Testimonies and Concerns 2017 Annual Report:
Members: Paige Tilghman, Beth Mufson, Amy Owsley, Ryan Ewing, Harvey Zendt
The 2017 PYM Faith and Practice describes Witness in the World as a underlining responsibility of the meeting and describes the work as
"A social concerns committee to help meeting members address a variety of issues in their community, state, nation, or world. The name of the committee may reflect work on issues of peace, social witness, racial justice, or environmental concerns. These committees: Plan and carry out service projects; Recommend actions to individuals and to the meeting itself as a corporate body; Encourage members to participate in work for social change through established Quaker organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee and the Friends Committee on National Legislation; Engage in social actions consistent with Friends testimonies; Support a member or members in seeking to bring a particular concern to the attention of the monthly, quarterly or yearly meeting; Initiate consciousness-raising and skill-building activities that reflect Quaker testimonies and help to create a culture of anti-bias, peace and justice in new ways."
Testimonies and Concerns (T&C) reflects these priorities and encourages members and attenders to respond to the needs of our community and to participate in the various entities that relate to the mission and work of the Quaker community: PEACE, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Talbot Interfaith Shelter, American Friends Service Committee and the NAACP.
The Committee meets on the first First Day of the month at 8:30 a.m. in the First Day School Room. We benefit from the website as a platform for contribution and sharing of activity and as a tool to chronicle our work and to outreach to others. We consider our committee member contributions in serving on Testimonies & Concerns and align those interests as priorities for the year. These areas guide our work as individuals and as an invitation for members of THFM to become involved in social action: Women and Children and Hunger; Immigration Reform; Prison Reform; Nuclear Disarmament; and Environment. T&C oversees the Schoffner Fund, established in Memorial for John Schoffner, held by the Friends Fiduciary. The Schoffner Fund is dedicated to scholarships for young adults in foreign countries and to projects organized with THFM First Day School for education and peace. The Fund balance for 3rd Quarter 2017 is reported to be $16,744.58. The Schoffner Fund has provided a college education for Susana Ramirez, a Bolivian student who is in her final year of medical school. A request for $200.00 will be made to the Schoffner Fund to support the $850.00 tuition for the last remaining semester. The balance of the tuition has been provided by contributions from THFM members.
A letter was received from Sandra Herbert and Pete Howell, who met with Testimonies and Concerns re: Talbot County courthouse statues, including one with a confederate flag. T & C had a deep discussion on this topic. It was noted that a committee on this topic is being formed with Talbot county citizens of all persuasions to come up with a solution acceptable to as many Talbot Countians as possible. A member proposed that Third Haven send a representative to this committee since it was seen as historically appropriate for Quakers to participate. Pete Howell is willing to be this representative but for the moment will attend as a private citizen and keep us informed.
Comments noted: Part of our Quaker foundation is to support the equality and unity of all people; however, Quakers have never erected monuments. Putting a statue up disregards those of color who suffered the effects of slavery and fought it the longest. Future consideration of such ideas is recommended.
The topic will be held for next month's Meeting for Business, perhaps preceded by a threshing session.