Comments for Cherice are due by April 23, 2019. Scroll down to comment.
Cherice (Eichenberger) Bock grew up a Friend in Oregon, attending Newberg Unprogrammed Meeting of Friends and Newberg Friends Church as a child and youth. Although born into a Quaker family, she became a “convinced" Friend in middle school when she experienced the constant presence of God, and further deepened her commitment to Friends in high school as she learned the stories of courageous, loving, and justice-oriented people in Friends history. In college at George Fox University, she felt drawn to ministry roles with children and youth, often serving at youth camps. She spent a summer working with children at Quaker Cottage in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the parents of whom were involved in paramilitary groups in the Protestant-Catholic conflict. This experience influenced her to major in psychology. Cherice was on the Friends Youth Executive Committee in college, and served as clerk for a year. After she graduated and she and Joel Bock married, they worked for a year at Twin Rocks Friends Camp, initiating the internship program. During this year, Cherice felt a strong call to ministry.
Cherice then served as youth ministry intern at Newberg Friends and Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM), then served for a year as Peace Education Coordinator for NWYM. While in that role, she visited 37 Friends meetings/churches, and spoke or led workshops at Friends camps and conferences around the region. In 2005, Cherice and Joel acted as full group gathering coordinators for the World Gathering of Young Friends in Lancaster, England. Cherice felt drawn to continue working in areas of direct ministry, activism, and education related to social justice as an expression of her faith; however, she felt she needed more formal training in these areas.
In 2005, Cherice and Joel moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where Cherice pursued her master of divinity degree. Among other reasons, Cherice chose to attend Princeton because a) it would help expand her theological understanding beyond Quakerism, and b) she could be trained for future ministry in both academic and pastoral fields. During seminary, Cherice did pastoral internships at West Hills Friends and North Valley Friends while on summer breaks and a year-long field experience. The Bocks welcomed their first child, and they became members at North Valley.
Cherice clerked the NWYM Peace Education Subcommittee starting in 2010, and created Peace Month materials for all NWYM congregations each January from 2010-2017. The Bocks were involved in leadership at youth camps almost every summer from 1999-2014, providing leadership in worship, class teaching, eldering, and other roles. In the last decade, Cherice has preached, taught classes, served as assistant clerk, and provided leadership in other ways at North Valley Friends. The Bock family gained a second child.
Cherice continued her discernment regarding the most important social justice issue of our time, and her particular calling to ministry. Feeling drawn to academia, Cherice worked as adjunct faculty at George Fox University and Portland Seminary starting in 2011, teaching courses related to spirituality and social justice, mystics, the Bible and church history, and creation care. Her particular sense of calling became clearer as she began to learn more about environmental concerns, climate change, and environmental injustice, and this concern has formed the focus of her ministry and sense of calling since 2008. She has spoken at a number of meetings for worship on this topic, written extensively relating to creation care, and served as a scholar-in-residence at Reedwood Friend and Berkeley Friends, speaking on this topic. She is almost finished with a PhD in environmental studies, and is co-editing a book entitled Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability, which will be released in June 2019. She is supported by a Traveling Minute from North Valley Friends relating to her concern about the environment.
As NWYM became more and more divided, Cherice worked to hold the community together, attempting to speak truth and remind Friends of our shared community and love for Christ. When the split happened, Cherice felt prompted to step up and provide leadership for the newly emerging Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting, agreeing to serve as co-clerk in the summer of 2017 (and continuing until the present). While Cherice's ministry is not (currently) as a released pastor, she feels called to serve Friends in myriad ways, from teaching to writing to speaking to clerking, building networks among different types of Friends, and across interdenominational and interfaith groups, particularly relating to concerns around the environment. Quakers are her home and her people, and she will feel honored if Friends choose to record her as a minister.