Circulated - early July 2, 2015
During the past year's
conversations in our Yearly Meeting about those issues which unite us
and those which divide us, we have been grateful for the civility and
spiritual depth with which these discussions, by and large, have taken
place. People of good faith do differ in their understanding of
holy scripture and our Quaker Christian tradition, but we are
appreciative of the friendships maintained through earnest wrestling
with our differences.
However, we are
concerned by those instances of what must honestly be called
“bullying.” We have watched with growing concern and pain as people we
love have been privately and publicly bullied, harassed, and
discouraged for honestly held differences of opinion. This has
occurred in congregations, in our representative gatherings, in
committee work, in phone calls and e-mails, and in individual
conversations. It has resulted in distress, retreat from work for
the Yearly Meeting, and in extreme cases in hospitalization for stress
It must stop.
But when even people of significant leadership experience have
expressed frustration in knowing how to confront those who are
bullying, we acknowledge the challenge in addressing the
situation. Perhaps it begins by acknowledging that we do have
this problem and, by our combined voices, empower each other to step up
and name it.
We invite you to join in
this effort. Below are some signs of a “bully” among us (from
ThomRainer.com). Let us unite in recognizing when it is happening and
support each other in confronting it. That's a first step.
Are you willing to add your name and share these concerns with your
meeting and others?
Frank Massey, pastoral minister at Jamestown Friends Meeting
Max L. Carter, William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center
Warning signs of a “bully”:
1. They do not recognize themselves as bullies.
2. They have personal and self-serving agendas
3. They seek to form power alliances with weak members
4. They tend to have intense and emotional personalities
5. They tend to say “people are saying”
6. They are allowed to bully because people will not stand up to them
7. They create chaos and wreak havoc
8. They often move to other churches/meetings after they have done their damage