What are Quakers doing?
Quakers in Scotland and the rest of the UK have already started to prepare for what is going to be a hugely important international gathering in November. At the moment we are expecting it to be an ‘in person’ gathering, perhaps on a smaller scale than before and blended with a virtual gathering. In whatever form, it is an opportunity for Quakers to make ourselves known to a wider audience.
West Scotland Area Meeting as the ‘host’ Area Meeting for Glasgow is coordinating the activities of Quakers in Scotland and has formed a ‘Hub Group’ of local Quakers, as well as representatives from Friends House, FWCC and QUNO, while staff at Friends House are coordinating Quaker activities on a UK and international scale. In Scotland we are members of a coalition of over 60 faith and non-faith groups who are preparing for COP and Quakers in Britain are members of a corresponding UK Coalition.
Quakers in Scotland decided that we would focus on four areas where we felt we could make a unique contribution.
1. Providing Glasgow Meeting House as a resource for Quakers and other groups. We are planning to offer the Meeting House as a space for silent worship, meditation and reflection, which we feel would be a unique Quakerly contribution. We also intend to have a number of Quaker led events, including meetings with appropriate speakers and discussions and exhibitions and we would welcome suggestions from Friends overseas for such events. We will also be open to events organised by outside groups, especially those who would otherwise find it difficult to get their voice heard. We are planning to upgrade our audio-visual facilities in the Meeting House and look forward to hosting online events with Quakers and others from around the world to update them on the progress of the talks.
2. Providing accommodation for visiting Friends and others. We are encouraging Quakers in Scotland who can offer accommodation to do so via the Human Hotel platform www.humanhotel.com/cop26/. This platform accept offers to host as well as requests for accommodation from visitors. Quakers in Glasgow have also a limited bed and breakfast scheme for visiting Quakers with donations going to our Local Meeting - contact Mary Alice Mansell at mamansell54 [at] gmail.com for more information.
3. Support for delegates from the Global South. We want to support delegates from the Global South who don’t have adequate resources for visa applications and travel and whose voices need to be heard. The COP26 Coalition is building a support service to assist people applying for visas. They haven't yet set up the service, but are now accepting submissions of interest here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPtxeSxIPVPF1NAIFZlJ5TYyHaRmjV.... The Coalition is also launching a crowd sourcing fund to pay for a lawyer to help delegates through the visa system, which can be burdensome and discriminatory. (please go to their website to find out more COP26 - COP26 Coalition). We hope to identify suitable young Quaker climate activists overseas.
4. Disseminating information about COP26 to Quakers in Scotland. We are working to encourage Friends in Scotland to engage directly with the COP by disseminating information about events and opportunities. For further information about Quaker activities or ways you can help contact cop26 [at] quakerscotland.org.