For more than nine decades, Pendle Hill has served as a fertile ground for personal and communal transformation, but this often comes with certain challenges. We have worked to create a respectful and safe space for exploring hard conversations and conflicting worldviews while remaining faithful to seeking divine guidance in the process. This practice has been tested in our history, and within those moments we have created space for learning and support: two critical components of our Quaker faith and practice as we contribute to the Beloved Community.
Recently, Pendle Hill welcomed a group to campus that promotes certain principles and values that are very distant from our own. While the group was respectful during its time here, there was a very real fear and discomfort among the staff community because of this group’s public statements about our friends in the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as its political views on the state of our fragile democracy. These views were far from our mission as a Quaker study, retreat, and conference center that aims to advance peace and justice in the world.
From my own humbled journey, I know that the ways we respond to conflict in our lives are informed by our experiences, our emotions, perceptions, and environments. Sometimes, it is very difficult for us to reach clarity when we are in distress. How we let our emotions inform our actions can be the difference between supporting or destroying our communities. This is particularly true in situations when our experiences are accompanied and ignited by socio-political tensions in which fundamental rights, justice, peace, and/or our integrity are at stake. Responding to those situations from a place of compassion and hope requires a commitment to seeing others as people who carry within them the seed of divine love. This is not an easy task, but it is one that we must embrace when cultivating the Beloved Community.
At Pendle Hill, we remain committed to maintaining our campus and our online platforms as spaces for faithful and transformative work in which our values of inclusion, respect, and belonging are practiced and encouraged. We are very proud of being a community that welcomes, protects, and supports those doing the necessary social and environmental justice work toward dismantling any form of discrimination, and we are unequivocally invested in fostering and welcoming groups and activities that aim to contribute to a non-violent, inclusive, and just society.