227 Edgewood Road
(just east of UNC-A campus)
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State Of the Meeting
- After some deliberation and revision, our State Of the Meeting 2015 was approved at our 3rd month business meeting and submitted to the Yearly Meeting for wider distribution this summer. The report is also posted here on our website:
A Different Perspective On “White Supremacy”
- Asheville Friends continue to struggle with the term “White Supremacy” and what it means to us as a community. Our Racial Justice Committee has been led to recommend the term be used in the description of their committee’s charge (i.e., statement of purpose), but after two business meeting discussions and a threshing session, Friends are still not united in accepting this. After a sleepless night following the second business meeting discussion, one Friend felt led to write the following essay.
Reflections from a Friend
Patricia M. Johnson
Asheville Friends Meeting joins many others in their concern about racial injustice and has formed a committee to address it. We are trying to discern the mission of this committee but have not yet come to unity on the particular wording. The term “white supremacy/racism” preferred by the committee has deeply hurt and offended some of us. Others recognize this term as an academic definition of an historic and ongoing system in which structural or societal racism privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred.
In the manner of Friends, we continue to hold each other in the Light and hopefully treat each other with respect, tenderness and understanding. I invite each of us to look deep within to examine whether our attitudes, reflections & reactions are derived from Spirit or from our own unresolved issues.
The following comments are my own personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the the thinking of the Asheville Friends Meeting:
As we continue to discern the mission statement of our Racial Justice Committee, let us for a moment or two take our thoughts to a less personal level and try to see the issue as a more systemic reality.
Let’s pretend for now we’re from Mars or some other planet and we’re looking at the history of planet earth from a few hundred years ago. We see the North American continent with many people of darker skin living and working, raising families and taking care of themselves and their part of Earth. We also see the European continent with white skinned people doing some of the same actions.
One day, some of these light-skinned people decide to go on an adventure in hopes of gaining more land and wealth. They get in ships and sail away to the American continent. When they get to this far-away place, they see that the people have a different way of doing things and a different way of being. The light-skinned folks don’t particularly like these other ways and they tell the darker-skinned people we have a better way. We will take this land and do things our way so you’ll have a good life. We know better than you what’s best for you.
Of course, the dark-skinned ones don’t like this and there is much conflict. But the light skins set up laws, systems and institutions to be sure they are in charge and have power over the dark skins. As we keep looking at this history, we see the light skins continue to be in charge and they suppress the dark skins so they can maintain their power over them. The light skins say we have more knowledge and expertise than you so our way is superior to yours. We’ll build the best of all worlds here and for your own good, you’ll help us do things our way.
Now as an outsider from another planet, wouldn’t we say this scenario illustrates how the light skinned (white) people have supremacy over people of color? Today we can’t change any of this history but can’t we at least acknowledge that our systems, institutions and culture elevate white people to a supreme position? It doesn’t necessarily mean a particular individual has supremacist attitudes but that our white skin automatically puts us at a higher level than dark-skinned folks. My understanding is that our Racial Justice Ministry uses the term “white supremacy” to name and acknowledge this fact.
What Is “White Supremacy?”
- Our Meeting’s newly formed Racial Justice Committee encourages Friends to more fully acquaint themselves with the meaning of the term “White Supremacy” in preparation for our threshing session this coming Sunday. To that end, Friends are offered the following readings:
- In response to the Minute on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Steve L has been led to obtain products made in the West Bank and marketed by a women’s cooperative in northern Israel. These products include award-winning organic olive oil, traditional Za’atar spice mixture, and handmade olive oil soaps. Purchasing these products helps empower women and promote peace and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians, and provides income to Palestinian entrepreneurs.
If you are interested in purchasing any of these products, please email Steve
Asheville Friends Public Statements
- Almost all of the worship and discernment of meetings for worship with attention to business concern the spiritual and temporal life of the meeting community only, but every once in a great while, the Meeting is moved to broadcast its discovered truth to a wider audience, or as the Friendly expression goes, “speak truth to power.” Friends refer to such statements of discovered truth as “minutes”. Our Meeting has been led to publish the following “minutes”:
Meeting for Worship
- Every First Day (Sunday)
- 9:30 a.m. Singing
- (no later than) 9:55 a.m. Transition to silent worship
- 10:00 a.m. Silent worship
- 10:15 a.m. First Day School for children
- 11:00 a.m. Sharing of joys & sorrows
- 11:15 a.m. First Day School ends
- 11:30 a.m. Fellowship
We sing many traditional hymns (with some wording adjustments for inclusiveness and universality) as well as contemporary. All a cappella of course! We use the well-known green hardcover Quaker Hymnal, as well as “Rise Up Singing” and our own little booklet of favorite hymns.
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Our Business
There is a saying among Friends that we did not abolish the clergy, we abolished the laity. Join us after rise of Meeting for Worship to experience the aspect of Quaker practice that most sets us apart from other religious faiths, as we seek to discern Divine leadings in our work and discover Divine truth for our community.
- Each Second First Day (Sunday) of the month
- Supervised play for children
- Begins at 12 noon
- Ends by 2 p.m.
- Each Fourth First Day (Sunday) of the month
- Begins after rise of Meeting
- “Loaves, fishes, and fellowship” – everyone welcome!
- Healthful, homemade dishes encouraged
- Be mindful of dietary restrictions and list ingredients of your offerings
- Ends when cleanup is completed
Adult Spiritual Enrichment
- First, third, and fifth First Day (Sunday) of the month
- Begins at 12 noon
- Supervised play for children
- Ends by 2 p.m.
Care & Nurture
- Looks after Friends with special needs
The Asheville Friends Meeting is an unprogrammed meeting.
Unprogrammed worship is the more traditional style of worship among Friends and remains the norm in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the United States and Canada. During an unprogrammed meeting for worship, Friends gather together in “expectant waiting” for divine leadings. Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, sometimes quite a few people speak. Meeting for Worship generally lasts about an hour.
A member will rise and share a message (give “ministry”) with the gathered meeting when they feel they are led by the spirit. Typically, messages, testimonies, ministry, or other speech are unprepared, and members are expected by the community to discern the source of their inspiration—whether divine or self.
Unprogrammed worship is generally deemed to start as soon as the first participant is seated, the others entering the room in silence. The Meeting for Worship ends when one person (usually predetermined) shakes the hand of his or her neighbor. All the members of the assembly then shake hands with their neighbors, after which one member usually rises and extends greetings and makes announcements. Many meetings serve coffee or tea after meeting, which gives everyone an opportunity to catch up with friends and chat with visitors.
A Visitor Reflects On Her Experience At AFM
Midweek Meeting for Worship
Our Midweek Meeting is currently on hiatus.