Friday, August 01, 2014

An Open Letter to Fellow Quakers and Our Organizations

 Friends in Fellowship
A Quaker Worship Group
6960 E. Hendricks County Rd
Mooresville, IN 46158

August 1, 2014

To Friends Everywhere –

At our most recent meeting for worship, we of Friends in Fellowship (an unaffiliated Quaker worship group based in theological hospitality and comprised of friends of the Friends’ way and Quakers from a wide variety of yearly meetings in Indiana) had an especially rich, but challenging time of vocal ministry and sharing.  Hence this open letter to all Friends and Friends’ institutions.

As we sat in an early evening holy stillness listening to our Inner Teacher, we were struck by the contrast of the quiet beauty and comfort we enjoyed while around the world turmoil and violence raged.  This contrast was made more stark as the golden sunset light lit the woods around us following a violent storm that had just passed through, leaving our meeting place undisturbed but downing trees and power lines just a mile or two away from us.  Concerns were shared about the violence raging in Gaza and Israel and the masses of Central American children trying to immigrate to the United States.

Further, some of us who had attended yearly meetings and other Friends assemblies recently were concerned that these bodies did not appear to find time to reflect on issues around which we might find common ground in God – the violence in the Mideast, the undocumented child immigrants, homelessness, and the increasing number of deaths by shooting in our own cities.  Could we have made, after prayerful consideration and listening to the voice of the Divine, corporate statements regarding our stance as Friends on such topics as:
  • 1)      the increasing violence in our cities (seven people shot and a police officer killed in one incident in Indianapolis)?
  • 2)     the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight number 17 while some of us were sitting in yearly meeting sessions?
  • 3)     the treatment of the children being picked up and detained while crossing our borders?

We acknowledge our own failure to bring these matters on our own hearts to the attention of Friends who were gathered.  We were remiss in not asking for consideration of them.  We ask for the strength and wisdom to be more faithful in future times together.

We prayerfully considered how we celebrate Friends in days past for their courageous and outspoken stances on any number of Gospel issues.  These ranged from slavery to women’s rights to peace and more.  Does this generation of Friends have anything collectively to say to a violent, war-wracked world?  Have we Good News for them?  What prophetic word might we Friends offer?

We went into a time of deep worship with a query – “What is God calling us (our group and as individuals) to say and do?”

Out of worship came the leading to send this query to Friends everywhere and invite them to consider it with us.  We especially desire that other meetings, yearly meetings, and Quaker institutions will discern if they are led to speak a Good Word, as we are feeling led, about such issues to a hurting world.  And then to follow what we say with some concrete action of Love.

J. Brent Bill, Acting Clerk


Minga claggett borne said...

I thank you deeply for this quote. We need to witness to the truths of these injustices. we need to speak out and stand in the violence with God's love.
Other things we looked at during NEYM sessions is ecocide and mass murders. Yesterday was the 1st year anniversary of a triple murder in Boston of 3 black women, all friends, and age 22 years old.
Oh lord hear our prayers, Minga

Brent Bill said...

Thanks for sharing that, Minga.