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The Estranged Family of Friends Andrew Secrest was a member of both Lake County Worship Group of Redwood Forest Friends Meeting and of Berkeley Friends Church. He was a husband and father, a hospice nurse, and he followed a calling his whole adult life to bridge the gap between evangelical Friends and liberal Friends. He died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in his home in Lakeport, CA, on June 25, 2013. The text below was excerpted from the transcript of an interview that Western Friend conducted with Andrew on May 16 and May 17, 2013. Thanks to Solomon Smilack for helping with the transcription.

On Love (September 2013)

Those Other Quakers The majority of liberal Friends in the West share similar traits: First, very few of us grew up among Quakers; we arrived as adults, often fleeing dogmas or religious paths that we now reject. Second, many of us feel a sense of “homecoming” in Friendly traditions like our Peace Testimony, silent expectant worship, and the general spirit of tolerance in our meetings.

On Difference (July 2015)

Overcome Our Judgmentalism Dear Editor: I read the article “Queer Quaker Kinship” with sadness (Western Friend, Nov/Dec 2017). Mainly I’m sad to be reminded of what LGBTQ people suffer, even within our own Society of Friends. But I have another sorrow as a person who has been called to encourage greater understanding among all four branches of Friends: Liberal (that’s us), Conservative, Friends Church, and Evangelical.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Musical Ministry an interview with Anna Fritz by Natalie Ramsland

On Music (March 2018)

Toward Unity with Evangelicals Dear Friends: So there I was in the fellowship hall of the Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Orange County, California. My role was that of the official observer from Pacific Yearly Meeting. This was my fifth year attending the annual conference of the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest and I saw some encouraging changes. When I attended my first session in 2006, these fellow Quakers struck me as more evangelical than Friends. This time (January, 2015), I felt that I was among Friends. That feeling began with hearing some Quakerly statements about the need to be diligent about listening to God’s voice, and “Jesus is Right Here, Right Now!”

On Needs (May 2015)

Surmounting Limits in Quakerism When I asked Mary Klein if she would publish an article about the 2016 meeting of Friends World Committee on Consultation, she suggested that I write one for the issue on “Limits.” My initial response was: “Is she kidding?” I was grateful for her offer, but something in me bristles at the word “limits.”

On Limits (May 2016)

The Strengthening Power of Discomfort A friend of mine bicycled 2,700 miles this summer along the Continental Divide. In an article she wrote for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner (8/12/2018), she said, “When doing endurance races, I have a question I ask myself when I want to quit: ‘Am I in danger or just uncomfortable?’ If I’m just uncomfortable, I tell myself to keep going. Things will get better. And they usually do.”

On Mixture (November 2018)

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)

American Quaker Romances (review) The scholarly study American Quaker Romances: Building the Myth of the White Christian Nation examines a relatively small subgenre of novels characterized as American Christian historical romances. The thirty-nine novels included in this book met the criteria of presenting Quaker heroines and using Quakerism in their plots. [pullquote]The book illuminates ways that Quakers have been commodified to promote specific cultural values and ideas that might not be consistent with Quakerism.[/pullquote]

On Healers (August 2023)