On July 18, 2021, Meeting for Business approved the use of Anti-Racist Queries for Decision Making at BFM
On Sunday, October 24, 2021, BFM gathered via Zoom for a Threshing Session.
Background and invitation to our Sunday, October 24th event
For several years and in many ways individuals and groups within the Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) community have sought to uplift our testimony of equality, especially as it relates to race. To see a timeline of key milestones, please click here. There is much work and discernment left to be done.
On October 24, 2021, we gathered by Zoom for a Threshing Session. Click here for the invitation and details. We listened to the Spirit working within and through us to discern what type of community BFM is and who we wish to be as we seek to be an institutional instrument of peace. We gathered in response to Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s June 2020 Call for Action against Systemic Racism, which can be viewed here. The Religious Society of Friends, like all groups, has been damaged by historic racial injustice and our members and neighbors are harmed by persistent inequalities. We are called to do better.
~ Alex B., Margaret B., Jackie D., Peirce H., Gale T., Aura T. P.
summary of the october 2021 threshing session
The Threshing session described above and held in October 2021 posed several questions to the wider community. 60 people attended and 21 spoke. A brief summary of the session suggested:
Action in Montgomery: In response to the stated desire by some at BFM for externally-oriented activities, the Change Group recommended working with Action in Montgomery (AIM). AIM is perceived as a vehicle for building skills and relationships with other religious organizations in the County to lay groundwork for subsequent initiatives that might emerge from the further Threshing Process. That engagement is currently resulting in a county wide agenda that includes collaborative efforts in climate change, affordable housing, accessible and affordable pre-K/childcare, as well as affordable and accessible care for adolescent mental health needs and immigrant/low-income individuals’ dental needs.
External experts: In response to the lack of clarity on the nature and value that external experts could bring to BFM, the Threshing Prep Group developed and issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to elicit more clarity on who might guide us, what the journey would look like, and how much it would cost BFM.
After the October 2021 threshing session (see details above), the Threshing Prep/Diversity Change Group developed and issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to elicit more clarity on who (as external experts) might guide BFM on a proposed journey to redress systemic racism, what the journey would look like, and how much it would cost BFM.
Sunday, July 10, 2022, 9-10 a.m.: Threshing Session on the June 5 proposal
July 2022: Next Steps in Our Collective Journey to Redress Systemic Racism
The Diversity Change and Threshing Prep groups are pleased and grateful to share that our proposal for “A Collective Journey to Redress Systemic Racism,” which was originally presented at the June 5, 2022, Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, was approved at the 17 July Meeting.
Our next steps from July-September, 2022, were
Implementation statement: Although we recognize that not everyone in the Meeting will choose to participate in this work, given the time and energy commitment, it is our hope that the entire Meeting will greatly benefit from it. We encourage both participants and the Meeting to view it as work being done on behalf of the whole Meeting. The Diversity Change group will continue to find ways to communicate and reach out to engage those who want to stay close to the work as we evolve towards an anti-racist community. If you have suggestions on how we might best do that, we’d be interested to hear from you.