November 11, 2016
Dear Friends of Baltimore Yearly Meeting,
The following letter was written by the staff of New England Yearly Meeting to New England Friends in the wake of the elections Tuesday. They have invited us to share it with you. I believe it speaks well to our condition in this time and offers helpful guidance as we begin to collect ourselves individually, to heal, and to move forward together as communities of faith.
Seeking the Light Together,
November 9, 2016
As we gathered for our weekly worship this morning, we held all of you in prayer. From that worship, we feel led to write to you with a message of love, encouragement and support.
In the aftermath of this week’s election, many who are grieving, angry, fearful and isolated are likely to seek refuge and solace in Friends meetings across our region, this Sunday and in the coming weeks. While Friends can’t offer all the answers to those who join us in worship, we can offer them spiritual hospitality—a place where they can experience listening, connection, accompaniment and love. This is a simple and powerful action we can all take in the coming days to lift up a witness to the Light.
Below are some suggestions we hope you’ll consider as you prepare for worship this Sunday:
In our Meetings for Worship
Many of us who worship together often are also in need of refuge. We respond to stress differently; some may be more able to serve in this way right now than others. Let’s take care of one another, even as we offer hospitality to new visitors. It may help for those who share the care of worship to communicate in advance to ensure that some Friends who are more able to be available are ready to close worship, speak with visitors, or be open to pastoral care needs.
At the rise of meeting, even a simple invitation for those attending to turn to their neighbor and share briefly what is on their heart might be profoundly helpful. Parents of young children may particularly benefit from connecting with one another as they support their kids. Consider whether newcomers who express an interest might be invited to connect with groups in the meeting working to address racism, strengthen interfaith relationships, or address community needs. This can be an important way of helping them continue to find support, purpose and nourishment.
In our surrounding communities
Remember that because of the climate of fear and hostility fed by this election, many who have been explicitly targeted in the campaign—including [women], People of Color, LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, immigrants and people with disabilities—may feel particularly unsafe, excluded or afraid.
More than ever, we encourage Friends to look for opportunities to publicly identify our meetings as places of refuge and sanctuary for our neighbors who might feel under threat. Posting and publicizing commitments to oppose racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and gender-based violence will be more important than ever. Look for opportunities for Friends to partner with and accompany marginalized communities. Participate in ecumenical, interfaith and community events promoting unity, connection, dialogue and mutual respect, and opposing hate and division.
For BYM Friends, Stay connected with your wider Quaker network
Please share information about upcoming events, as well as news, images, reflections and ideas from your worship, witness and community-building efforts by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more by visiting our website www.bym-rsf.org. Your work will encourage and enliven the work of others.
Remember that we and many others are holding you in prayer, and that you are not alone.
In the Love that binds us together as a community of faith and witness. . .