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  • Abby Brockway

Called to Act

George Lakey, is a Quaker, an activist, sociologist and an author of several books. In the 1960’s he participated in sit-in’s during the civil rights movement, he was active during Mississippi Freedom Summer. In the 70’s he helped to found Movement of a New Society. His Quaker foundation has formed his work in training and mobilizing people to question and challenge institutions that are not contributing to peace and well-being in the world. I had the honor of attending a lecture when he came to Seattle to promote his 2016 book, Toward a Living Revolution: a five-stage framework for creating radical social change. The following day, my Quaker friend gathered a small group of faith activists to meet with him at a local PCC to continue the discussion of strategies and to talk about how his faith informs his activism. Since then, I have wished that my Presbyterian community would be willing to join me in becoming “active like a Quaker”. When PCUSA’s stated clerk Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II attended a Seattle Presbytery meeting he preached about our denomination and addressed some people’s concern for the denomination becoming smaller in numbers as many denominations have been trending. He asked us to look at the Quakers. He gave examples of how small, yet mighty their denomination is. His message to us was to not be afraid of our size but instead to become bold and mighty regardless.

Todd Peterson and I have signed up for a training series called Agents of Change . It is a series that teaches the history, theory, and strategy of direct action. The training is hosted by 350 Seattle, an organization created to address the climate crisis. During the series, folks are invited to come alone, with a friend or to come as an affinity group. In the activist community, an affinity group is a covenant group of people that provides practical support, motivation and skill building to prepare for a particular direct action or a longer-term campaign for social justice. We will be the start of a faith affinity group and are in the process of inviting people of faith to would like to join us. This could be an opportunity to begin the formation of a covenant group that studies all sorts of strategies, learning how to work together to address the issues that we as a people of faith are called to respond to. This civil disobedience training would be another tool in our box. Not that we are training to risk arrest necessarily but to add another skill as our group discerns what actions to take or what campaign we would like to engage in. My hope is to continue to develop a group that learns and trains together - readying ourselves so that when the right opportunity comes along, we are prepared to respond in a thoughtful spirit-filled way.

Agents of Change: Direct Action Training Series begins August 2nd The series includes a kickoff event, three online webinars, an Action Lab where we’ll learn concrete skills through an action that we all do together.

The kickoff event is Monday, August 2nd from 6:00-7:30pm at Jefferson Park (3801 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108). Join us for food, socializing, and storytelling from people who have participated in some incredible direct actions. There’s no commitment attached to attending — you can just come hang out, eat food, and hear more about the training — we only ask that folks planning to attend RSVP here so we can get a headcount for food!

If you’re in...

  • RSVP for the August 2nd kickoff event here, AND Register for the whole training series here.

  • Let Todd or me know of your interest.

  • You can read more about the training and watch the promo video here .

*If you are not able to attend all events, sign up anyway! The online series will be recorded.


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