Simplicity and stewardship, oh my

So on November 7th I'm co-leading a workshop on the Quaker testimonies of simplicity and stewardship at the SF Friends School. I'm excited because we've never linked two testimonies together before, and these two go together well. The school has adopted stewardship across grade levels and subjects as a topic to be explored "an inch wide and a mile deep." Also, linking the two testimonies is a way to remind people that the testimonies are different manifestations from a single Source.

(I note with interest that Eric Moon and Stephen Matchett are leading a workshop at Ben Lomond Quaker Center in 2007 called something like, "Quaker Testimonies: Going Beyond SPICES.")

I have already asked Contemplative Scholar if I could hand out copies of her post, Report from Recent Travels, and she said yes. I have a feeling it will strike a chord!

So I've been thinking about how un-simple life has been for me these past nine weeks, when I:

  • organized a successful housing conference for 200 people
  • secured a major loan commitment from a bank for the housing trust fund I run
  • hired a new position, that of fundraising manager for the housing trust fund
  • hired a new organizer, when the previous one left over the summer
  • welcomed back the admin assistant, who had been on medical leave after knee replacement surgery
  • hosted my mom on a five-day visit
  • went to soccer games every Saturday for the last six weeks, except when we...
  • went to Quarterly Meeting
  • read two books by Karen Armstrong, A History of God and The Age of Transformation
  • played with my children, though less than I'm used to doing
  • did dishes and laundry, though less than I'm used to doing
  • stayed in the nursery one Sunday and taught Firstday School twice
  • went to the fall festival at one school and the harvest festival at the preschool
  • went to a smidgen of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
  • attended my first two board meetings for an organization I'm involved with
  • co-led a "Quakerism 101" discussion at the Friends School
  • co-led a short review of Quaker business process at the Friends School (where I used Liz Opp's stellar handout!)
  • oh, and staffed a program committee meeting, fund development committee meeting, a joint meeting of the two, and a legislative committee meeting all a week before the housing conference

Today we had a plethora of kids at Firstday School but still no childcare worker. Oops, I've been too busy to post the job description, but I finally did it tonight!

No wonder I went to bed at 9:15 last night and -- I hope!! -- will do the same tonight.

I think I need to reread Thomas Kelly's A Testament of Devotion again soon. I'll just add it to my "to-do" list! ;)

Scrolls redux - a photo

Children displaying their scrolls from Firstday School
The reportback from the scrolls lesson. Sorry to take so long, and for having such a grainy shot. We still use a film camera.


What the Jesus People Do - San Francisco Edition

This past weekend Robin, the boys and I camped at Sierra Friends Center for College Park Quarterly Meeting's fall session. The ground was a bit hard, and we only had thin rollup mats under our sleeping bags. The hardest part was the cold on Friday night. On Saturday night, we got some blankets from a friend who had extra in the room she was staying in.

Lying awake on Friday night, I imagined how much harder concrete is, and how damp it is outside in San Francisco with only a blanket and no tent. How much harder it is to sleep at night. And how much harder it is to be homeless than just choosing to camp for two nights.

So today the San Francisco Chronicle ran this article about St. Boniface Church, the Franciscan parish in the Tenderloin District:
Church program for homeless cuts its hours

Robin used to work there. At a recent session looking at stewardship of the Meeting's resources, a Friend in our meeting confessed she sends more of her money to an unnamed Catholic church -- which I'm pretty sure is St. Boniface -- rather than our Meeting because the church "walks the walk."

See the photo essay with the Chronicle story, particularly. Some of the images are from about two years ago. The one that gets me is this one, because it looks like people lined up in coffins. If I weren't at work with three other people, I'd be weeping right now.

Maybe I need to remember to work harder every day to get affordable housing built. It's a long, slow, and challenging process to change opinions of elected leaders and voters. What else could I do to help, sooner? Am I too comfortable in my work environment? Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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Update (later 10/15/06): There was a story in the Seattle Times about the situation at University Friends Meeting here. Sounds like it was a challenging situation. San Francisco Monthly Meeting deals with similar issues. The Times had an interesting sidebar with "Quaker facts."