The biggest part of Louis’s job has been writing and editing our publication BeFriending Creation. Although it started as mimeographed sheets, since I have known it, BFC has become a professional, color production. Thanks to Louis’s expertise, it is well written, professionally edited, and beautiful. Comparing it to other Friends’ publications which have much larger budgets, BFC wins hands down!
A number of years ago QEW (or was it still Friends Committee on Unity with Nature then?) decided that it would be good to have an Internet presence. Louis volunteered to develop the website for QEW. I remember sitting in a meeting at which there was some criticism of the new website, although there was overwhelming approval. Then it came out that Louis did not have years of experience in website production. He had bought a book on the subject, and read it, and ours was his very first attempt in the field! Innovation is another of Louis’s strong points.
Many of us have visited the home of Louis and Ruah Swennerfelt, his wife and former General Secretary of QEW. They put faith into practice by living simply and having little impact on the Earth. Electricity comes from solar panels, water from a developed spring, and much of their food from their beautiful garden. The last time I was there I saw a huge metal tank Louis had saved from the junk yard. Recently I saw pictures of that same tank installed as a rainwater reservoir, with hoses that feed water to the garden to get it through dry spells. This is typical of Louis’s inventiveness, and his ethic of recycling. Truly he lives lightly on the Earth!
Watching Louis in QEW meetings, I have sometimes wondered if he was awake. Then, if he was asked a question, I knew that he has been tracking the conversation perfectly. Sometimes the answer would appear in the next issue of BeFriending Creation, along with an excellent summary of the discussion he wasn’t sleeping through.
I certainly appreciate Louis’s quiet example and inspiration during his long tenure with QEW. I am not sure what his next role in life will be, but I am sure that Louis can look back with pride at what he has done for Quaker Earthcare Witness. And I am equally sure that he will continue his role in caring for the Earth.