Announcements

Quaker Call to Action

Our Meeting has been asked to endorse the following call to action, which was initiated by a group of 18 Friends who were concerned about threats to our democracy.  Before endorsing it, we ask that Members and Attenders read the text, ponder the queries, and contemplate the suggested actions. Other resources related to the project can be found here.

An Urgent Call to the Religious Society of Friends

May 2022

We Quakers, members of the Religious Society of Friends, hold strongly to the principle of speaking truth with integrity. We ground our speaking truth in our worship and our searching of ourselves, as we listen deeply and honestly within and across all differences. Our testimony to the world includes standing up for spiritually discerned Truth, the equality of all persons, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and respect and care for our neighbors and the earth. Right now, we see many forces at work in our country and the world that are undermining these basic values. Accordingly, we call on Friends everywhere to act.

In this country, in 2020, we witnessed an attempted coup. The January 6 assault on the Capitol was a deliberate, violent attempt to prevent Joe Biden — the clear winner of the 2020 election — from taking office and keeping then-president Donald Trump in power. To maintain that the last election was riddled with fraud is demonstrably false. This politically motivated movement has now embarked on an orchestrated campaign to suppress voting by black, brown and young people and to pass new state election laws giving the power to throw out huge numbers of valid ballots to highly partisan legislatures, governors, and state attorneys general. Thus, this lie is being used to deprive people of their constitutional rights and constitutes a major injustice.

As Friends, we feel called to speak out against these falsehoods and anti-democratic actions. We encourage Friends to seek spiritual guidance on any actions that you and your meetings might take to witness against this gross injustice. If this politically motivated movement succeeds in its anti-democratic takeover attempt, any hope of making significant progress on racial and economic justice, the equality of all people, the climate crisis, gun violence, and other urgent issues of our time will be gone.

We know that democracy in the United States has many flaws. During the past 100 years, our local, state and federal governments have acted to prevent formerly enslaved people and other communities of color from voting. It was not until 1920 that women finally won the right to vote, and their equality is still being challenged. We call on Friends to act — first, to resist all efforts to undermine our current democratic processes, and second, to support true democratic reforms to our still flawed election system. We cannot allow a government that is built on lies and injustice.

We the undersigned are encouraging Quakers throughout the country to work in their local communities, states, and the national arena to take critical actions to prevent an authoritarian takeover of our democracy. We urge Friends to discern the deep truths that provide a foundation for active love, wisdom, compassion, and a truly democratic electoral system—and then to actively support such changes. We know that love conquers fear. Let us lean into Divine Love and find ways forward in Truth.

Queries

  • What, if anything, is the Light Within calling Friends to do in response to the unprecedented rise of domestic extremism, white supremacy, and authoritarianism that is threatening the destruction of our democracy at home and abroad?
  • How can I/we respond with resolute love even while I/we may be struggling with fear, anger, apathy, or hate?

Possible Actions

Defending Truth

We urge all Friends to discern the deep truths that provide a foundation for active love, wisdom, compassion, and peace in the world — and then to defend them. We ask:

  • Individual Friends to search yourselves about the threats to our country, and the world, and to witness publicly to the truths that you discern are grounded in your experience of the Spirit.
  • Quaker meetings and organizations to issue public statements calling out lies and the purveyors of lies, all in the context of our understanding of love, equality, and justice for all. Working for True Equality and Justice for All We urge Friends to act for equality and equity within our diverse society.

Working for True Equality and Justice for All

We urge Friends to act for equality and equity within our diverse society:

  • Speak, write, and protest in support for full equality of all people in American society, whatever their racial or sexual identity, gender, or class.
  • Support legislative and economic changes that would lead to actual equity among all peoples.

Promoting Free and Fair Elections

Stemming from our testimonies of Integrity and Equality, we urge Friends to:

  • Support non-partisan voter-registration drives, particularly in communities under attack from those seeking to prevent them from voting.
  • Publicly condemn partisan efforts to restrict access to voting.
  • Confront partisan efforts to seize control of the election administration apparatus.
  • Support conscientious, non-partisan election officials in our communities.
  • Volunteer as poll workers, election monitors, and drivers to get people to the polls.

Preparing for Non-Violent Resistance

We believe that as a religious society grounded in nonviolence, we can:

  • Arrange for nonviolent direct-action training in our Quaker meetings and organizations, as well as with others in our larger communities.
  • Form small “affinity groups” that can prepare to carry out direct actions in support of free and fair elections and the state and local officials who support them.
  • Support wider efforts to plan and organize nonviolent resistance on a state and nationwide level, as needed.

MARIAN BEANE
Charlotte Friends Meeting, Piedmont Friends – Yearly Meeting
and Fellowship

BRUCE BIRCHARD
Central Philadelphia Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly
Meeting, Former General Secretary, Friends General Conference

LAURA BOYCE
Providence Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
Ujima Friends Peace Center

MARTHA BRYANS
Downingtown Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

SAM CALDWELL
Providence Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
Former General Secretary, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

GRETCHEN CASTLE
Doylestown Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
Dean, Earlham School of Religion, Former General Secretary,
Friends World Committee for Consultation World Office

ROBERT DOCKHORN
Green Street Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

TOM EWELL
Whidbey Island Friends Meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting

EILEEN FLANAGAN
Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

JOHN HELDING
Lopez Island Friends Meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting

AYESHA IMANI
Ujima Friends Meeting, Philadelphia, Clerk, Ujima Friends
Peace Center, Former Clerk of the Fellowship of Friends
of African Descent

PHIL LORD
Ujima Friends Meeting, Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting,
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

MARY ELLEN MCNISH
Byberry Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Former
General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee

DIANE RANDALL
Hartford Friends Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting,
Sojourning Friends Meeting of Washington, Baltimore Yearly
Meeting, Former General Secretary, Friends Committee on
National Legislation

CHRISTINA REPOLEY
Atlanta Friends Meeting, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting
and Association, Founding Director of Quaker Voluntary Service

COLIN SAXTON
North Valley Friends Meeting, Newberg, Oregon

JOE VOLK
Executive Secretary Emeritus, Friends Committee on
National Legislation

MICHAEL WAJDA
Goshen Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
Sojourning Bennington Friends Meeting, New England
Yearly Meeting, Former Associate Secretary, Friends
General Conference

PAM YALLER
Upper Dublin Friends Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

Meeting and Organization Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only


Advices and Queries for the Second Month*

Spiritual Life

Advices

The life of the spirit gains depth and vigor through devotional practices, prayer, study and meditation. Take time regularly for individual and family worship, discussions. Readings from sacred texts and other spiritual refreshment in order to live a more centered life and to bring a deeper presence to the Meeting for Worship. Friends believe that the spiritual path is best found in community. Create opportunities in your Meetings for people of all ages to explore and express their evolving relationship with the Divine, their spiritual highs and their doubts. If different metaphors and language interfere with communication, listen more deeply, honoring the Spirit in which the thought and words have their beginnings.

Queries

  • Do I live in thankful awareness of God’s constant presence in my life?
  • Am I sensitive and obedient to the leadings of the Holy Spirit?
  • When do I take time for contemplation and spiritual refreshment?
  • Do we share our spiritual lives with others in the Meeting, seeking to know one another in that which is eternal?
  • Does the Meeting provide religious education including study of the Bible and Friends’ history and practices?

An Invitation from Friends Committee on National Legislation

When we talk about migration, too often the conversation overlooks the humanity and experiences of the people impacted. Popular rhetoric about the “border crisis” and political stunts like the busing of migrants only makes this worse. FCNL’s February Quaker Changemaker Event will feature a conversation about faith and community work on the border and across the nation.

Register to join our conversation on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8:00 PM EST

This event will feature the following speakers:

  • Anika Forrest, FCNL Legislative Director for Domestic Policy
  • Jennifer Long, Co-Executive Director at Casa Marianella, a shelter and community center on the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Bridget Moix, FCNL General Secretary

Hear their reflections following a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border and learn more about how community centers across the nation are working to support just migration.

Upcoming Events at Ben Lomond Quaker Center

Quaker Center, a retreat and conference center located in Ben Lomond, California, offers annual calendar of both online and in-person programs that explore spiritual growth and deepening, the faith and practice of Quakerism, peace and social justice, environmentalism, and much more. Here are some ongoing and upcoming programs in March, April, and May.


Wednesday Morning Online Worship sharing
each Wednesday at 10:00 AM Pacific Time

Many of us are over-scheduled. Even the lives of our children are over-scheduled. When we can allow ourselves to rest and relax, healing becomes possible. There is no healing without relaxation. In the Plum Village Tradition, we learn the art of being lazy, at least one day a week.

We think that when we are not doing anything we are wasting our time, that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be, to be what? to be alive, to be peace, to be joy, to be loving. And that is what the world needs the most. So we train ourself in order to be. And if you know the art of being peace, of being solid, then you have the ground for every action… because the ground for action is to be. And the quality of being determines the quality of doing. Action must be based on non-action.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Queries: Is meditation part of your life? Do you take time out to do nothing?


Dancing with History: a life for peace and justice
In-Person
Friday, March 3rd-Sunday, March 5th, 2023

George Lakey returns to Quaker Center to talk about his new memoir Dancing with History and the growing anxiety around polarization in our country. With lessons he learned as a young man facing violence in the streets and risking his life for human rights, Lakey shows readers how to find hope in even the most challenging times through strategic, joyful activism.


Racial Wealth Gap Learning SImulation
Online Workshop
Tuesdays, April 18, 25, 2023 at 4-5:30 PM Pacific Time

This simulation helps people understand the connections between racial equity, hunger, poverty, and wealth. Participants learn how federal policies created structural inequalities—property ownership and education are just two of many areas affected—and how these policies increase poverty in communities of color.

Facilitator Beverly Ward is the field secretary for Earthcare, Southeastern Yearly Meeting and co-clerk of Quaker Earthcare Witness.


Writing Mental Illness
Online Workshop with Ben Brazil
Wednesdays, May 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 6:30-8:00 PM Pacific Time

Mental illness affects roughly one in four American adults—or about 61.5 million people—in a given year. Yet despite its prevalence, mental illness carries a social stigma, and our mental health “system” offers scant, spotty support for those who suffer. This class asks us, as writers, to engage with the personal, moral, social—and spiritual—dimensions of mental illness. Note: this course involves pre-reading and space is limited.

Ben Brazil directs the Ministry of Writing program at the Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary in Richmond, Indiana.

News from Quaker Center (updated 1/7/2023)

Quaker Center, a retreat and conference center located in Ben Lomond, California, offers annual calendar of in-person programs that explore spiritual growth and deepening, the faith and practice of Quakerism, peace and social justice, environmentalism, and much more. Here’s what’s coming in January, February, and March:


Quaker Mystical Experience: Science, Sharing, and Vision
Weekend In-person Retreat
January 27-29th, 2023

This highly interactive program explores Quaker mysticism and offers a broad, inclusive understanding of all types of mystical experience. It draws on the Quaker mystical tradition, as well as the broader study of mystical experience that comes from the psychology of religion, neuroscience, and philosophy of religion.

Facilitator Don McCormick is a member of Grass Valley Friends Meeting. His interests include Quakerism & mystical experience, minfulness & Quakerism, and Quaker spiritual autobiography. He also trains mindfulness teachers for Unified Mindfulness, which he co-founded. As a professor, he taught psychology of religion (among other things). He is a regular contributor to Friends Journal. His articles include “The Mystical Experience:Reclaiming a Neglected Quaker Tradition” and “Mystical Experience: What the Psychological Research has to Say.”


Embodying the Light Within
Online, pay-as-led
Tuesdays, Feb 7,14,21,28, Mar 7 5:30-7:30PM Pacific

Take a deep dive into Thomas Kelly’s essay “The Light Within” in order to grasp and embody its mystical message using Brother Lawrence’s practice of the presence, sacred reading and writing, Centering Prayer, discursive meditation, and sharing reflections.

Barbara Birch is a member of Strawberry Creek Meeting, a board member at Ben Lomond Quaker Center, and the author of a forthcoming book called Eating with Christ: Feasting, Fasting, Food, Fun and Friends from Barclay Press. She is married and has three daughters.


Dancing with History: a life for peace and justice
In-person
Friday March 3rd-Sunday March 5th

George Lakey return to Quaker Center to talk about his new memoir Dancing with History and the growing anxiety around polarization in our country. With lessons he learned as a young man facing violence in the streets and risking his life for human rights, Lakey shows readers how to find hope in even the most challenging times through strategic, joyful activism.



For more information about Quaker Center and its programs, visit its website.

Thee Quaker Project

A Vision for Quakers in the 21st Century

John Watts, the founding director of the QuakerSpeak project, is launching a new venture called Thee Quaker Project, which seeks to disseminate Quaker values through a podcast and other online platforms, as well as to establish a new approach to funding Quaker Organizations. Watch the video below to learn more about the project.

Learn even more about the project here.

Thank you from Friendly Water for the World

A Note of Appreciation

In December 2021, our meeting donated approximately $3000 to Friendly Water for the World, a non-profit organization whose mission is to train and equip communities in sustainable village-scale technologies to safeguard, conserve, and expand essential resources. Our money was used to build two water catchment tanks at Bulovi Friends Primary School (Under Malava Yearly Meeting of Friends) in Kakamega County, Kenya. Because of these tanks, the children at the school no longer need to walk miles to collect water every day.

Below is the text of a thank you letter we received from Eric Lung’aho Lijodi, the Africa Programs Manager for Friendly Water for the World:

Date: 2nd September 2022

To all Friends,
Orange County Friends Meeting,
Religious Society of Friends,
Costa Mesa, California

Dear Friends,

REF: Appreciation

Calvary greetings in Jesus name with an expectation that this letter will find you all well. On behalf of my organization, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for your unselfish contribution towards construction of two Rain Water Catchments at Bulovi Friends Primary School (Under Malava Yearly Meeting of Friends).Your donation was very important to us as it geared us towards our commitment towards serving the community.

Attached to this appreciation note you will find the following documents which I beseech you to find time to read in order to have a deeper understanding of how important your donation has been not only to us as an organization but to the beneficiary community:

We are blessed to have you as our partner and once more thank you very much for your generous support and we look forward to working with you again in the near future. If you have questions or needy clarity, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Eric Lung’aho Lijodi
Programs Manager

Advices and Queries for the Tenth Month

Personal Relationships

Advices

In daily relationships with others, both inside and outside the home, our lives as Friends speak immediately and lastingly. In these relationships, our faith may also be severely tested. We are called to respond to that of God in everyone: we are all children of God.

Friends celebrate any union that is dedicated to mutual love and respect, regardless of the unique make-up of the family. We strive to create homes where the Spirit of the Divine resides at the center and where the individual genius of each member is respected and nurtured.

Human sexuality is a divine gift, forming part of the complex union of body, mind and spirit that is our humanity. In a loving adult relationship in a context of mutual responsibility, sexuality brings delight, fulfillment and celebration.

The presence of children carries a special blessing as well as responsibility. Children bring unique spiritual gifts — wonder, resiliency, playfulness and more. Recognize and honor the Divine Light within children and treat them with the dignity and respect that is due to all people. Listen to and learn from children; share with them those values and practices that are central to our own lives. Special care must be given to resolving problems between adults and children in a manner that gives equal weight to the feelings and needs of both children and adults. Tender parenting is one of the critically important peace vocations in our society. Make every effort to offer all parents the personal and institutional support that this challenging work requires.

Take a strong stand against any form of abuse, whether that abuse is minor or severe, and whether it is emotional, physical or sexual in nature. The terrible impact of abuse on the most vulnerable members of our families creates lifelong suffering for its victims and is a major source of violence in our society. Perpetrators are themselves usually victims of similar violence and should be approached with compassion as well as firmness.

Queries

  • Do I make my home a place of friendliness, joy and peace where residents and visitors feel God’s presence?
  • Are my sexual practices consistent with my spiritual beliefs, and free of manipulation and exploitation?
  • What barriers keep me from responding openly and lovingly to each person?
  • Do we open our thoughts, beliefs and deep understandings to our children and others who share our lives and our hospitality?
  • Do we provide our children and young adults with a framework for active, ongoing participation in meeting?

from Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (2001), 56-57

Advices and Queries for the Second Month*

Spiritual Life

Advices

The life of the spirit gains depth and vigor through devotional practices, prayer, study and meditation. Take time regularly for individual and family worship, discussions. Readings from sacred texts and other spiritual refreshment in order to live a more centered life and to bring a deeper presence to the Meeting for Worship. Friends believe that the spiritual path is best found in community. Create opportunities in your Meetings for people of all ages to explore and express their evolving relationship with the Divine, their spiritual highs and their doubts. If different metaphors and language interfere with communication, listen more deeply, honoring the Spirit in which the thought and words have their beginnings.

Queries

  • Do I live in thankful awareness of God’s constant presence in my life?
  • Am I sensitive and obedient to the leadings of the Holy Spirit?
  • When do I take time for contemplation and spiritual refreshment?
  • What steps am I taking to center my life and to stay open to continuing revelation?
  • Do we share our spiritual lives with others in the Meeting, seeking to know one another in that which is eternal?
  • Does the Meeting provide religious education including study of the Bible and Friends’ history and practices?

*from Pacific Yearly Meeting Faith and practice (2001), 48

Save the Date!

Southern California Quarterly Meeting

Nov. 4-6, 2022 Fall Fellowship
In Person & Online

Dear Friends,

The clerks’ committee is happy to announce that we will be holding Fall Fellowship in a blended, On-site, and Online format.  Please mark your calendars for the first weekend in November to once again gather at Temescal Canyon Gateway Park and from the comfort of your home.  Friday night, Nov. 4 will be on zoom, and Saturday and Sunday will be blended. 

All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend Fall Fellowship. 

This year’s theme, Weaving Ourselves Together, Seeking Wholeness

gives us an opportunity to weave the threads of our individual lives, our community connections, our curiosities and yearnings, our experiences of hurt, healing, and joy, and our spiritual seeking into a tapestry of the whole.  Worship Sharing, often the heart of Friends gatherings, will be a central focus this year with an offering on Saturday morning from Georgia Daniels.  She will guide us into deepening our engagement with Worship Sharing as Spiritual Development.

We are still planning the interest groups and will provide full gathering details soon.

The Children’s Committee is looking forward to creating an intergenerational experience with the help of teachers and volunteers with a wide age range. If you have curiosity, patience, and a joyful soul you may be the person we are looking for! If you’re interested in teaching, or just strumming a guitar so we can sing together, please contact Louise Sherikar by email at  louise.sherikar@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing everyone at Fall Fellowship!

Jane Blount, Clerk
Southern California Quarterly Meeting