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

On Alternatives (March 2022)

The Search Committee “It just isn’t done that way,” the experienced voice responded when a Friend of Color on the Search Committee asked why we weren’t posting the salary. The committee resumed silent reflection. “Keeping salaries confidential is a longstanding way of maintaining wage inequality, especially when persons other than White males apply, not knowing how much others are paid.” More reflection. “It is insulting to qualified young adults to ask them to go through a hiring process, then offer to pay them less than a living wage.” More reflection. In the end, the committee united around our decision to include the base salary in the solicitation.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Now or Never We must stay on our mission of being witnesses of Earthcare. Will everyone restore rare rainforest in Hawaii? No. Some will restore their aina (sacred land) by planting a small urban garden or one tree in their small yard. Some may sing songs for a local nonprofit forest refuge to raise donations and awareness. Some will talk it up on Facebook and have a window garden. “Kokua” (ko kew ah) in Hawaiian means to share and care, to take responsibility enough to take action that shows care. Easy to say, maybe not so easy to do.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Creating out of Silence and Light In the late 1960s, a researcher named Frank Barron explored the relationship of religion and creativity and whether being religious and/or spiritual had an effect on the artist. He interviewed Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and a Hindu, as well as a number of others. The interviews were quite straightforward until he talked about the Quaker artist. His writing about this artist took a different turn. It was as if he was stopped in his tracks and felt a different tone in this interview. Reading the interview was like reading a hush or silence or something that was going deeper in its connections. He says, “She spoke of the Quaker silences. She thinks everyone should be silent at special times. . . [She] was quite unusual in bearing and demeanor, and in her manner of talking. She spoke in a very low and even tone, and everything she said seemed to come up from depths. She was completely lacking in social front.” (Frank Barron, 1968)

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (1) Dear Friends: In response to Anna Fritz’s article in support of in-person worship, I can only say, “That Friend speaks my mind.” I stopped sitting in front of a screen for meeting for worship when I discovered I could no longer be “present” there, nor pretend that I was. If virtual meeting for worship continues for much longer, I will invite two-to-three F(f)riends to worship in person in my home instead, in the spirit of Matthew 18:20, “When two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (4) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

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)

On Place A person can be nice to someone in order to cheat them, but they cannot be kind to them to cheat them; that would not be kind. When Micah taught, “Do justice; love kindness; walk humbly with your God,” the lesson was not to love persons, but to love an attitude towards persons. An attitude that honors the self-respect of every creature and accepts indebtedness to the common good (and hence, indebtedness to the particular creature one is facing) – this is kindness. When engaging in acts of healing, kindness is not over-cautious about insult or injury. The hard truth and the surgeon’s scalpel both cut when they are needed. Recovery is hard work, but healing is only possible when corruption is excised. Also, to enter into another’s healing is always an act of reciprocity.

On Place (May 2022)

Soul-Work in Community [This article was abridged from a far more detailed original, available at: https://westernfriend.org/media/soul-work-quaker-complative-reading]

On Normality (July 2022)

That Spark of Connection Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

On Normality (July 2022)