Metamorphosis – May 2013

Metamorphosis: Newsletter for Bellingham Friends Meeting
May, 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: Does my life profess my values?  Do I walk my talk?  (taken from Olympia Veeting’s list of queries)

               How do our lives testify to our convictions as Friends?  What are we doing to share our faith?  (taken from Faith and Practice)


Upcoming Schedule of Second Hours:

Sunday – May 05, 2013 – Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business [switched with Potluck]

Sunday – May 12, 2013 – Potluck Sunday [switched with Business Meeting]

Fridays – May 03 through May 31, 2013 – Friday Night Vigil, corner of Cornwall and Magnolia at 4 pm.

Tuesday – May 14, 2013 – Book group meets at Betty McMahon’s at 7 pm.

Thursday – May 16, 2013 – Spirit Group meets at the home of Larry & Joanne

Sunday – May 19, 2013 – Keyla Beebe talking about Palestine Service Project

Sunday – May 26, 2012 – open


Heads Up:

July 17-21, 2013Call to North Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session

George Fox and other Friends will again join us in worship at our Annual Session, July 17-21 2013. Margaret Fell will again provide spiritual nurture and accommodations in the manner of Friends. Our location is Forest Grove, Oregon hosted at Pacific University. This pleasant campus will give succor as we are challenged by the pressures of our material lives and in particular from firearms violence that springs from fear in our community.  Online registration:  NPYMmyURI=/NPYM_Registration/on npym.orgNPYM

September 27-29, 2013 Fall Quarterly Meeting with the theme:  Let the Living Waters Flow

Somethings of Interest to Friends:  *The following was submitted by Allen Stockbridge, who is a member at large of the American Friends Service Committee Corporation.

To Friends Everywhere: an Epistle from the American Friends Service Committee

“People can be transformed by being open and human.  We believe that people have a need to be heard, but how they are heard really matters – if they take the risk of telling their story, it needs to make a difference.” – Denise Altvater

On March 1 and 2, 2013, more than 100 of us gathered at Friends Center in Philadelphia for the AFSC Corporation Meeting.  For two days, Quakers and AFSC staff worshiped together, engaged in business, and learned ways to work in partnership for peace and justice.   A strong spirit of mutual respect and common cause drew us together as Friends and staff spoke about how to be effective allies and explored actions that individual Friends, meetings, and churches might be led to take in working alongside AFSC.  On Friday we spent the evening exploring trauma healing and reconciliation.   Denise Altvater, a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe of the Wabankai has worked for AFSC for 18 years.  She  told the story of her work in Maine with Wabanki and state child care workers to establish a truth and reconciliation commission—the first between a sovereign tribal nation and a U.S. state, and the first in which victims and perpetrators have proceeded in unity.

On February 12, 2013, it was seated in Hermon, Maine.  Preceding it was a day of reflection and prayer for the telling of the hard stories of children who had been taken from their homes, from their people, from their ways, and placed into foster homes with white families.  The foster care system was a tactic to eradicate the culture of the few Wabanaki who had survived physical genocide.  As Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania said, “The intention was  to kill the Indian but save the man.”   Many of the children are now adults and still suffer from the trauma of being taken. Denise says, “Across the board, however you were taken, whether you were taken from a good home or a bad home, whether you were placed in a good or bad foster home, the people taken didn’t feel like they knew where they belonged.  The trauma that had the deepest impact was the trauma of being taken.  It was a really strong and real life-long traumatic event.”  Denise is clear that the harm done was part of the system.  “During the boarding school era and the foster care era, child welfare workers were doing their jobs.  They thought they were doing the right thing; it’s wasn’t an issue of them being good, bad, right or wrong.”

The focus of the truth and reconciliation process will be the healing of the Wabanaki through the telling and receiving of their stories, the healing of the child care workers, and changes in policy and practice.  Child welfare workers and tribal members have worked together on developing the declaration of intent; they were mistrustful at first, but when they told each other stories about who they are as people, their hearts opened to one another, and they have moved together to make the commission a reality.

As the tender, difficult stories are told and really heard, the healing can begin:   the reclamation of the birthright of all people to one’s own culture; to one’s own heart; and to a sense of belonging.  Denise says,  “No amount of money could make up for what happened to me.”  For her, it’s all about feeling joy again and reclaiming that birthright.  This has been elusive since the traumas of being taken from her home and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her foster parents.

Moving from harm to healing is a focus of AFSC’s work all over the world.  In 13 countries and 38 U.S. cities, AFSC works from the understanding that peace begins with healing from the trauma of war, violence, and other forms of harm. The interruption of cycles of violence through healing lays the foundation for peace.  Our work, drawn from Quaker faith and testimonies, arises from the understanding that people have the answers they need within, and listening undergirds all transformation.  At its best, our work reveals the power of love.

We appreciate our deepening connection to Quaker monthly meetings, churches, yearly meetings, and Friends everywhere.  Last year we launched an AFSC Quaker Meeting / church liaison program to work with Quaker congregations for peace and justice which has been well received.  We hope that many more meetings and churches will join with us in the coming year.  If you’re interested, email  Please hold us in your prayers, challenge us, and engage with us. None of this work can happen without communities reaching out in love to help make peace possible.

In Peace,

Shan Cretin Arlene Kelly , General Secretary Clerk, the Board of AFSC


Report to BFM Friends on the Spring 2013 session of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting

The most important thing that happened during last weekend’s Quarterly Meeting session was unplanned and most unfortunate, namely Doris Ferm’s illness and hospitalization.  Doris was a regular participant in Quarterly Meeting and was widely known and liked there, especially so among her colleagues on the Steering Committee of Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy.  Doris also served a term as Co-clerk of the Quarterly Meeting around five years ago.

The other things that happened last weekend were mostly planned and generally went well. Total attendance was 162 Friends, including 113 adults, 15 Junior Friends, and 34 younger children. Turnout was higher than we’ve seen in several years, and roughly the same as we usually experienced just before the recent economic downturn. Eleven adults from BFM attended, along with five high-school or younger Friends. There were also ten adult Friends there from the Lopez Island Preparative Meeting.

Lorina will report to you further concerning Friday evening’s Simple Meal fundraiser, but I can say that I heard a good number of Friends saying “This was a good idea,” or words to that effect.

The Saturday morning panel, during which four of us shared our personal stories of coming to feel that we belong among Quakers, was well received and concluded with about 25 minutes of very relevant comments and questions from other Friends present.  I heard numerous Friends indicating that it was a good way to introduce the theme and get us all warmed up for further sharing in our small worship-sharing and worship-discussion groups. In my own worship-discussion group there were some very moving statements about the ways in which we had come to our present relationships with our local Quaker communities, including in some cases the emotional difficulty of leaving a prior religious or cultural community.

There were 13 interest groups proposed for our new Interest Group time late on Saturday afternoon. I suspect that two or three may have been cancelled for lack of any attenders, but I never learned this for sure.  In any case, an interest group co-facilitated by John Helding and myself on Friends General Conference, and related issues including direct monthly meeting affiliation, was attended by five other Friends.

Saturday evening’s all-ages program also went well and was widely appreciated. Many of the children and several Junior Friends participated along with adults in the two planned improvisation exercises, during which teams of seven or eight worked to create spontaneous teamwork and lots of fun for themselves and the audience.  A third, more difficult, improvisation exercise was added by popular demand and also worked well. An unanticipated interlude of marimba music was inserted next in the program, which then concluded with about 70 minutes of musical offerings by Stanley and Kip Greenthal from Lopez playing a wide variety of ethnic and folk music on an equally wide variety of instruments. The Greenthals also included several audience-participation numbers that invited Friends to sing along, which they did.

Finally, participants in Quarterly Meeting this time also enjoyed good weather.  Although cloudy some of the time, we didn’t experience the forecast windiness and that enabled several worship groups and also several interest groups to meet outdoors. Our current Planning Committee will hold its final meeting on May 16th to share our experiences about what went well and what could be improved, and to review the results from evaluation forms submitted by attenders. Bellingham Friends’ next opportunity to plan and organize the adult program for Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting will begin in 2016, leading up to the session in April of 2017.

I would like to invite other Bellingham Friends who attended Quarterly Meeting, whether members of the Planning Committee or not, to share their own impressions for a few minutes.

Thank you.

–Don Goldstein, Convener of Spring 2013 Quarterly Meeting Planning Committee

 Peace – Equality – Integrity – Community – SIMPLICITY – Stewardship

At  American Friends Service Committee, the commitment to simplicity calls us to speak plainly and go directly to the heart of the matter. However, simplicity does not mean being simplistic.  We value nuance and choose words carefully when we speak. We may speak passionately, but we avoid distortion and exaggeration.

In our work, simplicity requires focusing our efforts on what is most important rather than diffusing our energies too broadly.  In our personal lives, simplicity may mean limiting our consumerism – and resisting over-commitment, so that we have time to care for ourselves and to be present with one another.

There is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.

                                                                                    MOHANDAS K. GANDHI, INDIAN INDEPENDENCE LEADER

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.     HANS HOFMANN, PAINTER

Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.   ALBERT EINSTEIN, PHYSICIST

Queries:  How do I take time to renew myself?  Do I know when to say no to work to which I cannot adequately attend?  How can I be more thoughtful about what I need and what I acquire?


“Today’s Realities, Tomorrow’s Leaders” – 

 Delegation to Israel / Palestine August 10-23, 2013



This delegation will explore current realities of life for Israelis and Palestinians, including settlements, the occupation and the peace process.  Interfaith Peace-Builders has led 45 delegations and taken more than 700 people to Israel/Palestine.  Experienced leaders from the U.S. Are combined with professional multilingual guides from Israel / Palestine who b ring a range of knowledge , perspectives, and expertise.  (Learn more about our leaders at  Cost:  $2,200 includes accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, guides, sustained support upon your return, and more.  Not included are domestic and international airfares.  Limited financial aid is available for those who need help.  For more information contact Interfaith Peace-Builders: / 202-244-0821 /

Joys & Sorrows

We have been saddened this month by the deaths of Anna Rosemary Harris, Howard’s granddaughter, on April 2 and Doris Ferm on May 3.   We hold them  and each of their families in the Light.  Anna Rosemary Harris’ funeral service took place at her home church, Christ the Servant Lutheran.  Friends will be notified about Doris Ferm’s memorial service by email.

Just hours before Doris passed, Friends and friends gathered in her backyard to sing to her. There were approximately 50 people who serenaded Quaker hymns to Doris outside her bedroom window.  Ironically, this month’s query couldn’t have been more appropriate in describing Doris.

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