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Calls to the Annual Sessions 2015 – Abridged

Intermountain Yearly Meeting, June 7 - 14, 2015; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM

On Knowing (March 2015)

Yearly Meeting, What is it Good For?

Matters of budget and finance during our annual Quaker gatherings can often lead us from questions about numbers into existential conversations about why we even have yearly meetings. During one such business meeting this summer, which considered the 2016 budget of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, I found myself thinking of Edwin Starr’s Motown classic, “War.” Except the lyrics I heard in my inner ear were: “Yearly Meeting! What is it good for? Absolutely everything!”

On Play (September 2015)

Surmounting Limits in Quakerism

When I asked Mary Klein if she would publish an article about the 2016 meeting of Friends World Committee on Consultation, she suggested that I write one for the issue on “Limits.” My initial response was: “Is she kidding?” I was grateful for her offer, but something in me bristles at the word “limits.”

On Limits (May 2016)

The Media of Ministry

A familiar scene: Bright morning sunlight streams in through the glass of paint-chipped windows of a Friends’ meetinghouse, a simple room filled with wooden benches and quiet people. Someone rises to speak, trembling under the weight of God’s message, embodying our long-standing nickname, “Quaker.” Then the speaker’s words set off a wave of smirking and eye-rolling: “I read in the New York Times this morning . . .” And we wonder, did this Friend really receive a message from the Inner Light about the opinion pages? Are they maybe a bit too fond of their own voice? A bit too fixated on their favorite world issue?

On Media (September 2016)

Cooperation & Competition - A Nordic Balance

As a young adult Friend I was greatly influenced by Elise and Kenneth Boulding, long-time members of Boulder Meeting. I remember Kenneth mentioning, with a twinkle in his eye, “Boulding’s First Law.” (Kenneth made his living as an economist.) “Whatever has happened,” he told me, “is possible.”

On Competition (January 2017)

Embedded in Two Cultures with AFSC

My first job at the American Friends Service Committee was in 1965, when Self-Help Enterprises was being created. This was also my first real experience working with white people, as opposed to working for them, although at the tender age of nineteen, I still did not realize that. I have gone through many emotions – some even tearful – as I recalled my youth and my work while writing this article. As the daughter of a farmworker, I have been confronted with the typical things around racism, feminism, classism, etc., during my youth and into my adult life. It was, in fact, not too many years ago when I decided not to let those things rule my life.

On Balance (May 2017)

Expanding the Concept and Practice of Nonviolence (abridged)

The following text is an abridged version of a recently discovered, previously unpublished article. The full version is published online at: westernfriend.org/media/expanding-nonviolence

On Neighbors (September 2019)

Seek to Truly See

I was in my last semester of grad school, sitting in a café, repressing a broken heart, and working on my thesis. After several hours of non-stop reading and writing, I started to feel a deep sense of despair. My head spun. My breath became heavier. I paused and took a step back from myself. Right then I did an online search for “Maintaining an everyday relationship with God.” Before I saw the results, something told me, “Look up.” Right out the window, I saw two young men in black pants and short-sleeved white shirts: Mormon missionaries. I rushed outside and said to them, “Hey there, I need to talk to you!”

On Neighbors (September 2019)

More Powerful than the Grave

As a hospital chaplain, I met Mrs. Corrigan in an office adjacent to her oncologist’s office. She had just been talking with him about her terminal illness and about non-curative, comfort-care plans. Mrs. Corrigan was facing the end of her life from a metastatic form of cancer. As a patient now living at home, she had previously undergone many surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. She had indicated that she wanted to see a chaplain for a series of spiritual care visits.

On Separation (November 2019)

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)