News from Western Quaker Newsletters
Late May, Early June, 2009
Most people in the world think of summer in terms of vacation, the beach, etc. But, not us Quakers! We know that summer means Yearly Meeting. (Apologies to those Friends who hold yearly meetings at other times of the year; I’m sure you look forward to your own yearly meeting season as well.)
For most of the past 20 years, I have, by wearing one Quaker hat or another, attended multiple yearly meetings or the equivalent in the western part of the United States. It has been my pleasure to be with all of these wonderful Friends who have become my friends. I have learned so much and I have grown spiritually in this time.
In this summer of my new beginnings, I will attend my own yearly meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting and perhaps visit Northwest Yearly Meeting. This feels so right for now.
I find most of the information for this Newsletter Summary in church and meeting newsletters. Many are sent to me by postal mail; others by e-mail. Until fairly recently I had a PMB – Personal Mail Box – in Vancouver, WA. I have now closed that PMB box. Mail may or may not be forwarded from that address.
If you are the person who sends your church or meeting Newsletter to me by postal mail, would you consider sending it to me as an e-mail attachment? If that is not possible, send me an e-mail so I can send you my new address.
News of Friends Meetings and Churches
Meridian Friends Church (ID) is holding its Vacation Bible School with the theme, “Operation Space – A close encounter with God’s word.”
Multnomah Meeting (Portland, OR) Friends are being asked, “Are we still a dangerous people? What might your answer say about the work of the Spirit in your heart?” Friends will meet Saturday, June 13 with facilitators Marge Abbott and Peggy Parsons to explore the spiritual qualities which once caused Quakers to be thrown in prison and legislated against as a danger to the realm.
The report of the Children’s Program Committee of Multnomah Meeting (Portland, OR) stated that 25 children and 25 adults participated in the program in the past year. All children who participated in the program were presented with an age-appropriate book at the end of the year.
Newberg Friends (OR) will have the opportunity to participate in “Listen to Christ” retreats.” On May 30 Friends will be “Experiencing God in Creation.” This will be a chance to learn, practice, and experiment with tools of listening, such as silence, journaling, confession, and meditation.
Newberg Friends Church (OR) is considering implementing a “voluntary gas tax” to provide funds for weatherization projects in the church building and in the homes of neighbors.
A Quaker Literature Group of Orange County Meeting (Santa Ana, CA) is reading Founding Faith by Stephen Waldman which is about the faith of people who founded the United States.
Friends at Palo Alto Meeting (CA) will participate in worship sharing on “outsiders and insiders.” Being inclusive means more than bringing many diverse people together; it is about how we experience and engage each other. Identity is a complex construction and outsiders and insiders are not always easily distinguished.
Redwood Forest Meeting (Santa Rosa, CA) has had Junior Membership for about 25 years, partly as a way to keep in touch with teens and college age children. The practice appears to be in name only as Pacific Yearly Meeting does not honor Junior Membership. Oversight has recommended discontinuing this practice. Friends are seasoning this request.
Reedwood Friends Church (Portland, OR) will hold Science Camp for children June 22-24 which will include three days of exploration as well as crafts, bible lessons and demonstrations.
Santa Fe Friends (NM) considered whether or not the Meeting's Care Committee should be laid down. Friends decided instead to appoint a liaison on Ministry and Oversight for care issues
The editor of the Newsletter for Santa Monica Meeting (CA) informs Friends of the Queries for the next month. Friends are encouraged to submit poems, quotations, or personal ministries related to the up-coming query.
Nominating Committee of Santa Monica Meeting (CA) is planning to act in accordance with the Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice suggestion to be bold in its thinking. Friends will be given an opportunity to try out committees that they have not served on before. Some Friends expressed some alarm at the idea of committees being “shaken up”, and discussed the idea. Friends expressed hope that Nominating Committee will be considerate of maintaining a balance between continuity and fluidity and growth.
South Mountain Friends (Ashland, OR) participated in a winnowing session on clerking with the queries: “What actions, skills, or qualities do you want in a clerk?” “What would you be willing to settle for?” “How can the Meeting support the growth of future clerks?” This session was then to be followed up with a workshop on clerking, a “home-grown” workshop led by two former clerks of South Mountain Meeting.
Jim Pike will begin ministry at South Salem Friends (OR) on July 1.
The Faith in Action working group of South Seattle Preparative Meeting (WA) is gathering ideas for working locally and will bring them to business meeting. The group will attempt to make a vision statement.
Friends Community Church, Spring Valley (CA) hosted young men from the Teen Challenge men’s facility, including the Teen Challenge Choir. In this residence young men are taught job skills, basic cooking skills and anger management during days of devotion, dedication and discovery.
The first Quaker Quest workshop for Tacoma Meeting (WA) has been scheduled officially by Friends General Conference (FGC) for September 19, 2009. It will be an all-day workshop led by two facilitators from FGC.
University Meeting (Seattle, WA) is seeking a coordinator for its QUEST program. UFM seeks experienced administrator, program developer, trainer for established program providing six interns with year-long positions at local social change and service organizations. This is a half-time, salaried position. Application deadline: June 15 for August start. Contact Personnel Committee: http://webmail.multnomahfriends.org/src/compose.php?send_to=UFMeeting%40gmail.com or call 360-668-9370.
University Meeting (Seattle, WA) recently held a potluck with the Shelter Group that uses its building. Friends were invited to “enjoy a meal and fellowship with the men and women who sleep in our worship room each night.”
Intergenerational summer Sunday School at First Friends, Whittier (CA) will focus on the works of Dr. Seuss.
When the pastor, Bill Peterson, of First Friends, Whittier, (CA) was stuck in a Denver airport and couldn’t get back to give the message for Sunday worship, his wife, Gail Benson, filled in for him, speaking on “All Will be Well.”
The schedule at Boulder Meeting (CO) for the time after Meeting for Worship for Business and fellowship is: First Sunday – spiritual journey; Second Sunday – Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business; Third Sunday – topical programs suggested by individuals and committees; Fourth Sunday –adult education curriculum; and Fifth Sunday – singing.
To help Friends get to know one another, Boise Friends Church (ID) will establish a picture board with pictures and names of people from each church household.
Friends from Berkeley Meeting (CA) are meeting with members of the Berkeley Ward of the Later Day Saints Church to organize a neighborhood emergency preparedness event which will take place August 15th.
Adam Bradbury begins July 1 at Greenleaf Friends (ID) as their full-time associate pastor.
From many Meetings:
The following is a report from one monthly meeting but the general sense of it comes from many meetings as they work on their nominating processes.
Nominating committee: A lot of difficulty was reported in getting people to serve: some wish to take a break from being on a committee; others did not respond at all; others agree to serve and then don't attend meetings. The Nominating Committee itself needs more members.
Beyond the Monthly Meeting/Churches
Continuing Committee of Arizona Half-Yearly Meeting has recommended that the Meeting change its format to a Fall retreat weekend at Emmanuel Pines Camp in Prescott and a spring gathering in Phoenix or Tucson for a one-day meeting for worship for business and focus meetings for particular committees.
Christian Friends Conference of Northern California will meet Saturday, June 27th at Berkeley Friends Church. Along with silent waiting worship in the manner of Conservative Friends and silent waiting worship upon the Lord, Paul Smith will lead a discussion on the Ten Commandments.
Intermountain Yearly Meeting will gather June 8-14 at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico with the theme, “Telling our Stories: Where is God in All This.” Lucy Duncan, FGC staff and storyteller, will be the guest.
North Pacific Yearly Meeting will gather July 15-19 in Missoula, MT with John Calvi as Friend in Residence. John Calvi, a Quaker healer and teacher specializing in trauma and caregiver burnout, will speak on the theme: "Experiencing Light in Hard Times - How Do We Stay Faithful in Times of Trouble?"
Helen Dart, Presiding Clerk of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, wrote to Friends who might have financial difficulty in attending NPYM: “I want to suggest to Friends that accepting needed scholarship help is a service to the Yearly Meeting. Our strength and power at Annual Session flows from our members coming together, and every one of us is important. By accepting the gift of scholarship funds, we give the gift of our presence to the Annual Session.”
Northwest Yearly Meeting will hold Yearly Meeting Sessions at George Fox University, Newberg, OR, Sunday July 26-Thursday July 30 with the theme, “We are Witnesses.” The Outreach Rally will take place Sunday evening, following the Men’s and Women’s Missionary Banquets. Colin Saxton will give the keynote address Monday evening and Bob Adhikary, missionary to Nepal, will speak Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Kim Felton (from North Valley Friends Church, Newberg, OR) is being added to the Northwest Yearly Meeting Office staff in the newly redesigned half-time Administrative Assistant position. Bruce Butler’s position as Communications Director becomes full-time. This reorganization is partly related to the retirement of Terri Bowen who is irreplaceable. Rachelle Staley moves from an "interim" role to full-time Associate Superintendent of Youth and Young Adults.
Pacific Yearly Meeting will meet July 27-August 1, 2009 at Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA.
Pacific Yearly Meeting Representative Committee considered, but did not come to unity on, a proposal to hire a Youth Coordinator as a regular employee. The issue will go back to committees and to the Annual Session of PYM. Other issues: The 2008 Annual Session incurred a significant loss. An increase in fees or change in pricing structure is being considered. PYM is having difficulty finding a site in Southern California for the 2010 and 2011 sessions.
Meetings in Pacific Yearly Meeting may apply for a grant from the “San Fernando Valley Meetinghouse Proceeds Trust,” for “religious or charitable purposes, such as to assist Quaker meetings in the acquisition of meeting houses." Applications and inquiries should be sent to the Pacific Yearly Meeting Holding Corporation clerk, Lanny Jay.
Attendance at Southern California Quarterly Meeting was higher than anticipated, which was heartening as Friends have been struggling to keep the Quarterly Meeting’s committees filled.
Friends at Willamette Quarterly Meeting expressed concerns about the viability of this Quarterly Meeting, given the low attendance of recent years and the lack of people willing to plan the sessions. Friends agreed to query all the Meetings and Worship Groups to get a sense of their take on the future of Willamette Quarterly Meeting.
PS. Personal note:
I’m moving again. While it’s not my favorite thing to do, I’m almost getting good at it. And, of course, I’ve had a tremendous amount of help from Friends and relatives, including daughter Becky and Nephew Rick.
I’ll miss the trees and the sense of being in the country at my old apartment, but I won’t miss the freeway noise that comes with it. My new apartment is closer in to the city and on a good bus route. The most important thing is that it is about 12 blocks from my granddaughter’s house!