Quarterly Meeting Fall Session

So I totally resonate with Liz Opp's recent post about being distracted from God by the events of this world. I think that's going to continue at least until November 5 or 6 for me. If not January 21~!

It doesn't help my ability to center that the work I do has been generously funded by banks. Until the past ten months, that is... It seems like every day for the past two months, when we get to work, we ask each other, "Did any major banks or small European countries fail last night?" If the answer is yes, we distract ourselves with the news. If the answer is no, we try to get back to work but still distract ourselves with the news from time to time. There's just a lot of uncertainty for lots of people right now. (Of course, I recognize there are billions of people who never stopped living with uncertainty in the first place.)

The M. family recently traveled to College Park Quarterly Meeting's fall session. We left the evening following the annual conference I organize at work. In time to be there for my birthday on Saturday. It was lovely to be there for the weekend.

I wrote the following for our monthly meeting's newsletter and decided to share it here.

Clerk's Corner: College Park Quarterly Meeting
Recently, several of us from San Francisco Meeting attended the fall session of College Park Quarterly Meeting. It was apparently the 200th session of our quarterly meeting. What became our quarterly meeting was founded by Joel and Hannah Bean in the College Park neighborhood of San Jose in 1889. You can read more at collegepark.quaker.org, as well as in A Western Quaker Reader, edited by Anthony Manousos.

(Anthony is the former editor of the monthly magazine for Western Quakers, then called Friends Bulletin. The magazine is now called Western Friend. Our member Stephen Matchett is the clerk of the Western Friend board of directors. Our meeting pays for each member to receive a subscription to the magazine, by the way.)

College Park Quarter extends from Humboldt County in the north to San Luis Obispo County in the mid-Coast, and from San Francisco in the west to Reno in the East. Just under 200 people gathered for the weekend in the crisp air of Sierra Friends Center in Grass Valley/Nevada City. The nighttime sky gave us a stunning view of the skies, including the Milky Way. (Ten Year Old loved it!)

The theme for the weekend was our peace witness. A panel of conscientious objectors gave us views from World War II, Vietnam, and the current war and occupation in Iraq. Pablo Paredes was an Iraq war resister while in the Navy. He is now a counter-recruiter with American Friends Service Committee and Bay Peace (www.baypeace.org). If you know a high school in the Bay Area where he could build relationships, please let me know!

During the final plenary (business) session at the quarterly meeting, I reflected on a lesson I recently led in Firstday School, when we explored where the Quaker peace testimony came from. We read several quotes from early Friends and imagined how being in meeting for worship led them to that place of peace.

What stuck with me from that lesson and rose up for me in the plenary was this story about George Fox. He was approached by Army recruiters from Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. They saw he was a good leader, that he was a charismatic speaker, and they wanted him to help them. He refused, saying he “live(d) in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars.”

May we all find that same virtue, and discover there that same life and power.

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