Peace and Social Concerns

Our Quaker faith is based on a firm belief in a loving God. We are guided by the understanding that there is that of God in all persons.  This leads us to a broad and tender concern to address suffering and oppression in this world and to oppose military solutions to conflict.  With these goals in the forefront we work through committees in each Friends Meeting called Peace and Social Concerns. At Durham Friends Meeting this committee is led to educational and advocacy work that focuses on

  • the persistence of racial injustice
  • issues related to sovereignty and rights of indigenous peoples in Maine
  • the outsized military budget and the U.S. military’s large carbon footprint, and
  • the climate crisis that threatens the wellbeing of all living things.

We work especially closely with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), the Quaker Lobby on Capital Hill and with the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy.  

Social Justice Enrichment Project [2022]

As members of the religious Society of Friends (Quakers) we have a deep and abiding concern for social justice and racial equity. Values such as community, equality, and harmony are central to our approach and advocating for social justice in the greater community is an important expression of our values. This project grew out of a series of discussions focused on becoming antiracist in the fall of 2020.

Participating teachers are given a set of children’s books that focus on the development of social justice values in children ages 4-8.  Teachers join us in teams from schools in the Durham Friends Meeting catchment area. They are able to use the books to enhance their social studies and language arts curriculum as they chose. Support is provided through periodic meetings with teaching teams and educational sessions focused on child development and creating inclusive anti-bias classrooms.  Click here to learn more.  

Deep Dive on Reparations [Summer-Fall 2021]

Peace and Social Concerns Committee will thinking about reparations for the next few months, and we’d like to invite the wider Durham Meeting community to join us.  How can we, as a nation, as a state, as an organization begin to make amends for the tremendous injustices done by slavery and colonization?  What would we want reparations to accomplish? What form might they take? What is enough to address these injustices?

To help us think about these questions we will be posting videos and readings on the website over the next 8 weeks. In the fall we will host a conversation to share our reactions to the readings and consider how we might answer the call for reparations. We encourage you to take notes as you read, highlighting important ideas and interesting approaches.  [Posted July, 2021]

Action Requests: What Peace & Social Concerns Asks You to Do

21.5.1  Lobbying for Social Justice in the State of Maine — especially regarding issues affecting indigenous peoples

21.4.30   Support Urged for Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act

Suggestions for Quaker Advocacy from Friends Committee on National Legislation

FCNL Action Center — updated regularly

FCNL, Lobbying Congress from Home — By Phone

FCNL, Communicating with Washington

Recent News and Commentaries of Note

21.9.9  Surya Milner, Inhabited: The Story of Malaga Island, Bowdoin College News, November 13, 2020

21.5.21 Nikolas Kristof, If Only There Were a Viral Video of Our Jim Crow Education System, New York Times.  

21.5.13  Book launch of Shirley Hager and Mawopiyane, The Gatherings (video).  Book info here

21.4.9  Rep. Jared Golden, It’s Time to Modernize Maine’s Tribal-State Relations, Bangor Daily News

Materials for the Fall 2020 Peace and Social Concerns discussions can be found HERE.  

Peace and Social Concerns Committee [from the Meeting Handbook]

The task of the Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee is two fold: discernment and taking actionThe process of discernment consists of:

  • Determining what issues confronting our present social order pertain to Friends traditional testimonies of equality, peace, and non-violence, stewardship, civic and community responsibility.
  • Hearing the concerns of Monthly Meeting, or individual members of the Meeting, and those brought by other religious, service and legislative bodies that address these issues.

As we consider action the Committee seeks to make recommendations to Monthly Meeting for supportive action on the following:

  • Educate the Meeting regarding Friends traditional testimonies and their application in today’s world, especially addressing the issues of violence, discrimination, addictions, and poverty.
  • Enable the Monthly Meeting and individuals to take action on their concerns.
  • Support those who are suffering because of actions they have taken in support of their concerns.
  • Act in solidarity with those who are affected by our failure to achieve a society of non-violence, equality, economic justice, and equal opportunity.

The committee seeks to work in cooperation with other committees of the Monthly Meeting, other Monthly Meetings and community groups that work constructively on these issues.