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threshing prep activities  2021 through july 2022

Below are details of the threshing prep and diversity change group's events from 2021 through july 2022.

please click here to return to the group's current activities and mission statement.

On July 18, 2021, Meeting for Business approved the use of Anti-Racist Queries for Decision Making at BFM 

  • The BFM Change Group encouraged the BFM co-clerks to follow the Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) example and create anti-racist queries that can be applied to our decision-making process at Meeting for Business and during committee meetings.  As a result, and drawing upon the BYM queries and modifications made by other Monthly Meetings, the co-clerks drafted two anti-racist queries for use at BFM.  These were approved at Meeting for Business on July 18, 2021. 
  • Please click here to see the queries and a summary of how they evolved

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, BFM gathered via Zoom for a Threshing Session.  

  • We listened to the Spirit working within and through us to discern what type of community BFM is, and who we wish to be, as we sought to be an institutional instrument of peace. 
  • For more details, please read the event listing and the October 2021 Newsletter article.  
  • For questions, please email us at forum@bethesdafriends.org or contact Gale T. (see BFM Directory).


Background and invitation to our Sunday, October 24th event

For several years and in many ways individuals and groups within the Bethesda Friends Meeting (BFM) community have sought to uplift our testimony of equality, especially as it relates to race. To see a timeline of key milestones, please click here.  There is much work and discernment left to be done.

  • The Threshing Session invited all to come together to discern whether BFM, as a Meeting, wishes to undertake an exploration of our identity regarding racism, what approach may be used to reflect on where we are as individuals and as a Meeting, and what transformative steps we are willing to take. 
  • As part of such reflections, we invite you to consider next steps, including whether the Meeting will need the support of an external facilitator. 
  • Depending on our commitments, we will need to consider how willing the Meeting is to raise funds required to compensate this person. 

On October 24, 2021, we gathered by Zoom for a Threshing Session. Click here for the invitation and details. We listened to the Spirit working within and through us to discern what type of community BFM is and who we wish to be as we seek to be an institutional instrument of peace.  We gathered in response to Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s June 2020 Call for Action against Systemic Racism, which can be viewed here The Religious Society of Friends, like all groups, has been damaged by historic racial injustice and our members and neighbors are harmed by persistent inequalities.  We are called to do better.    

  • Our gathering was facilitated by a weighty Friend to consider any queries that were provided in advance.  
  • For more information and links to our reports, please click here

~ Alex B., Margaret B., Jackie D., Peirce H., Gale T., Aura T. P. 


summary of the october 2021 threshing session

The Threshing session described above and held in October 2021 posed several questions to the wider community.  60 people attended and 21 spoke.  A brief summary of the session suggested: 

  • There is interest and willingness from a broad cross-section of the Meeting to address systemic racism. 
  • There is recognition by many that racism is pervasive and present everywhere, including within our Meeting – both in the socialization of those of us who attend and perhaps even in our patterns of behavior. 
  • There was roughly equally expressed desire to do the inner emotional and spiritual work that racism calls for and a desire for action involving Friends working side by side with others to advance the effort of combating racism in the world 
  • There were some, but not many, who commented specifically on the benefit of having external expertise. They shared experiences they had had on their own journeys and in the collective journeys of other organizations as they sought to grapple with blind spots and adopt new mindsets and behaviors. 
  • We did not hear much discussion on the topic of funding such expertise. 

Action in Montgomery: In response to the stated desire by some at BFM for externally-oriented activities, the Change Group recommended working with Action in Montgomery (AIM).  AIM is perceived as a vehicle for building skills and relationships with other religious organizations in the County to lay groundwork for subsequent initiatives that might emerge from the further Threshing Process. That engagement is currently resulting in a county wide agenda that includes collaborative efforts in climate change, affordable housing, accessible and affordable pre-K/childcare, as well as affordable and accessible care for adolescent mental health needs and immigrant/low-income individuals’ dental needs. 

External experts: In response to the lack of clarity on the nature and value that external experts could bring to BFM, the Threshing Prep Group developed and issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to elicit more clarity on who might guide us, what the journey would look like, and how much it would cost BFM.  

After the October 2021 threshing session (see details above), the Threshing Prep/Diversity Change Group developed and issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to elicit more clarity on who (as external experts) might guide BFM on a proposed journey to redress systemic racism, what the journey would look like, and how much it would cost BFM.  


Sunday, July 10, 2022, 9-10 a.m.
Threshing Session on the June 5 proposal

  • BFM held a Threshing session on July 10, 2022 at 9-10 a.m. via Zoom.
  • The topic was the proposal to engage external experts to guide BFM on a journey toward BFM’s collective identity and commitments as it pertains to redressing systemic racism in ourselves, our community, and the wider world.

Next Steps in Our Collective Journey to Redress Systemic Racism

  • The Diversity Change and Threshing Prep groups are pleased and grateful to share that their proposal for “A Collective Journey to Redress Systemic Racism,” which was originally presented at the June 5, 2022 Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, was approved at the 17 July Meeting for Business. 
  • Please click here to read the "NEXT STEPS in our Collective Journey." 

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends

www.bethesdafriends.org
301-986-8681
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