~ Gail Melix, Sandwich Monthly Meeting
~ Becky Jones, Northampton Friends Meeting
Beginning this month, I’m continuing to provide opportunities for Friends to gather, share, and offer mutual support through a series of bi-monthly drop-in sessions for Quakers working towards racial justice within our meetings (for more information and to register).
We’ve discovered that these 90-minute gatherings, which focus on the importance of prayerfully telling and witnessing our stories, create a surprisingly powerful and energizing heart-centered experience .
In previous sessions Friends shared stories of what they’ve been doing, how it’s been feeling, and where they could use support. Some shared how they have noticed their own privilege in various ways; how they struggle with feeling ignorant and inadequate; how this work tends to feel draining and hopeless.
In listening to others' efforts, one Friend noted how much fear is a fundamental premise of White supremacy culture: fear of losing what we have; fear of the unknown, etc. It was a blessing to know that others are feeling the same. In our fear, white supremacy culture teaches us to be disconnected from one another. These drop-in sessions counter this fear and disconnection by bringing us together. Together, we can buoy each other up
Diane Weinholtz, of Hartford Friends Meeting, reflects that
Each drop-in session is different, in that it is informed by the sparks of light individual Friends bring to the group. During the last session, Friends expressed a need for support helping each other be centered as we approach this work; working with the confusion that arises; exploring, spiritually testing and seasoning our ideas; receiving feedback and accountability; hearing more stories and connecting to each other including how others have experimented and grown.
As facilitator my focus is to create a space that meets Friends where they are. We discover a joy and freedom in stepping out of the pressures that confine us as we connect with one another. We can recognize our interconnections, faithfully listen to Spirit and move forward with curiosity and a sense of not knowing. In these groups and in the work of racial justice, relationships are primary. We weave ourselves together.
Gail Melix affirms this:
Meeting with other Quakers who are also doing racial justice work in their meetings “is like adding yeast into my work,”adds Gail. Whether or not you come to a drop-in session, I encourage you to connect with others from outside your local meeting as much as possible.