Quaker Testimonies This Month's Blog Post

Quakers Discuss Ukraine and the Peace Testimony

The war in Ukraine is troubling for all, but for Quakers it presents a particular dilemma:  how do we respond to a war against a sovereign nation in light of our Peace Testimony?

The Peace Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends is one of the important pillars that defines Quakerism. The Quakers, along with the Mennonites and Amish, are “Peace Churches,” religious organizations that believe peace and non-violence are the best (possibly only) way to resolve conflict. Many Quakers, historically, have resisted all forms of war and non-violence, including refusing to participate in military service and, in some cases, refusing to pay the taxes that support the military. In some cases, Quakers have been jailed for these positions; in others, Quakers have won the right to be conscientious objectors to military service and be assigned community service as an alternative.

Friends have a host of “testimonies,” shared truths and insights that Quakers have learned through their own spiritual experience over 350 years. There is no single, exclusive list of testimonies, and the testimonies are not doctrine. Instead, they are common, deeply held values that the Quakers refer to for guidance. For our Meeting, the testimonies include: Integrity, Unity, Equality, Simplicity, Peace and Community. When we talk about them, we often use queries, questions that explore why the testimonies are important yet also difficult to uphold day to day. They are not rules to abide by as much as challenges.

Of these, the Peace Testimony is one of the most difficult. Reno Friends recently met online to discuss the war in Ukraine through the prism of the Peace Testimony. What we discovered – even in our small community of like-minded people deeply troubled by the war – was a range of opinion.

Some Quakers said they considered the Peace Testimony absolute, that there are no exceptions. Others focused on efforts to find a better way, through non-violence and diplomacy and refusal to engage. But the Ukraine war raises troubling questions:  if a nation is attacked in an unprovoked invasion, does it not have the right to defend itself? If the Peace Testimony is absolute, is there never a “good war?” The war against Ukraine spookily conjures images of similar atrocities and destruction from WWII, which is part of the horror of it. Was it wrong to fight the Nazis, we wondered. This triggered other questions: if a Quaker agrees with the American effort to send guns and military equipment to Ukraine, does that violate the Peace Testimony? How do we feel about family members who have fought – at great personal cost – in past wars, not to mention those serving in our current military? Sometimes our conversation also touched on personal scenarios in which the Peace Testimony raises harrowing possibilities: Should a Quaker defend their own wife or child if they are attacked? Should a Quaker let someone kill them during a mugging, or should they fight back? Should a Quaker carry a gun? It is easy for such questions to discomfit and divide us.

To lead us back, one Reno Friend pointed out that the Peace Testimony is about trying to find alternatives to violence. It takes effort, creativity, patience, and an eye on the long game, to come up with the combination of diplomacy and sanctions and humanitarian relief that can stem the tide of war. She also pointed out that the Peace Testimony need not divide us, as it is fundamental in Quakerism that each person needs to exercise their own discernment to understand how they will live each testimony. One shared the story that when William Penn asked Quaker founder George Fox if he should stop wearing his sword, Fox replied “Wear it (the sword) as long as thou canst.” It turns out this story may be more myth than fact, but it captures Fox’s advice that, to answer the question, Penn should examine his own heart.

Bringing us all back to our own hearts, another Friend said we should also listen to the pain and confusion we are all experiencing over this awful war. Modern media and courageous reporting bring images and stories and horrors to life on our screens every day, and it is hard on our souls. We need to be patient with our own confusion, and take time to examine our own convictions. We also talked about ways to help, focusing on communicating with national leaders, supporting humanitarian efforts, and continuing to talk about the importance of peace and non-violence as goals and strategies. As one said: “We may struggle to uphold the Peace Testimony, but we should all keep working at it.”

By Wendy Swallow, Blog Editor, Reno Friends Meeting

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Reno Friends Meeting.

This Month's Newsletter

May 2022 Newsletter


We are happy to announce that Reno Friends Meeting has returned to the Meeting House for Silent Worship at 10:00 am on Sundays. Twice a month, on First and Third Sundays, we will have Hybrid Silent Worship, which will be both on Zoom and In-Person from the Meeting House. Our First Day School is closed at present. We are also holding online meetings, spiritual discussions and yoga on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.

May 2022 Reno Friends Meeting Schedule

Sun. May 1 – Hybrid (Zoom and In-Person) Silent Worship, 10 am (details

Sun. May 8 – In-Person Silent Worship, 10 am (details

Tues. May 10 – Zoom Meeting for Business, 7 pm (NOTE NEW DATE AND TIME) (details)

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

Sun. May 15 – Hybrid (Zoom and In-Person) Silent Worship, 10 am (details

Tues. May 17 – FDS Educational Comm. meeting on Zoom, 7 pm

Thurs. May 19 – In-Person Brown Bag Lunch, hosted by Melanie and Peg, 12 noon (details)

Sun. May 22 – In-Person Silent Worship, 10 am (details

Sun. May 22 – Garden Potluck 11:30 am (details)

Tues. May 24 – Zoom Spiritual Discussion on “Retreats,” 7-8:30 pm (details)

Wed. May 25 – Embodying the Light at Lake Park, 10-11 am (details

Thurs. May. 26 – Ministry and Oversight Committee meeting, 2 pm (details

Sun. May 29 – In-Person Silent Worship, 10 am (details

Other Important Dates

May 13th – 15thCollege Park Quarterly Meeting, at Ben Lomond Center near Santa Cruz.  See below in this newsletter for more details.  This in-person gathering is fully “pay as you are led;” when registration is available, a link will be posted here at the CPQ website.

July 22nd – 27thPacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session; This will be a hybrid gathering, with the in-person component taking place at Mt. Madonna Conference Center near Watsonville, CA.  This gathering will be fully “pay as led” and youths 18 and under will be free. See below in this newsletter or the Pacific Yearly Meeting website for more information.

Quaker Summer Camps Registering now Quaker Service and Art Camp for ages 10-14 at Ben Lomond Center near Santa Cruz. Costs are on a sliding scale. See below in this newsletter for more details. Camp Woolman near Nevada City has sessions for teens and children; see below in this newsletter for more details; registration is open as of late February.  Costs are on a sliding scale.

Reno Friends Meeting Event Details & Other Notices

Join Us for Silent Worship Back in the Meeting House

Reno Friends Meeting has returned to the Meeting House for Silent Worship, at 10 am, with fellowship afterwards. We ask that attenders be vaccinated, boosted, and wear a mask for indoor activities. If necessary, we may open doors and/or windows for air, so dress warmly if it is chilly. We plan to run our air purifiers. If you are not feeling well, we ask that you stay home, even if you are vaccinated.

We will use a webcam and a small video screen so that in-person attendees and remote/Zoom attendees can see each other. The chairs inside the Meeting House that will be off camera are so marked, so you may sit off camera if you prefer. If you are moved to speak during hybrid Silent Worship, please use the mic or ask for the handheld mic so that everyone, including remote attendees, can hear you.

Going forward, we will hold Hybrid Silent Worship (Zoom and In-Person) twice a month on First and Third Sundays. Here is the recurring Zoom link for Hybrid Silent Worship:

For Hybrid 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 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 classes(at) Our worship clerk will read them at the next Silent Worship.

Zoom Spiritual Discussion on “Retreats,” Tues. May 24, 7-8:30 pm

Please join us for a discussion of Retreats. We will hold Zoom spiritual discussions from 7-8:30 pm on the 4th Tuesday of each month in 2022, except December. The Spiritual Discussion Committee includes: Rhonda Ashurst, Earl Piercy, Catie Polley and Cliff Smith. We will facilitate discussions as a team this year. We welcome your ideas/topics. We encourage you to join us to facilitate a topic of interest to you.

New on our Website

We recently made some small changes and additions to the Reno Friends Meeting website. We changed the colors from tan background with red links to light blue background with blue links, and we moved some photos around. We’ve added a few new photos that Mark Woolbright took at Easter; thanks Mark! And we added a new section on the History of Reno Friends Meeting with wonderful photos from the 90’s provided by Dan Sims. Take a look!

Donating to Reno Friends in 2022

If you would like to support Reno Friends Meeting, donations should be sent to our Meeting Co-Treasurer Charlie Shepard at his home at 4395 Mountaingate Drive, 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 treasurer (at) Zelle eliminates the need to write a check and, for our Treasurers, to deposit your check at the bank. Thank you from Reno Friends!

Consider Supporting Quaker Earthcare Witness

Those who support Quaker Earthcare Witness, a Quaker-led environmental group, say they believe it is important for Quakers to have a place to share concerns about the planet within the context of Quaker values, while also being cared for. One members said: “It is inspiring to be a small part of a community of Earthcare activists.” If you’ve enjoyed and benefited from reading BeFriending Creation this year, please consider making a donation to support our efforts. In peace, Hayley Hathaway, Editor, BeFriending Creation

For suggestions of books recommended by Quaker Earthcare Witness, click here: 

Carson City Worship Group

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. Attenders are asked to wear a mask. 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. If anyone would like to be connected to the Carson group, just email clerk(at)

Quaker Mission Stamp Project

Read all about it!  The current online Right Sharing of World Resources newsletter is focused on the stamp mission that Reno Friends Meeting has been supporting for decades. Learn how this Quaker organization helps women in Sierra Leon, Kenya, and India support themselves, which in turn helps their families and villages.

Outside Non-Profits That Meet at the Quaker Meeting House

NOTE:  These groups are negotiating their return to our Meeting House. Please contact the groups directly for updates.

Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families meets every 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) Feel free to bring friends and neighbors, if they are interested. For more on CCL, go to

Other Quaker Activities & Announcements

College Park Spring Quarterly Meeting

College Park Spring Quarterly will be held May 13-15, both online and in-person at Ben Lomond Center near Santa Cruz, CA. The theme for the gathering is: “How to remain centered in these troubled times, how to be brave, how to be helpful.”  There will be in-person activities at Quaker Center on Friday evening, Saturday day and evening, and Sunday morning. The hybrid/online portion of the meeting will be Saturday day and evening and Sunday morning. Attendance at Quaker Center will need to be limited and preference will be given to families with children and teens. Registration details are posted online at

Reno Friends Monthly Meeting is a member of College Park Quarterly Meeting (CPQM), a quarterly meeting of the unprogrammed Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in northern California and northern Nevada. CPQM holds Quarterly Meetings in the Winter, Spring and Fall, which are gatherings of Quakers from all the member Monthly Meetings, and it also provides support for member Meetings. There are 24 Monthly Meetings and six Worship Groups in CPQM.

Pacific Yearly Meeting: Clerk’s Call for Annual Meeting 2022
What Does It Mean to Belong: to Ourselves, to Each Other, to the Earth?

“God has called us together, led us together from all sorts of disparate backgrounds into a community of souls seeking to live lives obedient to the Light, lives under the guidance of the Spirit.” David Johnson, Surrendering Into Silence: Quaker Prayer Cycles.
God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are all family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion… Enemies are always friends waiting to be made.” Desmond Tutu.
Diversity is not just about who is in the room but about how we share space and power and relate to each other across cultural gaps.” Kazu Haga, Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm.

I am writing to you after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a heavy heart. What does beloved community look like when people are fleeing for their lives, while their homes and everything familiar to them is crumbling all around them? Closer to home, what does the planet look like amidst sea level rise, wild fires, atmospheric rivers and a global pandemic, now in its third year? What role do we play?
The yearly meeting Finance Committee has declared our 75th year a year of Jubilee. Our reserves are unusually high, and we will be using a “pay as led” approach to this year’s gathering, with confidence that we’ll be able to cover any expenses above what Friends can contribute. All youth 18 and under will be “free,” and the message is loud and clear, please come. Jubilee is a time when debts are forgiven, the land lies fallow, and we envision a real re-distribution of wealth. What a perfect way of imagining how to build a more inclusive, post-colonial yearly meeting. What changes do we need to make to re-distribute power and expectations so that all are truly welcome and able to be full participants, growing and learning from each other?
At Representative Committee we heard an urgent cry from our Children’s Program Committee that they cannot mount a program alone for our children unless other adults step up. It cannot be done by the few people who have served us valiantly in this capacity for so many years. They need help. Our children need to know we care about them and want them in our community. The teens made it clear that we need to meet in person, at least partly, this year.
We will be doing that, at Mt. Madonna Center, in Watsonville California, July 22-27 in person, and also joined by our zoom attenders. In other words, we will experiment with a blended meeting. And people are already stepping up. I am asking every yearly meeting committee to consider whether they can design one activity with the 6-12 year olds that demonstrates what your committee does. Once when I was on the Nominating Committee for my Meeting, two of us went to the First Day School and led a session on finding our gifts. What other kinds of activities would committees want to share with these precious ones, so they feel a part of our community and know they matter?

For me the most creative roads to fundamental change can be found in indigenous teachings, and in Mother Nature. Toward that end I have invited three Friends to be our keynote panel: Marlene Coach-Eisenstein (Honolulu), Peni Hall (Strawberry Creek), and Keith Runyan (Santa Cruz), moderated by Diego Navarro (Santa Cruz). They will share their experiences of the PacYM community and some ways they see where changes could be made.
“Sacred is about more than just sacred places and sacred sites. It is about who we are as human beings. It’s the waters. It’s the plant life. It’s about being in relationship again with everything that’s alive…So it’s about relationship and how we are all here and exist together.” Corinna Gould, a Lisjan elder in Oakland, California, as quoted in Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice. By Rupa Marya & Raj Patel.
This deep work, in deeply difficult times, will take courage, vision, and trust in Spirit to find new ways of living our faith. This is an all-hands-on-deck time. Join us, on zoom or in person, to be part of the joy of reimagining!
~ Laura Magnani, clerk, Pacific Yearly Meeting

Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session 2022 will take place July 22-27, 2022.  It will be a hybrid gathering, with the in-person component taking place at Mt. Madonna Conference Center near Watsonville, CA.

Pacific Yearly Meeting is a community of “unprogrammed” Friends (Quaker) Meetings in parts of Mexico and the western USA. After decades of independence, PYM recently became affiliated with Friends General Conference. In FGC there is another PYM, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, so Pacific Yearly Meeting is now known as PacYM instead. Reno Monthly Meeting is a member of PacYM, and uses the PacYM book Faith and Practice which sets out the beliefs of Friends, PacYM’s structures and processes, and the spiritual foundation of these processes and of our way of worship. Western Friend is the official publication of Quakers in Pacific, North Pacific, and Intermountain Yearly Meetings. PacYM is a year-round community, and holds a four-day summer gathering called “PacYM Annual Session.”

Ben Lomond Quaker Center, Ben Lomond, CA

Made in God’s Green Image, May 5 – June 2, 2022

Join Sister Confianza and Frank Granshaw for a weekly online series of five 90-minute sessions. Creation stories in the Bible describe a God who creates, tends, and takes joy in the natural world. Genesis 1:26 says that humans are made in God’s image. How do we live that out as Quakers? We’ll explore relevant Bible passages, celebrate nature, and learn some of the science of climate change. We’ll have the opportunity to share thoughts and experiences around environmental issues and take steps toward climate mitigation and resilience. We’ll hear creative solutions from around the world, including rural Honduras where Sister Confianza lives, and Frank’s experience as a COP-26 observer for Quaker Earthcare Witness.

Quaker Service & Art Camp (in person), June18-25, 2022
Kids’ Camp returns at last. Rising fifth to ninth graders will learn about Quaker faith and practice, share time in nature, and build community through art and service, campfires, singing, games, hiking, and more. Let your light shine at Quaker Center camp!

Family Work Camp (in person), August 2-7, 2022
Come one, come all, and spend time in the redwoods working with friends on a wide range of service projects (all ages welcome, no experience required). When we’re not working, we’ll be having fun, sharing meals, singing, swimming, playing, hiking, worshiping, and relaxing.

Wednesday Worship Sharing on Zoom, 10 am
Join Co-Director Bob Fisher and Friends from around the world as we respond to queries based on short readings. Queries and links on our website. A wonderful mid-week hour.

For more information about Ben Lomond Quaker Center programs and retreats, including Worship Sharing and Silent Worship, or to donate, go to

Camp Woolman at Sierra Friends Center

Wombat Camp, June 20 – July 15, 2022

For kids ages 9 to 14. There will be both day camp and overnight sessions, offering the simple joys of hiking, team building, sports, song and theatrics, and embracing the qualities that make us beautiful & unique. Games, skits, crafts, and learning will be abundant, and campers will practice “giving back” to camp through age-appropriate responsibilities, such as cleaning up after themselves and others, nature restoration and art beautification. Campers can attend one or more sessions:

  • Day Camp will be offered in 2 weeklong sessions: June 20th – 24th & June 27th – July 1st
  • Overnight Camp will be offered for 2 weeklong sessions: July 3rd – 8th  & July 10th – 15th
Teen Leadership Camp, July 17-29, 2022

For Young adults age 15 to 17. In this two-week overnight session, campers will explore their relationship with themselves, their peers, and the natural world around them. They will choose for themselves how much to engage with camp activities, as our trained staff offers encouragement to plan outings, lead activities, and care for their fellow campers.

Bear in mind that electronics will be left at home during camp sessions. Our staff will  take ample amounts of photographs for your household to cherish! If you’re ready to consider camp, please fill out our initial “Save my Place” form.

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) 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 25th of the month for inclusion in the following month’s newsletter. Send Friends events and information to Reno Friends newsletter editor Wendy Swallow, wswallow54 (at), 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 by emailing wswallow54(at) or calling 775-473-5559.

Subscribing and Unsubscribing: We use the same email list for all our communications, including the monthly newsletter and the weekly update. To subscribe to our email list, attend Silent Worship with us either virtually or in person and be sure we get your email address. Add the address “update (at)” to your email address list to help keep our email from going in to your spam folder. To unsubscribe to the mailing list, email  clerk (at) with the subject line “unsubscribe.”

Quaker Testimonies

The Quaker Peace Testimony

(from the Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice)

We utterly deny all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole  world.… The spirit of Christ which leads us into all Truth will never move us to fight and war against any man with  outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for kingdoms of this world.” – George Fox, declaration to Charles II, 1660, Britain Yearly Meeting, Quaker Faith & Practice, 1995.

“A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.” –  William Penn, 1693; Britain Yearly Meeting, Quaker Faith & Practice, 1995.

Newsletter Archive

April 2022 Newsletter


This month, we are happy to announce that Reno Friends Meeting will return to the Meeting House for Silent Worship at 10:00 am on Sundays. Twice a month, we will have Hybrid Silent Worship, which will be both on Zoom and In-Person from the Meeting House. This month, we are holding Hybrid Silent Worship on the First and Fourth Sundays. Our First Day School is closed at present. We are also holding online meetings, spiritual discussions and yoga on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.

Newsletter Archive

March 2022 Newsletter


Reno Friends Meeting is currently holding Silent Worship at 10:00 am on Sundays on Zoom. Our First Day School is open at parent request on Sundays when we gather in person, and will be held outside, if possible. Please contact clerk(at) a few days in advance if you would like to request First Day School for your children . We are also holding online meetings, fellowship, spiritual discussions and yoga on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.

Quaker World

Quakers Acting on Climate Change

Climate change is not just about melting ice caps, worsening droughts and rising sea levels. While it is clearly a crisis for the environment, it is also a crisis for people. In fact, some experts consider climate change just as serious a moral issue as it is an environmental issue, and one that could have severe social and economic consequences.

Pope Francis released an encyclical in 2015 that served as a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the papal statement said. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Quaker Practice

New Year Messages from My Redwood Retreat

Sometime last summer, I hit a wall. My Light sputtered and I felt exhausted and depressed. I think it was Pivot Fatigue–a condition caused by too many changes and adaptations brought on by Covid, and then by our relentless wildfire season. Add to that the growing needs of our elders, which had also changed our lives considerably.

In a moment of despair, I was inspired to search for a place to retreat from the world and retore myself. I immediately thought of the California Redwoods and found myself on Airbnb searching for a cabin amongst the trees. I found a small gem and booked it immediately for early November. It was a magical spot in the forest, near the state park and my favorite trails through the majestic giants. I stayed for 5 nights–hiking; meditating; reflecting; journaling; listening to Spirit; napping; practicing yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi; dancing; and playing my wood flute.

I was frightened to go. I had received a very clear message from Spirit that I was not allowed to bring any of my books. I had never done a retreat without my books! What was I going to do with all that time by myself? Would I go mad?

Spirit was relentless. You spend too much time with the words and experiences of others and look to them for your answers. They are within you. Go and listen quietly.

I brought a notebook and pen with me and wrote what came through from the Beyond That is Within (another of my names for Spirit). As we begin this new year, I was led to share the highlights of what I heard and experienced.

As I walked through the forest, I was struck by its beautiful perfection. It is a jumble of new life growing out of death and decay, feeding lovely fungi that eat and transform wood that then grows new trees, ferns, and other plants. It is constantly renewing itself in an endless, intricate dance. Some trees are burned all the way through their centers and yet they still stand strong and vibrant, green boughs reaching for the blue sky and new children sprouting at their feet.

I remember asking for forgiveness for humanity and the destruction we are causing to the natural world and I received this message:  You and your species are as wondrous a creation as this forest.

I was aghast! How could that be true?

You are part of the Creation, unfolding Itself endlessly like this forest. You are a young species with much to learn. You are learning. Be patient with yourselves. Allow yourselves to be taught by Nature, to be transformed.

But we are killing nature, I argued.

You cannot kill Nature. Creation is endlessly resilient, like these redwoods, like you. Everything changes and transforms. Yes, you are changing the biosphere into something new. And you are learning through this process.

But species are dying, landscapes are forever changed!

Look around and within you. Everything is always dying and changing, including yourself. Yet from the decay, new life is born. Always new life. Embrace the changes, learn how to dance with Nature, remember we are all connected and nothing ever really dies. It just changes form.

I realized with sudden clarity how judgmental I have been of myself and all of humanity. As the days went by, my heart softened towards us all. We have a role to play in how creation unfolds on this planet. I determined to return to my life and allow Nature to teach me how to dance with Her, how to care for Her and cherish Her as part of myself. We are all intertwined in this magnificent Creation.

Meditation on the Redwoods

Be rooted in the Earth

Reach for the sky

Open your heartwood

Be fireproof




Give Birth to New Life


I was encouraged to be present in each moment, not elsewhere in my head, to embrace what is so without thinking it “should be” something other than what it is. Along that same line, I was also encouraged to embrace myself as I am, while also honoring that I am continuously growing and changing like all that surrounds me. It is perfectly unfolding. My OCD/Perfectionist self was definitely challenged by Spirit during this retreat!

I heard this message:  BE more; DO less.

I spent time taking stock of what I am doing that dims my Light and feels like a “should”. I resolved to make changes to my schedule and open up more space to BE, to listen deeply more often.

One of the joys I discovered about halfway through the retreat was that I was having fun and it was effortlessly delightful! All this fear I’d had of being stuck with myself for a week vanished. I realized I still had the same ability I’d had as a child to get lost in nature and keep myself company.

Heaven is right here under your nose, open your eyes and see it.

I have a tendency to look for what I am seeking other than where I am standing and living. Repeatedly, I am directed to grow where I am planted and realize the beauty right here and now. I’m sure these redwoods understand this wisdom and are trying to transmit it to me!

The purpose of your existence is to give and receive LOVE.

I could feel that love was in the forest, connecting all the amazing life forms to each other in a symbiotic dance, and that I was also part of this dance. I was challenged to see that it is the same when I am in the human world.

Life goes on. It adapts, transforms, changes forms, but it always goes on. You are part of the Creative, Holy Spirit which goes forever on, creating the next manifestation. Rest in that, trust, and then do the next loving thing in the moment, led by the Inner Light which is ever part of the Great Light.

Rhonda Ashurst, RFM Blog Contributor

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Reno Friends Meeting

Newsletter Archive

February 2022 Newsletter


Reno Friends Meeting is currently holding Silent Worship at 10:00 am on Sundays on Zoom. Our First Day School is open at parent request on Sundays when we gather in person, and will be held outside, if possible. Please contact clerk(at) a few days in advance if you would like to request First Day School for your children . We are also holding online meetings, fellowship, spiritual discussions and yoga on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.

Newsletter Archive

January 2022 Newsletter


Reno Friends Meeting is currently holding Silent Worship at 10:00 am on Sundays on Zoom. Our First Day School is open at parent request on Sundays when we gather in person, and will be held outside, if possible. Please contact clerk(at) a few days in advance if you would like to request First Day School for your children . We are also holding online meetings, fellowship, spiritual discussions and yoga on Zoom. For details on using Zoom, see our Zoom guidelines.

Quaker Practice

Speaking in Silent Worship

Quakers are known for gathering to worship in silence, and yet they also gather to hear the many voices of God. Instead of a prepared sermon or liturgy, Quakers worship through “vocal ministry,” messages offered out of the silence by those who feel moved to speak.