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How We Came to Ben Lomond On Sunday morning, August 4th, 2019, Susan Wilson and I left our home in Central Vermont.  We had filled a twenty-foot rental truck with our possessions, hitched our car to the back of the truck, and started driving toward California. We were leaving behind our beloved friends and family, our lovely home, and the magic of the Green Mountains.

On Separation (November 2019)

Better than a Club When I was a kid, I told my little sister that we were forming a club. The two of us held a meeting to discuss possible club names and what kinds of things we would do as members of this club. We decided we would call it “The Do-Gooders Club,” and we would do good things. Creative, right? I’m not sure where things went after that.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Quaker Culture: Simplicity Simplicity does not mean that all conform to uniform standards. . .  The call to each is to abandon those things that clutter his life and to press toward the goal unhampered. This is true simplicity. Friends are watchful to keep themselves free from self-indulgent habits, luxurious ways of living and the bondage of fashion. . . But this does not mean that all life is to be poor and bare, destitute of joy and beauty. . . Simplicity, when it removes encumbering details, makes for beauty in music, in art, and in living.

On Art (March 2020)

48 Windows [This article is abridged from a longer version, which is at: https://westernfriend.org/media/48-windows-campaign-unabridged]

On Wealth (May 2020)

Secrets in the Friendly Home I’m getting very tired of this. Sometimes I am afraid of the person I am stuck with in this house during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Liturgies of Empire, Liturgies of Resistance (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete transcript of C. Wess Daniels’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/liturgies-empire-and-resistance]

On Teachers (September 2020)

Epistle of the Friends of Color Retreat 2020 To Friends Everywhere: We begin by remembering our ancestors who were strong enough to make a way for us. Friends of Color and their families met for Pre-Gathering Retreat on 26 Day through 28 Day Sixth Month 2020. This is the eighth year Friends of Color have met for our Pre- Gathering Retreat.  First-timers felt welcomed and validated.   This year, we met virtually with our largest attendance yet. There were 47 attendees, ranging in age from 11 months through 77 years from Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the United States of America.

On Teachers (September 2020)

Abolish the Police Jed Walsh and Mackenzie Barton-Rowledge are close friends who do police and prison abolition work together. They sent Western Friend a conversation about what abolition means to them, and how it fits into their lives as Quakers.

On Rules (November 2020)

Stuck in Punxsutawney, Again Whether they are cheerfully sort-of-deist or in-fact, stone-cold, out-and-out Jesus Freaks, Quakers of a certain generation, across the spectrum, agree that the movie Groundhog Day is scripture. Today, with all of us living Groundhog Day all the time during COVID, Friends are advised to share this scripture with newcomers. “Here,” you want to say, “Just watch this on Amazon Prime about three times and see if it doesn’t go all meta on you.” The meta part, of course, is where it turns out we’re all Phil Connors, the protagonist of the movie, who is stuck in an endlessly repeating day and an endlessly repeating script.

On Rules (November 2020)