Fifteen people filled the program room at the Multifaith Centre on Wednesday, April 16th, for the fourth session celebrating Halifax Monthly Meeting’s 50th Anniversary.
Speaker Michael Bradfield, Ph.D. (Economics), retired professor from Dalhousie University, spoke on “Poverty: What Can We Afford?” Bradfield is secretary of The Face of Poverty, a coalition of faith groups which includes Halifax Monthly Meeting, with the mission of abolishing poverty.
Bradfield described poverty as built into our current economy. A regressive tax system requires lower income families to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do wealthy families. And the focus on lowering taxes for the wealthy and reducing government debt results in inadequate government services.
Among solutions are: changing taxation to a progressive system – one which requires a higher tax rate for those with higher incomes, a lower rate for those with lower incomes, and no taxes for the lowest income people. This could be done by depending less on sales taxes, which burden the poor more than the rich, and property taxes which hurt the middle class, while depending more on progressive income taxes.
Raising the minimum wage would also raise many families out of poverty.
Perhaps the most effective and simplest solution would be to provide a Guaranteed Basic Income for every adult. This would allow everyone to live without having to depend on Social Service, and the Food Bank. Since it would be only a basic amount, there would be an incentive to work to gain goods beyond the minimum. As people worked, their Guaranteed Basic Iincome would not be taken away. But as they reached a higher income, they would contribute taxes, so that as they earned a higher income, taxes would return the equivalent of the Guaranteed Basic Income to the government.
Many political leaders of both the Liberal and Conservative wings have promoted the Guaranteed Basic Income, including Pat Moynihan in the U.S. and Robert Stanfield in Nova Scotia.
By returning to the former taxation rules for taxing Capital Gains, and Estates, and by using Income Taxes rather than property and sales taxes, there would be enough funds to provide a Guaranteed Basic Income for all, and practically eliminate poverty. Such a change would have to have solid political support in order to overcome the resistance of the wealthy classes who now receive most of the income in Canada.
Refreshments for the evening were arranged by Corrie Douma, Jessie Tellez and Ree Brennin, and provided an enjoyable snack while those attending discussed the talk.
Halifax Friends Meeting gratefully appreciates Michael Bradfield’s sharing with us his expertise.
Halifax Friends Meeting (Quakers) Celebrating our 50th Anniversary
Poverty: What Can We Afford?
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street
Speaker: Michael Bradfield
Michael Bradfield holds a Ph.D. in Economics, and taught economics at Dalhousie from 1968 to 2007. He is active in the community, working with community and church groups, including the Ecology Action Centre, the Nova Scotia Environmental Coalition, Oxfam, the Heritage Trust, the Face of Poverty, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) began in the 17th Century as seekers gathered to connect to the Divine by quiet listening to the Inner Spirit. The Halifax Friends Meeting was established in 1964. Quakers hold varying beliefs, some deeply Christian, while others, drawing from varied traditions of the world, are Universalist Quakers. Quakers are alive and well today, working throughout the world for Peace, Justice, Equality, and Care for the Earth.
For information, contact Maida Follini at 435-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to freezing rain, there will be no Meeting for Worship or Threshing Session today.
Quaker House provided sanctuary and counselling for Vietnam Era War Resisters
Wednesday – March 19, 2014 – 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street
Part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations: Halifax Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
6:30 – Welcome, Quaker Historic Peace Testimony, Conscientious Objection to War – Maida Follini
6:40 – War in Vietnam, Resisters, Canada – Dick Cotterill
6:50 – Halifax Quakers & the Nova Scotia Committee to Aid American War Objectors – Richard Lind
7:15 – Personal Story – Margot Overington
7:30 – Personal Story – Roger Davies
7:45 – Personal Story – Dick Cotterill
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) began in the 17th Century as seekers gathered to connect to the Divine by quiet listening to the Inner Spirit. Quakers hold varying beliefs, some deeply Christian, while others, drawing from varied traditions of the world, are Universalist Quakers. Come and share in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Quakers in Halifax. For more information, contact Maida Follini at 435-3784 or email@example.com
On February 19th, twenty Quakers and Guests attended the second in a series of sessions on the third Wednesday of each month, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Friends in Halifax. After a social time with light refreshments, we viewed a DVD “George Fox and the history of the early Quakers”, produced by the Quaker Tapestry at Kendall, Ltd. of England.
Claire Henry then introduced our guest speaker, Katie Aven who holds a Master of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology, and has served as a chaplain, and a speaker at Friends events. Katie, a member of Annapolis Valley Friends Meeting, spoke on “A Quaker view of God” and reviewed some of the differences between traditional Christianity and Quakerism: Quakers believe that each person can have direct communication with God, without the mediation of a paid preacher. There is no division between “pastors” and “laity” – all are equal in the sight of God. Therefore there is no need for a special priestly class. Everyone may, at times, be inspired to minister –women and men, older people and children; people of different races and different social classes. In Quaker practice, the people in the congregation minister to eachother, rather than receiving ministry from an authority at the top.
Without a creed and an authority to direct belief, Quakers have developed a wide variety of concepts of God. But all believe that “there is that of God in every person”, and aim to give respect to every person, regardless of differences from oneself.
Following the talk there were many questions. For example, Do Quakers believe in sacraments? What is the place of Jesus in Quaker religion? Katie Aven pointed out that Quakers do not separate life into certain ‘sacramental” acts such as the sprinkling of infants with water at a Christening, and other acts in daily living. Quakers consider all life sacramental, rather than only certain ritual acts. Infants are “baptized” not by an outer ritual, but by the spirit working within them. A marriage is a sacrament, not just at the time of wedding, but throughout the married pair’s life. The sacraments are not outward, material and confined to special occasions. They are spiritual, inward, and continuous.
Quakers strive to follow the teachings of Jesus.Faith is seen as something attested to by action, rather than by the repetition of a creed.
Diverse views of God reflect in part the different cultures in which Quakers abide. One Friend pointed out that our understandings of God also depend upon our stage of life. The views of a child will be different from that of a young adult, and these views will change as a person raises a family and proceeds through old age. The differing views held by individuals should all be respected, as each person will hold to a faith that is satisfactory for them according to their culture and their stage of life.
Many thanks to Katie Aven for her thought-provoking talk; and to Friends for handling the refreshments; and other arrangements.
The 3rd Session in the 50th anniversary series will be held, Wednesday, March 19th, on the topic: “Quakers Helped End the War in Viet Nam:. Speakers will include Richard Lind, who counseled War Resisters at “Quaker House” (Seymour Street in Halifax); Margot Overington, who assisted War Resisters in Ontario; and Roger Davies and Dick Cotterill came to Canada as War Resisters. Maida Follini will introduce the session with a brief account of the Quaker Peace Testimony. All are welcome.
Due to the weather, there will be no Meeting today.
The Spirituality Discussion Group met after Meeting on February 9, 2014, with nine Friends attending. The topic was “How does your knowledge of science affect your faith?” Among the points expressed were: Science has limitations; it deals with the material, physical world, typically omitting values, feelings and intuitive, but undocumented, knowledge. Many Friends are scientists, but recognize science’s limits. Spirituality takes different forms. One’s faith is very individual, and, a wide diversity of belief is accepted within Quakers, as one person’s view of the spiritual may differ from the next person’s view. One’s beliefs and the spiritual appear to be beyond the realm of science and often are difficult to share, as individuals experience religion differently. Some Friends come from faith backgrounds, others come from more secular backgrounds. Quaker testimony for continuing revelation provides for acceptance of new ideas, and the capacity for religious growth. The Friends’ process of waiting silently, and meditating in a group seem to provide a common ground for individuals with differing religious experience.
The next Meeting of the Spirituality Discussion Group will be held in March at a date to be announced.
Meetings for Worship
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Atlantic School of Theology Library
Lower Level, at the back of the building down the hill.
640 Francklyn Street
Please use the car port entrance.
Meetings are fragrance-free.
Child care available.
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