Public lec­ture launches na­tional Quaker gath­er­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION -

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.

Alastair McIn­tosh

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