News from Western Quaker Newsletters June 2009
This will be my last Newsletter Summary as FWCC staff. However, I will continue to produce this Newsletter Summary and a few other tasks for FWCC on a contract basis.
Please keep those newsletters coming.
What I send to you is a reflection of some of the activities that I am aware of in our Friends churches and meetings throughout the western United States. But you might ask, what’s exciting about FWCC? What’s exciting right now?
Here are a few things that I can think of:
· We held the Annual Meeting of the Section of the Americas in Oregon last March;
· Central Executive Committee members from all over the world attended our Annual Meeting;
· The 2010 Quaker Youth Pilgrimage will be in Oregon and Washington State;
· The Historic Peace Church consultation will take place in the Dominican Republic in 2010 with representation from Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers from Latin America;
· There will be a global change consultation in 2010-11 at the world level;
· The next World Conference of Friends will be in 2012 in Kenya;
· Wider Quaker Fellowship is changing into an international web-based portal to Friends;
· North American Hispanic Friends are becoming more involved with FWCC.
This work happens with a lot of volunteer time and some staff assistance. I can think of (and visualize) Nancy Irving, General Secretary in the FWCC World Office, leading us in the refrain “God is Good – All the Time. All the time –God is good.”
With God helping us in this work, it is good.
News of Friends Meetings and Churches
The Bellingham Meeting (WA) Metamorphosis says: Friends don’t let Friends over consume. Friends in need of items they may not use often are encouraged to consider borrowing the item instead of buying. Friends are encouraged to make announcements regarding their requests at the rise of Meeting.
The Accessibility and Inclusiveness subcommittee of Berkeley Friends Meeting (CA) feels that it has fulfilled its charge and asks to be laid down. The group has been very affective in raising the Meeting’s awareness of physical accessibility and hearing needs, and created a sense of inclusiveness by planning Meeting retreats. It also began the Meeting’s use of wearing nametags, arranged for a listener for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender concerns, and encouraged Friends to list food ingredients for pot luck meals.
Citrus Heights Friends Church (CA) surveyed Friends to help evaluate Sunday worship Experiences. Friends liked the environment of the church, the friendliness of the people, and the preaching/teaching. 47% of those at Friends Church, 0-10 years, accepted Christ at the Church. The median age at the church is 40-49 years old.
For the past several summers Corvallis Meeting (OR) has gathered for Sunday potluck suppers hosted by volunteers in the homes and yards of Friends or local parks. The meager response last summer leads Friends to ask the meeting how it wishes to proceed on this for the coming summer.
Davis Meeting (CA) is considering a meetinghouse expansion. The ad-hoc Meeting House Committee will hold an open meeting to discuss the repair items under consideration and the finance committee has determined a process for identifying funding sources.
Fresno Meeting (CA) is considering a barn as a possible Meeting site.
Glendora Friends Church (CA) has a garden outreach ministry. Most of this season’s garden has been planted in pumpkins, but about 1/5th of the garden has been divided into six plots, each to be gardened by teams of two. Friends are gardening to advance the good news of Jesus Christ in their community.
Grass Valley Meeting (Nevada City, CA) approved accepting earmarked donations for the purchase of one or more landmine detectors.
Honolulu Friends (HI) were asked to be conscious of other Friends who might need help because of illness or other matters and to report needs quickly to Oversight and Counsel when appropriate so that no one falls through the cracks.
A Friend from Kaua’i Worship Group (HI), inspired by attendance at an FCNL Meeting in Washington, DC, organized a “Peacemakers Reunion” in honor of those she believed help demonstrate peace work on the island.
Live Oak Preparative Meeting (Salinas, CA) has requested full Monthly Meeting status. Ministry and Oversight Committee of College Park Quarterly Meeting will send visitors to the Preparative Meeting.
Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Multnomah Meeting (Portland, OR) surveyed Friends; the results showed that volunteering at a local meal site for homeless people as a close 4th among 10 social concerns. Friends are now asked to become active with the project.
Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Multnomah Meeting (Portland, OR) sponsored the Meeting’s First Annual Peaceful Games night, including “The Immigration Visa Limbo Loop,” "The Open-Minded Critical Thinking Toothpick Puzzle," "The Peanut Perception Game," non-competitive “New Games,” and AVP Peace Games.
On Monday mornings, women from Newberg Friends Church (OR) gather at the church to read prayer requests and pray for those in the congregation who have shared their concerns. The prayer requests are then passed on to church staff and other groups who pray for them confidentially.
Newberg Friends Church (OR) will hold a Service on Consolation on July 12 for Friends who have lost jobs, received life-changing health news, separated from a spouse, or simply had a desert experience. Friends are invited to attend and also to invite friends who have experienced loss.
Orange Grove Friends (Pasadena, CA) will participate in a “fishbowl” with their children. There will be an inner circle of children facing an outer circle of adults. The children will share their concerns about their journey and will hear from the adults.
Finance Committee of Orange Grove Meeting (Pasadena, CA) prepared an analysis of financial giving for 2008, including the average contributions of both members and attenders, the percentage of giving from attenders, and the number of Friends who gave nothing. It was noted that contributions had increased since 2007 and that a small number of Friends are giving a large part of the Meeting’s support.
Redwood Forest Meeting (Santa Rosa, CA) will brainstorm about clerking with Eric Moon on July 16. This session is for those new to clerking, retired clerks, aspiring clerks, and those who would like to better understand the process.
The Library Committee of Sacramento Meeting (CA) has removed books from the library that are duplicates, outdated, or may not be relevant to the Meeting. These books have been placed in a bookshelf in the Meeting foyer. Friends may take them home (with the option of contributing towards new books for the library) or request that a specific book be put back in the library.
Sacramento Meeting (CA) held a Taste of Quaker Quest program with 40 attending from Sacramento and 12 from other Meetings and Churches. Friends learned that Quaker Quest is a way of inward searching about Quaker spirituality and also a way of sharing experiences with the outer community. The Meeting has formed a Quaker Quest interest group under the care of Worship and Ministry to explore what it would mean for the Meeting to go forward with public sessions.
Salem Meeting (OR) has consulted with an architect regarding ADA access for the meeting house who recommends that the Meeting install an elevator or get out of the building.
Salt Lake Meeting (UT) is considering setting aside one First Day each month for a teenage discussion group to be held at the same time as Meeting for Worship. A Friend has volunteered for this responsibility and will send out emails to teens associated with the Meeting inviting them to participate.
Salt Lake Meeting (UT) has asked the Nominating Committee to reinstate the Finance Committee which will be charged with starting a campaign to raise specific funds for building improvements working together with Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Ministry and Oversight Meeting of San Francisco Meeting (CA) came to no unity about a clerk for the committee and members will rotate responsibilities.
On second Sundays at San Jose Meeting (CA) worship will flow directly into business meeting. On those days Friends are to write 2 copies of their announcements, no more than 3 sentences, and the greeter will read them at the end of business meeting.
Santa Cruz Meeting (CA) wrote a letter to President Obama and Vice-President Biden, suggesting alternatives to the administration’s present course of action in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Spokane Friends Church (WA) held a vegetable gardening 101 workshop presented by a master gardener. Friends learned about watering, herbicides and fertilizers and left with plants to start their own gardens.
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.
The Finance Committee of Tempe Meeting (AZ) realizes the Meeting will not know until year end how much the national economy has affected its members. Therefore, the committee decided to send two letters requesting donations this year. The first letter will be sent during the summer, with the follow-up letter in the fall.
Because of Tempe Meeting’s (AZ) association with CORA (Council of Religious Advisors), the Meeting has been given the opportunity to conduct an Arizona State University dorm event interaction. A member of the Meeting’s Outreach Committee is organizing the four speakers, and will coordinate with Peace and Social Concerns
Thoughts for all:
Many Friends report that they are having difficulty hearing messages in Meeting. If at all possible, STAND UP and remember to speak up as well. In the “olden days” anyone with a message always stood (or knelt if it was a prayer). It would be so kind of you to help everyone.
(from La Jolla Meeting (CA) Just Among Friends)
Beyond the Monthly Meeting/Churches
The 2009 Annual Session of Alaska Friends Conference will be held Thursday, July 23 through Sunday, July 26 at Dickerson Friends Center in Wasilla, Alaska with the theme, “Vitality and Diversity in our Meetings.”
This summer, Alaska Friends Conference is hosting a youth exchange/Spirit Camp with Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting. The group of 14 teenagers from AFC and OVYM will gather at the Dickerson Friends Center in Wasilla, AK, go to Eklutna Lake for a week of camping in the wilderness, join younger friends at Nancy Lake, and return to Wasilla for AFC Annual Sessions.
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.
College Park Quarterly Meeting approved the following minute: “We have labored on the question of our youth and programs… We confess our own shortcomings on this issue as a Quarterly Meeting. We yearn for a vibrant, intergenerational Society of Friends. We ask Monthly Meetings to labor on this issue in advance of Pacific Yearly Meeting annual sessions. We pray for divine guidance in this matter.”
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.
The next gathering of the Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting will be September 25-27, 2009, at the Lazy F Ranch near Ellensburg. Port Townsend Monthly Meeting will lead the program with the theme, “Wild Earth, Wild Mind, Wild Heart.”
Pacific Yearly Meeting will meet July 27-August 1, 2009 at Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA.
Joe Franko, clerk of Pacific Yearly Meeting, reminds Friends “that we gather in faith and hope that the Spirit will guide us to make Spirit-led decisions. The process is as it has always been. . . The Youth Proposal has been especially seasoned by Meetings and by Representative Committee . . .Remember that in our Plenaries we come together to Worship on the Occasion of Business. In worship, we assume that it is not the Friend who speaks, but the Spirit who speaks through that Friend.”
Members of the Unity with Nature Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting are concerned about ways of greening their yearly gathering and urge Friends to try being at least a part-time vegetarian. They’ve worked with both the Arrangements Committee and the Walker Ranch cooks to make tasty vegetarian food more available to everyone, not confined to the kitchen. Also they plan one "simple meal," e.g. rice and beans, to be in greater solidarity with poor people everywhere.
PS. Personal note:
Dear FWCC Friends:
Sometime in the mid-1980’s I was asked by my yearly meeting if I would like to be a representative to FWCC. I honestly didn’t know what was involved, but thought I would give it a try. Next thing I knew, I was in Greensboro, North Carolina worshipping with Friends quite different from me.
I also went to Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada; Indianapolis, IN; and Des Moines, IO. I served on Executive Committee so I also had the opportunity to visit with Friends in other locations
With that wonderful experience behind me, I felt called to respond in 2001 when I became aware that the Western Field Staff position was available. I started with FWCC in September 2001 and have been blessed by every moment of this work.
When I first joined Friends, I was told that I was joining the Religious Society of Friends. I understood this intellectually but it took my time with FWCC for me to really “get” it. FWCC is the glue that holds the Religious Society of Friends together.
At the beginning I was told that part of my work was to talk about the diversity of Friends. I have done that. And I have had wonderful times with many types of Friends. Somewhere along the way, though, I lost the diversity. Now, I don’t mean to make light our differences because they are real, but as I moved among Friends, I found them – you – to be just that, Friends.
I recently participated in a worshipful time with other Friends where we shared what our ministry is today. It is clear to me that in this time of transition, my ministry is to be a faithful Friend at my monthly meeting, Bridge City Meeting. But I know that as an individual I will always be part of the wider world of Friends. I am glad that this is so.
I will continue to do some work for FWCC on a very limited contract basis. I will continue to publish my Newsletter Summary on-line and for the next year, I will help with the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage. And, of course, like many Friends in the Northwest, I will volunteer to help with the planning of our FWCC Regional Gatherings.