A Friendly Interview with the New QEW Publications Coordinator

by Louis Cox, Outgoing QEW Publications Coordinator

Katherine Murray of Indianapolis, Indiana, began work as the new Publications Coordinator for QEW on November 26, 2012. She takes over from Louis Cox of Charlotte, Vermont, who for 22 years did most of the volunteer and paid publications and website work for QEW.

Although Katherine has been a technical writer and editor for most of her working life, it wasn’t until a few years ago that she was able to begin integrating paid work with her love for nature and her concern for ecological sustainability. "Doing research for a book titled Green Home Computing for Dummies was an eye-opening experience. It gave me a sense of how big the challenges are and how blind most people can be in a consumer-driven society. When there isn’t a sense of spiritual enoughness, people don’t stop to think about all the costs and ramifications of their consumer choices."

Katherine said she first encountered the divine in nature while playing and exploring in natural settings as a child. "I remember being told about God during ‘religious education’ in school and thinking, ‘I already know this person, but not in this form. This is who I know from the woods.’ Later in life I came to understand this spiritual presence in terms of Buber’s I-Thou relationship and Schweitzer’s Reverence for all life."

This same holistic outlook informs the way she teaches her Eco-spirituality course at Earlham School of Religion. "The goal is to help students learn how to get in touch with the created world." Students read writings from Rachel Carson and Wendell Berry to Thomas Berry and Joanna Macy, consider care for Earth through Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic lenses, and consider ideas ranging from eco-feminism and eco-justice to Native American spirituality and the interplay of spirituality and science. And, says Katherine, "Annie Leonard’s animated video, The Story of Stuff, always blows the socks off of everybody."

While working for a small publishing company, Katherine was in charge of designing and writing various kinds of brochures, which was good preparation for the kind of publications work she will be doing for Quaker Earthcare Witness. She enjoyed editing ESR’s 12-page newsletter, which is similar in style to the newsletter that she is now editing for QEW.

In her earlier work in publications, grant proposal writing, and consulting for non-profit organizations, Katherine learned a lot about marketing publications and raising funds. She intends to make use of social media and will be on the lookout for opportunities to promote QEW publications and help QEW supporters spread the word. On the other hand, Katherine doesn’t see herself as promoting a personal agenda. "I will trust God to light my way forward; I will be thrilled when any of my experiences and skills can be of use to QEW."