Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

The History of Central Committee and Diversity

Challenging Racism

In 1997 Central Committee approved the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Diversity.

Since then, Central Committee has continued to expand its commitment to racial justice and diversity work. This web page provides the history of Diversity at Central Committee. 

 

 History of Diversity at Central Committee

 

October 1997            Central Committee approved formation of Ad hoc Committee on Racial Diversity.

October 1998            Ad hoc Committee presented an educational session for Central Committee focusing on racism & its implications.

October 2000            Central Committee approved the formation of a standing committee to address issues of Racism within the organization, and monthly and yearly meetings. Additionally Green Circle (Niyonu Spann) facilitated a four hour training for Central Committee members.

October 2009            Central Committee approved Minute of Purpose and Major Goals:

Minute of Purpose:

Friends General Conference, with Divine guidance, nurtures the spiritual vitality of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by providing programs and services for Friends, meetings, and seekers.

Major Goals

1.      Nurture meetings and worship groups.

2.      Provide resources and opportunities for meetings, Friends, and seekers to experience the Light, the living presence of God.

3.      Help meetings guide Friends to discern the leadings of the Inward Teacher and to grow into ministry.

4.      Transform our awareness so that our corporate and individual attitudes and actions fully value and encompass the blessed diversity of our human family.

5.      Work to grow and sustain a vital, diverse, and loving community of Friends based on a shared search for unity in the Spirit.

6.      Articulate, communicate, and exemplify Friends’ practices, core experiences, and the call to live and witness to our faith.

7.      Promote dialogue with others, sharing with them our corporate experience of Divine Truth and listening to and learning from their experience of the same.

 

October 2010            Central Committee approved recommendation laying down CMR, and establishing Transforming Subcommittee of new Committee for Nurturing Ministries (CNM). Unfinished CMR work sent to Transforming Subcommittee for completion.

October 2011            Central Committee approved recommendations brought jointly by the Staff Diversity Committee and CNM:

1)     FGC commits to set aside two or three hours of time for Friends gathered at Central Committee to participate in conversations and/or exercises designed to help us explore White privilege, racism and ageism over the next five years.

2)     The “Diversity-Related Queries for FGC” be considered by each of our committees (both administrative and program), their subcommittees and working groups, and by the FGC staff, and that answers be turned in to the Transforming Subcommittee of the Committee for Nurturing Ministries.

October 2012            Central Committee members participated in their first two hours exercise exploring White privilege & racism through a presentation on micro-aggressions and responding to skits demonstrating some of the 1000 paper cuts—common wounding remarks that Friends of Color often hear from white Quakers.

October 2013            Central Committee members dedicated a period of time each evening to diversity work, exploring together the challenge of how to be an ally to those experiencing discrimination and injustice. White Friends were asked to reflect on using their white privilege to respond to racism.

October 2014            Central Committee members engaged in Worship with Attention to Institutional Racism. Members listened to three white friends and one bi-racial friend share personal stories before transitioning into a deep meeting for worship.

October 2015            Central Committee members participated in a 90 minute workshop focused on the Doctrine of Discovery and its legacy. Participants watched two videos about the Doctrine of Discovery and broke up into small discussion groups before ending with a period of open worship.