About Living Witness
Living Witness aims to support the development of Quaker corporate witness to sustainable living and explore ways of taking it to the wider community in Britain and elsewhere. We hope to continue to broaden the project within and beyond Britain Yearly Meeting and deepen its work to develop an innovative, spirit-led response to some of the central challenges facing society.
In its initial phase (2002-2005) the project was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. It built up a network of 24 Quaker groups around England and Wales, participating in regular link group gatherings and experimenting with approaches in their Meetings. Since April 2005 the work has been funded by participating Meetings and the network has grown to over 60 Meetings and over 400 individual members.
We have four main areas of activity:
Supporting networks of groups and individuals. Current priorities include working with Quakers and other faith groups and working with other networks and movements, such as Transition Towns
Developing and publishing resources in print and via this website. These include practical guides to understanding and action (e.g. for carbon footprinting, ecological audits, running study groups), policy analysis, newsletters to support networks, etc.
Running courses and events. These include day and weekend workshops and longer courses such as Link Groups and a summer school. See our calendar on the events page for planned events. We also offer events tailored to your needs.
Political and policy engagement, communicating to government and to others in key positions what we have found to be possible and to have worked in supporting people to develop sustainable ways of living. We recently produced a response to the UK Government's draft climate change bill. Briefings on this and other policy issues are available on our publications page.
Nature of the work
The project involves developing and supporting a growing and vibrant network of Quaker meetings exploring their corporate witness through study groups and practical activities, and seeking to learn from the experience. The support takes the form of:
- Link Group meetings, which take place at least once a year and welcome representatives of all participating Quaker Meetings and organisations. These are the main focus for sharing experience, developing shared vision, building the Living Witness community, and for empowerment, learning and evaluation within the project.
- A newsletter, earthQuaker produced every three months, including project news and articles from Link Group members.
- Facilitated workshops around Britain with a variety of themes and approaches. These are organised by Living Witness to engage and empower Friends and others in their own communities, developing shared vision, a sense of community, and practical action.
- Practical tools including an "Your contribution to climate change - Personal Greenhouse Gas Calculator" leaflet, a booklet of actions for sustainable living, and resources for group activities in meetings. Materials are under development on the ecological footprints of Meetings, environmental audits, and approaches to setting up activities in Meetings.
- Personal support, information and advice for Link Group members and other Friends developing their personal and corporate witness to sustainable living.
- This web site - www.livingwitness.org.uk - with information about the project and downloadable documents.
Living Witness is co-ordinated and supported on a day-to-day basis by the project co-ordinator, Laurie Michaelis and one part time staff. Decisions about project direction are taken by our six trustees in consultation with the Link Group.