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A History of John Woolman School Dear Friends: A history of John Woolman School is in the works. Catherine Lenox, who grew up in the Santa Cruz Meeting and attended John Woolman School in the ‘60s, is the primary author. To ensure there will be sufficient funds to complete the project, Catherine asked me to set up a campaign to pre-sell copies of the book and seek sponsorships. All funds raised beyond expenses will be donated to John Woolman School / Sierra Friends Center. We will use Kickstarter.com for the campaign, beginning January 15th. If you would like a link to the campaign when it starts, please write to me at [email protected].

On Vision (January 2021)

The Gathered Meeting I began my spiritual journey toward “the gathered meeting” when my wife and I visited her youngest son in Durham, North Carolina, in January, 2018. While there, we attended Durham Friends Meeting one Sunday when maybe a hundred adults and thirty-five children were present. The meeting felt settled and centered. Early in the hour, someone offered a message about how important it is for Friends to follow the Light and be gathered, and about how important it is for Friends to take those two practices out into the world. The message was matter-of-fact, stated in words that were simple and direct. Several more messages followed, all of them tagging along with the first. I could feel that people trusted one another. I could feel that something huge was happening.

On Relevance (March 2021)

An Unfinished Revolution [This text has been excerpted from the author’s upcoming book, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021).]  

On Relevance (March 2021)

Interested and Hopeful at 100 Dear Editor: I want you to know how much I enjoy Western Friend – the Jan/Feb 2021 issue is particularly good, with some very interesting articles, such as the one on Friends House Moscow. I am about to celebrate my 100th birthday, so it’s wonderful reading hopeful articles, such as “Cassandra” and “Bunnytown.” Anyway, Western Friend is a great READ.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries (review) An engaging 2018 documentary film, Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries, provides a useful overview of Quaker history from an activist perspective. Thanks to PBS, it has been broadcast to over 250,000 households in the U.S. Director-producer Janet Gardner, Cinematographer Kevin Clouthier, Consultant Richard Nurse, and others on this team deserve kudos for their efforts to make Quaker history come alive. This documentary is intended for a popular audience and is spreading the Quaker message where it most needs to be heard.

On Debt (July 2021)

Creating Resilience for Climate Justice (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete manuscript of Cherice Bock’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/creating-resilience-climate-justice-unabridged]

On Cliques (September 2021)

The Long-Term Project of Anti-Racism This is a time when many Quaker meetings have approved statements denouncing racist violence and pledging their efforts to uproot and dismantle systemic racism. Many individual Friends are engaged in anti-racist work in their communities and are educating themselves about the history and impacts of racism in our country, the better to discern how they might act to promote racial equity and justice.

On Cliques (September 2021)

On Cliques Semi-permeable membranes are essential to the flourishing of most organic life on Earth. From bacteria to civilizations, our lives exist within vibrant walls that delineate, protect, and provision us.

On Cliques (September 2021)

Words: The Saving Grace I reached maturity in a time when words were worth a death. Born in the 1920s, raised in the 1930s, I turned eighteen in 1942. As a young man, I knew, by the words Hitler used, that the Nazis represented a force that must be halted. The words describing horrors I could scarcely imagine evoked other words in opposition, words wedded to the deep meaning of the word justice my mother had so carefully taught me, sprung from her study of the New Testament. My mother’s abiding faith in justice, linked to the words of “freedom” and “liberation,” sent shivers over my flesh.

On Words (November 2021)

On Membership and Being in the Light On December 14, 2018, I walked into the Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse for the first time. I felt enveloped in a circle of Light, at one with it and with everyone in the room. I had been searching, longing for this my entire life. I was Home.

On Freedom (January 2022)