How We Put
Faith in Action
Refugee Resettlement Program
Between November 2015 and August 2018 Birmingham Friends Meeting hosted the West Chester Area Refugee Resettlement Project. A group of volunteers from various faith traditions partnered with Church World Service to assist in resettling a seven-member Congolese family in our community. Finding and securing housing, furnishings, and clothing; obtaining Social Security cards; securing employment; enrolling the children in school, connecting the family to medical and social services; teaching about household appliances, grocery shopping, and bill paying, and using public transportation; tutoring family members in English and helping the children with school work were some of the ways the group supported the family in transitioning to their American life.
Birmingham MM and members of the WCARRP were incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to welcome and get to know "our" family--they inspired us by their example of perseverance in exceedingly difficult circumstances and enriched our lives with their good humor, singing, and friendship.
We Save Lives
On the left: Youth in our Peace Center.
On the right: EOD Soldiers oversee Humanitarian Mine Action training with Chad Students. Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons.
Birmingham Friends Meeting, through the leadership efforts of members Ted Brinton, John Lavin and Ruth Young, has raised money to buy mine detectors for use in developing countries, where warfare has rendered land unusable because of buried mines. This work and support has been taken up by our Youth committee and Peace and Social Concerns Committee, who continue to raise funds for purchasing the detectors.
Who has not seen the distressing photo of a child maimed by stepping on a mine, or read the sad story of a family bereavement from working in a mined area? Providing the means to detect buried mines is a win-win proposition: it prevents injuries and fatalities and it allows land, contaminated with buried mines, to be returned to much needed food production. The detectors have been bought from the Schonstedt Instrument Co. which donates a second one for free with each purchase. The detectors are then distributed worldwide by the UN Mine Action Service. The benefits of these efforts have been huge.
For More information about this program go to: https://www.friendsjournal.org/demining-for-peace/
Anti-Racism Action Group
Friends at Birmingham Meeting are finally awakening to the
realization of our individual and corporate complicity in the long-sanctioned violence against Blacks and other people of color and how much needs to change in us and in our society. We have established an Anti-Racist Action Group that is committed to increasing our consciousness as Friends about the intersection of privilege and race in our culture and spiritual community. The Group meets monthly to discuss and learn from books and pod-casts to increase our knowledge about anti-racism work.
We are also focusing on two issues of importance:
We support and work to fulfill the moral imperative that every child in Pennsylvania deserves schools that receive their fair share of state funding in amounts adequate to offer high-quality education. For more information go to:
We also wish to support locally black-owned businesses in our Chester County area. We recommend this list to help identify those businesses: https://wcasj.org/black-owned-businesses/
Top left: Birmingham Friends proudly supports Ujima Friends Peace Center in Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of Ujima Friends
Bottom right: West Chester, PA born Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was a Quaker civil rights activist who inspires many Quakers today. Photo courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation, License: CC BY 2.0
Birmingham Friends Letter to Editor of Philadelphia paper:
I am writing to urge Our US Representatives from Pennsylvania to sign on as Co-Sponsors of the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Repair Act of 2020, introduced by U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06) and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06) on December 7, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It is long past time to repair the injustices directed toward Black World War II Veterans. Upon their return home from fighting for our country they were denied access to the benefits of the GI Bill. This was due to purposeful discriminatory federal, state, and local policies, along with political and institutional barriers. The result of this discrimination is that Black Veterans were kept from achieving full economic mobility and accumulation of wealth for themselves, their families and their descendants. This Bill importantly extends access to the VA Loan Guaranty Program and to the Post-911 GI Bill educational assistance benefits to surviving spouses and certain direct descendants. Our Congress should do the right thing and show that Black Veterans service matters by voting this Bill into law.