From Hope to Menwith Hill
I was pleased to see the warm responses to Paul Hodgkin’s honest and moving article (30 June). I’ve struggled with the idea of ‘hope’ for many years, so his reflections really resonated for me.
There is just one word I would like to add to his prescription of ‘lamentation, joy and courage’, and that is persistence. As Rebecca Solnit has commented, it is all too easy for many of us to despair when our campaigns fail to change anything, or only bring about some small difference, or when things actually go backwards.
Taking part in the one-year Woodbrooke/Quaker Peace & Social Witness course, Exploring Faith and Climate Justice (EFCJ), I had the opportunity to hear many voices of indigenous people and other activists around the world, and their approach was that they never, ever give up. That made a deep impression on me. We too must never give up trying to build a better world. But we need to focus on the struggle, not on the outcome – which we may never see. Every small step takes us in the right direction; to give way to acedia (or accidie) is to abandon those courageous, joyful people around the world instead of standing and working alongside them.
By the way, the rich and useful resources from the EFCJ course will remain on the Britain Yearly Meeting website for years to come: www.quaker.org.uk/our-work/climate-economic-justice/exploring-faith-and-climate-justice. I would encourage Friends to take time to explore them.
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