Quaker Heritage Day - Report

From Cherice Bock:

February 21-24, 2019, I traveled to Klamath Falls and Berkeley Friends Church. In Klamath Falls I got to have dinner with Faith Marsalli and Carol Whorton, and share a bit with them about our SCYMF quarterly gathering. It was lovely to see them, and I'm grateful to Faith for her (somewhat last minute...) hospitality and drive to the train station!

Berkeley Friends Church hosts Quaker Heritage Day each year, inviting a scholar to share about a topic of interest to Friends. Programmed and unprogrammed Friends from around the Bay Area attend the event. Every other year, this event occurs in concert with the Western Association for the Religious Society of Friends (WARSF) annual gathering of members, so I got to attend both events.

I spent QHD at Berkeley last year, too, so it was wonderful to reconnect with Friends there. They have a very welcoming and enthusiastic congregation who are involved in important work, including a food pantry, a lot of peace activism, and they are working toward a self-imposed carbon tax on their meeting, perhaps in order to save up to install solar panels.

I anticipated hearing Jon Kershner (member of North Seattle Friends and last year's SCYMF assistant clerk) speak at QHD on “The Prophetic Voice of John Woolman." Unfortunately, Jon was not able to attend due to complications with their pregnancy – though everyone is fine and the baby is still (as of March 6, anyway) safely ensconced in the womb for a few more days. They would appreciate your prayers for a safe delivery when the time comes. As a result, I unexpectedly got to read some of Jon's lectures – well worth the read/listen! John Woolman is an inspiration, and Jon Kershner's scholarship on Woolman shed new light on Woolman's apocalypticism, sacramental ecology, and dreams.

WARSF meetings occurred Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and I enjoyed learning more about what WARSF is up to and sharing with them about SCYMF. There is a good deal of interest in joining SCYMF, although distance is a factor. I also learned more about the individual meetings that make up WARSF: Whittier First Friends, Berkeley Friends, and a worship group in Bakersfield. (Whittier has a newsletter, which details much of the vibrant life of their meeting, if you're interested in taking a look.) Friends from these meetings are discerning about who might feel led to visit our annual sessions.

I also got to spend time with Berkeley Friends' new pastors, Micah Bales and Faith Kelley. They became co-pastors in December. Micah has strong ties to Friends in the Northwest (grandson of our very own Elenita Bales). It was fun to connect with them, dream about the future of Friends, and encourage one another's sense of calling.

After a more-difficult-than-planned attempted train ride home (I wasn't on the train that got stuck outside of Eugene! But my train had to turn around as a result), I made it safely home.

Many thanks to SCYMF member Keith Barton for his warm hospitality, fun discussions about Friends, the Reformation, and gardening, and a wonderful place to stay. Many thanks, also, to Berkeley Friends for hosting QHD and providing an opportunity for Friends to gather.