FNVW's Values and Quaker Testimonies

 

Although Friends for a Nonviolent World (FNVW) was founded by Quakers, one does not need to be a Quaker to be a member of FNVW or to take part in its activities—our members come from a variety of spiritual and philosophical traditions. As an organization, however, we do draw inspiration from the Quaker tradition. What do we mean when we say that FNVW is Quaker-inspired?

Through spiritual questioning and experimentation, early Quakers came to see that there is “that of God”—a Divine Presence—in every single person. When we are open to this Divine Presence or “Inner Light,” it can show us the truth of our lives and of the world around us in such a way that we feel compelled to change. Quaker “testimonies” are practices and values that have grown naturally from these experiences. There are six fundamental Quaker testimonies: Peace, Simplicity, Integrity, Equality, Community and Stewardship. Here are some ways in which FNVW seeks to apply these testimonies to its work:

 

 PEACE

  • Increase society’s awareness of the effectiveness of nonviolent action throughout history in resolving conflicts, resisting oppression and restoring wholeness to individuals and communities
  • Offer programming to help people enhance their skills in resolving conflicts nonviolently in their own lives and in their communities
  • Recognize that all people share the Divine Light within, and that all people, no matter how cruel or violent their actions, have the potential to change
  • Take action to understand and remove both the immediate and the underlying causes of war and conflict, including systems of privilege and oppression.
  • Stand with those who, for reasons of conscience, refuse to participate in war and violence, even though the law or community norms may demand such participation

 

SIMPLICITY

  • Keep  our lives simple and uncluttered, without excessive possessions and distractions, so that we can focus on living more fully in accordance with our values
  • Be faithful as an organization to a limited number of carefully chosen commitments and responsibilities

 

INTEGRITY

  • Search for the deeper truth in all situations and issues
  • Speak truthfully and clearly with all—with the very powerful, with our allies, with our opponents and with those who feel they have little or no power
  • Take care to avoid deceptive, devious or manipulative communication, even when it may appear to yield an advantage
  • Avoid putting faith in narrow ideologies or in stereotypes of individuals or groups

 

EQUALITY

  • Recognize that all people share the Divine Light within, all are worthy of respect and consideration and all have something to contribute
  • Work to dismantle systems of privilege and oppression that deny the essential dignity and worth of all persons.
  • Work with people of many cultures, faiths, nationalities, and social classes in a way that respects the experiences and viewpoints of each and does not accord superiority to our own views
  • Recognize that encountering a variety of experiences, values and ways of living offers an immense opportunity for learning and collaboration
  • Make decisions within the organization by seeking unity, rather than majority control—all members have the right and obligation to help achieve consensus in making decisions

 

COMMUNITY

  • Recognize that no one has the full picture, the full truth, and that we must rely on our spiritual and other communities to test our leadings, ideas and inspirations
  • Nourish and care for the individuals within the various communities in which we live, as well as for those communities as a whole
  • Be an organization that seeks out and welcomes the involvement of people from many backgrounds or experiences

 

STEWARDSHIP

  • Give freely of our personal resources, neither wasting nor hoarding what we have, but using our resources for the greater good
  • Honor the gifts given to our organization by using them wisely and prudently to build a strong and effective organization
  • Speak to the reality that war and violence destroy not only human lives but also the environment and the many gifts of this Creation

 

 

Download FNVW's recent 990 tax filings (below)