Bellingham Friends Meeting

Bellingham Quakers – The Religious Society of Friends

Metamorphosis – September 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
(bellinghamfriends.org)

Advices and Queries: (LRB #12) When you are preoccupied and distracted in Meeting, let wayward and disturbing thoughts give way quietly to your awareness of God’s presence among us and in the world. Receive the vocal ministry of others in a tender and creative spirit. Reach for the meaning deep within it, recognizing that even if it is not God’s word for you, it may be so for others. Remember that we all share responsibility for the meeting for worship whether our ministry is in silence or through the spoken word.

Calendar:  September 07 – Potluck Sunday

September 09 – Book group met. The next meeting is Monday, October 13.

September 10 – Mid-week worshiped at the home of Mary Ann Percy.

September 14 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

September 21 Second hour of singing with Don Reinke accompanying.

September 24 – Mid-week worship at the home of Mary Ann Percy, 7 pm.

September 25 – Spirit Group meets at Don Goldstein’s, 7 pm.

September 28 – Quarterly Meeting

October 05 – Friendly Lunches: Ministry and Counsel invites you to join Bellingham Friends Meeting’s second round of Friendly lunches. This time, we are having our Friendly lunches instead of potluck Sunday, October 5. The lunches will be held after our social time following Meeting for Worship, at Friends’ homes. Hosts will decide whether the lunch will be potluck and let their guests know in advance. They may also choose to have a game or worship sharing or some kind of theme for their lunch. These lunches are an opportunity for us to enjoy one another’s company in a relaxed atmosphere at one another’s homes. Once everyone has signed up, Ministry and Counsel will assign guests to hosts (according to how many people the host can accommodate), assuring a mix of old and new Friends at each lunch, insofar as is possible. To attend a Friendly lunch, please sign up at Meeting or contact anyone on M & C.

October 12 – Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

October 19 – Quakerism: Experience it! Mary Ann Percy bay be available.

October 26 – Advance Care Planning for End of Life Helps One Be a Better Friend. (Mary Ann Percy)

Other Events: 

     WWU Student Information Fair: The Outreach and Welcoming Group is “tabling” at the WWU Student Info Fair on Monday and Tuesday, Sept 22-23rd. It will be in Red Square or the Viking Union building depending on weather.

The fair runs from 11-3 pm each day, and two volunteers are preferred at all times. We need to plan to set up at 10 am and break down at 3 pm each day, so we would like to have two shifts per day, 10:15 am -12:45 pm and 12:45 – 3:15 pm.

Please contact Allen Stockbridge if you can sign up for the early or late shift on Monday 9/22 or on Tuesday 9/23.

     Explorations’ Fundraiser: What is Blisterama? Blisterama! is a work party fundraiser hosted by Explorations Academy that gets students out of the classroom and in the community doing all manner of service projects!

What is Explorations Academy? Explorations Academy is a fully-accredited independent high school that teaches students personal responsibility, global citizenship and environmental stewardship. One way we teach our students these principles is by having them frequently participate in local and global service projects.

What kinds of work can Blisterama! teams do? Our students can help with all kinds of tasks. Many past Blisterama! sponsors have Blisterama! teams work in their homes or in their yards to weed, mow, shovel, clean, haul, dig, move, plant, sort; you name it!  You can also sponsor a Blisterama! team to tackle a community service project, like cleaning and painting over graffiti, restoring an urban trail, picking up garbage, etc.

Is a donation required for Blisterama! sponsors? Yes, the suggested minimum donation for a Blisterama! team is $50/hour. Any additional gift above that amount is tax deductible, and there is no upper limit to what you can give! All money raised goes to funding financial aid for low-income students.

 

Friends General Conference (FGC) is a North American Quaker organization primarily serving the Quaker yearly and monthly meetings in the United Stastes and Canada that choose to be members. FGC was founded in 1900.  FGC-affiliated meetings are typically in the unprogrammed Quaker tradition, which means that such meetings take place without human pastoral leadership, or a prepared order of worship. In 2013, there were about 35,000 members in 641 congregations in the United States affiliated with FGC.  FGC’s programs include traveling ministries, religious outreach, interfaith relations, book publishing and sales, and an annual conference.  The main offices for the FGC are in Philadelphia, PA.

Mission statement – The Friends General Conference is a Quaker organization in the unprogrammed tradition of the Religious Society of Friends which primarily serves affiliated yearly and monthly meetings. The statement of purpose reads:  Friends General Conference, with Divine guidance, nurtures the spiritual vitality of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by providing programs and services for Friends, meetings, and seekers.

Some major goals of FGC include:  Nurturing meetings and worship groups; providing resources and opportunities for meetings, Friends, and seekers to experience the living presence of God (Light); helping meetings guide Friends to discern the leadings of the Inward Teacher and to grow into ministry; transforming our awareness so that our corporate and individual attitudes and actions fully value and encompass the blessed diversity of our human family; working to grow and sustain a vital, diverse, and loving community of Friends based on a shared search for unity in the Spirit; articulating Friends’ practices, core experiences, and the call to live and witness to our faith; and promoting dialogue, and sharing with others,  our corporate experience of Divine Truth while learning from their experiences of the same.

Bellingham Friends Meeting is very fortunate in that one of our late and dear Friends, Analise Pysanky, bequeathed the funding to enable one person from our Meeting to attend this conference each July.  This year, Mark Hersh attended.  Here are some of Mark’s personal feelings and experiences:

The Workshop was called “Deepening Your Experience With the Light,” taught by Jerry Knutson.  It was an introduction and survey of meditation practices, both Quaker and from other spiritual organizations.  For starters, Jerry taught us that it is important for listeners to understand that a speaker or writer may be using language from their own particular spiritual background that may be a stumbling block to the listener.  For example, speaking of Jesus, or Christ, or the Bible, or Buddhism, etc. may cause the listener to stop listening and focus on the language which is foreign to the listener’s background or may be offensive in some sense.  One needs to employ one’s own translation of the off-putting language in order to remain engaged in the discussion.  Then, one can understand that the speaker is doing the best he can to explain his own experience of the Light in as loving and accurate language as he can at this moment.  In short, the listener needs to translate and remain present.

From the lectures, I found George Fox’s letter to Lady Claypool to be very interesting, despite the 17th century language.  This letter teaches that we should not just be paying attention to our own mistakes, but to realize that it is the Spirit that has brought our mistakes to our attention and to listen to the Spirit and what the Spirit is trying to teach us.

Edgar Casey’s meditation process and practice illustrated real life examples of events that were recorded and documented, that occurred hundreds of times outside of what modern science is able to explain.  I also found the discussion of a “Gathered Meeting” very useful in translating the Quaker language into something that I was able to better understand.  And, Rex Ambler’s “Light to Live By” gives me hope for more things I want to understand in my spiritual journey and in the arena of mystical experiences.

FGC, itself, was a moving and engaging experience.  Most of the 1,240 people who attended were from North America, with a few from South America, Europe and Australia, and probably other places, as well.  They all had jam-packed schedules, and they were moving about in small spaces while discussing complicated, sensitive and controversial topics with calm and respectful attitudes.  This was as close to a model of world peace as I have ever seen.  I had just about given up hope until I saw it practiced here.  And, it all worked because the people involved had all decided, before they arrived, to just get along.  I met people that had attended the last 33 FGC Gatherings and admitted that it was a bit addictive; I totally understand why.  There was no competition, I saw no aggression, and there was very little of the tension of self-protective guarding of one’s self that is the normal way of life everywhere else in America and most of the rest of the world.  As much as I appreciated the small town feel of the Gathering, it would have been better if 12 thousand people had been there, and if they would all go out into the world and model that kindness in the wider world.  Maybe it would catch on.

I learned a lot from the week, but one of the two most important lessons came from the morning Bible study.  One lesson is to recognize and be mindful of blessings, love and support that come at you from unexpected sources  and to not ignore them or reject them just because they come from unexpected places or even places from which you do not want love to come.  I would add that if they’re genuine blessings and support, take them.  Yes, coming from a direction where you don’t want to receive a blessing can be both hard to do and risky.  Risky because people can be devious and take advantage.  On the other hand, it may be a genuine attempt to repair a relationship, and you won’t know unless you are brave and try.  The second important lesson came from my small group participation in the workshop.  That lesson is that you never know what someone else is carrying.  Listening a little more, caring a little more, talking a little less, being gentle, being kind, not making assumptions or jumping to conclusions makes it easier for one to share and carry one’s burdens.  This is good for all of us because we’re all carrying something.

These two lessons were on top of the great workshop of meditation practices, coming from a variety of sources over the last several hundred years.  All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  Everyone should try it at least once, but it can be addictive if you crave peace and community.
Casa de los Amigos

Since the 1930’s, the Quaker community in Mexico has promoted social programs in many parts of the country. This community purchased the building at Ignacio Mariscal #132 from the family of José Clemente Orozco in 1955. One year later, they legally constituted a Civil Association: Casa de los Amigos. Initially the Casa was a base for the Mexican Friends Service Committee, including the workcamps that had been coordinated with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Mexico since 1939. The group of visionary founders also hoped to found an organization with a broad social mission to promote peace and international understanding, and perform the work of Friends in Mexico.

Young people from all over the world volunteered in the workcamps–community development projects in hundreds of rural Mexican villages. Mexican and international volunteers worked alongside community members, and a generation of leaders grew out of this transformative experience. The American Friends Service Committee supported the Casa de los Amigos with economic resources and volunteers until 1984.
The 1980’s, the wars in Central America brought tens of thousands of refugees to Mexico seeking safety. For 13 years the Casa received Central American refugees, primarily Salvadorans, and provided orientation, accommodation, food, medicine, clothing, psychological support and legal assistance, among other things. The Central American Refugee Emergency Assistance Program was laid down in 1992 after the peace accords brought a formal end to the civil war in El Salvador, and a decline in the number of refugees arriving in Mexico. After the Casa celebrated its Jubilee anniversary in 2006, the organization began again to provide temporary, emergency housing to migrants and refugees, this time working closely with the Mexican migrant rights community.

The Flor de Mazahua Cooperative is a small group of Mazahua women who migrated from the State of Mexico to the capital 30 years ago. and began to produce traditional handicrafts. In the 1990’s, Casa de los Amigos helped the cooperative with technical support, administrative assistance and marketing their products. Today, the Casa continues to work closely with the Cooperativa Flor de Mazahua and maintains a point of sale for their products.
For more than half a century, the Casa has been a crucial meeting point for activists, volunteers, Friends and others of faith and good will, academics, migrants, refugees, researchers, international solidarity workers, and countless others. By providing a safe, friendly, stimulating environment of social concern for a broad array of Mexican and international peaceworkers, the Casa has generated and supported peacework for decades fomented understanding between groups and individuals, offered a visible witness to the human dignity of each person, and facilitated transformative experiences much like in the workcamp days.

In 2006, the Casa celebrated its 50th Jubilee anniversary, and used the occasion to inaugurate new programs and publicly rededicate itself to its mission of doing the work of Friends in Mexico. Today the Casa is a thriving, independent Mexican organization with an active community and programs

 

Finally:  Akeeva Roe joined us Friday morning September 12th at 6am..A 7lb. 4oz. boy born at home into his father’s hands. We are thankful to Friends for praying and holding us in the light. The light has been with us like a constant partner. We were blessed with a peaceful labor and a healthy, beautiful baby. He came out wide-eyed and curious at his water birth.

We are in awe of his every move, facial expression and sound. We are so impressed with the magic of milk and how the body innately follows it’s course of providing life for another. He loves skin to skin contact and we love it just as much! Tim has just about finished making a beautiful bassinet out of salvaged wood. We look forward to sharing him with this wonderful community of seekers.

Our address is 1811 Eldridge Ave. If willing to keep visits ~ 10-15 minutes or so, w’d love to have people come in and say hi! If they would rather drop off meals, they can be left on the front porch, on one of the pews, and text me that it’s there once they’ve left: 6077425698.  A short visit would be very welcome and appreciated! Our dog Rilka is Akeeva’s protector; she may bark, but she’s very friendly and just doing her job. 🙂 Any time at all is fine. Our only dietary restriction is beef.

With love,

The Manzo Family

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