January 2021 Newsletter
For upcoming events, see our Calendar. For the monthly Queries, see January: Spiritual Life. (The red text on this page and within this web site contains embedded hypertext links. Double click on any red link to open the web page associated with that link.)
Reno Friends Meeting House and the First Day School are closed for now, but we are holding Silent Worship through the web app Zoom at 10:00 am (details below). We are also holding online meetings, spiritual discussions, yoga classes and fellowship on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.
January Reno Friends Meeting Schedule
Every Sunday for the foreseeable future: Silent Worship on Zoom, from 10:00 to 11:00 am, with Zoom fellowship following. (Click the “Silent Worship” link, above, for the zoom link.)
Tues. Jan. 5 – Zoom Ministry & Oversight Committee Meeting, 10 am.
Thurs. Jan. 7 – Zoom Clerks’ Committee Meeting 10 am
Thurs. Jan. 7 – PM Embodying the Light, 7-8 pm, on Zoom (details)
Sun. Jan. 10 – Zoom Meeting for Business, 11:30 am. (First Sunday this month)
Wed. Jan. 13 – AM Embodying the Light, 10-11 am, on Zoom (details)
Wed. Jan. 27 – AM Embodying the Light, 10-11 am, on Zoom (details)
Thurs. Jan. 28 — Spiritual Discussion: “Quakers and Prayer,” with Wendy Swallow and Peggy Lakey, 7-8:30 pm (details below)
Reno Friends Meeting Events & Notices
Silent Worship now on Zoom every Sunday at 10 am, with Fellowship afterwards
As of Nov. 1 2019, we will meet for Silent Worship only on Zoom for the rest of the fall, winter and early spring. We will hold our usual social hour after Worship on Zoom, as well, so after we rise from Worship, everyone can go get a cup of coffee and return to the Zoom session. Here is the recurring Zoom link for online Silent Worship on Sundays mornings. (The Zoom session is active between 9:45-12:00, with Silence starting at 10.)
For Silent Worship on Zoom, we have developed a set of Zoom Worship guidelines. For those who would like to learn more about Zoom in advance, go to https://westernfriend.org/media/how-use-zoom-videoconferencing. If you would rather sit in Silent Worship quietly at home rather than online, we invite you to send after-thoughts, joys and concerns, and requests to hold people in the light to Rhonda at rhondalou14(at)gmail.com. Our worship clerk will read them at the next Zoom Silent Worship.
“Be a Friend” Holiday Clothing Drive Report
Reno Friends donated a significant trove of clothing for the homeless this last month. Peg McCall, who organized the “Be A Friend” Clothing Drive, reported the following collection, which was taken to the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission to hand-out to the needy: Men’s socks, 110 pairs; Men’s gloves, 12 pairs; Headbands, 3; Men’s thermal tops/bottoms, 14; Men’s boxer briefs, 8 extra-large; Women’s socks, 48 pairs; Women’s thermal tops/bottoms, 4 pairs; Gloves, 30 pairs; Warm hats, 40; Women’s sweatshirts and leggings, 5; Children’s hats and gloves, 8; Children’s superb winter jackets, 3; plus a large size trash bag of clean used garments and 3 men’s winter coats. A very big thank you to everyone who participated, and a special thank you to Peg and Charlie for organizing our drive!
Embodying the Light: First Thursday evening class on Zoom, 7-8 pm, Jan. 7; Second and Fourth Wednesday morning classes on Zoom, 10-11 am, Jan. 13 and Jan. 27.
Rhonda Ashurst leads the “Embodying the Light” class of gentle yoga and Tai Chi/Qigong as a service to Reno Friends and the community. Starting in November 2020, all the Embodying the Light classes will be held on Zoom. For the foreseeable future, Rhonda will teach an evening class from 7-8 pm on first Thursdays (Jan. 7), and morning classes from 10-11 am on second and fourth Wednesdays (Jan. 13 and Jan. 27). We will do our Tai Chi/Qigong practice standing, but please have a chair or mat for our brief meditation. See our website for more details. Please watch the Weekly Schedule Update for the Zoom link.
Zoom Ministry and Oversight Committee Meeting, Tues. Jan. 5, at 10 am
RFM’s M&O Committee will meet on Zoom Tues. Jan. 5 at 10 am. This meeting is open only to M&O Committee members and helpers. A link for that Zoom session, along with an agenda, will go out to those involved the day before. If anyone in the Meeting has a concern they would like to bring forward to Ministry & Oversight, please contact Wendy Swallow.
Zoom Clerks Committee Meeting, Thurs. Jan. 7, at 10 am
RFM’s Clerks’ Committee will meet Thurs. Jan. 7 at 10 am on Zoom to discuss the November Meeting for Business agenda. A link for that Zoom session, along with an agenda, will go out to those involved the day before. If anyone in the Meeting has an item for the Meeting for Business agenda, please forward it to one of the Meeting Clerks, either John Hervey, Mark Woolbright or Steve Wolgast.
Zoom Meeting for Business, Sun. Jan. 10, at 11:30 am
Business Meetings will be held on Zoom for the foreseeable future and we are returning to our usual gathering time of 11:30 am. A Zoom link will be sent out to all in advance of each Meeting for Business, along with the agenda. Everyone is welcome at Meeting for Business.
Zoom Spiritual Discussion, 7-8:30 pm, Thurs. Jan. 28, with Wendy Swallow & Peggy Lakey; discussing “Quakers and Prayer.”
Join us on Zoom each month for a Spiritual Discussion on various Quaker topics, from 7-8 pm on third or fourth Thursdays. On Thurs. Jan. 28, Wendy Swallow and Peggy Lakey will lead a discussion on what prayer means to Quakers. Be prepared for different perspectives! We welcome those who pray and those who do not.
The following is from Susanne Kromberg’s blog Susanne’s Quaker Musings. (Kromberg is a Quaker from Seattle who works as Hospital Chaplin. Her blog is https://quakersusanne.wordpress.com/)
“What I understand Quakerism to say about prayer is that we can encounter God at any time, in any place, or in any circumstance. I get that from the Quaker refusal to designate any particular time, place, or person as the primary conduit of the Holy. And I get that from my favorite quote: “There is one, even Jesus Christ, that can speak to thy condition.” What I understand this to mean is that we will be spoken to, whatever our condition. This means that there is no human condition in which God cannot speak to us. God can use any form – verbal and non-verbal, sensory and non-sensory, intuitive or tangible.
George Fox seems to me to be saying not that a mainline church service is necessarily wrong but that repetitive or required acts of worship have a tendency to dull our spiritual awareness. He disliked any priest who based his authority on something other than the Power of the Lord, but George absolutely believed that the Lord gave tremendous Power to the words and acts of someone who is animated by the Holy Spirit.
What this means for silent worship is that we can be in prayer when we sit in expectant silence, but that is not the superior way. Indeed, silent worship, too, can become a spiritually dead structure. Silent worship or prayer is not superior to other forms of worship and prayer.
What sets us apart as a denomination is that we are not surprised when we encounter God outside of the Meeting’s agreed-upon times and places of worship. Being a Quaker allows me not to be surprised – indeed perhaps to expect – that God may appear in any kind of situation and transform that moment into a moment of prayer.
So what is prayer? I think anything can be prayer. Any act or thought that engenders awareness of God or brings forth any of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is prayer – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I would add harmony and creativity to that list.”
More on Quakers and Prayer from the Friends General Conference website (https://www.fgcquaker.org/):
For many Quakers, prayer is part of our individual lives as well as part of Meeting for Worship.
Prayer is simply conversation or contact with God where we open ourselves to the Divine presence. This can take different forms. Quakers may pray silently. We may formulate words or an image or just be. It is important that we listen for what God may have to say to us. Some Quakers also use set prayers from the Bible or other spiritual writings when they pray.
Quakers and Prayer
For me, prayer is more about listening than talking. Prayer is a way of being with God. — Quaker Deborah Fisch, 2010
When I read that I was supposed to make “a place for inward retirement and waiting upon God” in my daily life, . . . I thought: “Oh, those stuffy old Friends, they don’t understand! Do they think I’m going to be able to sit for an hour, or half an hour, or a quarter of an hour, or for any time at all, in my very busy life, just to have some kind of feeling of ‘inward retirement’?” I felt irritated and misunderstood, and I tried to put the whole thing out of my mind. At last I began to realize . . . that I needed some kind of inner peace, or inward retirement, or whatever name it might be called by. . . . I began to realize that prayer was not a formality or an obligation; it was a place which was there all the time and always available. — Elfrida Vipont Foulds (From: The Candle of the Lord, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #248, 1983)
Queries about Quakers and Prayer:
- Do practicing Quakers distinguish between prayer and sitting in silence? What might be the difference? Is sitting in silence prayer. in your view?
- What are your experiences of prayer?
- Do you talk to God or listen to God?
- Do you get quiet when you pray?
- How do you know what to pray for – what is the crux of the matter?
- Do you ask for everything you want?
- Do wait for an answer? How do answers come to you?
- Do you pray to angels? To Jesus? Others?
- How often do you pray, and in what settings?
- What is your understanding of prayer from a Quaker perspective?
- Does praying with others give your prayer more power?
- How do you teach your children to pray?
Donating to Reno Friends Meeting
The Reno Meeting Treasurer recently reported that – while the Meeting is in good financial shape – it faces several unique circumstances in the current COVID-19 environment. The outside groups that use the Meeting House for weekly meetings have not been able to do so since March, resulting in a loss of rental income. Cash donations in the Meeting’s donation box have also stopped during this shut-down period. And to avoid large groups in tight spaces while serving at RISE dinners for the homeless, we are donating to RISE monetarily instead. As a Meeting, we will continue to budget so that we are operating within our means; however, any extra small donations to meet these special circumstances will be appreciated. Because the Meeting House is closed for the foreseeable future, donations should be sent to our Meeting Treasurer Charlie Shepard, at his home at 4395 Mountaingate Dr., Reno, NV 89519. Or you can send money to the Meeting via your bank using the Zelle payment application, which most banks offer for free. To make a Zelle transfer, you’ll need Reno Friends’ bank account number, which you can get by emailing Charlie at cshepard54(at)gmail.com. It eliminates the need to write a check and, for our Treasurers, to deposit your check at the bank. Thank you from Reno Friends!
Changes have been coming to RISE, the local charity that serves Reno’s homeless and which is supported by Reno Friends. RISE, which stands for the Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality, is no longer managing the RISE & Dine meal service that Reno Friends have helped with in the past. The Catholic Charities (under the direction of the Community Homeless Advisory Board made up of local officials) has taken over that service. Instead, RISE is operating the new family shelter, Our Place.
Some Reno Friends have been working with a group of volunteers who prepare foods to distribute to homeless camps. If anyone is interested in helping with this effort, please email Wendy Swallow, at wswallow54(at)gmail.com. For a report on RISE from Steve Wolgast, the RFM RISE liaison, please see the Reno Friends RISE Report.
Quaker Earth Care
Quaker Earthcare Witness (previously known as Unity with Nature) is the largest network of Friends working on the earth’s care today. They work to inspire and promote spirit-led action toward ecological sustainability and environmental justice. They also provide inspiration and resources to Friends throughout North America by distributing information in their newsletter, BeFriending Creation; on their website www.quakerearthcare.org; by providing workshops and forums at Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly meetings; and through popular social media channels. Show you care about our dear Earth by checking them out!
Donate New Stamps to the Homeless
Want to help those in need? Donate new FOREVER stamps to be distributed to the homeless through the Reno Family Resource Center. Put stamp donations in the little drawer under the bulletin board in the Meeting House.
Carson City Worship Group
The Carson City worship group is currently meeting privately because of the pandemic. If you are interested in attending, please contact clerk(at)renofriends.org and we will connect you to the Carson clerk. In better times, the Carson Worship Group meets every Sunday of the month for unprogrammed worship from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the living room of the Rectory of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Carson City. St. Peter’s, located at 314 North Division Street, occupies a small city block in the heart of Carson City’s Historic District. The Rectory, an historic two-story brick house, sits just south of the church building. When the Carson Worship Group is able to meet again in the St. Peter’s Rectory, we will announce that here.
Quaker Mission Stamp Project
Stamping for Dollars, previously know as The Quaker Stamp Project, helps the poor through Right Sharing of World Resources, a Quaker organization that provides micro-grants to groups of very poor women for starting up a business. All live in impoverished areas in Africa and India. To support this worthwhile program, save canceled foreign and domestic stamps, and send them to: Stamps for Right Sharing, c/o Indianapolis First Friends, 3030 Kessler Blvd East Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46220. For more information: https://www.rswr.org/stamp-program. You can help make a difference in the world – one stamp at a time!
Outside Non-Profits That (Previously) Met at the Quaker Meeting House
NOTE: These groups are currently meeting online only.
Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and every Saturday from 5 pm to 6 pm. ACA is a world service 12-step program for those struggling with the legacy of growing up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional home. These groups are open to all.
Citizens Climate Lobby of Northern Nevada works with local and national legislators to pass a carbon tax and dividend to help stop global warming. CCL meets the 4th Tuesday of the month, 6:30 to 8 pm (except for Dec.). For more info, email Betsy Fadali at bfadali(at)sbcglobal.net. Feel free to bring friends and neighbors, if they are interested. For more on CCL, go to www.citizensclimatelobby.org.
Other Non-Profits Affiliated with Reno Friends
Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace (SIAP) has been “holding a space” for peace for over 16 years. Instead of gathering in front of the Federal Building, as they have done in the past, the group now gathers for a peace vigil on Zoom every Monday from 5:30-6:00 pm. Members take turns leading the group with relevant articles and discussions. If anyone wants to join the group, please send an email to either Pat Coia at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rita Sloan at email@example.com.
Hold Them in the Light
Please hold the following in the Light: All who those who have lost loved ones or who have suffered illness during the pandemic; those who have lost jobs or business; everyone hurt and challenged by racism, war and terrorism; those who struggle with loneliness, sadness or privation; all those grieving over the epidemic of gun violence and police violence in our country, and for and all the people and leaders of our nation and all countries experiencing war or oppression, so that we may find peaceful resolutions to all our economic and political troubles. In particular, please hold in the Light: Sharonlee Souza, Jana and Rhonda’s neighbor Marge, Catie Polley and family; Peg’s granddaughter Eliza and her cousin Cathy; Peggy’s stepson Adam; Rhonda’s uncle Harry and aunt Nora; Suze and Suze’s friend Linda; Mark and Edie’s niece Hannah and friend Karen; Melanie’s sister Stephanie; Katie’s sister Martha and friend Rick; and the Brune family.
To request prayers, please leave a message at the Meeting House or contact the Clerk at clerk(at)renofriends.org.
Quaker Activities & Announcements
Ben Lomond Quaker Center Workshops
Ben Lomond is still operating, but most programs are currently held online. Check out their website for Worship Sharing, Silent Worship, specific programs and more. Go to http://www.quakercenter.org.
Quakerism in the Age of the Internet: Feb. 5-7, 2021, Online with Jon Watts, founder of QuakerSpeak.
“We would have all to call upon the Lord, while he is near, and that is the intent of all our writing and printing.” ~ Thomas Atkinson, 1653
The internet is the most powerful, disruptive advance in mass communication technology since the printing press. How are Friends led to engage with it? Through reflection, worship sharing, and multimedia presentations, we will be exploring the past, present and future of Friends’ relationship with new communications technology and asking: what does the Quaker witness look like in the age of the internet?
The Gathered Meeting, Feb. 26-28, 2021, Online with Stanford Searl.
“What I experience in a gathered meeting is a form of communion of hearts and minds and spirits in the room – and a communion, not just with each other, but also with the Divine.” ~ Reflection from an Upstate New York Friend
Last spring, Stanford Searl worked as the Carroll Research Scholar at Pendle Hill, completing fifty-five interviews (mostly virtual because of the pandemic) with both Pastoral and non-Pastoral Friends, asking them about the meanings of the Quaker gathered meeting.
This workshop explores various themes and challenges about the paradox of preparation for the Quaker gathered meeting. Together, using a Quaker contemplative inquiry approach, we will reflect upon four main themes connected to spiritual preparation that emerged from a research project about the gathered meeting experience.
- The letting go of the ego.
- Various forms of prayer as preparatory practices.
- Practicing worship together.
- Deeper vocal ministry.
We will explore these themes (drawn from the study’s fifty-five Friends, both Pastoral and non-Pastoral) from the conversations about the Quaker gathered meeting and employ a contemplative, devotional approach together.
Ben Lomond Financial Appeal
Between COVID and the recent fires, Ben Lomond Quaker Center
has lost about $15,000 per month of budgeted income. We started out with some healthy reserves, we’ve cut back on expenditures and Friends have been exceedingly generous in offering financial support. But, as the pandemic continues, and as we recover from the CZU fire, we are nearly certain to approach the limits of our ability to stay afloat and to chart the course. Please help, as you are able: DONATE
British Yearly Meeting Shares a Daily Feed of Advices and Queries: Go to http://quakerthoughtfortheday.com/
Quaker worship and fellowship online through Western Friend Magazine: https://westernfriend.org/quaker-worship-and-fellowship-online
Write for What Canst Thou Say?
Tell us your stories! What Canst Thou Say? (WCTS) is an independent publication co-operatively produced by Friends with an interest in mystical experience and contemplative practice. WCTS is a worship-sharing group in print. We hope to help Friends be tender and open to the Spirit. Articles that best communicate to our readers are those that focus on specific events and are written in the first person. We welcome submissions of articles less than 1500 words and artwork suitable for black and white reproduction. It is published in February, May, August, and November. The editorial and production team is Muriel Dimock, Lissa Field, Mariellen Gilpin, Judy Lumb, Grayce Mesner, Mike Resman, Earl Smith, Eleanor Warnock, and Rhonda Ashurst.
Reno Friends are welcome to email submissions to Rhonda Ashurst at rhondalou14(at)gmail.com. Please send your text submissions in Word or generic text format, and artwork in high resolution jpeg files. Photocopied art and typed submissions are also accepted. All authors and artists retain copyright to their articles and artwork published in WCTS. WCTS retains the right to publish initially and to reprint in WCTS anthologies.
Reno Friends Newsletter: How To Contribute
Submissions: Please submit your items for the newsletter by the Second Sunday of the month for inclusion in the following month’s newsletter. Send Friends Calendar events and information to Reno Friends newsletter editor Wendy Swallow, wswallow54 (at) gmail.com, or leave a message on the Meeting phone, (775) 329-9400.
Getting the newsletter in the mail: If you need to receive your newsletter by postal mail, please notify RFM newsletter editor Wendy Swallow at: wswallow54(at)gmail.com or call at 775-473-5559.