Meeting the Minimum Needs of All

Witness Coordinating Committee of New York Yearly Meeting
January 6, 2006

Dear Friends,
At business sessions for at least the past year New York Yearly Meeting has labored to bring to the Light a minute entitled Meeting the Minimum Needs of All, originally authored by Radh Achuthan of Peconic Bay Monthly Meeting. It came before us again at our fall business session last month in Albany. It was not approved.

Far from being a frustrating process, it has been a deeply moving experience as Friends grappled with the implications for us as individuals, and the potential this minute has to focus the efforts of all of Yearly Meeting. At the spring business meeting in April ’05 at Oakwood we could feel the waves of Spirit wash over us as we worked. At our most recent business meeting one Friend described it as a time of ‘Light and Joy’.

What was approved at the business session was for you and your meeting to have an opportunity of also deeply engaging with these few and simple words as you follow the Spirit to take you where Spirit would have you go. We know that the responses will be different for each person and meeting. I have captured some early responses in the illustration below.

Let me be clear, although it is important for us all to educate ourselves about the implications of our choices at to what we own, where we work, how we spend our time, if your meeting keeps this discussion on the level of rational discourse, I’m afraid you will miss the beauty of taking these words into worship, that place beyond words where we do not get caught up in a rant about ‘those people should do’, but where we are led by Spirit to the new thing, the new understanding for our own lives.

One more thing: we want to be able to quantify the decisions and new understandings Friends and meetings come to out of this process. Please send your individual and meeting responses to me as clerk of the Witness Coordinating Committee. May your work be blessed.

Anita Paul, clerk
Witness Coordinating Committee
22 Bruce St.
Scotia, NY 12302

At the Fall Business Sessions we considered the following minutes and decided that meetings and individuals should also have an opportunity to consider them as well.

The following minute was proposed by Right Sharing of the World’s Resources and approved by Witness Coordinating Committee as its 10/15/05 meeting:

New York Yearly Meeting commits itself, corporately and as individuals, to explore how we may facilitate meeting the minimum needs of all. We all have an impact. The products we choose to purchase, how we invest our money, and our lifestyles all play a role. We commit ourselves to doing research, education ourselves, and sharing the results with each other so that we may all, as we feel led, be part of the solution.

The following minute was approved by Long Island Quarterly Meeting on 10/30/05:

1) Long Island Quarterly Meeting approves the definition of meeting the minimum needs of all peoples to be: adequate drinking water, nutrition, clothing, an housing, primary health care, and five years of primary education.
2) Long Island Quarterly Meeting approves the widest communication about the critical circumstances of the global poor and of meeting their minimum needs by the year 2030.
3) Long Island Quarterly Meeting approves the efforts of Friends, working with other faith-based groups, to encourage the World Bank and the World Trade Organization to work toward meeting the minimum needs of all peoples, as defined in the first of these three minutes.

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