1. Update

Why I Have to Be In Washington this November

September 12, 2017

I have to be in Washington, DC this year November 2-5 for the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Annual Meeting.

For the last 18 years, I’ve represented various Quaker organizations as a General Committee member at Annual Meeting. General Committee members are the core of FCNL’s world-mending mission, and their presence at Annual Meeting in worship and discernment undergirds the work of FCNL on Capitol Hill. But being a General Committee member is not the only reason I am required to be in Washington, DC in November.

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I have to be there to represent my monthly meeting and the United Society of Friends Women International in their work to lobby for peace in the world and their concerns for the environment. I want to be there to understand FCNL’s work and communicate about it to these Friends. I am there to represent the 1,500 people who pass through the food pantry I manage each month. Their health depends on Medicaid and good nutritional food from the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. I need to represent the women I visit in jail each week, who are fighting addiction and dealing with a sometimes flawed and biased judicial system.

I am required to be there to actively practice hope at a difficult time in our democracy.

I have to be there to work with other Quakers from across the nation who are called to lobby, learn, and lead on Capitol Hill. I attend as a witness to a sometimes fractured Quaker community, demonstrating that Quakers of various branches can work together well and business meetings can be spiritually led. I am required to be there to actively practice hope at a difficult time in our democracy and to nurture relationships with the staff at FCNL, helping them to represent Quakers on Capitol Hill.

While I make this trip with my own money and take time from responsibilities in my life to participate, it is a very small sacrifice. There is also support available for FCNL General Committee members. Being present at Annual Meeting is a matter of spiritual leading, of holy obedience. I need to worship with Quakers and friends and to be a part of bringing spiritual values to bear on public policy. As FCNL begins its 75th year of lobbying on Capitol Hill, I have to be present to encourage and nurture its prophetic voice and its work and witness into the next 75 years.

I have a feeling many of you have to be at Annual Meeting this year too. Your presence and your witness are needed at this time. Early bird registration rates are available now, please register soon.

Pam Ferguson, Clerk FCNL Annual Meeting Planning Committee