Metamorphosis – April 2013

Metamorphosis: Newsletter for Bellingham Friends Meeting
April, 2013

Bellingham Friends Meeting gathers at 1701 Ellis Street (Creekside Building) in Bellingham.  Meeting for Worship begins at 10 am, and childcare is available.  The first Sunday of each month is potluck following worship.   All are invited.  Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business is the second Sunday of each month, and all are welcome to attend.

Query: How do we prepare ourselves for worship?  Do we meet in expectant waiting for the promptings of the Divine Spirit?  Is there a living silence in which we are drawn together by the power of the Spirit in our midst?  Is this inspiration carried over into our daily living?  Is the vocal ministry exercised under the leading of the Holy Spirit without prearrangement and in the simplicity and sincerity of truth? As we listen, or as we speak, are we guided by the Inward Light and sensitive to each others needs?  Are we careful not to speak at undue length, or beyond our light?
Upcoming Schedule:
Tuesday, 4/16:  Gathering at The Horners’  for continuation of Bible Study with Howard Harris
Thursday, 4/18:  Spirit group meets at the home of Larry and Joanne
Friday, 4/19:  Silent Vigil @ 4 pm at Cornwall & Magnolia
Sunday, 4/21:  Clerks’ Potluck at The Halls’ at 5 pm
Friday, 4/26 & 5/3:  Silent Vigil @ 4 pm at Cornwall & Magnolia
Sunday, 5/5:  Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business will be our second hour instead of potluck Sunday.
Friday, 5/10:  Silent Vigil @ 4 pm at Cornwall & Magnolia
Sunday, 5/12:  Potluck following Meeting for Worship

More Events:  Pendle Hill Dream Worship – November 10-14, 2013.  The contact person is John Meyer  (650) 566-4507.  His email is, and the local contact is Bonnita Lynne (
An Interesting Read:  The following link is a wonderful article in the New Yorker about Mike Boehm’s work in Vietnam – Mike visited our meeting in December of 2012.
Congratulations!  We wish congratulations to one of our special Friends, Thomas Hall, M.D., upon his earning of a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.  Tom plans to attend commencement on May 30, 2013 in Boston.

Have you Read a Really Good Book Lately?

– Quaker Process for Friends on the Benches is the most thorough survey to date of the nuances of Quaker process and practice.  This book provides historical context to how Quaker process has evolved, shares common practices and variations used by contemporary Friends, and gives real-life examples of model Quaker process in action. Readers will find answers to such questions as “What does it mean to serve on a committee?” and “How should new technologies be used in our Quaker business?” Readers will learn best practices from a range of perspectives on topics like discernment, leadings, and the mechanics of interrelated Quaker bodies.  Both accessible and comprehensive, this richly researched handbook deserves a place in the library of every Friends meeting and every Quaker member or attender who seeks to find joy in the spiritual practice of Quaker process. A glossary, index, and annotated bibliography will give readers years of practical service and well-lit paths into a deeper study of the Quaker faith.
Mathilda Navias has written a remarkable book that is tender toward all varieties of Friends.  Every page reflects not just wide study, but also deep experience and clear wisdom.
(Tom Hamm, Quaker Historian and author of The Quakers in America)

– Drawn from the rich archives of Friends Journal and edited by Sharon Hoover, Quakers and the Search for Peace illuminates the many aspects of Friends’ most central and most public spiritual testimony:  a search for peace.  The search for peace among Quakers began and continues as a spiritual search, not a political one – with such texts as the Sermon on the Mount, not with political schemes.  Friends today seek spiritual peace within, then in their actions toward others and the world itself. From a well-tended spiritual center, Friends seek to sow peace wherever they go.  Many find themselves called to witness peace in specific ways, not just in their families, but also in their meetings, communities, nations and their world.
From the Foreword – This book is an invaluable resource for those who wish to explore the Quaker peace experience and to better understand and develop their own personal calling for peace. With a careful selection of material approaching peace from many philosophical and practical angles, this book for serves as a guide not only for Quakers and their meetings but readers of all faith traditions who yearn for a more peaceful world. Students and newcomers to Quakerism will find a diverse and compelling introduction to the Quaker religion in modern practice.

Answering Terror: Responses to War and Peace after 9/11/01 –  The 9/11/01 terrorist attacks prompted both an outpouring of feeling and a serious examination of the Quaker peace testimony. This searching anthology of Friends’ responses to this crisis and its repercussions reveals a profound diversity of Quaker thought. Quaker theologian Walter Wink writes of Answering Terror: “Every doubt, vacillation, conviction, and act of courage that Quakers have ever entertained rises to the surface.” Sociologist and peace activist Elise Boulding writes, “What a wonderful and inspiring read this book will be for the Quaker community!”
Answering Terror is not an easy read.  It stirs memories both external (the collapse of the towers)    and internal (the sense of horror, shock, and powerlessness that followed).  Rereading the words of Friends in the days, weeks, and months that followed is a heart-opener.  Answering Terror implies something terribly important is happening among Friends as we seek to discern a way forward that is Spirit-led and serious.  It invites readers to join an ongoing conversation to face hard issues with intelligence, wit, and passion-and to do so with honesty, courage, and respect for diversity.  This book has the potential to shake you up pretty righteously, so be prepared.  Don’t shirk the journey.                         (Jack Patterson, former Quaker U. N. Representative)
On the surface there is a pro and con debate on nonviolence.  But, under the surface, every doubt, vacillation, conviction, and act of courage that Quakers have ever entertained rise to the surface. Rather than abandoning nonviolence because we have not yet learned how to use it effectively, we might test it by trial and error.  We have massive corroboration that nonviolence has worked in cases of national liberation.  The world has been lurching toward democracy of late, and democracy is the institutionalization of nonviolence.  For those with eyes to see, the proliferation of nonviolence can be regarded as the work of the Holy Spirit in history.
(Walter Wink, Professor Emeritus, Biblical Interpretation)

This collection of responses to the September 11 onslaught of violence gives us all a very special opportunity to rethink our lives and our testimonies. The diversity of responses lets us know that the Friends Testimonies are still in process of development, and offers a multiplicity of ways to witness to those testimonies. What a wonderful and inspiring read this book will be for the Quaker community in all its diversity.                                       (Elise Boulding, Professor Emerita of Sociology)

If the heart-felt suggestions in this volume had been followed after September 11, the world could  have taken a giant step toward brother and sisterhood, and the people of the U.S. would be more secure than all the weapons on the planet could provide.  I encourage everyone who wants to rid the world of terrorism and live in peace to read this book.
(David Hartsough, Founder of Nonviolent Peace Force)

For generations we have been fighting wars to end all wars, only to breed more wars, more terrorists. Yet more people are rejecting violence and applying nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts. We recommend Answering Terror  to young and old wrestling today with the challenge of state violence, terrorism, and violence in the family.
(George & Lillian Willoughby, lifelong peace activists)

Peace – Equality – Integrity – Community – SIMPLICITY – Stewardship

Let us read about Simplicity:  Spirit-led Restraint.  Friends believe in simple living.  This has historically meant simple dress, plain speech, and unadorned meeting houses for worship.  Through the simplicity testimony, Friends encourage one another to look beyond the outward and to the inward.
In contemporary terms, Friends try to live lives in which activities and possessions do not get in the way of open and unencumbered communication with others and with one’s own spirituality.  Clearing away the clutter makes it easier to hear the “still small voice” within.

Living simply is the right ordering of our lives and priorities.

May we look upon our treasure, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try to discover whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions.

Does the way I spend my time make the best possible contribution to my work?

How might I communicate with more honesty, clarity, and simplicity?

Eco-Query for Earth Month:  “What is the source of the sense of separation that pervades our religious society and society at large that keeps Friends mostly silent and immobile in the face of the poisoning of our planet?” – Angela Manno, 15th Street Meeting, New York (from Befriending Creation, Jan.-Feb.2013)

Speak Truth to Power:  We all know that coal is a very dirty fuel that adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and thus increases global warming with its attendant ocean acidification, sea level rise, loss of species, more intense storms and droughts.  Please write to the Washington state Department of Ecology, County Council members, and/or your state senator and representatives and give them your opinion about the wisdom of strip mining coal in Wyoming-Montana, shipping it all the way to the west coast by train, and then to Asia by ships burning filthy bunker fuel.  When it is burned in Asia, Earth’s rotation will bring the pollution back to us along with its health effects such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer, as well as loss of our shellfish when they can no longer make their shells in the acid ocean water.

Bellingham Friends Meeting – State of Society 2012
The year 2012 has brought Bellingham Friends both blessings and challenges.  Among the blessings were retreats and conferences with other Friends in the area including our own retreat on the theme of “What Quaker Values Inspire You?” We have faced a decline in attendance, and consequent problems in carrying out all the work of the Meeting and filling vacancies in our committees and representative positions.
Some highlights of the past year include:
-Overall attendance at Meeting for Worship has decreased to an average of 20 adults (compared to 22 in 2011 and 24 in 2010) and fewer children (3.5 compared to 4.3 in 2011 and 9.3 in 2010).
-We have adjusted to our reduced pool of nominees by combining committees, temporarily turning over committee responsibilities to a coordinator in one case, and leaving some positions unfilled.
-We were privileged to host a talk by author Naseem Rakha, on her book, The Crying Tree, which deals with issues of forgiveness and capital punishment.
-We rejoiced in the transfer of membership of Joanne Cowan and the return of Allen Stockbridge after a long illness and time away. We are enriched by the wisdom and vibrant Quaker history of elders in our Meeting, including Howard Harris, Tom Hall and Doris Ferm.
-In addition to the opportunity to open our own annual retreat to other Friends in the region, we were enriched by our members attending wider Quaker events, such as the FGC Gathering; the Women’s Theology Conference; and the Clerking Workshop on Whidbey Island. A sizable bequest has enriched our Meeting by enabling more of our members to attend such events. Bellingham Friends who benefited from the bequest have graciously shared their experiences with the whole Meeting.
-Our Spirit Group meets monthly to explore Quaker writing and spirituality.
-Our outreach and welcoming subcommittee has revised our pamphlets, instituted a practice of wearing name tags to help newcomers feel more comfortable, and looks for ways to become more welcoming.
-We are planning and hosting Quarterly Meeting for Spring 2013 in conjunction with Lopez Island Preparative Meeting.  We continue to be enriched by our contact with Lopez, which is under our care.
Our Meeting for Worship continues to be enriching and to sustain our spiritual community.

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