Tempe Friends Meeting
of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program) recently celebrated the First Anniversary of helping the people living on the street.
I-HELP offers safe housing, meals, and connections to community services to homeless people in Tempe. The program is administered by Tempe Community Action Agency (a private, non-profit, charity). There are now seventeen Tempe Faith communities involved with I-HELP. Some of the congregations host the program in their buildings, some supply the meals, some do both.
Tempe Quakers provide evening meals the first Friday of each month at University Presbyterian Church, 139 E. Alameda Drive, Tempe. We generally start preparing food about 5 PM.
We've been so busy putting the program together this first year that we have done too little to invite others to join this Tempe-based compassionate response to homelessness in our community. Consider this your invitation. We would like to make you a part of the I-HELP family. If you have an interest in our efforts we invite you to "come and see." Steven Sparks is Director of Operations and can be reached at 480-350-5893, or Ruth Kearns, Tempe Quakers at 480-831-3351 or firstname.lastname@example.org (remove the nospam from the address).
Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) is a voluntary visitation program to Federal and Military prisoners throughout the United States. It has been functioning with volunteers for 34 years. The primary focus is on those prisoners who:
PVS offers friendship and a listening ear to help prisoners prepare to assume a useful place in society.
Four members of Tempe Friends Meeting visit prisoners at the Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution north of Phoenix (just south of Anthem) once a month. Other Friends in Tucson visit federal prisons near them. We are planning to have a presentation about this at Tempe Friends Meeting in the Fall.
For additional information, see the website http://www.prisonervisitation.org or speak to Carl Wallen at the Meetinghouse.
The following Minute was approved by a Meeting for Business
held in May 2010.
Intermountain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) remains deeply concerned about the escalating U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We remind our nation that the seeds of war are not only in others, but also within ourselves. Evil does exist. But we cannot define evil as only that which is done by others, excluding all that is done by us. There is no security except in the creation of bonds of faith, trust, fair-dealing, and mutual respect established through diplomacy and understanding of the views and grievances of others.
Our Quaker Peace Testimony is based on the fundamental conviction that war and violence are wrong in the sight of God, and that every person is worthy of respect:
“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fighting’s with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.... Therefore we cannot learn war any more.” (1651)
War and violence are self perpetuating. Creative and courageous non-violence, however, can overcome hatred and violence and bring about justice and peace. As William Penn once remarked, “force may subdue, but love gains.” (1693) We are anguished by the deaths, injuries and trauma of so many. The US participation in military actions in other nations has become a focus of hate and violence, and its continued military presence will only exacerbate hatred, fear, civil war, internal turmoil and the continued fueling of recruitment of terrorists. We must imagine more compassionately and empathetically how our actions are taken by others, and the difference between our intentions and consequences.
We believe that we are called to live in that spirit of love and power that takes away the occasion for all war. It is in this Spirit that we join with others calling for the termination of military action by the US in its current wars and our government opting for diplomacy over violence in all international disagreements. We urgently call upon our President, the Congress, the government of the US, and the Several states to enact a resolution to this effect. We continue to accept our obligations for compassionate, peaceful assistance to the people of these countries, as through the building of bridges, schools, hospitals, water systems, and similar civil infrastructure.
To create peace and justice and to insure domestic tranquility, we must act from a peaceful, compassionate center. As George Fox stated, “I saw the infinite love of God. I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.”(1694) Our faith echoes that of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said “The moral arc of the Universe bends at the elbow of justice.”