Public lecture launches national Quaker gathering
A public lecture by noted Scottish scholar and activist Alastair McIntosh will open the Canadian yearly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at the University of Prince Edward Island on Sunday Aug. 16, 7 p.m.
The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, named after a historic figure in Canadian Quaker history, will be held in Room 242, Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium (McDougall Hall).
McIntosh is especially known for the way he has combined scholarship in theology, poetics, anthropology and human ecology with the organization of citizen based campaigns to save valued landscapes and human communities from industrial degradation.
A member of the Religious Society of Friends in Scotland, McIntosh has built an international career as a scholar and public speaker, teaching and lecturing at a variety of universities, and as a frontline activist on behalf of environmental integrity and healthy, resilient human communities.
In 1991, McIntosh engaged in a campaign to prevent the biggest roadstone quarry in the world from being located in Scotland’s scenic Outer Hebrides. He drew in crucial support from the Mi’Kmaq First Nations on Cape Breton Island and afterwards, until 2013, he served unpaid on the Sustainability Stakeholder Panel of Paris-based Lafarge, the company that ethically withdrew its quarry proposal. In 2005, he travelled to Digby Neck, N.S., to help with a similarly successful campaign against a superquarry proposed by Clayton Concrete of New Jersey.
His books include “Soil and Soul” and, jointly with colleagues in native studies at the University of Saskatchewan, “Radical Human Ecology”. He holds a visiting professorship at Glasgow University, a divinity fellowship at Edinburgh and has twice previously lectured at UPEI on land reform and liberation theology.
In his lecture, McIntosh will share his unique experience that spans the Maritime provinces of Canada, Scotland and France. He has titled the lecture “Decolonising Land and Soul: a Quaker Testimony.” He will explore the imperatives of Quaker witness for today and will touch on spiritual experience and the Cross as the supreme symbol of nonviolence in our times.
Like Quakerism in Canada, McIntosh is broadly universal in his approach to understanding theology. He sees that deep rootedness in the land and attachment to place provide human communities with the best realization of their spiritual potential. An affinity with the traditional spirituality of First Nation peoples is evident in this understanding.
McIntosh’s forthcoming book, “Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service”, will be available in in the fall of 2015. For additional information go to his website http://www.alastairmcintosh.co m/ A podcast on his work can be found at http://www.nomadpodcast.
The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, a keynote of the weeklong Canadian Quaker gathering, is open to the public without charge. The evening starts at 7:00 p.m.
The public is also invited to worship with Canadian Quakers in the traditional unprogrammed format at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16, also in the Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium.