Wilmington Yearly Meeting Society of Friends (Quakers) adopts statement on immigration

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com

WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Yearly Meeting (WYM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has adopted a public statement on immigration and family unity in response to U.S. policy on migration.

The statement, which was approved by all 30-some attendees of a WYM mid-year gathering at Wilmington College, pertains in particular to the safety and well-being of children and the re-unification of families.

The statement refers to migrating children and families “now being used as political pawns in national and international politics.”

It encourages “denouncing the zero tolerance immigration stance of the current U.S. administration as counter to social justice.”

The statement continues, “We further, without hesitation, denounce any policy or process that separates infants and children from their families for political purposes.”

The WYM statement adds that it demands “that a fair, humane and compassionate immigration policy be developed and that it become the law of the land so that no other generation of children will ever face the trauma and tragedy facing so many currently.”

This statement on public policy was adopted in Wilmington earlier this month, but was written a number of months ago when children were being separated from parents at the U.S. and Mexico border, said John Peter (J.P.) Lund, WYM clerk.

The issue has not gone away, he said.

Wilmington Yearly Meeting’s statement announces “our public commitment to speak and to act so that every child, regardless of race, religion or country of origin, is guaranteed the right to be nurtured and safe within the sanctity of their own families and that no rule or process currently or historically of any country shall infringe on and/or interfere with the unity of children and their families.

“We base this call to action on the traditions of all faiths in respect to the role of families as the fundamental building block of society,” according to the statement.

Lund said when Society of Friends members make a public statement of this sort, it means that all those present approved of the statement rather than the statement being determined through majority vote.

“We definitely came to unity [on the statement],” said Lund.

He said he is instructed to send the statement to the U.S. senators as well as to the U.S. representatives from Ohio and Tennessee who have WYM churches within their congressional districts.

WYM consists of a number of Quaker churches in Ohio and Tennessee, including in the Clinton County, Ohio area. And the WYM includes three congregations within the city of Wilmington: Wilmington Friends Meeting in downtown Wilmington, Ada Chapel Friends Meeting on Grant Street, and Campus Friends Meeting located on the Wilmington College campus.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger