MINISTRY AND COUNSEL (M&C) WORSHIP SHARING ON ANTI- RACISM
AAFM’s Committee on Ministry and Counsel (M&C) is hosting a Worship Sharing on Sunday, March 6, 12:45 pm via Zoom (same as Sunday meeting for worship).
Many Monthly Meetings in the U.S. have drafted minutes on racism. M&C is exploring the idea of drafting a minute for our Meeting, partly to help us discern what actions our Meeting might take in becoming an anti-racist faith community. M&C has chosen to begin with this worship sharing that considers the draft minute from New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) and the query:
- What in this rings true and seems important for us as a meeting to consider?
The worship sharing is to explore how NYYM’s ideas resonate (or don’t) with those in our community. We will begin by reading the statement (quoted below) aloud. After reading, the facilitators of the worship sharing plan to have Friends split up for worship sharing in small groups in breakout rooms.
Draft NYYM Statement on Becoming an Anti-Racist Faith Community – July 5, 2021
As Quakers, we place our faith in the Living Spirit and seek to live in ways that recognize the value and dignity of all life and each person. Friends’ faithfulness is rooted in continuing revelation, in being broken open by the power of the Spirit calling us into new ways of living. New York Yearly Meeting believes that we are being called to a profound kind of change, to create a vision and experience of collective liberation.
Race has no scientific or genetic basis and was invented to divide and turn people against one another for the purpose of exploitation. Notions of racism and white supremacy permeate our society, our communities, and ourselves, undermining our faith that there is that of God in everyone.
New York Yearly Meeting acknowledges that Quaker communities have often perpetuated racist practices while at the same time many Friends opposed racism over the years. Some New York Yearly Meeting Friends enslaved Black people, benefited from migrant labor, or taught at or supported Native American boarding schools. By contrast, other Friends struggled to end the institution of slavery or establish civil rights for everyone. Both individual Quakers and meetings in New York Yearly Meeting have caused great harm by remaining complicit in racist systems, historically and today.
Friends of Color have spoken up over the years about being marginalized and devalued by white Friends. One Friend wrote “I experienced joy in being in community with Friends … but also pain when Friends did not have a clue that their behavior was often hurtful and racist.” White Friends, who see themselves as good people committed to equality, often feel offended when told that their behaviors are racist or that Quaker policies and practices oppress Friends of Color. We cannot avoid the reality that there are people who are oppressed, not merely out in the world, but also within our faith community.
Many practices and norms in American Quakerism are rooted in white supremacy. White Friends may be blind to oppression and racism that happen within our community. White Friends often do not notice when Friends of Color are passed over for service or positions of leadership. White Friends may reject what a Friend of Color says because they prioritize their own comfort over what the Friend has to say. These kinds of person-on-person racism are embedded in the structural racism that permeates American society as well as the Society of Friends.
As a yearly meeting, we commit to work toward becoming an actively anti-racist faith community.
Living into this commitment calls us to develop new insights and practices for what it means to be an anti-racist faith community. We are united in our longing to heal from the harms of white supremacy and our grief that racism is an obstacle to authentic community in the Yearly Meeting and beyond.
We recognize that words without action accomplish little. We commit to naming and taking tangible actions to transform the culture of our yearly and monthly meetings and ourselves as individuals to more fully align with Spirit in liberation, justice, and joy.
May we be faithful.
Zoom connection information – URL: https://tinyurl.com/AAFM-MfW-Zoom | Meeting ID: 227 076 571.
Please see the Meeting’s Changes page for a comprehensive list of changes to worship, events, and Zoom connection information.