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News 15 April 2010

Dear Spiritual Companions,

We would like to reinstate the conference calls. We will be meeting at 7:00pm on Tuesday May 4th 2010 at 605-475-6230 code, enter code 82 822 86#. (Administrator note: please see current minutes for next time and call in number) Please let me know if Tuesday evenings or this hour does not work for you and if there is a better or worse week of the month. Otherwise we will probably keep the Tues 7pm schedule. We will ask Friends on the call how frequently you would like to have the calls, every one, two or three months.

For an update, I have attached a new newsletter.

Please read it. Please tell me how many copies you could use to raise some funds. If each of you raised $500 from speaking to family and friends and encouraging their participation, you would add $9,000 to our income this year. Please let me know how many newsletters you would like to have to share with others. Please try to get each one in the hands of someone who will actually read it and consider participating in this great work.

Please consider writing a check yourself today to Friends Peace Teams/Indonesia. Every little bit adds up and counts and make work possible!

There’s so much exciting news!!! I went to Indonesia feeling I should just “water the seeds that were sprouting” from the work of the past five years and try to arrange to make annual rather than semi-annual trips so I would have more time to write. As they were watered, however, the sprouts took off.

We are at a historical moment in Indonesia. It is hard to describe, but the volunteer work I did setting up Al-Falah School, that led to setting up the Directorate of Early Childhood Education, that led to people hearing about developmental education, has primed the pump.  In every community I went to—Christian, fundamentalist Islamic or militant independence—they all were open to the ideas of developmental play.  Having done Alternatives to Violence workshops, they trusted the direction, and the teachers recognized the description of activities from government early childhood materials, but they have no developmentally appropriate toys or storybooks to work with.

In communities deeply traumatized by war and violence, engaging adults in developmental play changes them more than anything else I have seen. Developmental play is our positive engagement—with ourselves, others and the natural world around us.  It is “disarming.”  Everyone gets involved because they hope and seek the best for the children, and it is lovely to watch them change.

We are learning that the description of early Quakers as “their yea was their yea and their nay was their nay” went beyond suggesting they were honest; it described the expertise they developed in discerning what to say yes to as well as what to say no to in order to create a spiritually-grounded, peaceful society. Trauma healing teaches us what to say nay to, developmental play teaches us what to say yea to, and conscience and nonviolence training work teach us both.  When we support the ecology of conscience, nonviolence training, trauma healing, and developmental play, along with capital access to fund cottage industry, we give people a fundamental structure for being clear about their yea and their nay.

Our “New Idea” is that people of conscience connecting communities of conscience requires an ecology of activity grounded in principle-based people-to-people relationships, particularly between those who fund war and those who live in war and former-war zones. Through the three-legged stool of statements of conscience, nonviolence training/trauma healing, and developmental play, people become clear and strong enough to pursue healthy lives and choices. As they do, they rise up to meet the challenges of seeking clean drinking water, getting capital to support cottage industry, purchasing basic needs locally, supporting basic education and health, and so forth.  Organizing the primary activities of conscience, nonviolence, healing and developmental play around people and communities rather than programs and budgets makes an ecology of development possible.

We have an opportunity to pursue support from Ashoka, which funds social entrepreneurs (for more information, go to www.ashoka.org). I would like to be released for the coming three to five years to really get this work off the ground, build clearer relationships between people of conscience in the US and Indonesia and write about what we are doing. Being an Ashoka Fellow might make this possible. There is so much we have been building over many years of work, and we really need to record and share it.

If you feel it would be appropriate to nominate me for an Ashoka fellowship, please contact Pamela Haines, who is coordinating the nomination, at 215-349-9428 or pamelahaines@verizon.net

Also, please consider writing and submitting to me a public statement of conscience (see http://consciencestudio.com/index.php?q=conscience-state) that covers these three areas:

Describe the beliefs that are the reasons for your claim as a conscientious objector to war.
Describe how and when you acquired these beliefs.
Explain what most clearly shows your beliefs are deeply held. you may wish to include a description of how your beliefs affect the way you live.

AND

A writing a public statement of friendship among people of conscience that covers these areas:

+3 Photos that represent yourself
Background: such as Name, Location, Age, Family…
Who lives in my household and how am I related to them?
How do I spend my time?
What am I called to do right now because of my faith or my conscience?
How do I build peace in my home and community?
What have I done that has made my community better?
What do I value in a friend?
What gives my life meaning or makes me feel hopeful?

Life is so wonderful when we find ways to call each other into love and truth!
I look forward to the conference call,
Nadine Hoover