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Conflict or Pseudocommunity Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) is an eleven-month service program for people aged 21-30 who are ready to enter into an experiment in community centered on Quaker values. Fellows have full-time social justice employment and participate in an intentional program of spiritual deepening. We are in our eighth year and have houses in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland OR, and Minneapolis. I served as a Fellow in Boston in 2016-2017, and since then, I have been on staff as the Recruitment Coordinator and am engaged in equity work.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Quaker Culture: Accordance We do not come alone to the meeting. For the needs of those within and without the meeting sit down with us . . . in the person of our bodies which connect us with the whole of the natural creation and every exchange of breath reveals our profound dependence on the rest of nature and discloses to us our responsibility for it. They sit down with us in the persons of those who actually sit with us, each of whom is the center of a world . . . and who yearns as I do for the great tendering, the new angle of vision, the regrouping within, that would respond to the deepest thing we know. They sit down with us, the wretched and the poor of the earth, both in spirit and in body, and a new feeling sense of our unity with them may be opened in that sitting.

On Mediation (January 2020)

On Mediation Love and truth spring forth in all times and all places – even in the hearts of chaos and corruption. We strive to follow the Good Way, but only in vain can we define it. Dust devils of DNA whirl down the generations, rampaging, making things new, making things fit, breaking eggs to make omelettes. To our surprise, we arrive in this life. Then we do our best to do the right thing, never really knowing all the good and all the damage we are causing.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Visual Ministry Something about the process of capturing, editing, printing, and viewing images often leads me to think beyond the subject itself, to search what other meanings might be suggested by the subject matter, the lighting, the mood, or arrangement of items in the composition. When the process is internal, I think of it as offering visual queries. Sometimes, when I hang prints in the meetinghouse for others to see, I imagine the process as being visual ministry.

On Art (March 2020)

Mary Dyer’s Hymn (2nd review) As ever, Stan Searl’s poems are a glory, a pleasure, and an incantation, whether he hymns in praise of God or records one man’s heartfelt, sometimes agonizing love for his child. This volume, however, goes further and is a history lesson as well. The benign version of Puritans, which some of us learned in childhood, is overwhelmed by the facts we confront in these poems, as we watch the Puritans hang Mary Dyer and drive other colonists and Native Americans to their deaths.

On Art (March 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)

On the Side of the Rebel Jesus During my year of spiritual service with Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS), Jesus’s teachings became much more relevant to my life. I began to notice how his message relates to facets of my life that once seemed separate from my spirituality – in particular, my activism. Being introduced to the topic of liberation theology during my time in this program opened up a new window through which I could look at the world.

On Wealth (May 2020)

The Devil is Down in the Dumps Dear Editor: Elizabeth Boardman’s piece in the March/April issue has given me great joy. Her article, “The Fancy Sunday Hat,” takes me back to my own childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At age four or five, I learned a song in our Methodist Church Sunday School that has served me well through almost nine decades.

On Wealth (May 2020)