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Bulletin 08.11.2017

[Draft 2017 Minutes] A final version of these minutes should be available next week: At the conclusion of considerable discussion, the following minute was approved: We are led by the Spirit to commit ourselves to recognizing the full participation of LGBTQ+ people in all aspects of the life of “Our New Thing” organization we develop ...

[North Pacific Yearly Meeting] We, as much as you, are challenged to be open to the new ways where the Holy Eternal is leading us and to finding new ways to work together for the Kingdom of Heaven in these times. We welcome future dialog with you in walking faithfully and humbly with our God. We ask for New Light to discern the best way to maintain ties of friendly interchange in the coming years and imagination to follow leadings in the Light ...

[People Work] The people work group outlined draft goals at a recent meeting:
  1. To coordinate and gather people who are unaffiliated or in churches that are splitting;
  2. Focus both outward and inward work – Outward to people who are not part of one of the six meetings – Inward to people who may feel alienated or unconnected;
  3. To learn how people need support, and connect them to the right resources ...
[Spiritual Care] The spiritual care committee drafted the parameters of their work:
  • WHOM do we serve? We expect that this group is about healing for individuals and churches. We’d like to provide resources for individuals and churches on Facebook and/or connected to new YM website.
  • WHY are we needed? LGBTQ+ people have been hurt by individuals and by churches. Some people are suffering because of splitting with NWYM. Some churches are in turmoil.
  • WHAT do we expect to do? We expect to do a lot of listening and some teaching. We want to foster healthy connections between individuals and meetings. We'd like to help people process the events and emotions. We'd like to encourage storytelling ...

[Clerks Meeting] Our next meeting is Tuesday, August 15. Items on our agenda include connections with the Western Association of the Religious Society of Friends and Freedom Friends; how to help committees and working groups increase the transparency of their work, especially regarding their understandings of the parameters of their work; financial and legal next steps; youth programming and camping/conferences; communications; membership for individuals and for faith communities; recording and transfer of recording; archives; support and/or sponsorship of Friends serving abroad; working toward safety in our gatherings.

What do you think we should be working on? Reply to this email with your suggestions, questions, and ideas.
I grew up in Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM), attended and then provided leadership in many areas of the youth program (including clerking Friends Youth Executive Council in college), served as Peace Education Coordinator, and ministered in a variety of youth ministry and pastoral internships. Meetings I have regularly attended include Newberg Friends, Netarts, and North Valley. In 2009, I received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. While there, I sojourned with Princeton Monthly Meeting (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting). Since 2011, I have worked as adjunct faculty at George Fox University and its seminary, and I am currently finishing up a PhD in environmental studies with a focus on ecotheology.

The community of NWYM has shaped me in many ways, and it is with sadness that I leave that group, but it also feels freeing. I worked internally in NWYM to attempt to get our language and practice on LGBTQ+ relationships changed, and to speak for unity when the elders decided to “release” West Hills. Now that unity is no longer an option, I feel free and joyous about the opportunity to dream and grow, to be stretched and challenged together, and to open ourselves fully to the leading of the Holy Spirit in and through one another. I hope that we can do the deep work of reconciliation regarding treatment of LGBTQ+ people, and in discerning what we are “for.” My personal vision is that we will begin working on reconciliation between people groups, God, and creation, attending to the intersection of injustices we face, and our own participation in the causes of these injustices. In what ways are we being invited to love God and our neighbors? 

The church is in an important period of reformation, I believe. We are just one small part of it, and there are many feeling the pull to a radically inclusive, loving, justice-filled, Spirit-led, creative, joyful and hopeful community, solidly grounded in Christ. I feel we are in line with the work of the the Present Teacher in the world right now. May we be faithful. I am excited to begin this new venture with all of you.

Cherice Bock
Co-clerk, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends

An epistle articulates a collective sense of experience and how God has moved among Friends during a gathering. It is approved by that group during a meeting for business. It was historically, and continues to be, an important way for Friends to learn about each other. Find our 2017 epistle on our website. Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) makes Friends epistles from around the world available online.

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The Coordinating Committee is meeting in Camas on August 17, from 10 a.m. to noon. Our next large-group gathering – anyone can come – is scheduled for October 7, at Eugene Friends. 
by Admin