Every two years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) asks Quaker communities to discern the most pressing legislative priorities for Congress. This input becomes the basis of FCNL’s advocacy work for the coming Congress.
The discernment process for the 118th Congress (which starts in January 2023) began in January 2022 and will stay open for submissions until April 12. The Policy Committee will continue discernment until November, when FCNL’s 2023-2024 Legislative Priorities will be presented to the General Committee for further discernment and approval during its November 17–20 Annual Meeting.
Every two years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) asks Quaker communities to discern the most pressing legislative priorities for Congress.
To successfully engage in this process, here are some tips from Alex Stark, former clerk of FCNL’s Policy Committee, and Deb Hejl, clerk of the Field Committee.
There’s no one right way to participate!
Your Quaker community can choose any method of engagement—whether that’s through a meeting for business or putting up poster boards where Friends can attach notes. You don’t even have to be a part of a formal meeting; any Quaker-affiliated group can participate.
Divide your priorities into the “We Seek” categories
Framing your priorities around the categories outlined in FCNL’s policy statement, “The World We Seek,” helps the Policy Committee continue the discernment process.
Understand that FCNL relies on your worshipful discernment
FCNL relies on your discernment to guide the direction of our advocacy, and you, in turn, trust that FCNL to advocate on your behalf. The priorities process “underscores that FCNL is an organization built by and for a grassroots community of Quakers across the country,” says Alex Stark.
This process is not only political; it is also profoundly faithful. This process asks Friends to seek divine guidance on what issues they feel called to prioritize.
Include many different perspectives
Encourage everyone in your community to participate, including children. This leads to richer discernment.
Be confident—we want to hear from you!
For more information, including how you can participate, visit www.fcnl.org/priorities.