Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is asking for input from Friends and Friends Meetings regarding the stance it should take regarding Reproductive Health Care. We are being asked to discern if we recommend that reproductive health should be included in FCNL’s legislative priorities.
On Sunday, March 19, Durham Friends will hold a one hour discernment session at the rise of Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business. If it is necessary to schedule another session, we will do so in April, as our recommendation is not due until May 1.
As requested, let us hold this matter tenderly. There is a virtual opportunity for learning on March 22 at 6:30 PM Supporting Friends Discernment on Reproductive Health. All are welcome.
What follows is the request from FCNL and some guidelines for participation
We greatly value your engagement with this complex issue, and we encourage you to hold compassion for each other during these conversations. Continue to seek Divine Guidance and Spirit’s revelation as you weigh deeply the way forward for FCNL—one that respects the different religious and moral perspectives we all carry.
Your responses are requested by May 1, 2023. Your group can submit them electronically (preferred) at fcnl.org/policycommittee or by emailing email@example.com. Postal submissions can be sent to 245 2nd St, NE, Washington, DC 20002.
Please note that during its discernment, the Policy Committee will give greater weight to group responses over individual responses.
What follows are guidelines for participating in this conversation, resources to support your discernment, and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also join us on March 22 at 6:30 p.m. EST for a virtual event to aid your discernment. Click here to register.
Thank you again for your faithful and spirit-led discernment.
|In peace,Ebby LuvagaClerk, FCNL Policy Committee
Guidelines for Participating in the Reproductive Health Care Discernment
Whether you are gathering in person, online, or in a hybrid format, we hope that your discernment will be spiritually grounded and a result of group conversations. These discussions may take many forms, including discernment by a committee, an informal group, or a First Day discussion topic. Some meetings or churches may adopt a minute expressing the sense of their group, although this is not a requirement.
Resources for Guiding your Discussion
You may want to prepare for discernment by reading the pamphlet, A Guide to Dialogue About Abortion. Tools such as this can help your conversation honor the complexity and urgency surrounding this topic.
Tips shared include honoring stories from lived experience, taking short breaks for moments of reflection, and building cultures of trust and understanding. Also refer to FCNL’s Policy Statement, The World We Seek (Section III.2.6), which outlines FCNL’s current statement on abortion issues.
To allow for the inclusion of a diversity of voices, we hope you will include people of different ages, backgrounds, and lived experiences in your discernment. Please identify at least one person who will submit your group’s responses.
Guidelines for Group Discernment
After an opening period of waiting worship, the gathering might begin with a brief description of the discernment process and the purpose of gathering. Participants may share their concerns about reproductive health care based on the queries provided to support their discernment process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Submit your Group’s Responses
Please respond by May 1, 2023. Your group can submit electronically (preferred) at fcnl.org/policycommittee or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal submissions can be sent to Amelia Kegan, 245 2nd St, NE, Washington, DC 20002.
What information should you record?
Please include the following information as part of your submission:
- Who is responding? (Group (preferred) or individual. Note your Yearly Meeting.)
- Who participated? (The number in the group and approximate ages.)
- What kind of gathering? (Committee meeting, informal gathering, meeting for business, etc.)
- Who is the group’s contact person?
- Responses to the queries.
- Any additional comments on the process your group would like to share?
What happens to the responses after FCNL receives the submissions?
The FCNL Policy Committee, a working group of the General Committee, will read all the responses and meet to consider what meetings, churches, groups, and individuals are telling FCNL regarding reproductive health care. They will share their summary with FCNL staff and the FCNL Executive Committee, then hold listening sessions with the General Committee in the summer of 2023.
The Policy Committee will bring its recommendation to the FCNL General Committee during its Annual Meeting in November 2023.
Throughout the process, the discernment by Friends across the country remains at the center of the committee’s consideration.
Where can I find more information?