support for refugees and Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and opposed increases in defence spending. Last year they endorsed gay marriage.
The annual Backhouse Lecture, a public talk, will be given by Rowe Morrow, a renowned permaculture expert on 10 January.
Quaker Service Australia (QSA), an aid and development agency, will share information about its current work in Cambodia, India and Uganda.
Each Yearly Meeting draws overseas visitors. In 2011, two young visitors will come from the Nepal Evangelical Friends' Church, a form of Quakerism that is very different from Australia's silent worship and tradition of non-proselytising.
Children and school-aged young Quakers will explore the theme of care for the Earth, including visiting local organisations that are protecting and enhancing the environment.
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Note to editors:
- Interviews will be available about this event and the Religious Society of Friends.
- A media release is available about the Backhouse Lecture.
- News releases will be distributed during Yearly Meeting around specific developments and a public statement will be issued about Yearly Meeting decisions.