October 2020 Newsletter

For a list of upcoming events, see our Calendar. For the monthly Queries, October: Peace. (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 in the Garden at 10:00 am (details below). We are also  online meetings and discussions through the web app Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our guidelines

October Reno Friends Modified Schedule

NOTE: Remember that any scheduled event could be cancelled due to bad weather, poor air quality, changes in government and Health Department Guidelines, or availability of clerks. Watch your email for updates.
Every Sunday in October 2020:  Silent Worship in the Meeting House Garden, from 10:00 to 11:00 am, weather and air quality permitting.
Tues. Oct. 6 – Ministry & Oversight Committee Meeting, 10 am.
Thurs. Oct. 8 – Zoom Clerks’ Committee Meeting 10 am
Thurs. Oct. 8 – PM Embody the Light, 7-8 pm, on Zoom (details)
Sun. Oct. 11 – Zoom Meeting for Business, 12 noon. (Note later time.)
Wed. Oct. 14 – AM Embody the Light, 10-11 am, at Lake Park (details)
Sat. Oct. 17 – Meeting House Garden Clean-up, 9-12 am 
Wed. Oct. 28 – AM Embody the Light, 10-11 am, at Lake Park (details)
Thurs. Oct. 29 – Zoom Spiritual Discussion, 7-8 pm, “Membership,” with Edie Uber.

Reno Friends Meeting Events & Notices

NOTE:  All daytime RFM events have been moved to 10:00 am now that the weather is cooling.
Silent Worship in the Garden, Sundays 10:00-11:00 am

We are currently holding Silent Worship sitting outside in our Meeting House Garden. Please follow these guidelines to keep everyone safe.

If you would rather sit in silent worship from the comfort of your own home, 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 garden silent worship.

Silent Worship and Social Hour will move to Zoom starting Nov. 1 (or possibly earlier, if necessary). Worship will be from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Business Meeting has decided to keep Silent Worship in the Garden through October, unless inclement weather or poor air quality force us onto Zoom.  This will be decided on a Sunday by Sunday basis through October, so if outdoor conditions look iffy, keep an eye out for an alert from the Meeting that we are moving Worship onto Zoom. As of Nov. 1, 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

Embodying the Light: Wednesday morning class at Lake Park 10 to 11 am, Oct. 14 and Oct. 28; Thursday evening class on Zoom, 7-8 pm, Oct. 8.

Rhonda Ashurst leads the “Embodying the Light” class of gentle yoga and Tai Chi/Qigong as a service to Reno Friends and the community. This month, she has started offering a third session of Embodying the Light, which will meet the first Thursday evening of each month at 7 pm on Zoom (watch the Weekly Schedule Update for the link). The Thursday evening class this month is Oct. 8.

While the weather is good, the second and fourth Wednesday morning classes will still meet at Lake Park. This quiet park is at the intersection of Wesley and Coleman Streets, off Keystone Avenue. There is adequate parking on both streets, on the park side. We will do our Tai Chi/Qigong practice standing, but please bring a folding chair or mat for our brief meditation, and please bring a mask. We will have adequate room to space out so wearing the mask is optional if it is difficult for you to breathe with one while exercising. There is no bathroom at the park, so plan accordingly. See our website for more details.

Zoom Spiritual Discussion, 7-8 pm, Thurs. Oct. 29, with Edie Uber; discussing “Membership in a Quaker Meeting.”

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. Oct. 29, Edie Uber will lead a discussion on what it means to become a member of a Quaker Meeting. Queries for the session will be sent out ahead of time, along with the Zoom invite.

Zoom Ministry and Oversight Committee Meeting, Tues. Oct. 6, at 10 am

RFM’s M&O Committee will meet on Zoom. 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.

Zoom Clerks Committee Meeting, Thurs. Oct. 8, at 10 am

RFM’s Clerks Committee will meet to discuss the Meeting for Business agenda. A link for that Zoom session, along with an agenda, will go out to those involved the day before.

Zoom Meeting for Business, Sun. Oct. 11, at 12 NOON

Business Meetings will be held on Zoom for the foreseeable future. We are currently meeting at 12 noon, so everyone has time to return home from Garden Worship.  A Zoom invite will be sent out to all in advance of each Meeting for Business, along with the agenda. Everyone is welcome at Meeting for Business.

Meeting House In-Person Fall Garden Cleanup, Sat. Oct. 17, 9 to 12 am

Please wear a mask and bring garden tools and gloves. (The Meeting House will only be available for bathroom use, one person at a time.) Please put it on your calendars!

Sierra Friends Center/Woolman School Damaged by Fire Outside Nevada City

To the great shock and sadness of all local Quakers, our beloved Quaker retreat/Woolman School and Camp, known as Sierra Friends Center, suffered serious damage to a number of buildings on August 18, when the Jones fire swept through the hills outside of Nevada City, CA. Fortunately, the Center had insurance and plans to rebuild. If you would like to help financially, go to the link, above. Please hold the Woolman/SFC community, and all those affected by the fires, in the Light.

COVID Financial Appeal from Reno Friends

At the May Business Meeting, the Reno Meeting Treasurer shared 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 temporarily closed, donations should be sent to our Meeting Co-Treasurer Katie Dwyer, at her home at 40 Arbor Oak Court, Reno, NV  89509-6887. Thank you from Reno Friends!

RISE Update

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. Here is a report on RISE from Steve Wolgast, the RFM RISE liaison, after a discussion with Ben Castro, the Executive Director of RISE:

The pandemic has had an impact on RISE programs and efforts. Staff with any suspicious symptoms can’t come back to work for ten days, leaving them short-handed. Washoe County has been supportive in providing more funds available under the CARES act and RISE is hiring additional staff. Peer counselor training is a priority so that staff can provide counseling in addition to support services. Ben is pleased that 12 staff members are certified and another 12 are currently pursuing the certification. The certification involves some formal training (done at UNR) in addition to a requirement for a minimum number of hours working in the field.

The Our Place Family Shelter is at capacity with 28 families. Along with parents with children, this facility is available to pregnant single women. There are 40 families on the waiting list. The Women’s Shelter has moved to the new site from the warehouse on Third St. This is a lot nicer. There are currently 100 women there, with capacity for 130 maximum. There is a wing that allows pets. Ben thinks it’s really a healing environment. The problem is that there is no affordable housing to move into for those who are prepared to leave the shelter. At the Senior Shelter, there are 12 units, which are now full. There are few problems managing this facility at this time.

Fourth Street Rest Stop: This is the location that was recently made available for the “RISE and Dine” food program (Saturday night dinners).  There are new large tents housing up to 168 men for overnight shelter here.  All food is provided by the Catholic Charities. Reno intends this to be temporary as the tents are not suitable for winter use. At that point, the volunteer food program would presumably continue. Due to a neighbor’s suit, the court has affirmed that the tents need to be removed by December.  Winter shelters may be set up at Governor’s Field nearby.  Reno has asked to buy the Fourth St property from TMWA, but they have refused to sell. Plans for the winter are being negotiated between Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, and the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission. Plans are largely up in the air now. RISE continues with some outreach efforts with volunteers going to the homeless camps.  There is still a need for ordinary items such as tarps, flashlights, etc. Cash donations received are used for personal hygiene products. Ben would like to start a fund to provide for raises and promotions as his staff become more experienced and demonstrate their proficiency. Ben plans to update the website, as most of the information there is out of date. Steve suggested they hire a web designer to create something basic but current. Ben provided Steve with the RISE 990 form for 2019 describing their financial operations. Volunteers will need to get a background check pre county regulations. This can be arranged by RISE. If you want to help, check RISE’s Amazon wishlist for the Our Place shelter for updates and details on what’s needed. You don’t have to buy items from Amazon, but seeing what RISE is asking for is helpful. If you have something you’d like to donate, email Kim (at) RenoInitiative.org for instructions on how deliver your donation, or you can bring your item to Sunday Silent Worship and Rhonda Ashurst can deliver it to the home of RISE Ex. Dir. Ben Castro for you. The Meeting has been making a monthly financial contribution to RISE. If you would like to help by donating funds, please send a donation to the Meeting Co-Treasurer, Katie Dwyer, at 40 Arbor Oak Court, Reno, NV  89509-6887. 

The Quaker Earthcare Witness Corner

Over the last few months, we have printed sections of the vision of Quaker Earthcare Witness’s publication BeFriending Creation.  Now, here they are, all together: We are called to live in right relationship with all Creation, recognizing that the entire world is interconnected and is a manifestation of God.  We work to integrate into the beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends the Truth that God’s Creation is to be respected, protected, and help in reverence in it’s own right, and the Truth that human aspirations for peace and justice depend upon restoring the earth’s ecological integrity.  We promote these truths by being patterns and examples, by communicating our message, and by providing spiritual and material support to those engaged in the compelling task of transforming our relationship to the earth. Learn more about Earthcare at www.quakerearthcare.org

Alternatives to Violence Project Update, from RFM liaison Cheri Smith

Though Covid 19 has stopped all Alternatives to Violence Project workshops in prisons, Rita Sloan, Nevada’s AVP leader, continues to help inmates as a member of the Board for the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty.  They have been especially active recently and have begun planning for the next legislative session.  Newly enlisted Board members, including Public Defenders in Clark County, plus a couple of large grants, have enabled the group to really push toward ending the death penalty in our state. They have been able to hire a full-time “project coordinator” and will soon be hiring a full time organizer.  With connections to the ACLU and other nonprofits and also a number of national organizations, they are hopeful the coalition’s mission will be successful.

Check out NCADP’s website  http://nvcadp.org  to learn more and keep informed of their important work.  The death penalty in Nevada is costly, ineffective, racially and economically biased, and does nothing to make us safer.  Let’s end it!

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:  ON HIATUS

The Carson City 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.

Quaker Mission Stamp Project

The Quaker Stamp Project helps the poor in Africa and India through Right Sharing of World Resources, a Quaker organization that provides micro-grants to worthy women. To support the Stamp Project, save canceled foreign and domestic stamps, leaving a small rim around stamps when cutting them off. Send stamps to: Stamps for Right Sharing, c/o Indianapolis First Friends, 3030 Kessler Blvd East Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46220. 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. The group gathers for a peace vigil in Reno every Monday from 5:30-6:00 pm in front of the Federal Building at Virginia and Liberty Streets. Members take turns leading the group with relevant articles and discussions. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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, Joan Graham, whose brother has contracted COVID.

To request prayers, please leave a message at the Meeting House or contact the Clerk at clerk(at)renofriends.org.

Quaker Activities & Announcements

College Park Fall Quarterly Meeting Oct. 16-18, on Zoom

The theme for the College Park Fall Quarterly Meeting, Oct. 16-18, is “Walking Together in the Light.” The Meeting will be held on Zoom, as was done for Spring Quarterly earlier this year. At this time when the concurrent pandemics of climate degradation, COVID-19, and racism unleash a triple whammy that disproportionately and drastically affects people of color and the poor, there is a great need for spiritually strong and grounded people to join together in the Light to effect a sea change. The Quaker response to injustice is reflected in our testimonies and our practice of patient listening for Divine leading.

Fall quarterly meeting will be a time to partake of spiritual nourishment and consider faithful action, a time to join together in the Presence to tap into our deep spiritual roots as we discern what witness and action the
Divine is calling us into. We will be invited into waiting worship to “sink down to the seed which God sows in the heart” and will have opportunities for individual Friends, monthly meetings, and our Friends organizations
to share the ways they are working through the obstacles of sheltering in place and social distancing in order to engage with the needs of their local communities and to take action on public policies. Please join us at our virtual quarterly meeting, October 16-18, 2020. We look forward to sharing worship and fellowship with you! Faithfully yours, Barbara Babin, clerk, College Park Quarterly Meeting. For details on how to register, go to collegeparkquarterlymeeting.org.

Ben Lomond Quaker Center Workshops

Ben Lomond is still operating, but all programs are currently held online. Check out their website for Worship Sharing, Silent Worship, specific programs and more. Go to http://www.quakercenter.org.

Fall 2020 Ben Lomond Workshops

  • Listening to Nature’s Wisdom, Oct. 9-10; With Mica Estrada.  Nature allows diversity to flourish and find its way to equity, inclusion and letting go. But how does nature respond to imbalances and limited resources? When does it flow with conscious effort toward precious coexistence? We will reflect upon the implications for forming a more radically inclusive and healthy Society of Friends.
  • Couples Enrichment, Oct. 30-Nov. 1; With Jeff and Kathy Richman.  Nurture and deepen your couple relationship through communication exercises, couples dialog, worship and laughter. Practice addressing conflict in ways consistent with Quaker values. Make good relationships even better.
  • A Convincing Translation, Nov. 20-22; With Robin Mohr and Benigno Sanchez Eppler. As Friends, we already translate between cultures, centuries, languages. How do we develop the stamina to have difficult conversations with people from different backgrounds or beliefs, in our families, our Quaker meetings, our world?

Quaker worship and fellowship online through Western Friend Magazine:  https://westernfriend.org/quaker-worship-and-fellowship-online

British Yearly Meeting Shares a Daily Feed of Advices and Queries

Go to http://quakerthoughtfortheday.com/

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.

Go to Newsletter Archive for prior months’ news.