Sherry Hutchison continues to teach peace

Sherry Hutchison would have been 99 years old on January 13th in 2018.  She died peacefully December 31st, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa.  Sherry was a member of Des Moines Valley Friends (Quaker) Meeting, which belongs to Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative).

Sherry embodied Quaker values, in particular living according to her beliefs and what God lead her to do, regardless of the consequences. Following is a minute approved by the yearly meeting in 2017.

The death of Don Laughlin, and absence of Sherry Hutchison, are keenly felt at these annual sessions of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). We have appreciated their life long examples of spiritual integrity and tireless work for peace, social justice and care for our environment and for all those who have been fortunate to have worked with them.  

Minute approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) 2017

As the minute indicates, there are Quakers whose lives are an exceptional inspiration to us, and that was certainly true of Sherry. As one example, in 2002 she was arrested for an act of civil disobedience during an anti-war demonstration at the National Guard base in Des Moines.  This is a link to the story she wrote about that experience, that she titled Diary of a Jailbird.

Sherry Hutchison–Quaker peace activist

This weekend the annual Midyear Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friends was held at Bear Creek Friends Meeting, in the countryside 3 miles north of Earlham, Iowa.

Bear Creek Friends Meeting (Quakers) just north of Earlham, Iowa

This morning Ann Robinson, member of Des Moines Valley Friends (Sherry’s meeting) and I talked with the young people, including some Scattergood Friends School and Farm students, about peace, conscientious objection and draft resistance. Interestingly, Claire told us one of the assignments they did in the public high school she attended was to write their own letters about conscientious objection. Ann’s idea was to show the kids photos of peace signs, and then they would draw their own. Some of the photos of peace signs we used included:

One way Sherry continues to teach about peace was by giving us a container full of buttons she collected over her years of peace and justice activism. We showed these buttons to the kids and told them about some of the causes and organizations they represented.

So, here are some of the peace and justice signs the kids created. Sherry’s spirit was felt among us this morning.

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