Overcome Our Judgmentalism

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Dear Editor: I read the article “Queer Quaker Kinship” with sadness (Western Friend, Nov/Dec 2017). Mainly I’m sad to be reminded of what LGBTQ people suffer, even within our own Society of Friends. But I have another sorrow as a person who has been called to encourage greater understanding among all four branches of Friends: Liberal (that’s us), Conservative, Friends Church, and Evangelical.

Northwest Yearly Meeting is Evangelical, but the line from their Faith and Practice that is quoted in this article is just one side of them. NWYM’s stand on gays is hurtful and wrong on so many levels. But it distresses me that we tend to judge them for making that statement. The statement is taken out of the context of who Evangelical Friends are.

First of all, they are Friends. I have attended the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest as an observer from Pacific Yearly Meeting. I have fond memories of meeting with Friends from the EFCSW. I remember a few scenes from their Annual Gathering of 2016. A young couple, Joe and Cara Pfeiffer shared their experiences as missionaries in Indonesia. Jim Healton, pastor of Sacramento Friends Church, spoke about how to support members of the meeting with mental illness – something I haven’t heard us talking about in PYM. There are Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking congregations within EFCSW. We could learn some things from Evangelical Friends. But first, we need to overcome our own judgmentalism.

[This letter was abridged from the original, which you can find at: westernfriend.org/library.]

– Emilyn Buskirk, Live Oak Meeting, Salinas, CA (PYM)