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Epistle on Inclusion at Adelphi Friends Meeting

[ PDF with signatures ]

February 1, 2012

To Friends Everywhere,

We at Adelphi Monthly Meeting are deeply concerned that there are Friends in any Meeting or Quaker organization who cannot be honest about their intimate relationships and know that they are honored and fully included in their worship and work communities.  Such a condition diminishes not just those relationships, but all in the community as we endeavor to minister to one another.  We witness to our conviction that every person should be able to live out fully what God is leading them to do in their lives.

The Spirit that resonates in our souls is one that affirms love, that celebrates love, that rejoices in the presence of love.  When we embrace that of God in everyone, including the full richness of the loving relationships in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enhanced.

After laboring for almost a decade, Adelphi Monthly Meeting approved a minute affirming same-sex marriage in 1991.  We have done our best to welcome equally gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and heterosexual Friends into the life of our Meeting.  The first same-sex marriage under Adelphi’s care was celebrated in 2006.  After twenty years, Adelphi’s policy on same-sex marriages continues to feel Spirit-led.

We of varied sexual orientations and gender identities worship together and accomplish the committee work of our monthly Meeting.  We raise our children and minister to one another in the wide variety of ways that the Spirit leads us.  Our Meeting recognizes “the Light in all sincere, loving, supportive relationships, which are characterized by growth and in which faith, hope, love, and truth abide.” Although we do the work of community imperfectly, we have all been blessed by the open, accepting, and loving atmosphere of our Meeting.

Adelphi works hard to be a welcoming place for young people from our monthly and yearly Meetings.  We owe our youth the guarantee that Adelphi be a safe place where our community will defend their basic human rights, including their right to have responsible loving relationships without discrimination of any sort.

Our lives are better for this.  We are grateful for the gifts each member brings to our faith community.  We have been uplifted by the openness with which our children accept differences.

Our Meeting is now considering whether we have a corporate leading to organize a gathering for Friends with a concern for the loving inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning Friends in their meetings and within the wider circle of Friends.  Perhaps there are other Meetings or individuals with similar leadings.  We would like to hear from you.

We treasure our kinship with all Friends.  We have genuine, heartfelt connections to Friends and Meetings around the world.  We have built relationships by worshipping and working together, by sojourning and through visitation.  We are filled with hope that, through continuing dialogue within the wider Quaker community, we can come to an understanding that allows us to walk gently over the earth, answering that of God in every person and slighting none.

This is our experience.  This is our witness.

In Love and Light,

/s/

Jade Eaton, Clerk
Adelphi Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
2303 Metzerott Rd.
Adelphi, Maryland 20783
USA
inclusion@adelphifriends.org


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Updated:  04/20/2012