Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting Minute on Philadelphia Yearly Meeting staffing changes

Minutes

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting Minute on Philadelphia Yearly Meeting staffing changes

Approved at Meeting for Business on April 9, 2017.

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting [CPMM] is under the weight of what God is calling us to do to end racism and white supremacy in our monthly meeting. As part of that ongoing concern, we have committed to a weekend for members and attenders on that topic on May 12-14. We recognize our own flaws and our need to remain teachable throughout this kind of discernment.

Members of CPMM acknowledge ownership of the painful weight of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting administration’s recently announced staffing changes and the process by which they were made and communicated. We sense that we as PYM are not keeping faith with beloved kin-dom among us now and in the future.

We acknowledge that staffing issues of the Yearly Meeting are within the purview of the General Secretary and that good order is most often maintained when meetings are not involved with staffing decisions about individuals. However, we are mindful of not one but two communities that are historically and presently marginalized that are impacted by the present staffing changes: people of color and young people. We ask that the yearly meeting administration respect the motto brought forward by Young Friends program participants, “No decision about us without us,” which we believe is broadly applicable.

  1. We are concerned that PYM administration not make staffing decisions which are spiritually blind to institutional racism conscious or unconscious). Regardless of conscious intent, actions can have a racist impact. Friends spoke of having felt such impacts among PYM Friends over many years.Our community, and specifically our staff and structures, stand in need of experienced resources to support our General Secretary in ongoing decisions which may involve issues of race and ethnicity. We feel trust and love for all parties involved, but believe that support does not always mean acquiescence.
  1. Members of our Yearly Meeting community have been engaged in a process to discern a vision, goals, and governance structure for youth programs of the Yearly Meeting. The process involved youth and others, and there was a particular commitment to involve Friends of color in the final leg of the process.We feel that the decision regarding youth programs staffing at this time represents a breach of trust between Yearly Meeting senior staff and Friends in the Yearly Meeting who carry a concern for youth.

CPMM hopes that the Yearly Meeting administration will consider these immediate actions:

  1. Taking a pause in the personnel action involving the demotion of a staff member of color so as to allow Spirit and Light to further season the proposed action.
  1. Asking the Administrative Council to promptly make available experienced resources to support the General Secretary and the community in decisions which may involve issues of race and ethnicity.
  1. Living into the work to end racism at all levels in the yearly meeting.
  1. Retracting the youth programs staffing decision and not revisiting it until after the completion of the visioning process, and with meaningful consultation with our youth community and Friends carrying concerns for youth.

This minute represents our renewed commitment to engage with the community PYM, (including CPMM) on listening to Spirit and the experiences of others to hear where our truth is on these matters. We feel that there is deep spiritual disruption inherent in moving forward with these decisions without further in-depth attention to their possible consequences.

If we continue to marginalize some within our Body, we diminish the whole.

Dana Reinhold, Clerk