Western Friend Before

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Dear Mary Klein,

I wanted to compliment you on the new layout and organization of our publication. Every successive editor has made improvements and you have certainly done your share already!

I also received a very nicely designed brochure about Western Friend recently. I did, though, want to correct one error, which is in the first sentence:  “Founded in 1929 as ‘Friends Bulletin Corporation,’ Western Friend has evolved with the times.”  I fear that as the people who were involved with Friends Bulletin pass away, the history is being lost.

In fact, Friends Bulletin was not incorporated until the 1990s. I know this because I was on the Friends Bulletin Committee of PYM from 1989 to 1992, and was also Clerk of the committee the final two years of my tenure.  In those days, the magazine was governed by a PYM committee and the funding, except for a small amount contributed by the other two western yearly meetings, came from PYM – meaning PYM's Finance Committee had to approve our budget.  The other two western YM's had contributing editors and that was the extent of their editorial contribution.

It was Shirley Ruth's vision during the last years of her tenure to change this.  She wanted to see a magazine that represented western Friends as a whole – a magazine in which all three western yearly meetings had equal voice, and in which editorial and financial contributions were equal (at least equal per capita).  In order to carry this through, incorporation was necessary, to provide a governing structure independent from PYM. This made sense to the committee, and in the early 1990s, we moved toward the structure she envisioned by opening the applications for the editor position she was vacating to members of the other two western YM's along with PYM.  And in fact an NPYM member was selected and became the publication’s first non-PYM editor. Planning for a corporate structure was, as I recall, still in the beginning stages when I left the committee but was effected not too long after.

I just wanted, as I said, to provide a bit of history.  As for your role, keep it up!

Sonda Beal Berkeley Meeting

P.S.  I recently attended a Memorial for someone in my Meeting who served on the Friends Bulletin committee with me – Grace Buzaljko.  As I said, many people who were involved with Friends Bulletin have passed away (including, of course, Shirley herself), but a couple of people who served on the committee with me and might be able to corroborate what I've recounted above would be Steve Smith (Claremont) and Rob Roy Woodman (Davis).

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