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Hybrid Meeting a Civil Right

Published: Nov. 5, 2021


To the Editor and Anthony Manousos:

WOW, I'm a disabled friend with a medical background and lung issues. I just read a few paragraphs in your recent newsletter about the failings of hybrid worship (https://westernfriend.org/returning-body). I hope I'm not so disabled I can't finish that article and write a response. Quaker meeting may be causing some kind of electromagnetic changes in the brains of people involved and that may work better the closer the brains are. But there are plenty of stories particularly about mothers who pick up on their child's distress from a distance. I think there's a possibility that a meeting can gather with a few people at a distance. Until it can be proven that this does not happen, this friend seems to be suggesting that those participating from a distance are actually damaging this group brain think without any evidence for this.

I am disabled and have been attending meeting mostly from a distance for a few months now. It took some getting used to. My last vaccine was in May so by July I felt OK enough to even go to the store without a mask. The delta variant change that as did time, which means my immunity has waned. I have yet to get a booster shot though I have waited on hold for an hour so far to schedule one.

To exclude people like me from meeting is a civil rights violation. I believe what this friend might be suggesting is actually illegal which isn't a good enough argument for anything according to most Friends. It is an ethical requirement to accommodate the disabled. Perhaps I should finish the article and write a better letter but I need to get ready for meeting. I'm actually going in person carefully today, knowing there is a minuscule chance still I could get Covid even with a mask on.

Julie Ralls, MD,
attender, Eastside Friends meeting


I was at Palo Alto Meeting once and a Friend was there in a wheelchair. He fell asleep and started snoring. How can anybody be OK with that?