Engaging your community is critical; Preparing for a “Storm” before it comes
“The change we are facing is as deep as it gets.” Larry Ward,Response to Insurrection
“Ours to Do?” Quakers, Wars, Ecosystem Collapse and Other Emerging Disasters is a plan for implementing our 7 techniques for Prevention and Restoration. Having a plan may help you face any disaster. Be prepared. Friendship is the key.
7 techniques for Prevention and Restoration. serves as a ‘How-to’ for Friends’ Meetings to use their Quaker testimonies as a foundation for preparing for human, cultural, and ecological restoration following social upheaval or disaster. It is loosely based on Friends Disaster Service.
Taking spirit based approach to disaster prevention may provide diverse answers: Not only can a preparative use of testimony conceive Spirit; it creates thoughtful frameworks to organize community. This Friendly, values-based approach to community organizing emphasizes Quaker testimony SPICES – simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship – as an ethical framework for human restoration; broadening community outreach activities and growing outward engagement and organizing. It is not a model; but a framework for you to build.
Take examples as seeds of the heart in consideration of these techniques from Friends Disaster Service (FDS). FDS is an outreach arm of Evangelical Friends (or Friends’ Churches) begun in the USA. Yet, volunteers come from all branches of Friends and from across the country.
FDS is “affecting our community and the world: one person, one family, one project at a time.” This service works as a network of volunteers that provides relief in the aftermath of natural disasters. Taking a lead from Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me,” FDS describes as its mission “to exemplify God’s love and bring hope and encouragement to survivors of disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires.” Volunteer spirit lends itself to community building. This in turn replenishes the volunteer base reorganizing for the future.
By implementing a restoration plan before upheaval or disaster your F/friends community prepares for human, cultural, and ecological restoration now. Friends and pals are the ‘net that works‘ to as the connective tissues between community before, during, after disaster. Be prepared.
Below 7 techniques for Prevention and Restoration is a pre and post-disaster human ecological restoration boilerplate to consider. By generating ‘Seven Ways’ to prep a community for regenerative human, cultural, ecological restoration following social upheaval or disaster; we make pals.
1. Education and Awareness: Gathering Community Testimony leads Way to Open.
Service through Acceptance: Begin with education (Meeting and Community need to grow into relationship). Build trust by educating community about how equality serves as that divine spark in which everyone has a leading to service. How do we align our principles into Service? How do social constructs determine how we demonstrate resilience, compassion, sustainability in different disasters?
Disaster Preparedness: Organize workshops and training sessions on disaster preparedness, drawing on Quaker values of peace and community. Emphasize non-violent conflict resolution and cooperation during crises: How to be at peace.
2. Community Building: Working Nets: Interfaith/Interweb Radical-hospitality Acceptance
Meetings and Gatherings: Host regular community meetings where members can build for mutual concerns. Using techniques of community welcome and acceptance to help create harmless open formats. Encourage all to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Encourage a sense of belonging and unity.
Interfaith Collaboration: Reach out to neighboring faith communities. Who is collaborating on projects that promote unity and solidarity? Why? How?
3. Sustainable Practices of Stewards: Be the Change you Seek in our World
Stewardship: Encourage sustainable practices in daily life, such as reducing waste and conserving resources. Use Stewardship to guide restoration efforts.
Community Gardens: Establish Earth care. Community gardening promotes local food production, resilience, and the importance of caring for the Earth.
4. Mutual Support: Mutual Aid practices develop Unity in Integrity by unifying supports.
Quaker Caring: Develop a support network within Meeting that embodies Quaker practices of Unity, care, and compassion. Offer assistance during times of crisis.
Resource Sharing: Assess assets. Facilitate resource-sharing initiatives. How can we develop Mutual Aid practices? For example, do we have capacity to host tool lending libraries, community fridge, and/or similar communal asset spaces? Strengthen community bonds by developing trust and accountability practices.
5. Conflict Resolution: Peace (Alternatives to Violence) AVP and beyond
Conflict Resolution Workshops: Organize workshops. Peace or conflict resolution techniques can be rooted in Quaker values of integrity and peace. Encourage open dialogues, AVP (Alternatives to Violence Workshops) and mediation.
Restorative Justice: Explore restorative justice practices as a means to resolve conflicts and promote healing within the community. Who needs to be included?
6. Preparedness Planning: Plan your “Phone Tree” system with regular check in.
Emergency Response Teams: Establish emergency contacts emphasizing testimony of community. Train members in disaster response, and relief efforts.
Communication Networks: Develop a communication plan. Create a ‘phone tree’ – especially focused on family and vulnerable populations. Consider a Quarterly test date that is a fun ‘reminder’ call: Build out something engaging (ex. Seasonal event, potluck, friendly 8’s etc). Allow learning. Report out efficient information dissemination for emergencies. Encourage members to partner with each other.
7. Advocacy and Outreach: Beyond Meeting – who will need help?
Quaker Values Advocacy: Engage advocacy efforts at local and regional levels. Promote social practices with Quaker values building sustainability. Social justice and/or peace organizing starts with being in relationship to a greater community.
Educational Programs: Host educational programs and events. Open events to broader community to raise awareness of Quaker testimonies. Consider relevance in building resilient and compassionate communities.
Monitoring and Evaluation: Human Restoration as our “Service to Equality”
Establish mechanisms to assess community contacts and effectiveness of the initiatives/programs. Regularly gather feedback from Meeting and community members. Be flexible; make adjustments as needed. Plan for holistic restoration.
As your Quaker F/friends community prepares for human, cultural, and ecological restoration, we build out and enhance our relationships to greater community in order to have frameworks built to act in unity later. Staying true to our Equality testimony as the guide to present mutual concerns leads us to build a history of reciprocity in putting values into actions: We actualize how to be prepared for adaptation; especially as we face uncertain, challenging times.