JP Quakers sponsor peace essay contest for teens

March 16, 2007
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“How Can We Bring Peace To Our City?” That’s the question a local Quaker group is asking neighborhood teens to address in the First Annual Peace Essay Contest the group is sponsoring for teenagers who live or go to school in Jamaica Plain or Roxbury. First prize in the essay contest is $200; second prize is $50; and third prize is $25.

The essay contest is open to all teens ages 13 to 17 who live in Jamaica Plain or Roxbury or go to school in either neighborhood. The deadline is April 30. Essays should address the topic “How Can We Bring Peace To Our City?” Essays should be 500 words or less, may be typewritten or neatly handwritten, and should be mailed to Peace Essay Contest, c/o Jamaica Plain Gazette, PO Box 301119, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. All essays should include the author’s name, address, age, phone number and school name.

The contest is being sponsored and managed by the Jamaica Plain Quaker Worship Group, a small group of area Quakers whose members include residents of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Quakerism is a religion—formally known as the Religious Society of Friends—whose tenets include an emphasis on living with peace, simplicity, equality and integrity.

“We are concerned about the impact of violence on the city’s youth,” said Bonnie Norton, a member of the Jamaica Plain Quakers and a retired pediatrician. “We want to hear from area teens—who are most affected by the violence—about their ideas about addressing the problem. We think they have ideas that need to be listened to.”

The Jamaica Plain Quaker Worship Group meets once a month on the second Sunday of the month for a potluck dinner at 5 p.m., followed by a Quaker meeting for worship at 6 p.m. in the trailer of the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, at 633 Centre St.

“Traditional Quaker congregations are often called ‘Quaker meetings,’ and a Quaker ‘worship group’ is kind of like a baby Quaker meeting,” explained Martha E. Mangelsdorf, another member of the Jamaica Plain Quakers. “For a number of years, our group met in members’ homes, but we moved our meetings to First Baptist’s trailer about a year ago, so that we could more easily welcome newcomers curious about Quakerism,” she added.

The Jamaica Plain Quaker Worship Group is under the care of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, a full-fledged Quaker meeting located in downtown Boston. The essay contest is made possible by a small grant from the Racial, Social and Economic Justice Committee of New England Yearly Meeting, a regional Quaker organization.

For more information about the essay contest or JP Quakers, contact jpquakers@bhfm.org.

Submitted by JP Quakers.

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