Friends on the move

CFSC’s Communications Coordinator Matt Legge gave a virtual presentation on the topics of violence and forgiveness to a conflict class organized by Mennonite Central Committee in Saskatchewan. He joined World Beyond War online to facilitate a month-long study of CFSC’s book Are We Done Fighting?. And he recently finished co-facilitating another installment of our popular online workshop series.

General Secretary Jennifer Preston spent a few days at beautiful Pendle Hill outside Philadelphia in meetings with the heads of Quaker organizations from other countries. This was a useful opportunity for CFSC to engage with other Friends’ work, and to deepen our relationships with sister organizations. The heads of agencies all participated on a panel for the American Friends Service Committee discussing the work Friends do across many organizations. There are so many commonalities and intersections of our work, all guided by Quaker testimonies.

From there, Jennifer travelled to New York to attend the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This was Jennifer’s 21st time participating at this annual forum!

As usual, CFSC had many actions happening, including hosting a side event for our partners the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Sami Parliaments of Norway and Finland.

The other members of CFSC’s team—staff person Jeremy Vander Hoek and associate member Rachel Singleton-Polster—arrived in New York before Jenn and worked with the Quaker United Nations Office to host an evening with Indigenous youth. The focus was on youth voices at the UN and peace. We also had our annual dinner with long-time partner Kenneth Deer. At these dinners Indigenous representatives and States have the opportunity for dialogue. The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples had a statement on the need for national action plans (PDF) to implement the UN Declaration.

The first week of May will see Jennifer heading to Maskwacis Cree territory in Alberta for our ongoing research project (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of the federal government) that we partner with University of British Columbia professor Sheryl Lightfoot on. We will have the privilege of being hosted by Samson Cree Nation Council member Laurie Buffalo and of working with Chief Willie Littlechild, a long-time friend of CFSC. Meetings will take place with members of the community to discuss the implementation of the UN Declaration in their Nation.

CFSC’s Board of Directors met in person at Friends House in Toronto for two full days of relationship building, learning, and worshipful discernment of our work. Photos are available on our Facebook page.