Step Up for The Best Quaker Job There Is!

Step Up for The Best Quaker Job There Is!

While I was Director at Quaker House of Fayetteville NC, we had two big wars to cope with, among other things. It kept me plenty busy. That’s what happens when you’re the only front-line Quaker peace project, and you’ve been at it close to fifty years.

It wore me out. But I say it’s the best, most real job in Quakerdom.

What will the next Director(s) there, who will take over late next summer, have to face? 

And could that Director be YOU? (Or, excuse me, thee, Friend?)

Good questions, and big ones. But my crystal ball app got accidentally deleted from my phone, so this is only speculation. But consider:

— The current election pits a loose cannon ignoramus, against a supporter of the Iraq war, the Libya overthrow, and more, with ties to war-loving Neo-cons. Like them or hate them, I predict that one of them will win.

— And by next summer, the winner’s minions will be settling in at the Pentagon, the CIA, and the many other secret war agencies.

So I also predict (wait for it) . . . Quaker House will still be plenty busy. 

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With the recent big wars, we had a cascade of calls to our GI Rights Hotline. And yes, there was more to it than what we had foreseen: “PTSD” was an acronym that was new to us, though of course the destructive impact of war on soldiers & families was not. And with returning troops arrived awful cases of abuse and even spousal murders. Domestic violence hadn’t really been on our radar at first; but it was soon there.

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One of our several annual peace rallies on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the largest protests ever seen in Fayetteville. To the right are scores of flag-draped mock coffins, to mark the U.S. death toll. And we did not forget the many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and displaced. That big antiwar movement is long gone. But Quaker House is still there.

And then by 2005 came revelations about a U.S. torture program. (Hardly anybody remembers, or cares, but torture was — and still is–illegal under U.S. federal law. ) Further, evidence soon came in showing that Fort Bragg and North Carolina had many concrete connections to this program.

So I was pretty busy during my time there, even in the last few of my eleven years, as the big wars were, we thought, winding down. But it was soon clear that the new Obama administration was trading a couple of big visible wars for a growing number of smaller, mostly hidden ones. Fort Bragg was all in on those too; they even started building a drone base somewhere out in its 200-square miles of mostly pine-covered land.

Today, as Quaker House begins the search for a new Director (or Co-Directors), the situation is in many ways different from my time, which ended in 2012: today’s many small wars are almost entirely invisible to the public. And the public so far is grateful not to see them — which is to say, there’s no significant anti-war “movement” anymore. Hasn’t been for years.

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Need information about military enlistment, or issues inside? Who ya gonna call? Right here: 877-447-4487

But there’s still plenty of work for Quaker House to do. Troops come back from secret combat as much subject to PTSD as they do from big open battles. And a steady succession of them still begin to question this war business, and call Quaker House and the Hotline for information and help. Young people are still being swept up from mostly poorer communities, to fill the ranks, and the VA hospital beds, and the coffins.

Plus, there’s still the unexpected. The talk of new big wars is in the air, from every side; where or when isn’t clear, but the urge to strike out at somebody is definitely there.

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What It’s Like: a collage of headlines from the Fayetteville paper from the height of the Iraq War. Are those days coming again? Will Friends be ready?

For our purpose here, all this adds up to steady work for Quaker House. Did I mention that it’s the only concrete Quaker peace project next to a major military base: it’s where the rubber of talk about “peace witness” meets the road travelled every day by the war machine.

And one other thing the American public seems happy not to notice  is that the war machine is still growing. Quaker House organized a conference in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s warning about the burgeoning growth of what he dubbed the “military industrial complex.” Ike was prophetic: the MIC had kept on burgeoning for that half-century since then.

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The logo for our MIC Conference. The MIC will soon be Sixty, and even bigger. . . .

And it’s still burgeoning, bigger now than then, despite whatever you’ve read or been told about “winding down.” Militarism remains as American as apple pie; even more so.

The current Quaker House Co-Directors, Steve & Lynn Newsom, have been plenty busy too. And they’ll be retiring in late 2017. So it’s time to find their successors.

I say this is the best, most real job in Quakerdom, and I stand by that: the testimony is real, and applied in real time, with real people. The job calls for a wide range of skills; you can stretch and will be stretched; the stakes are high. The connections to Quakers are genuine too.  If you think you’ve got religion, you’ll be putting it to use. There’s nothing else like it.

And Quaker House is not a fly-by-night, Society of Trends activist fad. The next Director will get to oversee –and celebrate– its 50th anniversary. 

And did I mention that the pay is good too? (Though, to be plain, the Director has to make sure the budget gets raised so she/he has that generous paycheck. Which in my book is another way of keeping it real.) Plus free rent and utilities in a darn nice house (all tax-free “income”), in what’s long been a safe neighborhood; and health insurance.QH-red-Yellow-Black-White-Logo

But it’s not a job for the faint of heart, the dilettante, or the unimaginative. 

I’ve copied the official flyer from the Search Committee below. Look it over. If it’s not for you, pass it on. But if the Peace Testimony means anything to you, then you know this job needs to be filled right. You can help. If it’s not for you. perhaps you know a promising candidate. Let us know!

Opportunity: Director of Quaker House

Quaker House, a landmark Friends peace witness, is seeking a Director to continue an active program promoting peace and non-violence. It is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Ft. Bragg, a major US military base.

Duties include: develop new programs to meet changing conditions; collaborate with Quakers, other churches and peace groups, extensive visitation among Friends and others; conduct fundraising, including fund appeals, soliciting and managing contributions from individuals or groups; supervise GI Rights Hotline counselors, Domestic Violence in the Military Counseling Program and administrative staff; counsel military personnel on conscience and discharge issues; write newsletters and respond to media inquiries; update the website, computer systems, databases, and QH archives; oversee building upkeep and maintenance.

Remuneration: beginning at $38,000, based on experience; plus health and dental benefits; free housing and utilities in renovated home located in Fayetteville’s historic district.

Qualifications:  We seek a Director who is closely aligned with and familiar with the Society of Friends and the Quaker peace testimony; who understands the significance of upholding this light in a U. S. military setting.  The position requires proven leadership, strong writing, fundraising, and management skills.

Candidates must have the stamina to live for an extended period of time in a military community. Familiarity with concepts in military counseling and recruitment is desirable. The candidate will preferably be available to attend some Quaker conferences during the summer of 2017 and begin full time in September of 2017.

Submit letters of inquiry in confidence to: Quaker House Search, 223 Hillside Ave, Fayetteville, NC, 28301, or by email to the Clerk of the Search Committee:

 Email: quakerhouseoffayetteville@nullgmail.com
More information about Quaker House: www.quakerhouse.org

And at the Facebook page:  Quaker House of Fayetteville.
Applications will be taken from September 1 to December 1, 2016.

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4 thoughts on “Step Up for The Best Quaker Job There Is!”

  1. OH, man, Chuck. I have thought so often that I wish I was young enough to tackle that job! With my experience in leading young men and women, as a warrior, a Quaker and a counselor…. I would eat that job up!

    Oh, well. Someone will step up to the plate. Someone who is not just a wonk but with real courage. Some tough-minded, snarling person or couple who can look the military in the eye without blinking and scratch out peace in a war-filled culture.

    1. Ken: Age is just a number. But if you really aren’t reachable on this, then send me a private message with some names & emails for people you think might could do it. I’m confident you know a few, and the committee will take your suggestions seriously.

  2. “PTSD was an acronym that was new, though of course the destructive impact of war on soldiers & families was not.”

    Chuck, this is the second time I’ve noticed you making a comment like this. Please stop. I’ve been treating PTSD since 1979. We started officially calling it PTSD the next year, 1980, when DSM III came out. There was a landmark study of Vietnam vets with PTSD in the 80s.

    How about saying “New to me” or something along those lines?

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