In the evening, Friends participated in a session, naming and further defining the incident which was referenced in the “Racist Incident at Quaker Spring Report” sent to Friends and attenders of Quaker Spring
After a timeline of the incident and responses was presented, the original report was read out loud. It was noted that there are many who feel unable to gather with us, and because of this witness, the community is incomplete. Then, Friends settled into a worship sharing about the information presented and the report.
I was reminded of the verse Jesus wept, of how many times during the gathering the topic of lament, repentance/forgiveness, and absolution arose. That we have not struggled well with how to get under the weight of the sin of institutional racism that allowed the incident to go unaddressed, that we have a need to make amends, without knowing what that might look like.
Friends expressed their sorrow at the pain that has caused part of our community to need to stand apart from the gatherings. A Friend shared that this was not their work. Friends expressed their frustration at how long it has taken for the incident to be named publicly, how long it has taken for full understanding and repentance. A Friend shared that a feeling of being a rider on the bus, and had just learning of the boycott, and now needed to get off the bus, by leaving the worship sharing and Quaker Spring.
Friends shared of their experiences, with different Quaker groups of doing similar work, and the life that can come forth, and also the diligence and tenacity required to stay in the hard parts. To stay in, allowing the Inner Light to search us and bring us to brokenness and repentance, and to know community coming back together. A Friend shared encouragement and a sense of the weight and rightness of the work we need to do.
There were concerns expressed of governance issues of accountability for the listening committee and planning committee, cautions of not stepping further than their guide. Friends expressed commitment to the work of repentance and reconciliation.
There was a sense of unity that a conclusive formal apology be prepared and accepted by the body. There was a sense of unity that we continue the work of repentance and reconciliation. I felt as if there was a sense of unity in continuing to get under the weight of the sin of racism in our community. Part of that weight is accepting that grace and forgiveness are not cheap or quick (see Minute of Exercise on Healing Rifts within the Faith Community, Quaker Spring 2011)
Clerks: Randy Oftedahl and Angela York Crane
Elders: Bre-anne Brown and Anne Armstrong