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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)

In a Quaker Minute Most people know several different ways for drawing a large group of people to a decision. I’ve experienced many: Robert’s Rules, the Lakota talking circle, the old-fashioned town-hall meeting, the top-down company-wide memo, a method I’ll call “spokes and wheels,” as well as Quaker meeting for business. These give us “outward forms” for grappling with messy social processes. None of them are sacred, although the sacred may work through them. Do I think some methods excel above others? Yes. Do I think we should change Quaker process? No! However, if I could change one thing in the Quaker mind it would be the errant belief that, in order to be good process, it must proceed at a glacial pace.

On Relevance (March 2021)

On Tricks A sense of belonging is a blessing. Whether we are animal, plant, bacterium, fungus, or protozoan, each of us has a place in our biosphere. If perfect justice existed, every creature would enjoy a feeling of belonging in whatever place it found itself. But actual creation is riddled with imperfection, trial and error, justice and injustice, an ocean of darkness flowing beneath the ocean of light.

On Tricks (May 2021)

A Puzzling Grave in a Quaker Cemetery With his death approaching, I asked him, “John, who was Martha Jones?”

On Tricks (May 2021)

Spiritual Service through Showing Up When my husband and I moved to the Bay Area during the dot-com boom, we didn’t know a soul. We needed to get involved with a community and get to know people. After checking out the Buddhists and the Unitarians – even though we didn’t come from a faith tradition in DC – we decided to visit the Quaker Meetinghouse in San Francisco. It featured a prominent sign and was situated at the edge of the Civic Center, Tenderloin, and South of Market (SOMA) neighborhoods, which are also advancing edges of tech gentrification in the city.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly (review) Friend Marjory Post Abbott wants modern Quakers to embrace their prophetic voices. While such a call to action might sound like a daunting challenge – the word “prophetic” does tend to imply something grand and anachronistic to our time – instead, Abbott’s 2018 book, Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly, tells us that prophecy can be ordinary and achievable, if it is approached as a gradual journey. Similarly, this book is also best approached as a gradual journey.

On Tricks (May 2021)

DIY Divestment Some tasks seem to take a long time to get started. Doing dishes, weeding the garden, and paying bills come to mind. Once I’ve finally gotten going, I wonder why they ever seemed like a big deal. Divesting my family’s bank accounts from fossil fuels was like that.

On Debt (July 2021)

Friends, Racial Justice, and Policing The following text is a compilation of excerpts from the Worship Leader presentation that Cherice Bock made to the General Committee of the Friends Committee on National Legislation at their annual meeting in Novmeber 2020.

On Debt (July 2021)