Metamorphosis – November 2014

Bellingham Friends worship at 10 a.m., Sundays at Explorations Academy
1701 Ellis Street (Creekside Building) Bellingham, WA 98225
P.O. Box 30144, Bellingham 98228 / (

Query: From Enlivened by the Mystery : What practices have you found that encourage your attentiveness to the Holy Spirit? Do you honor the leadings of the Inward Teacher, even when they place great demands on you?


November 02 – Quakerism: Experience It! First session with Mary Ann Percy

November 09 – Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

November 12 – Mid-week worship at the home of Mary Ann Percy, 7 pm

November 16 Singing prior to Meeting for Worship, with Don Reinke accompanying; Meetinghouse warming at Port Townsend.

November 23 – Financials of our Meeting

November 26 – Mid-week worship at the home of Mary Ann Percy, 7 pm.

November 30 – Quakerism, Experience It! will be led by Larry Thompson; Lopez visit

Other Events: Memorial – Our beloved Friend, Tom Hall’s memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on November 29 (this is the Saturday following Thanksgiving) at Congregational Church on Cornwall Avenue. The arrangements committee has met with Lorina and welcomes Friends’ participation. We will be asking Friends to bring finger foods for the reception following the service, (please arrive between 1:30 and 1:45) and we will need volunteers to come early for setup and food preparation and to stay late for cleanup. Please contact Virginia Herrick, Rob Dillard, or Mark Hersh if you would like to help.

Alternatives to Violence: The second Alternatives to Violence Basic Training has been scheduled for November 21-23 and is still accepting registrations. The Alternatives to Violence Project, and Partner Organizations, are joining to offer this Workshop in Creative Conflict Resolution for Whatcom County.

It will be held at the Explorations Academy from 6:30 – 9:30 pm on Friday night, 9 am – 6 pm on Saturday, and 12 noon to 6 pm on Sunday. Bellingham Friends Meeting may be a sponsor of the event, again, (subject to Business Meeting approval), and Friends are encouraged to register soon since we expect it to fill up to the limit of 20 participants quickly. The cost is $40-100 based on ability to pay; scholarships will be available.

Here is more information about the program: Conflict is a part of daily life, but violence (whether verbal, emotional, spiritual orphysical, doesn’t need to be. That last conflict you had…was the result less than satisfying? Do you want to learn better ways to be a positive influence in our community, work, and home? Would you like to transform conflict into a tool for positive change?
We believe that conflict can be used as a tool for change and transformation.

Our workshops use the shared experiences of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to see beyond differences, to explore common ground and discover the power within ourselves to transform our lives. Alternatives to Violence Basic Training’s intensive, 18-hour experiential workshops develop participants’ conflict resolution and community leadership skills. The workshops are not lectures; they’re safe environments where we learn to develop key abilities to:

  • Build Cooperative relationships & Finding Common Ground
  • Strengthen Communication skills & Listening
  • Improve Self-esteem
  • Learn assertiveness
  • Manage Anger
  • Let go of Grudges
  • Transform Conflict
  • Clarify Values
  • Practice thinking out of the box

Please commit to the entire schedule as each session builds on the previous one. A meal schedule is included on the registration form.
News of Friends: This is a new category for our monthly newsletter. Your editor would like to begin an ongoing report from our Friends and attenders of Bellingham Friends Meeting. Some examples of news could be requests for help/assistance such as gardening, home maintenance; information about Friends who have recently been traveling (w’de like to hear about your travels once they’re completed so as to avoid any announcement of an empty house); life events; participation at Quaker events; etc. Please send your news to

I recently completed a half marathon (race-walking) in Victoria, B.C., and it reminded me of my running days, back in 1983, when my son, Jeff, came in first place in his age group for a 10K in Playa del Rey, California. Where has the time gone? Anyways, Victoria was lots of fun with beautiful weather and very cheerful crowds. Betty McMahon

Update on New Underground Railroad: The Olympia Friends are a Quaker monthly meeting group that decided to take bold action after Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed into law the country’s anti-gay bill on Feb. 14, 2014.

Under laws established during the colonial days, homosexuality is illegal in 36 of 54 countries, according to Amnesty International. The Ugandan legislation was especially severe, calling for life sentences for homosexual behavior, whether actual or intended, and stiff jail terms for people or groups promoting or aiding homosexuals.

Within two months of the bill’s passage, Olympia activists Gabi Clayon and Talcott Broadhead persuaded the Olympia Friends to sponsor a Friends New Underground Railroad project, raising money to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenerr (LGBT) Ugandans escape their country under fear of persecution, arrest, violent beatings and death.

Uganda’s constitutional court struck down the egregious anti-gay bill on Aug. 1, 2014, citing a legal technicality, but sidestepping any ruling on the merits of the bill.

Striking the law from the books has not made life any easier, or safer, for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. Many LGBT Ugandans remain in hiding, fearing for their lives and desperately trying to flee the country, Clayton said.

“In some ways, repeal of the law has made things worse,” the Olympia-based graphic artist and licensed mental health counselor said. “The court ruling made the bill’s supporters angry, and there’s been a violent backlash towards the gay community.” Clayton said there’s also a possibility a new bill may be introduced in Ugandan Parliament, which could include the death penalty for homosexuals.

So, the underground train is still running, made up of anonymous Ugandan “conductors” who, at great personal risk, help LGBT “passengers” escape across the Ugandan border. To date, the Friends New Underground Railroad, with support from other Quaker groups and sympathizers in the United States and other countries, has raised more than $61,000 to support the cause. The average cost to escape the country is about $100 per passenger. The Friends provide financial and moral support. They don’t run the railroad; they leave it up to the passengers to make contact with the conductors by word of mouth.

“We’re very confident we’re working with trustworthy people who are doing good work” Clayton said. “The conductors we work with are in the smaller towns and rural areas of Uganda. They get to call the shots.”

As of Oct. 13, 2014, the Friends New Underground Railroad had supported Ugandan conductors to help 599 individuals escape from Uganda: 585 LGBTQ adults, six straight allies and eight children, Clayton said. About 275 refugees have found safe harbor in Rwanda, Europe and Canada while others are in countries on an interim basis, seeking asylum status, Clayton said.

Clayton is no stranger to the trials, travails and tragedies facing LGBT individuals. Her son, Bill Clayton, came out as a bisexual at the age of 14 and was immediately told he was loved and celebrated by his mother and father, Alec Clayton. When he was 17 years old, he was assaulted in a gay bashing incident. About one month later, on May 8, 1995, Bill Clayton committed suicide.

The parents plunged themselves into work supporting the South Sound LGBT community. Gabi Clayton built and maintains the Safe Schools Coalition’s now 900-page website. She co-founded Families United Against Hate to provide support for survivors and families of hate-crime victims. She is a longtime leader in Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a national group with chapters around the country. She and her husband have testified many times before the Legislature on bills affecting LGBT people.

She learned about the Ugandan Underground Railroad from friends working on other projects in Uganda, and she befriended a Ugandan man on Facebook who was asking for help.

She said the Friends New Underground Railroad continues the legacy of Quaker abolitionists and others who supported the 19th century underground railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves of African descent in the United States to escape to free states and Canada.

“We weren’t looking for this project — it kind of fell in our laps,” Clayton said. “I never saw myself doing international work — it’s sort of a surprise, but this touched my heart.”
In conclusion:                       Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise The Rain by Conrad Aiken

Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
Let us discover some new alphabet,
For this, the often praised; and be ourselves,
The rain, the chickweed, and the burdock leaf,
The green-white privet flower, the spotted stone,
And all that welcomes the rain; the sparrow too,—
Who watches with a hard eye from seclusion,
Beneath the elm-tree bough, till rain is done.
There is an oriole who, upside down,
Hangs at his nest, and flicks an orange wing,—
Under a tree as dead and still as lead;
There is a single leaf, in all this heaven
Of leaves, which rain has loosened from its twig:
The stem breaks, and it falls, but it is caught
Upon a sister leaf, and thus she hangs;
There is an acorn cup, beside a mushroom
Which catches three drops from the stooping cloud.
The timid bee goes back to the hive; the fly
Under the broad leaf of the hollyhock
Perpends stupid with cold; the raindark snail
Surveys the wet world from a watery stone…
And still the syllables of water whisper:
The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait
In the dark room; and in your heart I find
One silver raindrop,—on a hawthorn leaf,—
Orion in a cobweb, and the World.

                                                            Horses and Men in Rain by Carl Sandburg

                   LET us sit by a hissing steam radiator on a winter’s day, gray wind pattering frozen                                  raindrops on the window,
And let us talk about milk wagon drivers and grocery delivery boys.

Let us keep our feet in wool slippers and mix hot punches—and talk about mail                                          carriers and messenger boys slipping along the icy sidewalks.

                   Let us write of olden, golden days and hunters of the Holy Grail and men called “knights”                       riding horses in the rain, in the cold frozen rain for ladies they loved.

A roustabout hunched on a coal wagon goes by, icicles drip on his hat rim, sheets of ice                                wrapping the hunks of coal, the caravanserai a gray blur in slant of rain.
Let us nudge the steam radiator with our wool slippers and write poems of Launcelot,                                            the hero, and Roland, the hero, and all the olden golden men who rode horses in the rain.



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