Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (and sisters) to dwell together in unity. Psalms 133:1
Harbari Gani? Umoja
Beloved brothers and sisters! On this the first day of Kwanzaa, I am reminded of the blessing of this fellowship. What a beautiful collection of folks! We come from very different walks of life, have a range of beliefs about Quakerism, spirituality, politics, race, culture, food and the list goes on. We come from different parts of the country and in some cases different parts of the world. We have a variety of professions, vocations, gifts, interest, and talents. Sometimes, I wonder what unifies us together as a Fellowship. This morning two things occurred to me. The first is our reverence for the legacy of our ancestors who suffered, sacrificed, prayed, persisted, and left us such an uplifting legacy to continue. The second is our commitment to the rule of Love and its requirement that we lift up justice, peace, freedom, restoration, forgiveness and the right sharing of the earth’s resources. After over two and a half decades, we are yet holding on to one another and to the possibility of a beloved community that expands out to People of African Descent. May 2018 bring us a unity that is vibrant, inclusive and productive.
News from the Fellowship’s Continuing Committee: We continue to be open to sites to hold this year’s Gathering. The Ujima Friends Peace Center has expanded and can actually offer to host the Gathering. However, we are open to other suggestions. We are also looking for a theme for this years’ Gathering. We hope that you will send your recommendation as soon as possible. One thing the continuing committee is considering is a Freedom Ride for August, 2019. Just like visiting Ghana, we believe the freedom ride through places like Washington, Greensboro, Selma, Ruleville, Birmingham, Memphis, Money, Jackson, Atlanta, Montgomery and other sites important to our liberation struggle will be transformative. We hope to discuss this more fully at the FOFAD Gathering 2018. In the meantime, let’s all do our research on this possibility.
Hill House Roof Fundraiser: As you know, Hill House Monthly Meeting in Ghana hosted a delegation of our members in August, 2017. In the Spirit of Kuumba, we are enjoined to leave a place better and more beneficial than we found it. The Ghana delegation was made aware of a need for a new roof at Hill House Monthly Meeting House. It would be wonderful if the wider fellowship could join together with our brothers and sisters in Ghana to repair the roof. Be on the lookout for a message from our sister, Vanessa Julye to move forward fundraising for this worthy cause. Because the fellowship is in the process of re-applying for its tax exemption status, funds for Hill House will be collected by Ujima Friends Peace Center, which has 501c3 status. This will be done on behalf of the Fellowship and will be sent to our Friends in Ghana. Fundraising efforts will begin in Januar. Let’s set a goal of $6000 and reach out to our monthly and yearly meetings for assistance. We will set up a link for donations next month. Stay Tuned!
BAGU (Bold Adolescent Girls’ Union): While in Ghana, members of the FOFAD Ghana delegation also visited with Linda Anaabah, the founder of Bold Adolescent Girls Union. She is doing amazing work in Ghana with young people as she strives to empower young girls to assert their reproductive rights, care for their health, and create possibilities for their education. Members of the fellowship were impressed and would like to sponsor 6 months of programming for her which would be an $1200. A few women are gathering at the Ujima Friends Peace Center and will SKYPE with Linda on Kujichagulia Wednesday, December 27. In the meantime, Ujima has set up a link for donations to BAGU on behalf of the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent. We will like to be able to send $1200 by January 15 (Dr. King Day). Please make your donation now at www.ujimafriends.org.
Fellowship Articles: Please check out articles written by our brother Paul Rickets on his fellowship experience in Ghana. His first article on his experience in Ghana, Akwaaba PRicketts , was published in an African American newspaper in the Fort Wayne area. The second ”Breath of the Ancestors’ will be publish in Feb-Friends Journal. We are so grateful to Paul for continuing to tell our story! Write on, Brother Paul!
Vanessa Julye: Reaching a New Generation – Wanted to share this really cool experience from last Saturday. A young man came to receive groceries from our food give-away at Ujima Friends. He was about twenty-something and had a tattoo of a black panther on top of Africa with the red, black, and green flag covering the motherland. He identified himself as a member of the Black Panther Party and said he was excited to hear about the Peace Center moving in the community. I then proceeded to tell me about this really deep book he had read about Quakerism called Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship. He was thrilled when I told him the author was a member of our worship community. He asked our outreach coordinator, Mai Spann-Wilson, whether the Panthers could meet at the Center and would they be allowed to bring their guns. Even though we said no guns, I think he will be back. I am so grateful and proud of the work that our writers do. You never know who is being reached because of the sacrifice of the writers among us. Congratulations Sister Vanessa, your work is reaching a new generation of young folks in “the hood”.
News from Ujima Friends Peace Center
The Spirit of God continues to bless Ujima Friends Peace Center as a ministry of FOFAD. In October when we had our first Grocery Give Away we fed over 50 families. In November we fed 70 families, Last week we fed nearly 80 families. This represents providing groceries to nearly 1000 people in North Philadelphia in just three months. Praise God!
Ujima Friends also had a really successful Community Open House with several community organizations, who were recognized for their work. We are now scheduled to meet again with these community organizations and coordinate our efforts to improve conditions within this special historic black community. In November, we hosted a meeting of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women as well as Baltimore Yearly Meeting STRIDE organization which is making an outward bound youth development experience available for more children of color. We give thanks for the work of our Sister Dyresha for bringing STRIDE to Ujima. Best of all, we continue to worship together in the Black community every Sunday at 2:00 pm. What’s most exciting is that we now officially have 20 people who have officially joined Ujima Friends worship community as members and have committed themselves to the work of the center. Of these 6 count Ujima as their primary worship community. We really are growing and sharing the Quaker experience in among our people. If you are in the Philadelphia area, Ujima Friends is hosting a Kwanzaa celebration on the evening of what else? UJIMA, December 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm. At the Ujima Friends Peace Center. We ask that friends bring a dessert or their favorite dish. We also hope that friends will bring poetry, stories, and their talents to share.
Please remember that Ujima Friends Peace Center is a ministry of the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent. It is a manifestation of a commitment that we as a Fellowship made in the summer of 2016. It cost about $3500 monthly to operate. We are grateful to those who have become monthly contributors and are members even if from afar. Every little bit helps so please visit our website at www.ujimafriends.org and make a monthly contribution.
Please, please, please send News: We would love to know what you are doing in the world. Please send news of activism, family, and spiritual epiphanies! We would love to hear from you and include your news in our newsletter. Email me using email@example.com.
Amani upendo na Nguvu (Peace, Love, and Power)! Sisi ni moja siku zote! (We are one always!)
Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays
Ayesha Imani, Clerk