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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)

Calls to Annual Sessions 2021

Dear Friends: Please join us at the virtual gathering of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, from June 16-20, 2021. We look forward to implementing many of the skills and lessons that we have learned over the last year, to create a Spirit-led time for all Friends and others who join us. We have learned that a virtual platform can be more accessible for those who live at a distance. On the other hand, it can make access difficult for those without adequate computer equipment. Friends have commented that they found a surprising depth of worship in many of the sessions, and a deepening connection, both with Spirit and with other Friends.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Towards Peace in Yemen

Early in January 2015, my world changed. My dad called to inform me that my cousin Muath Safi Yousef al-Kasasbeh, a Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, had been captured and burned to death by the militant group ISIL – after Muath’s F-16 fighter aircraft malfunctioned and crashed over Syria. Although I had never met this cousin of mine, my heart pounded with grief, listening to the rage and despair in my father’s voice. He was devastated, and he vowed that Jordan would take revenge.

On Tricks (May 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)

Privilege and The Other (unabridged)

[This article is abridged from a longer one, published online at https://westernfriend.org/media/privilege-and-other-unabridged.]

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)

Speaking of Animacy

How delighted we are when our children first begin to talk! What a miracle, what a joy! I have felt that joy and sense of the miraculous when that little being, my young child, could finally begin to share with me their wishes, thoughts, feelings, questions, and more – the first time they “used their words.” Even then, however, I was also aware of the drawbacks of learning our “native” spoken language. In the case of my own children, the language was English, and in learning this, I knew they would automatically be “pre-programmed” with the world-view inherent in English. This would limit where their minds could travel, just as learning a different “mother tongue” would limit their minds in a different way.

On Words (November 2021)