Cover Letter and Letter of Apology 28 June 2017

Cover Letter

Dear Friends,

As most of you are aware, the community of Friends that has been involved in Quaker Spring over the last decade has been wrestling with some difficult issues the past several years. Last June we sent out to our entire QS mailing list a “Report on Racism within Quaker Spring”.

Those gathered at Oakwood School later that month for Quaker Spring 2017 spent time exploring what we felt we were being called to do as a community in response to the rift that has divided us. During that time we worked on naming the acts of racism among us and writing a much needed apology. After much prayerful discernment, those gathered this year felt unity in issuing the attached Letter of Apology, which was sent to Friends of color and allies during the summer.

We want to emphasize strongly that all of us have been wounded by the sin of racism in this country. It is our intention to accept corporate responsibility for the hurtful actions that took place including the acts of omission and commission.

We as the planning committee would like to rewrite the next to last paragraph of the letter apology to read:
We are united in the desire for the entire QS community to come together to address the racism in our midst and seek to heal our brokenness. We realize that preparing in both body and heart will take time, and are willing to take all the time that is needed.

The complete Letter of Apology as it was sent out in the summer of 2017 is attached below.

In Christ’s love,
For Quaker Spring Planning Group
Ann Armstrong, Peter Blood-Patterson, Jonathan Vogel-Borne, Bre-Anne Brown, Angela Hopkins, David Morse, Randy Oftedahl, Earl Smith, Sylvia Thomas

Letter of Apology

To Friends of color who are part of Quaker Spring
To those who have absented themselves as an act of conscience –
From the body gathered at Oakwood, June 23-28 2017

Dear Friends,

The body of Quaker Spring is wounded and is diminished by the absence of Friends of Color. We long to be made whole.

As Friends of European Descent, we apologize for how stubbornly blind we have been to the pervasive injustice inherent in white privilege.

We apologize for the racist incidents that marred our gatherings in 2013 and 2014. The most serious event occurred in 2014, when a white Friend on the Listening Committee confronted a Friend of Color with words and gestures that were not only offensive but racially demeaning. The Listening Committee failed to share information with the wider Quaker Spring body concerning any of these incidents. This silence, and the continued membership of this individual on the Listening and Planning Committees, gave the message that we did not take seriously what had been done.

We apologize for not acknowledging those incidents at the time, so that they could be fully and honestly addressed. We on the Listening Committee in particular recognize that we have been complicit in racism, because we did not take steps to name it, own our responsibility and seek to heal the wounds it had caused.

All of us gathered at Quaker Spring 2017 join in this apology, whether we were present or not at any previous Quaker Spring. We apologize for our lack of transparency and our failure to insist on Truth. We recognize that an apology is long overdue. We grieve for the pain caused by our sins of commission and omission.

We are deeply grateful for the faithful persistence of the Friends who laboured to help members of the body of Quaker Spring to see our blindness and acknowledge our racism.

We are united with the suggestion to invite the entire Quaker Spring community to come together as one body for a workshop/retreat sometime in 2018, to address the racism in our midst and seek to heal our brokenness. We realize that preparing in both body and heart will take time, and are willing to take all the time that is needed.

We long to move forward in openness and trust, knowing that Christ’s love can heal even the deepest wounds.
Marcelle Martin, clerk
(adopted June 28, 2017)