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Listening for the Yearly Epistle “We’re not really watching,” said a member of the Watching Committee several years ago.  “What we’re really doing is listening.” Not only was the term “listening” more accurate in describing the work of composing an epistle for our yearly meeting, it also struck a friendlier chord. Earlier generations of Friends no doubt had good reasons for the names they chose, but for us “Watching Committee” suggested an oppressive sense of authority as in “Big Brother is watching you.” So, we proposed, and Intermountain Yearly Meeting later approved, the name change to “Listening Committee.”

On Words (November 2021)

Quakers Do What! Why? (review) I am convinced again, Friends! Credit goes to Quakers Do What! Why?, a 72-page booklet from Quaker Quicks, written by Rhiannon Grant. In it, she takes the reader through a wide range of beliefs and practices of unprogrammed Quakers, using a friendly, conversational style. For example, the first chapter is titled: “Wait – Quakers still exist?” This book is great for people interested in exploring what it means to be Quaker as well as being full of great reminders for seasoned Friends. 

On Words (November 2021)

Freedom, Fraternity, and Friends (abridged) [The following text was excerpted from: https://westernfriend.org/media/freedom-fraternity-friends.]

On Freedom (January 2022)

Healing with Native Peoples through Truth (abridged) [The following text was excerpted from the keynote presentation to Lake Erie Yearly Meeting on July 30, 2021. The unabridged text is published online at: https://westernfriend.org/media/healing-native-peoples-thru-truth.]

On Freedom (January 2022)

The Ground from which Miracles Spring I didn’t want to join the committee. As a “released Friend,” my role is to follow the leadings of my music ministry out in the world, freed from responsibility for the business of Multnomah Monthly Meeting. But I have found myself reckoning lately with a firehose of Spirit blasting a message through me that has nothing to do with songs or cello. In September 2021, this message came out in an epistle, which was published October 30 in Western Friend’s weekly email newsletter. This epistle, “Returning to the Body,” arose from my experience serving on Multnomah’s ad-hoc committee concerned with the question of how to worship in this age of pandemic. [See: https://westernfriend.org/returning-body]

On Freedom (January 2022)

On Membership and Being in the Light On December 14, 2018, I walked into the Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse for the first time. I felt enveloped in a circle of Light, at one with it and with everyone in the room. I had been searching, longing for this my entire life. I was Home.

On Freedom (January 2022)

A Search for an Honorable Bank About a year ago, Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, asked all of its committees to examine how their work might be upholding or breaking down structural racism. For our Finance Committee, one aspect that was specifically raised and addressed was the choice of a better banking partner.  Over the summer of 2021, we researched banking alternatives with the hope of finding a partner more aligned with our Quaker values, as well as working to advance racial justice.

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)

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)

William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” (review) I’d be interested in this book even if I weren’t a Quaker.

On Normality (July 2022)