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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)

Sabbath Economics Sabbath economics offers an alternative approach to dominant paradigms of economic theory and practice. Theologian-educator Ched Myers coined the term “Sabbath economics” in the 1990s, drawing from the Torah standard of social and economic justice and based on God’s call to “keep the Sabbath” by alternating good work with periods of rest.

On Debt (July 2021)

Friends for Racial Equity I had struggled before over whether to speak during worship, but this was different. It was near the close of worship, and a long-time member was sharing a folk tale from childhood. The story clearly moved him, and I can only imagine it was intended as a gift, a tender ministry for all of us in worship. But it was not a gift, at least not of the kind intended. The tale was of an enduring struggle between two iconic opposing figures – one evil, one good. On another morning, I might have let such a story drift in and out of my awareness, a familiar premise with no hint of a surprise ending. Instead, as I listened, I felt my body stiffen; [pullquote]I was paralyzed and mortified. Here it was, in a folk tale, in worship: racist ministry.[/pullquote]

On Cliques (September 2021)

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)

In the Struggle (review) Anyone who has driven through the Central Valley of California has seen the thousand-acre “farms” of mono-cropped fields – tomatoes, cotton, melons, almonds, and pistachios. Indeed, the San Joaquin Valley is touted as the “the most productive agricultural area in the world.” It is also one of the poorest areas in the U.S., with a lower per capita income than Appalachia.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Art of Life (review) Alivia Biko’s music is important in its own right  and it’s beautiful. Beyond that, her music is important as ministry. I predict that down the road, in the bright shiny future, people will look back and talk about our generation of Christ-centered Friends in the Pacific Northwest and about the creation of our new yearly meeting, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF). Biko’s outsized contribution to the creation of SCYMF will play a big part in those discussions. Articles, chapters, whole books will be written on Mike Huber and Gar Mikkelsen, Holiness and Quaker identity, medical missions and quilting missions, and, of course, LGBTQ+ participation. There will be some good, nerdy side-trips into “Quakers” versus “Friends” and “churches” versus “meetings,” and with great good luck, a special photo section with at least one shot of Peggy Morrison on her Kawasaki. Especially, people will read about Alivia Biko and listen to her album Art of Life, filled with artistry, warmth, and celebration of community and spirit.

On Freedom (January 2022)

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)