Norma Silliman, Camas Friends: On Friday, December 1, Diane Beebe, Julie Peyton and I set out to visit Klamath Falls Friends Church
. People at Klamath Falls were looking forward to having us visit. They had recently had a visit from Mike Huber and from Eric Muhr. They were delighted to receive us, and we were excited about the opportunity to visit them, to worship with them, and to get acquainted. I had reached out to the Peace & Social Concerns committees of the churches affiliated with Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends in October, so I was especially hoping to meet them in person.
Saturday, we met Faith Marsalli at the meetinghouse, and I could see so much evidence of the ways God has led them to reach out to the surrounding neighborhood and community. Faith had arranged to meet Peace & Social Concerns committee members for lunch, and after lunch, Art Knight took us to see wildlife and the sight of a Japanese Internment camp in the area. It was fascinating to learn about the history and culture of the area, and to hear about issues that affect the people there.
Social activism is a strong part of the experience of Quaker faith and practice at Klamath Falls Friends Church. It came out in their worship, in the décor of their meeting spaces, in their programs, and in their budget. A few things they are involved in include: raising awareness of injustices related to incarceration; hosting cooking classes and staffing the food bank pantry housed on their site; and supporting Fair trade. They also participate in promoting the community-wide “Blue Zone” health promotion
Klamath Fall’s next visitors will be Eugene Friends Church people in January. They will be traveling to Klamath Falls to join them in morning worship, followed by a time of discussion and discernment as they contemplate joining SCYMF.
Julie Peyton, West Hills: I've been trying to name,
to put language around, what it is that makes visitation
such a powerful thing. The important pieces seem to be the visitor seeing and experiencing of Friends on their home turf
, and the visited getting to offer hospitality
. Something about this work seems to open hearts to each other.
Our visit to Klamath Falls
was prompted by Diane Beebe, who invited Norma Silliman, and they both welcomed me along as a third. Faith Marsalli did a great job setting up times to visit with subgroups, and inviting us to share in a post-meeting conversation on Sunday morning.
Klamath Falls Friends are mostly “convinced” Quakers with no experience outside Northwest Yearly Meeting. We certainly made some new friends, and solidified already-started relationships. West Hills Friends had hosted just under a dozen from Klamath Falls a couple months ago, so I got to visit with several of them and to re-connect. In short, everyone involved benefited, and I hope all were moved closer to the goal of building Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends.