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2022 Calls to the Annual Sessions [The following texts were abridged from the originals, which are available at: https://westernfriend.org/calls-annual-sessions-2022 ]

On Place (May 2022)

The “Why” of What We Do I had an occasion recently to hear some young Friends talk about ministry services they are performing on behalf of Quakers. I have nothing but heartfelt compliments for their generous spirits and their hard work in pursuit of making the world a more humane, just, and merciful place. In light of the significant proportion of their cohort who are NOT volunteering in such efforts, I feel special appreciation that these young people are rising well above what seems to be the present norm of disengagement. For their good and faithful work, I am grateful.

On Loss (May 2023)

Making Something of Myself Gary Miller helped found the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in 1971 and served as its president in 1975. He was the first openly gay person to serve as the chair of the Sacramento Democratic Party and was Sacramento’s first openly gay human rights commissioner. As a staff person in the 1970s with Friends Committee on Legislation in California, Miller worked to defeat Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays, lesbians, and their supporters from working in California public schools. Miller is a member of Sacramento Friends Meeting (PYM). He spoke to Western Friend by phone on June 18, 2014. Following are edited excerpts from a transcript of that interview.

On Pride (July 2014)

Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration The following article was excerpted from the text of a presentation that Bill Durland made to the Colorado Regional Society of Friends, April 23, 2017. To read the full text of this presentation, see: westernfriend.org/media/resistance-resilience-and-restoration-unabridged.

On Politics (July 2017)

Two Quakers Living with the Military We are two Quaker women who raised our families in towns dominated by the U.S. military. Rather than shun the military and look away, we have lived our witness amidst strong military presences. One thing about being in a military town is that you can’t look away from how big a machine the military is. Each of us found that it was hard to raise a Quaker family in a community with a tiny Quaker presence and a huge military presence. It was hard for our children to find peer support with so few Friends in town. [pullquote]The military has certainly created plenty of occasions for us to talk about our testimonies and our practices in the face of headwinds.[/pullquote] Both of us have found that our situations have actually helped strengthen our faith, since we often have to live our witness when sustained by faith alone.

On Place (May 2022)

This Is the Work I am a twenty-year veteran teacher. I’ve always taught the littlest ones – first grade, kindergarten, and preschool for four-year-olds, otherwise known as early childhood education or ECE. I teach ECE today in a predominantly black district – Denver Pubic Schools – at Hallett Academy, where 99% of the students are black.

On Rules (November 2020)

Ego, Imagination, Condition, and Light Friends use the word Light a lot.  They use it as a metaphor to point towards an experience.  But Friends use this basic expression so casually that I fear it has become conventional and trivial. We don’t much think about what the Light (as experience) means or where it comes from or why we need it. Nor are we aware of how we got into the dark in the first place. Like many metaphors, Light is better understood when it is placed in a context. My experience is that ego, imagination, and condition are factors that provide a helpful context for considering the Light.

On Pride (July 2014)