Every two years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) reaches out to Quaker meetings across our nation for input that will direct their congressional advocacy and lobbying on behalf of issues that Quakers care about. They are currently preparing to develop their priorities for the upcoming 117th Congress for 2021–2022.
Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee is now coordinating efforts to ensure that the voices at Cincinnati Friends Meeting will be considered as FCNL plans for their annual meeting in November 2020. We, along with other Quaker meetings and groups, are being asked to select priorities from their Policy Statement, The World We Seek, and to submit our priorities to them by April 10, 2020. The Policy Statement affirms the following:
- We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.
- We seek a society with equity and justice for all.
- We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled.
- We seek an Earth restored.
These statements are not only policy for FCNL; they are in every sense a part of who we are as a community of faith. So many of us are actively and passionately committed to these ideals in every aspect of our lives. We are a community that adopted a Social Justice Minute on Immigration and Family Unity that was then adopted by Wilmington Yearly Meeting. We have members and attenders dedicated to criminal justice reform, to the environment, to individuals supporting under-served children in active ministries, to working at the state level for mental health and education initiatives, and so much more.
As such an active Meeting committed so deeply to our Quaker testimonies, we surely should be among those counted at the national level.
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee is asking each of us individually to discern and pray about what our priorities are and what we think our priorities are as a Meeting. The Committee will hold an open worship session on March 24 following meeting for worship for all those interested to come together to discern the priorities that we want to share with FCNL. We will identify our list of seven priorities that we will then forward to FCNL. If you cannot attend that meeting but would like to have your voice included, please share your priority list by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org for the Peace and Social Concerns Committee.
Among the issues that FCNL lobbies and advocates for are:
- Criminal justice
- Immigrants and refugees
- Native Americans
- Peace building
- Voting and elections
- Economic justice
- Gun violence prevention
- Middle East & Iran
- Nuclear weapons
- U.S wars and militarism
In addition to joining Quakers from across our country in setting legislative priorities, this discernment will give us the opportunity to share more with each other and to build an even stronger faith community through the passion we share for social justice.
The World We Seek is not only a mission statement for FCNL; it is at the very foundation of who we are at Cincinnati Friends Meeting.
To learn more about FCNL and their process for setting priorities, go to FCNL.org.