Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has endorsed the following Urgent Call to the Religious Society of Friends. This call to action was authored by an ad hoc group of nineteen Friends, more than half of whom are from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. In it they share that they see forces at work in our country that undermine some of our basic values: equality of all people, truth-telling, and deep listening.
Christie Duncan-Tessmer, PYM’s General Secretary says, “This call represents our Quaker faith in action: It expresses Truth as discerned in the discipline of relationship and prayer; it calls all to examine how this revelation can lead them to witness and act. It offers us all fellowship on a challenging journey.”
Join the Conversation
Christie and the yearly meeting’s presiding co-clerks, Frank and Jean-Marie Barch, encourage PYM Friends and meetings to discuss and reflect on this call and accompanying queries and to join in a series of national conversations on the issues, hosted by the Earlham School of Religion:
Monday, July 25, 7-9 p.m Registration Full
- Sunday, July 31, 3-5 p.m. Registration still open
- See more dates and register.
Read the Call
We Quakers, members of the Religious Society of Friends, hold strongly to the principle of speaking truth with integrity. We ground our speaking truth in our worship and our searching of ourselves, as we listen deeply and honestly within and across all differences. Our testimony to the world includes standing up for spiritually discerned Truth, the equality of all persons, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and respect and care for our neighbors and the earth. Right now, we see many forces at work in our country and the world that are undermining these basic values. Accordingly, we call on Friends everywhere to act.
In this country, in 2020, we witnessed an attempted coup. The January 6 assault on the Capitol was a deliberate, violent attempt to prevent Joe Biden — the clear winner of the 2020 election — from taking office and keeping then-president Donald Trump in power. To maintain that the last election was riddled with fraud is demonstrably false. This politically motivated movement has now embarked on an orchestrated campaign to suppress voting by black, brown and young people and to pass new state election laws giving the power to throw out huge numbers of valid ballots to highly partisan legislatures, governors, and state attorneys general. Thus, this lie is being used to deprive people of their constitutional rights and constitutes a major injustice.
As Friends, we feel called to speak out against these falsehoods and anti-democratic actions. We encourage Friends to seek spiritual guidance on any actions that you and your meetings might take to witness against this gross injustice. If this politically motivated movement succeeds in its anti-democratic takeover attempt, any hope of making significant progress on racial and economic justice, the equality of all people, the climate crisis, gun violence, and other urgent issues of our time will be gone.
We know that democracy in the United States has many flaws. During the past 100 years, our local, state and federal governments have acted to prevent formerly enslaved people and other communities of color from voting. It was not until 1920 that women finally won the right to vote, and their equality is still being challenged. We call on Friends to act — first, to resist all efforts to undermine our current democratic processes, and second, to support true democratic reforms to our still flawed election system. We cannot allow a government that is built on lies and injustice.
We the undersigned are encouraging Quakers throughout the country to work in their local communities, states, and the national arena to take critical actions to prevent an authoritarian takeover of our democracy. We urge Friends to discern the deep truths that provide a foundation for active love, wisdom, compassion, and a truly democratic electoral system—and then to actively support such changes. We know that love conquers fear. Let us lean into Divine Love and find ways forward in Truth. On the reverse are two queries for you and your meeting to consider in response to this call. We’ve also included a list of specific actions that Friends could begin taking now. Some actions may become necessary later if there is another attempted coup during the next presidential election cycle.
— Marian Beane, Bruce Birchard, Laura Boyce, Martha Bryans, Sam Caldwell, Gretchen Castle, Robert Dockhorn, Tom Ewell, Eileen Flanagan, John Helding, Ayesha Imani, Phil Lord, Mary Ellen Mcnish, Diane Randall, Christina Repoley, Colin Saxton, Joe Volk, Michael Wajda, Pam Yaller
To read the full Urgent Call to the Religious Society of Friends, including some queries and suggestions regarding what Friends and meetings might do in response, please visit the dedicated website.