‘A diverse community is not an optional extra. It is fundamental to how communal discernment works.’

Events in the US have put discrimination back in the news. Craig Barnett says Friends need to do more on inclusion, too

‘Exclusion and separation impoverish everyone.’ | Photo: Maria Oswalt / Unsplash.

There seems to be a traditional list of excuses for why so many Quaker Meetings fail to reflect the racial and social diversity of their local communities. These include:

  • ‘Silent worship doesn’t suit everyone.’
  • ‘We shouldn’t be trying to proselytise.’
  • ‘They prefer their own churches, which have lots of singing.’
  • ‘Muslims wouldn’t want to come to a Quaker Meeting anyway.’
  • ‘We do have lots of diversity, in people’s beliefs.’
  • ‘We welcome everyone, but we can’t force people to come.’

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