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February 2021 Newsletter

February 2021 Newsletter

For upcoming events, see our Calendar. For the monthly Queries, see February: Meeting for Worship for Business. (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.)

Announcements

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

February 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. Feb. 2 – Zoom Ministry & Oversight Committee Meeting, 11 am (NOTE TIME CHANGE)

Thurs. Feb. 4 – Zoom Clerks’ Committee Meeting 10 am

Thurs. Feb. 4 – PM Embodying the Light, 7-8 pm, on Zoom (details)

Wed. Feb. 10 – AM Embodying the Light, 10-11 am, on Zoom (details)

Sun. Feb. 14 – Zoom Meeting for Business, 11:30 am. (First Sunday this month)

Wed. Feb. 24 – AM Embodying the Light, 10-11 am, on Zoom (details)

Thurs. Feb. 25 — Spiritual Discussion: “What is God?,” with Rhonda Ashurst, 7-8:30 pm (details below)

Reno Friends Meeting Events & Notices

Silent Worship now on Zoom every Sunday at 10 am, with Fellowship afterwards

We are meeting for Silent Worship only on Zoom for the rest of the 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.)

https://zoom.us/j/98305205938?pwd=cDZseGdLbWMyYWZsZDdiN00rMjRUZz09

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.

Embodying the Light: First Thursday evening class on Zoom, 7-8 pm, Feb. 4; Second and Fourth Wednesday morning classes on Zoom, 10-11 am, Feb. 10 and Feb. 24.

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 (Feb. 4), and morning classes from 10-11 am on second and fourth Wednesdays (Feb. 10 and Feb. 24). 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. Feb. 2, at 11 am NOTE TIME CHANGE

RFM’s M&O Committee will meet on Zoom Tues. Feb. 2 at 11 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. Feb. 4, at 10 am

RFM’s Clerks’ Committee will meet Thurs. Feb. 4 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. Feb. 14, 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. Feb. 25, “What is God,” with Rhonda Ashurst

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. Feb. 25, Rhonda Ashurst will lead a discussion on how Quakers conceive and think of God. Be prepared for different perspectives! We welcome everyone, even if you are not sure there is a God. Bring your curiosity!.

This discussion draws from the June/July 2014 Friends Journal issue entitled “Concepts of God.” This issue is filled with thought-provoking essays, poems and quotes from Quakers. The Executive Director introduces the issue by saying, “…to describe God is a vulnerable act. Like the blind men in the South Asian parable, we speak of the elephant we are touching in different ways, and only in the sharing of our own experience do we begin to piece together the full picture and also realize the limits of our perception.

Here are a few excerpts from this rich and wonderful issue:

I see creation, the entire Universe, as the visible part of God, or God’s body. I believe we are each a part of God’s body experiencing other parts of God’s body. Bruce Birchard.

To me, Spirit, Light and God mean the fundamental connection from which our love and our testimonies as Quakers flow. JA Kruger

God is the green of Cedar Lake, in the middle about five feet down, on a sunny day in summer. Pam Burrows

My relationship with God is inviolable. I have a direct and unmediated experience with God. There is a dynamic, spiritual presence in the world that transforms the world, including me. The possibilities are limitless. Tonya Thames Taylor

The burning oneness binding everything. Kenneth E. Boulding

I don’t feel adequate to define God. I may not think it’s even possible. But I can describe what I recognize as characteristics of God. In short, God is love, compassion, patience and commitment.” Jane O’Shields-Hayner

For me, “God” does not mean something like a divine “super-person”. Bruce Birchard

God is both immeasurably limitless and deeply personal, beyond our comprehension and right by our sides. Sarah Katreen Hoggatt

There is that of God in everyone. Quaker saying

The way I use the word “God” is to denote a cosmic creative and animating force that is both immanent and transcendent. I often call this force “the Spirit”. Bruce Birchard

The notion of God—has never held much meaning for me. I continue to learn how to experience centeredness and gathering while connecting inwardly in unprogrammed Quaker meeting and among Friends generally, in the light of nontheistic Friendliness. Scott MacLeod

Thinking About Concepts of God

A trickle of water swirls gracefully along the roadside, moving in response to the geography of the moment.

Standing there, looking down, I sense a similar movement in my vessels and cells.

I feel kin to all, a swirl in the stream of life.

This is my starting point, and my ending point: swirling is marvelous for me, and I need nothing more.

Perhaps you raise your eyes to the sky and beyond, seeking there what I seek here.

If so, our notions differ, but this need not separate us: my swirling water flows into your ocean of light and love.

We unite in worshiping and witnessing, and… Oh joy! …a Quaker way opens for all.

Poem by Os Cresson

Queries:

  1. What is God?
  2. Has your concept of God changed over time?
  3. Do have another name or names for God?
  4. How do you communicate/commune with God?
  5. Have you had experiences with God that you would like to share?

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!

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.

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 crmmp2001@yahoo.com or Rita Sloan at rwrksloan@hotmail.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, Mike’s brother-in-law Bob and his family; Peg’s cousin Cathy; Rhonda’s uncle Harry and aunt Nora; Suze’s friend Linda and her friends Anthony and Amber; Mark and Edie’s niece Hannah and friend Karen; Ruth and Rick of San Jose Meeting; Melanie’s sister Stephanie; Peggy’s stepson Adam and son-in-law Mike; Katie’s sister Martha and friend Rick; and the Brune family.

To request prayers, or to add or subtract someone from the “Hold in the Light” list, please contact Rhonda Ashurst at rhondalou14(at)gmail.com.

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

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

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:  letting go of the ego; various forms of prayer as preparatory practices; practicing worship together; deeper vocal ministry.

Promptings of the Spirit: A Writers’ Workshop, Mar. 24-28 2021, Online with Dwight Wilson, Zenaida Peterson & Bob Fisher

Share opportunities to give and receive support and inspiration, to learn and share collective wisdom and genre specific techniques in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, lyrics and creative non-fiction/ memoir.

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 WCTSWCTS 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.