ad hoc Growing Diverse Leadership Committee Annual Reports

The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

2016 Report 2017 Report  

2017 Annual Report

Our committee has a simple mission – to increase the number and increase the participation of Friends of Color and of Young Adult Friends. The key objectives of our work is for meetings to grow in equity, diversity, and inclusion. While it is simply said, it is not achieved quickly and without thoughtful work and discernment. We are making progress, though.

To review, our committee was formed in 2015 at Annual Session with the goal of expanding on the work of the Growing Diverse Leadership program within our BYM camping programs so that the work would include all the Yearly Meeting. A three-year grant was given to BYM in 2015 to support this work by the Shoemaker Fund. The work of the committee was seen as having three stages – first to collect data about Friends of Color and Young Adult Friends, second to try out programs, and third to assess how these programs are doing.

In the past year, we found it difficult to bring to fruition some of our plans. Members of our committee designed a survey for Local Meetings that would provide information about numbers of Friends of Color and Young Adult Friends. Meetings, however, were uncomfortable with the survey for various reasons, and so to date we have not collected as much information as we had hoped to obtain. On the good side, the survey generated very good conversations about the discomfort of collecting and using demographic information among Friends, which feels like a measure of growth in itself. We will continue to work on developing a meaningful way of gathering demographic information that lets us know who is attending our Local Meetings and in what numbers, which will in turn help us know how we are growing.

For understanding our Young Adult Friend population better, our committee worked with the Advancement and Outreach Committee to devise a survey for Young Adult Friends, which was given in June. The results of this survey will be available this fall, and we hope will show us how our YAF’s have come to be part of BYM, and how they are now participating in BYM.

Focus Groups are being organized for Friends of Color who are part of Monthly Meetings within BYM. These focus groups are meant to be a place where Friends of Color can share their experiences of being part of BYM and share what they hope for their Meetings and for BYM. The first Focus Group was held at Stony Run Meeting in June, and others are planned for the near future.

BYM’s Outreach and Inclusion Coordinator, Dyresha Harris, visited a number of Local Meetings to lead discussions about BYM’s STRIDE programs and the work overall of Growing Diverse Leadership.

Along with the Working Group on Racism, our committee is encouraging the formation of Action Groups within each local Meeting. These groups would explore ways to reduce the barriers to participation of people of color in their Meetings. Our committee has been looking into resources that we can offer to Local Meetings to support them in their efforts. We have a list of printed resources, and will also seek trainings, speakers, workshops, and other kinds of resources so that local Meetings can find what they think will work well for their Meetings.

Through the next year, we hope to learn more about multicultural, multiracial congregations, and visit a few to learn how their worshiping communities have achieved equity, diversity, and inclusion. We have found some materials that we find meaningful and will share them with local Meetings.

And in the next year, we will consider how we can best keep the work on equity, diversity, and inclusion alive in our Yearly Meeting in the future. Should there be standing committees to do this work, or can the work be carried out by committees we already have?

The organization of this committee changed this year, but in the end we affirmed that the original plan for the committee would be best. We have a core committee of Friends who are committed to working on the issues of Growing Diverse Leadership. We also have an expanded committee – a number of BYM committees send ex-officio representatives to attend meetings. The purpose is to provide support for BYM Committees as they seek to grow in equity, diversity, and inclusion. By having committee members attend our expanded meetings, our core committee can serve as a source of support for the committees, and committees can share their wisdom with one another, as committees seek to grow in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We are looking to all members of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, through your local Meetings and your BYM Committee work, to take some initiative in helping our Yearly Meeting become more diverse in Friends of Color and Young Adult Friends. Read about what we are doing in the coming year, and please join in. And share your experiences with us!

Respectfully submitted by

Marcy Baker Seitel (Adelphi), Clerk

 


2016 Annual Report

The Growing Diverse Leadership Committee was established at Annual Session 2015. However, appointment of committee members to the Committee did not occur until the following October. The committee met monthly starting in November, through July of this year. The format of the group is five core members who serve the committee directly, and fifteen members who are appointed because of their service on other committees.

In the first year of this three-year program, we are in the planning stage, and beginning the execution stage – information gathering. The second year will focus on execution of programs, and the third year will focus on analyzing the impact of the programs we have done.

We are using a typical strategic planning approach to determine our activities, applying the BYM Vision and the goals and objectives of this program to identify strategies and programs to reach those goals. While the BYM Vision does not change, the phrasing of the goals and objectives have been edited slightly. The part of the Vision that applies to this program is as follows:

Baltimore Yearly Meeting is a worshiping community, gathered in the presence of the Divine, affirming that of God in every person. The Yearly Meeting knits Friends from the Chesapeake to the Appalachians into the larger Religious Society of Friends. As Quakers, we seek to know and follow God’s will for us as a gathered people, to speak the truth that is revealed to us, and to listen to the truth that is revealed to others.

We aspire to listen deeply and inclusively to each other, to actively welcome all, and to attend in joy and faith to the Inward Teacher, whom some call Light, some call Spirit, and some call Christ.

The goal as we are currently writing it is:

To bring innovation and vitality to local Meetings within the Baltimore Yearly Meeting of Friends in ways that will increase and sustain multicultural and intergenerational community in all facets of the spiritual life of Meetings and will serve to strengthen Baltimore Yearly Meeting and the Religious Society of Friends.

The objectives, as we are currently writing them:

  1. Increase and sustain the participation of people of color in the spiritual life of pilot Meetings by X(?) percent by December 2018.
  2. Increase and sustain the participation of young adults in the spiritual life of pilot Meetings by X(?) percent by December 2018.

Our first initiative is to gather information. We requested demographics from Local Meetings on age and ethnicity to establish a baseline, so we can see if our programs make a difference at the end of the three-year program. We are researching efforts of other faith communities to change their demographics to see what has been successful, and doing surveys/focus groups with both Young Adults and People of Color who do and do not attend Local Meetings to learn what could be done differently and what shouldn’t change. We are identifying a liaison at interested Local Meetings that we can communicate with to offer support as they establish a small group within the Meeting and carry out activities to increase younger attenders and attenders of color. Contact David Etheridge if you would like to be the liaison for your Meeting.

In the coming year, we will host programs to increase participation of young adults and people of color in BYM and its Meetings. We envision this to include workshops around communicating across differences, evaluation of traditions and physical space to see if they are welcoming to people from every background, identifying routes to leadership, and efforts to increase attendance at Local Meetings (potentially FGC’s Growing Our Meetings project).