From Fall 2016 until Spring of 2019, I initiated and facilitated a Quaker Social Change Ministry group in Pasadena, CA. Partly because this was originally a Unitarian invention, and because some of us had been inspired by the joint Quaker/UU activities described in Artemis Joukowsky’s “Defying the Nazi’s: The Sharp’s War,” Orange Grove Monthly Meeting (Quakers) partnered with Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church with hopes of combining our forces. One of the keynote speakers at AFSC’s April 2017 Centennial in Philadelphia, Erica Chenoweth, discussed political and statistical research showing that most successful political revolutions are non-violent, and that interfaith efforts are often even more fruitful. This spoke to me of the need for this collaboration as well.
I stepped down from facilitating our group in May, 2019, and am looking forward to seeing the group continue. Here are some resources to learn about QSCM:
Here’s a little incidental info about Artemis Joukowsky’s film. In it, he describes how his grandparents, a Unitarian minister and wife, traveled to Prague in 1939, working in cooperation with Quakers to smuggle Unitarians out of the country. Prague had the largest Unitarian Church in the world then, with 4000 members; they had been threatened by the Nazis.
AFSC’s QSCM Page:
SPIRITED – CONGREGATIONAL – TRANSFORMATIVE
Quaker Social Change Ministry:
Available to all Friends who wish to do Spirit-led, social justice work connected to the work of AFSC, Quaker Social Change Ministry is a transformative approach to social justice work that combines Spirit + Action to:
• Re-enliven and re-imagine corporate witness
• Follow the leadership of communities most impacted by injustice
• Build relationships within the meeting, with local organizations, and with AFSC
• Bring “Mystics” and “Activists” together
• Participate in a Spirit-led group process
• Tell our stories and learn in a supportive environment
• Co-create the Beloved Community
Quaker Social Change Ministry is based on the work of Kelly Dignan, Kierstin Homblette, and Deborah Holder who created the Small Group Social Change Change Ministry model to support Unitarian Universalist congregations interested in doing powerful social justice work at a local level. Quaker Social Change Ministry builds on their original model and adapts it to a Quaker audience. I have a copy of their introduction to the group model online here, including a pdf for download. It’s helpful for Quakers to see the original UU structure to better understand how it’s been adopted as a Quaker process.
AFSC offers a number of related resources and introductions to the group structure on their site. These include:
• General Introduction to QSCM (2 page pdf)
• QSCM Manual (48 page pdf) Note: I am not a fan of documents including “this page intentionally left blank” pages. For our use, I had to condense this manual and included a couple relevant resources. You can download our condensed and supplemented 21 page manual here. We used this version to teach our Quaker Meeting’s members about QSCM at adult ed.
• AFSC also links to their Sanctuary Everywhere Webinar about QSCM:
This is their page linking to the webinar embedded above.
• Here’s their full Powerpoint presentation. If you click the first image, you can page through them:
There is also a form to sign up for their “cohort” of people involved in practicing Social Change Ministry, or just wanting to learn more about it:
Quaker Social Change Ministry Interest Form
AFSC held monthly conference calls describing issues of concern to them, and activities they were supporting. I first learned of QSCM on this call. The Calls for Spirited Action were later replaced by the Sanctuary Everywhere webinars.
AFSC Call for Spirited Action – Quaker Social Change Ministry
5:30PM PST September 22, 2016
Call led by Lucy Duncan and Greg Elliott.
The AFSC site has a link to the audio recording of this call, but the file seems to be missing:
• “Call for Spirited Action 2015-2016: Quaker Social Change Ministry Part I” which you can download as an MP3 or listen to on their website. Hosted by Kierstin Homblette, Greg Elliott, and Lucy Duncan.
However, I previously transcribed portions of this call, and posted my notes online:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/pasadena-social-change-ministry-resource-list/64C8qaY-kT8 – See the second section that starts “AFSC Call for Spirited Action, September 22, 2016”
There are two more audio recordings available on their site. The second also is currently missing a file: Call for Spirited Action 2015-2016: Quaker Social Change Ministry Part II
The third file actually works:
Call for Spirited Action 2015-2016: Quaker Social Change Ministry Part III
“In Part III of our series on Quaker Social Change Ministry, we explore how to co-create a community that can sustain us for the long haul. Burnout can creep up on us unless we find nourishment in our spiritual life and in our communities. Grounding our work in worship, covenantal relationships, and story telling, we learn and grow together. With Lucy Duncan and Greg Elliott“
Incidentally, AFSC has a podcast available, which you can subscribe to in iTunes or your preferred podcast player. However, QSCM podcasts don’t seem to be included in their podcast feed.
Presently there are two related blog posts included on their page, one by Lucy Duncan and another by Greg Elliot:
Already, but not yet: Co-creating the Beloved Community
ACTING IN FAITH | BY GREG ELLIOTT, OCT 7, 2015
Organizing with the Spirit
ACTING IN FAITH | BY LUCY DUNCAN, NOV 14, 2014
QSCM SUPPORT RESOURCES:
AFSC collected a variety of resources that could be used to support QSCM groups. There were shared with group facilitators. I collected and reformatted them into a single pdf file, which you can download here:
QSCM Trust-building and Facilitation Resources (pdf)
Our experience was that there often wasn’t enough time to add extra exercises to the group agenda. On one or two occasions, we spent some time doing one of the exercises, but they could better be done if you arrange a QSCM group retreat, or half/full-day meeting session.
The people who sign up for the QSCM Cohort email list sometimes meet for a QSCM Cohort Facilitator’s Call. I found it quite helpful to hear the scope of other group’s activities, how they navigate some issues keeping the group running, and learning of available resources or organizations to support our allied work. These are not happening anymore, although if there’s enough interest, Lucy Duncan might be persuaded to resume them. If you sign up for their cohorts above, you will probably be connected with her.
I have added the notes from the six QSCM Cohort calls in the blog section of this site. You can read them here.