(Adapted from “Implementing Small Group Social Change Ministry,” by Kelly Dignan and Kierstin Homblette. Learn more about Quaker social change ministry here.)
Accompaniment is hard work, and it is easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and hopeless. These tenets, along with your group’s covenant, can help to guide you as you navigate this journey together.
Tenets of accompanying for social change
1. Building relationships of trust and accountability with people and communities most impacted by injustice by showing up and staying in the relationships for the long haul.
2. Remembering that the liberation of everyone and everything is inherently connected, and together, we are on a learning journey toward it.
3. Walking together while navigating differences in a loving, respectful, trusting relationship.
4. Struggling together and encouraging one another’s spiritual growth.
5. Contemplating the gifts you are going to receive when accompanying, instead of how you will give, help, teach, tell, or fix. 6. Acknowledging and unlearning your patterns of dominance, like taking charge, leading. making decisions, etc.
7. Asking for and lending empathic support.
8. Moving beyond asking to acting.
9. Getting out of your comfort zone (materially, emotionally, and physically) and allowing yourself to be changed by this process.
10. Disrupting the systems and structures of oppression – with integrity and in authentic community with those most impacted, following their leadership.
The Latin roots of “accompanying” are: To be together (“com”) in eating bread (“panis”), face to face.
Derived from academic and pastoral care resource on the topic, along with interviews by Kelly Dignan with Dr. Vincent Harding, Staughton Lynd, Rev. John Fife, Rev. Dr. Thandeka, Rev. Julie Todd, PhD, and companions in creating Beloved Community.