Programs Explore Testimony of Integrity, Tibetan Prayer Flags

The leadings of individual Quakers to promote peace and integrity are as uniquely beautiful as pieces of a quilt, said Priscilla Adams, a member of the meeting and Peace Secretary for the Haddonfield Quarter during First Day School program April 22 on the testimony of integrity.

And like a quilt, the pieces are stronger and more powerful when stitched together, Adams said.

Adams described her own leading as a war tax resister, recounting a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service that aimed to change the way the agency looked at conscientious objectors.  Although the legal battle was lost, Adams said, it called attention to war-tax resistance.

Individuals must pursue their own leadings and bear witness as they see fit, she said.

“It makes the world a better place,” she said.  “We can’t see all the ripples from what we do.”

The varied reactions to World War II by members of Haddonfield Monthly Meeting underscore the individual decisions that Quakers must make concerning their own leadings, member Jake McGlaughlin said.

The late HMM member Lyle Tatum served time in prison rather than fight during the popular war, while longtime member Howard McKinney escaped that fate by becoming a seminarian, McGlaughlin said.  The late Harold Heritage chose a different path, enlisting in the Navy as an expression of his sense of dedication to the country.

“We all have a way of acting out our testimony,” McGlaughlin said.

Participants in the program then discussed the challenges and obstacles to pursuing one’s individual leadings.

For some, “standing out” feels “unQuakerly,” Adams said, adding that Friends should never devalue their efforts or think they’re unworthy of involving others.

“The things we each do are so important,” she said. “They’re pieces of the whole.”

On April 15, David Austin led a First Day School program about  Tibetan prayer flags.

The colorful flags, part of a Buddhist tradition, are made from inexpensive fabric that degrades in the rain, sun and wind, Austin said.

As the flags break down, the prayers of those who fly them are released into the world, Austin said.

Friends made a large batch of flags that will soon hang outside the meeting house.

Submitted by Sarah Greenblatt

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