APRIL 2020 NEWSLETTER
As we enter April and prepare ourselves for more physical distancing, we wish for the health, safety and well-being of all. Hopefully this newsletter will provide some relief as we continue short-term physical apartness, while maintaining a spiritually united Religious Society of Friends.
Included in this newsletter are articles on:
And much more...
- The Front-Line Work of a Phoenix Quaker
- Buying What is Really Needful.
- Online Worship Opportunities
- Spotlight of 2 Phoenix Meeting Members
- Information on the Call to Minister
- Information on Phoenix Meeting Committees
- Book Group Information
Krista Tippet, Becoming Wise
"Hope is distinct, in my mind, from optimism or idealism. It has nothing to do with wishing. It references reality at every turn and reveres truth. It lives open eyed and wholehearted with the darkness that is woven ineluctably into the light of life and sometimes seems to overcome it. Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory."
(Krista Tippet, in Becoming Wise).
A Friend on the Frontlines
Jason Odhner, a member of Meeting who was the Meeting Resident while earning his nurse's degree, has been dedicated to front line nursing service since the outset. First ebola, now coronavirus. Read an article on his activities at the link below.
Buying What is Really Needful.
John Woolman wrote in his journal:
"If we mutually keep to that spirit and power which crucifies to the world, which teaches us to be content with things really needful, and to avoid all superfluities, and give up our hearts to fear and serve the Lord, true unity may still be preserved amongst us."
In line with this spirit of pouring out our lives in behalf of God and living with those things "really needful," I have been reflecting on the excess purchasing we have witnessed on empty grocery store shelves, and the impact it may have on the social distancing effort currently underway.
I have made a video to help convey my understanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFJr2OIC2JQ
Please share with others if you feel so led.
Quaker Worship and Fellowship Online
As many of us continue practicing “social distancing,” there are options for continuing to participate in Meeting for Worship. Western Friend, a Quaker magazine, has organized a list of Meetings which are available online.
The list of Meetings can be found here: https://westernfriend.org/quaker-worship-and-fellowship-online
Note that the Meetings are held online and will occur through a program called Zoom.
You can find out how to use the Zoom program here: https://westernfriend.org/media/how-use-zoom-videoconferencing
You can find tips for online worship here: https://westernfriend.org/tips-online-worship
WF, you are on the frontline of helping Friends be in communication.
Phoenix Friends - you can sign up for your own subscription of Western Friend magazine, in paper or online. Visit WF at https://westernfriend.org
MEET MARY AND MARSH CARPENTER
Mary and Marsh are still going strong as dedicated Quakers at the age of 92 - or is it 93? They transferred their membership from Tempe Meeting to Phoenix Meeting several years ago when they moved to Phoenix and finally sold their other home outside Prescott.
Mary was born in New York City around 1927, was educated in the east, and got a graduate degree at Columbia University in political science at the School of International Affairs.
Marsh was born in Wilmington, DE, in 1927. He served as an electronic technician in the Navy during WWII.
It appears that Marsh has an entrepreneurial spirit that led him and Mary to invest in some radio stations. He had a very successful FM station in Detroit and worked with the man who ultimately set up PBS as a public television station. All this while having five children. He has always liked being his own boss.
Mary stayed home with the children much of the time, volunteering and working part time and doing door-to-door sales for products. This was back BEFORE much television, and definitely before computers and smart phones. Mary was also a front-line women who was one of the first to wear a pants-suit to work.
Both Marsh and Mary found Quaker Meeting in the east, at Princeton Meeting. For mary, it is good to have quiet between when someone speaks and the next message. Some messages are very deep, but sometimes even the superficial messages speak to er. Marsh also appreciates the quiet, and also the query of the month that helps him start thinking about something. He found if valuable in Princeton Meeting that the Greeter would ask if folks had afterthought that didn't rise to the point of being spoken during worship> Sometimes the time of "afterthoughts" was very lively.
Mary says: "To go where everyone is just sittings something to get used to if you weren't brought up that way."
Marsh adds: "I really appreciate the opportunity for me to think what I think instead of having somebody telling me what I should think...What's important is what is within."
Sharing a Message during Meeting for Worship
Submitted by Nancy Marshall
From Friends General Conference:
Are you called to share a message during worship? These are guidelines to assist you. As always, the movement of the Spirit is the ultimate authority.
WORSHIP BEGINS. Center, open yourself, and wait.
- If a message starts to form, test the message. Is this message from the Holy Spirit and not from intellect or ego? If unsure/no, return to centering worship.
- If yes, is this message intended for the community? If unsure/no, return to centering worship.
- Is the message more than a response to an earlier speaker? If unsure/no, return to centering worship.
- If yes, is this message prophetic and/or grounded rather than partisan or a lecture? If unsure/no, return to centering worship.
- If yes, is your message clearly worded and one you're compelled to speak? If unsure/no, return to centering worship.
- If yes, share this message. Afterward, return to centering worship.
The words arising are not simply nice words or a topic in which you have a personal interest. Rather, you feel compelled to explore them further. True vocal ministry should invite listeners closer to the heart of the Divine. We want to speak to that which is eternal, resonates in the soul, stirs to action, and leads to spiritual change. To go deeper on this topic, read "On Vocal Ministry" by J. Brent Bill and Barry Crossno,Pendle Hill Pamphlet #460, Nov/Dec 2019. Available through QuakerBooks of FGC and Pendle Hill.
Submitted by Nancy Marshall
When the list of nominations for responsibilities in Phoenix Meeting was recently provided, several folks complained that "we have too many committees." Others have complained in the past that "the committees have to meet every month and they must provide reports to the business meeting." Yet a third complaint, from awhile back, was "we newcomers don't know what's going on and you won't tell us. How do you expect us to want to be involved?"
Wow! Hard to answer all that. But here's one attempt:
- There are actually not many committees. If you look at the list, we have committees that really need a group to "meet and confer" and get work done, or responsibilities handled. There are really only committees:
Let's look at them:
- Building and Property,
- First Day School,
- Ministry and Care,
- Nominating, and
- 6. Peace and Social concerns.
B&P: if you own property, you need to be a good steward. What if the toilet overflows? The roof blows off? People break and enter or set fires?
With a Residence, we have even more responsibility to keep yet another building in good repair. And why a committee? Easy. First, you do NOT want only one person making large unsupervised decisions, and second, there is a lot to do. Several heads result in better ideas and in more tasks being completed.
Finance:The treasurer needs both help and oversight. In the past we HAVE had a treasurer without proper oversight abscond with several thousand dollars.
First Day School:If we want children, we need teachers and planning of Quaker-focused lessons and activities. It's good work, but it takes time and effort. This is a responsibility that should be joyfully shared, not left to one person.
Ministry and Care:Whenever you have a few people gathered together, you need ministry and care. Issues always arise.
Nominating:At least two heads are definitely better than one when it comes to seeking the right talent for the right responsibility.
Peace and Social Concerns:Technically, we don't "need" this committee. But since our inception as a a religious society, Friends have deeply involved in issues of peace, equality and social justice. Where the silence leads us, we feel led to act. PSCC is a natural outgrowth.
Some folks think the committees "SHOULD" meet monthly and "SHOULD" report to the business meeting monthly. The dilemma here is that several of us serve on more than one committee and cannot meet that often because we have other responsibilities in our lives.
- The long list of jobs and those fulfilling them is really an effort to make an accurate and complete record of who does what, so that if you are curious you can find out. If you are curious about some tasks, ask the person(s) involved. If you think something should be done a different way, bring your suggestion to the committee most appropriate and offer to do it. We've long had too much of some people tellng others of us what we should do.
- Many folks within Meeting follow leadings and invite others to join them. This has been a pattern in many Meetings and deserves comment. Most activities that individuals do, the ones we see, fit within what we might call "Friends' Testimonies" or values. For example, lobbying Congress against the Unauthorized Use of Military Force is in accord with our peace testimony. An individual may feel led to act and invite others. But not everyone should feel an obligation to act.
In similar fashion, some individuals serve dinners at Andre House to folks who are currently homeless. Some of us will have the time and inclination to join, others not. But this service fits very easily within the testimony of social justice and trying to being some equality to the less fortunate.
However, telling folks in Meeting that we all must participate in a specific project does not go well with the Quaker emphasis on individual conscience.
Likewise, bringing a project for Meeting consideration that seems outside Quaker values (allowing guns or drugs and alcohol on the property, or lobbying for war) rarely occurs because it is contrary to basic values.
As to committees and "seasoning." Some things need either confidentiality or seasoning. M&C committee deals with a lot of confidential matters. Other things, like an idea of what social concern the Meting should sponsor, need processing by several folks in a committee looking at it from various perspectives. What you thought might be great for Meeting might not be, but you just didn't know the reasons why. Or, you may have a small idea that blossoms, with seasoning, into a project with many people participating. Seasoning works. It starts with an individual "leading," it goes to a committee and is "seasoned," and the result of that seasoning often shows up in a report or proposal to business meeting.
There is also a need to set priorities. For example, with B&P, we could do more improvements on the property if we had more folks to help and more money. So we prioritiize. What goes first? Making the exterior doors secure is a priority over resurfacing the driveway. Similarly, it is easier to give priority in ministry to individuals who come to meeting and/or who ask for help than it is to help those who are never present or who do not make their needs known.
There are a few "teams" and other individual groups, some of which are called committees. Maybe they meet, maybe they just serve and occasionally report. Maybe they don't meet at all. For example, the birds get fed, the Bolivian student letters get translated, the inmate gets visited. There is no need for regular "meetings" of these individuals or groups. Nor is there a need for regular reporting to the business meeting. It might be nice if some groups generated more activity or reported more regularly, but it is not necessary, and we are limited by numbers and abilities.
You might notice a number of tasks and contacts on our Nominating list for which no one has volunteered to be the representative or liaison. Larger meetings have an easier time finding volunteers. We do what we can. Ask any of the regular members and attenders at Meeting if you have more questions
(contributed by Nancy Marshall)
Book Group, Sunday, April 5, 2020
Sunday, April 5 at 12:30 pm the book group will meet via Zoom to discuss:
The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activistby Dorothy Day
We'll use this Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 531 229 9234
If you have never used Zoom before, please try to join the meeting a few minutes early so that you can install Zoom and get the hang of using it.
Please note: Because I do not have a paid Zoom account, we may need to end the meeting and re-join every 40 minutes (unless Zoom is being generous).
Please don't forget to bring your book recommendations for the May discussion as well. The general principle that ties our book selections together is that they challenge us to live closer to God/Spirit/Truth/whatever word you use.
You can find past recommendations that haven't (yet) been selected here.
~ Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM, March 13th 2020
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Please consider contributing an article, quote, announcement, link to an article, or anything number of things for our next issue of the Newsletter. Please send contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org with a cc' to Nancy Marshall at email@example.com and Ruben Soliz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your voice matters and we'd love to give you a platform for it.