Saturday, December 6, 2008

News of Friends Churches and Meetings in the West

Berkeley Friends Meeting (CA) is forwarding a minute to Pacific Yearly Meeting requesting that Pacific Yearly Meeting seek formal affiliation with Friends General Conference.
Bridge City Meeting (Portland, OR) held a threshing session to determine the senses of the Meeting to guide the Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee. Friends expressed concern about hunger (locally and internationally), housing, Alternatives to Violence Project, homelessness, Palestine, engagement with the larger community, immigration, and companioning. The P&SC Committee will meet to establish action plans for 2009.
Flagstaff Meeting (AZ) devoted November’s Meeting for Business to guidance on Quaker process for Meeting for Business itself and for committees so they can bring spirit and well-researched minutes to Meeting for Business. All were invited to attend and learn more about Quaker process.
Gila Meeting (Silver City, NM) spent time discussing the problem of hunger. Friends agreed to have a box for donated food at Meeting for Worship. Food collected will be distributed each week.
Glendora Friends Church (CA) is inviting Friends to “The Big Party,” as a way of celebrating Advent. The Big Party began with a morning of worship and celebration, the year-end Congregational Business Meeting, and a potluck of favorite family dishes. It continues with “Holy Silence,” a Saturday retreat with the question, “Do we choose to be with God?” The month-long celebration will culminate in an all-church Celebration Feast, remembering and rejoicing over God’s provision of rescue and redemption sent through the birth of his Son.
Multnomah Meeting (Portland, OR) Friends will participate in a session on “What do I believe?” led by Marge Abbott on December 14. A soup potluck will precede the session. The session is one of an occasional series exploring the place of belief in Friends’ lives -individually and corporately.
The new Pastor to Children and Families at Newberg Friends Church (OR) is Michelle Akins.
Newberg Friends Church (OR), in its thoughts about the “Advent Conspiracy,” suggests that Christmas should be a time to love friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. The church will host a Do-It-Yourself Fair on Saturday, December 6, to help Friends make gifts.
Reedwood Friends Church (Portland, OR) is celebrating the holidays with an Evening of Music and Holiday Desserts (12-7), a sing-along Messiah (12-14), an Evening with Friends Christmas Party (including old-fashioned carriage rides) (12-19), and a Candlelight Christmas Eve Program (12-24).
The all-school testimony focus of San Francisco Friends School (CA) is Community. Ways that the school is uniquely Quaker include Meetings for Worship, daily moments of silence and reflection, daily practices of the testimonies, and meetings for business (often to address issues that have arisen on the playground).
San Francisco Meeting (CA) is holding a threshing session on the Meeting’s right relations with its neighbors, especially those who hang out on the sidewalk. Recently Friends have started a street ministry, serving food twice a month around the corner from the Meeting House.
Santa Fe Meeting (NM) is creating an interim care sub-committee which will receive requests for support of various kinds from Meeting members and attenders and facilitate appropriate responses to practical needs; Ministry and Oversight will continue to focus on spiritual matters.
South Mountain (Ashland, OR) will hold a worship-sharing session, “Acknowledging the Meaning of Christmas,” as part of their holiday celebration.
South Mountain (Ashland, OR) has established an Outreach Task Force to consider and lead the Meeting in implementing “doable” ideas for getting out the Meeting’s message of welcome to seekers and the Meeting’s message that it has something to share.
South Seattle Preparative Meeting (WA) considered the possibility of the children staying in Meeting for Worship for the beginning rather than the end as they do currently. Friends decided the present method is best. The children bring in joy.
Elizabeth Bwayo is sojourning at Tigard Friends Community Church (OR) to recover from injuries after she and others were attacked in Kenya and her husband killed. She has written a long letter of thanks to the Church and other Friends, in which she updated Friends on the progress of her healing and indicated she hopes to return to Kenya February 2009 and work with orphans.

PS. Personal note:

I’m getting pretty good at this riding-the-bus thing. I can dash out of my apartment, get to my bus stop and be anywhere in the greater Portland area within a period of time. (Well, almost anywhere. The bus doesn’t go to my grandaughter’s house.)
The trusty backpack is ready to be grabbed with hat, umbrella, gloves, plastic bags, etc. ready to be used. It isn’t usually THAT cold out in my part of the world, but it can be mighty wet!
The bus isn’t perfect and everyone on the bus isn’t perfect either. There are a couple of routes I take that, honestly, I’m glad I’m a bit too na├»ve to know what’s going on. But the bottom line is there are people on the bus; people who have wants and needs just like all of us.
This morning I was marveling at what a service the bus provides. Within a few minutes my bus (Number 19) had gathered up a group of people that included a middle-aged woman who spoke virtually no English, an older woman using a walker, and a blind man. Then a young woman with two small children, joined the older woman who handed her the money to pay her bus fare.
I do sometimes take reading material with me on the bus, but often don’t read it. Most of the time I just “read” the people.


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