Over 400 Friends from 79 meetings, other yearly meetings and religious organizations attended today’s Called Meeting Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business to discern how we, as a faith community, are being led to address racism.
Imagine, if you will, the Arch Street Meeting House filled with so many Friends: young, old and middle-aged, White, African-American, Asian and Latino, long-time workers for justice and the newly-arrived – all together in one room committing themselves to a single goal: a yearly meeting, a city and a world without racism. That’s what happened during our Called Meeting and it was truly transformational.
Paraphrasing one Friend, “We are being called to step into the same stream of faithfulness that Sarah Mapps Douglass, Lucretia Mott and John Woolman stepped into so long ago. I feel we are ready to be loving and fearless.” The resounding response from Friends present was “YES WE ARE!”
To paraphrase another Friend, “We are moving out to reclaim our wholeness; where oppression exists, we cannot be whole.” And to quote our loving and fearless Clerk Jada Jackson, “Today, we showed how being in community is being in communion
Yet another Friend observed, “There is a hidden wholeness beneath the very evident brokenness of the world. I felt a bit of wholeness emerging during the Called Meeting. We were each asked to make a personal commitment to do the work of inviting and nurturing change. We committed as a whole body to move forward address racism. The meeting felt covered, the Spirit present. Now let us roll up our sleeves.”
The work ahead to end racism within our meetings, our yearly meeting and beyond is daunting but so much more thinkable now that we know we have each other and we are all together walking hand in hand to overcome injustice.
At the conclusion of today’s Called Meeting, a Minute of Action was approved as follows:
“Friends tested and affirmed the work of our clerks and our elders, since being tasked during Annual Sessions in July 2014, to help discern a way forward in addressing many ‘-isms’ including-racism, sexism, genderism and classism. Friends also heartily affirmed that as a Yearly Meeting we:
- Commit to increase our consciousness as Friends about the intersection of privilege and race in our culture and spiritual community. We know our knowledge is often limited by our own experiences and that we have much to learn from each other and from outside resources.
- Commit to move forward with our entire community. The yearly meeting is the community of all our individual Friends and monthly meetings and this work needs to be done with the involvement of all of us.
- Commit to integrate this work into what we do in an ongoing way at the yearly meeting level. We want this work to become part of the fabric of what we do whenever we get together as yearly meeting members and attenders.”
Complete minutes of the Called Meeting will be posted on our website as soon as they become available.
For background information about this Called Meeting, we refer you to the original announcement and letter from our Clerk published December 11, 2014.