The larger monthly meetings in our Arkansas-Oklahoma region take turns hosting fall, winter, and spring quarterly meetings, while the other "quarter" is yielded to a yearly meeting. Each host meeting strives to find a place, such as a state park or lodge, that is within driving distance for Oklahoma and Arkansas Friends. In years past, we have met at such beautiful places as Robbers' Cave and Dwight Mission in Oklahoma. Little Rock Friends lost our go-to hosting spot when Dwight Mission near Stillwater, OK, was acquired in 2021 by the Cherokee Nation. We hold out hope that the Cherokee Nation might return to running it as a camp, retreat, and conference center. Meanwhile, finding a place that isn't booked years in advance has been a challenge that resulted this year in our plan to gather at Subiaco Abbey's Coury Guesthouse in Western Arkansas, a place that has served many in this area as an oasis of spiritual renewal and silent retreats for decades. Our decision was bolstered by how well Sister Cecilia Brickell's presentation was received during Winter Quarter 2023. Yet this was not an easy decision. It came about through a long process of spirit-led discernment by our Meeting and the ad hoc committee, the reworking of the contract by Subiaco's legal team, the gathering of input from LGBTQIA+ Friends across the quarter, and a series of first-hour activities meant to improve our capacity for good allyship and awareness of religious trauma.
With AR-OK Friends being accustomed to paying roughly $25 to $45 for an entire weekend where we share the jobs of food preparation and dishwashing, the cost of lodging and meals at this guesthouse would be more than triple that. On the positive side, we imagined the older Friends' appreciation for a bed with a real mattress and bathrooms/showers that can be accessed without a trip through the cold of night, as is the case at lovely Lake Wister State Park. On the other hand, we did not want even one Friend to stay home due to cost. Thus fundraising began. Thanks to the generosity of several donors, including Stillwater Meeting, we were able to lower the cost of the weekend to around $80 for two nights' lodging and six meals if a Friend shared a room. A private room was a bit more.
Those Friends who made it in time for Friday supper were greeted by Abigail, who has toasty warm accommodations right outside the guesthouse door. She loves skritches and coming on walks, but chooses not to come into the guesthouse. Also there to greet us was Fr. Patrick, whose assignment at the abbey includes taking care of the Coury House guests. He was a charming host full of funny stories, including that the other monks find it ironic, given his portliness, that he wants to put Abigail on a diet and exercise regimen.
By the end of breakfast Saturday morning, we had all pretty much learned our way from Coury House across to the main building and under the red awning to go either up to the chapel where one could follow along with the monks at Vespers and other services using an electronic tablet or down to the basement to the guest dining room where kitchen staff hiding away in an enormous kitchen and pantry that ran the length of the building prepared meals for three sets of people three times a day: students, monks, and guests.
After breakfast and worship sharing, Fr. Jerome Kodell joined us for a dialogue in which we learned about each other's traditions. He learned about the SPICES, and we learned about the Rule of Benedict, in particular mutual or reciprocal obedience. Fr. Jerome also told us about how monks receive assignments, and how that can change over time. He had never worked in a wood shop before, and now he makes all the coffins, allowing the abbey to have less expensive and at the same time more beautiful coffins.
After lunch, some of us took the tour of the abbey with Fr. Francis. We left Coury Guest House at 1:00 and didn't get back until 3:00, very tuckered out and ready for snacks. We spent an hour just in the museum. Some highlights were: the hundreds of relics that made their way to Arkansas from Switzerland at a time when they were at risk of being seized by the government; decades' worth of farm implements, kitchen utensils, chasubles, habits, gifts, clocks, newspaper clippings; and an impressive collection of salt and pepper shakers. We also saw the altar in the church, which was vandalized in an incident that went viral globally. The original altar was made with a piece of imported marble lowered in by a crane before the roof was put on, but the abbey opted for a less costly and cumbersome method of replacing it.
After the tour, those who went had about half an hour to refuel and get settled in for the workshops: Les Brelsford got us all up to speed on AFSC and other national Quaker organizations. Then Ruth led us in worship sharing around the Israel-Palestine situation. That was a heavy topic, so we chose to chant right after, which proved to be just the right transition activity before the sharing of favorite poems.
Sunday morning at sunrise, some could be seen taking a walk--led by Abigail. At 8:00 a.m., we trekked back over to the guest dining hall for another delicious vegetarian meal and thanked the head of the kitchen team for making an exception for us to their usual "we do not accommodate special diets" rule. Worship was at 9:30, after which Jack clerked the Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, giving all meetings a chance to report on the health and state of their meeting.
Living alongside Benedictine monks for a weekend was an experience we won't soon forget.
Little Rock Friends started the year on the first day of January with a special New Year's pot luck of black-eyed peas, two kinds of cornbread, several side dishes and desserts. It was a month of many joys and some losses, as well. We held our dear co-clerk and her husband, our treasurer, in the Light as they walked the hospice journey with their beloved Muffin, a teacher and Zen master disguised as a dog. While not everyone could attend, many of us closed out the month in joyful reunion with our Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting in a unique setting--a Benedictine Abbey!
Before breaking bread together on New Year's Day, Friend John led us in reciting together A Prayer for Peace, a copy of which he had brought back from a meeting of peacemakers in Little Rock who shared intentions for a nonviolent new year.
On the seventh we had a surprise visit from occasional attender and Swarthmore alumna Dr. Karama Neal, one of thirteen who joined us for a discussion of two sections of the Holy Obedience chapter in Thomas Kelly's A Testament of Devotion. Sadly, Amanda and Tommy lost Muffin that evening.
On the fourteenth nine Friends braved the cold for worship sharing followed by a potluck. We continued to announce the upcoming Friends General Conference "Changing Times" workshops--many of them focused on anti-racism--as well as our ever nearer Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting.
Third Sunday was, as usual, Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. One of the standout topics was the need to craft an Indigenous Peoples land acknowledgement statement for our meeting. We incorporated a simple, short statement into that day's meeting but will begin to gather ideas on Indigenous land acknowledgements and the reparative actions that we as a Meeting might undertake to underscore the adoption of the opening statement.
On the 28th, a sizable contingent from central Arkansas was away at the AR-OK Quarterly Meeting, this time held at Subiaco, a Benedictine Abbey in Northwest Arkansas. That event will get its own blog post. About eleven who did not go to Subiaco came together at the meetinghouse or online. First Hour was an open discussion that spanned a number of topics including: how do we educate our teens and young adults to think critically and to prepare them for the world we now live in, and how might we preserve democracy? At the Rise of Meeting, we had a called Business Meeting to approve wood and labor costs needed to repair rotting boards on the back deck. The Meeting quickly came to unity on approving the work.
Winter is upon us with her palette of pale earth tones and textures of bare branches, red berry studded bushes, and stubbly, sallow fields. Friends near and far gathered last month to be with family and each other, to share meals, stories, and games, and to welcome at the longest night of the year the turning of the season to one bringing back a lengthening of the daylight hours. At the same time, we remain acutely aware that many across the globe did not have the luxury of such celebrations--caught as they are in the crossfire between warring factions. We continue to hold them in the Light and participate in local peace rallies.
On December third, eleven came together either in the meethinghouse or on our Zoom. The topic during first hour was religious trauma. We recognize that many who have religious trauma may find Quaker spaces to be wonderfully free of the triggers they encounter in other religious settings, and we want to be sensitive to all as we gear up to hold Winter Quarterly 2024 in a Catholic space. Many of those present shared sentiments about Benedictines that give us reason to believe that the three days spent living alongside the monks will be an experience of love and openness. At the same time, we are strengthening our preparedness to act as allies should we witness acts of micro-aggression or othering of LGBTQIA+ Friends in a space that will be shared by non-Quaker retreat participants housed in the same guesthouse with us and sharing the same kitchen and some of the same restrooms.
Our co-clerk and main acting clerk Amanda was relieved of clerking duties in December as she does a chaplaincy residency at a local hospital's trauma ward. We are holding her and all her patients in the Light as she embarks on this calling. In her absence, David clerked our meeting for worship with attention to business while Young Friends continued practicing sewing machine skills, turning out a collection of scrunchies to be given as holiday gifts.
Although our beloved family of five who live in the shadow of Mt. Nebo could not be with us on the 17th, around fourteen humans and one dog were present in the meetinghouse or online for the intergenerational holiday program, worship, and potluck. We were so pleased to have Friends Elsa and David show up; Elsa was wearing the sweater we have been watching her knit via Zoom. Pup Roxy was quiet as all good Quaker dogs are. During First Hour, a Young Friend taught us to make beautiful 3-D paper snowflakes and our Young Friends program director led us in a fun Christmas game.
On the 24th there were many traveling or experiencing illness, so the gathering was not deemed large enough for us to continue with earlier plans to sing carols. We had decided to see how many might show up and follow where Spirit might lead. As it turns out, we were delighted by a surprise visit from longtime Friends, now residents of Rhode Island, who were in town for the holidays visiting family and friends. When this couple left us for school/work in the northeast, they were two. They returned as three! Fortunately, our Young Friends program director was prepared for any age of visitor. Congratulations on your growing family, DB and Merrill!
The meetinghouse was packed on the thirty-first. Needing to drag in more chairs is a good problem to have. On that day there were five members, one regular attender, our Young Friends program director, one regular Young Friend, our family of five who live in Dardanelle and make it in person a few times per year, two sisters from Cabot--one of whom attends school in Philadelphia and attends Arch Street Meeting there--a visitor from Little Rock, our occasional visitor who is a Conway artist and the friend she brought with her. Our YF director presented the children with their gifts of gratitude journals with prompts.
Stay tuned for the January blog post to find out what we did together on New Year's Day.
For many months, at a rate of about one Sunday per month, we as a Meeting have been learning how to employ the model of Compassionate Communication to more skillfully navigate interpersonal relationships, especially situations that might be challenging. We are learning to first check in with ourselves and relate to ourselves from a place of compassion and non-judgment. We are learning to express ourselves honestly and vulnerably. We are learning to hold space for the other while offering the gift of empathy. Using this approach, we can seek a solution that meets the needs of all involved. This past month, Spirit gave us rich opportunities to attempt to apply what we have been learning.
On the fifth, fourteen Friends gathered either online or in person for Amanda's presentation on Thomas Kelly's classic text A Testament of Devotion. We started the section entitled, "Holy Obedience." During the announcements afterward, a Friend raised the possibility of posting the weekly "End the Genocide - Save the Children" event on the Meeting's website and social media. We found unity behind the idea of learning more about this organization and about the Israel-Hamas war in general. The co-clerk made time for this topic to be more deeply explored the following Sunday and shared links to articles from a spectrum of sources in the days leading up to the first-hour discussion.
When the 12th of November rolled around, a constructive First Hour discussion unfolded. The topic was handled sensitively and compassionately, with a balance of speaking and deep listening. After worship, potluck was held, where compassionate listening and reflection continued.
Third Sunday was, as usual, Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. Amanda provided updates on all the contractors, plumbers, roofers, and window repair people who had indicated their work would begin in November! With the floor of the library covered in boxes of donations for which there was no room on the shelves, an ad hoc committee was formed to take up the task of weeding, cleaning, and reorganizing a pared-down collection of Quaker-related books. General interest books will find new homes. The Winter Quarterly planning committee was pleased to announce that many have responded with enthusiasm to the early RSVP request.
On the 26th, three Friends put on two short skits to dramatize a few of the things even well-meaning people sometimes say to members of the LGBTQIA+ community that can be hurtful. David played the part of the Compassionate Communication coach who was available in the wings whenever the character played by Kelly needed help remembering things such as: the the importance of checking in with oneself so as to first attune to our own emotions before speaking; to get curious about what the other person's experience is and how to ask about that; to ask the other person to affirm what we think we heard them say rather than barreling through on assumptions. With the help of the coach, Kelly's character was able to do repair work with trans character Levi in skit number one (the scene is a women's bathroom at a quarterly meeting) and again with non-binary character River in skit number two, which took place at the sign-in table at a hypothetical quarterly retreat. A few of the micro-aggressions covered in the skits were: making another person's sexual orientation or gender identity the subject of conversation, questioning someone on their choice of bathroom, and assuming that "passing" as a cisgender person is the goal of a transgender person. At the end of skit two, all name tags got pronouns added to them! But perhaps one of the most fruitful things to come out of this first-hour activity was the moment during rehearsals when the three Friends involved got a chance to use Compassionate Communication tools to identify and address a moment of distress for one player. This Compassionate Communication business is good stuff!
During second hour, while most were worshipping, Young Friends were continuing learning to use a sewing machine. The project of that day was scrunchies.
At hour historic meetinghouse at Markham and Valmar in Little Rock, the big oak has started dropping its little acorns on the ground. Where there were once roses, now there are fat coral-colored rose hips. Might they make a fine tisane?
There were twelve of us gathered online and in person for the launch of our journey in becoming better LGBTQIA+ allies and ensuring we are a welcoming congregation and that ours is as safe a space as we know how to make it. We learned some terminology, learned that we have a Friend among us always willing to answer questions, and shared links to more resources as we prepare to hold our winter quarterly meeting at Subiaco Abbey's Coury Guest House in January. Also, we announced that our application to march in the Central Arkansas Pride Parade on October 21st has been approved. Extra exciting was having a visitor from Batesville!
On the eighth, those who were not away at the AR-OK quarterly meeting had a lively discussion (not worship sharing, but discussion) about animal rights and the wellbeing of animals during First Hour. Five were present in-person and two online. At Meeting for Worship, we had seven in-person and two online. Puppy Roxy attended in-person (or would one say “in-dog?) and schnauzer Pip attended online from Edmond, OK, along with Dave A’s beautiful cat. We had a Friend in attendance from Hot Springs, and a visitor who had read the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice in its entirety in preparation for attending our Meeting. Beautiful experience!
On the fifteenth, sixteen gathered for the Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and/or worship, fellowship, and the (postponed) monthly potluck. We had a previous visitor return, a once-visitor who is becoming a regular attender, our monthly attenders from Louisiana, a regular attender accepted into membership, and some joining via Zoom. Things are moving forward for several meetinghouse repairs beginning in November. We are gearing up to participate in this year's Central Arkansas Pride parade. The subject of Gaza was heavy on our hearts, and we decided to dedicate that Wednesday's worship to holding in the Light those affected both by the recent violence and by the past seventy-five years of the Nakba. Tina's late friend from Ramallah, May Mansoor Munn, once told her we must not hold only her and other Palestinians in the Light, but also the Israeli soldiers.
On Saturday the twenty-first, we participated for the first time in the Central Arkansas Pride parade, and it was a blast! We learned some things to do differently next year, such as to possibly decorate a float instead of walking, and maybe even having a booth.
The fourth Sunday of October found about twelve or thirteen of us assembled online and in person for John's gathering of feedback on the SCYM Faith and Practice draft and/or worship hour or sewing in the Young Friends room. After checking with those who might be allergic, Tommy and Amanda brought new family member pup Roxie, who settled in calmly on Amanda's lap but eagerly accepted cuddles with tail wags and kisses. Tina brought two handmade items purchased years ago from Palestinian women raising funds for a refugee camp, one of them a table cloth with embroidered cutwork. Back in the Young Friends area, pieces of donated fabric previously cut out were assembled into a throw pillow, stuffed, and sewn shut.
We rounded out the month on the fifth Sunday with another much appreciated installment of Compassionate Communication.
Rose hip tea, anyone?
Two from Little Rock Friends Meeting joined about ten others from around Oklahoma at Lake Wister State Park for our fall quarterly meeting. Most stayed on site in the A-frame cabins with bunk beds, but Kelly had great things to say about the benefits of renting one of the park's cabins up by the dam, namely the dark sky that allowed for excellent stargazing Saturday night and before dawn on Sunday.
Highlights of the weekend included: meeting newcomer Sonja and eleven-year-old Batman, the Rat Terrier of Noel and Jack from Norman; a bonfire that inspired a Great Horned Owl to call; collaboration on a very challenging jigsaw puzzle that was completed just under the wire; gifts of bracelets lovingly handmade and blessed by Kathleen's sister; a wild persimmon tree heavy with fruit (whose seeds may or may not hold the secrets of the upcoming winter); Green Country's pancakes with real maple syrup; homemade bread; an apple crisp that required an extra drive into town but which will be remembered for years to come; worship sharing in the morning sun as Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, and an imposing kettle of Black Vultures whirled overhead; and, ancient chants that moved more than one person to tears. Our beloved late friend Sue was deeply missed.
As the air cools and we dig sweaters and hoodies out of storage, the month of September is one that always finds Little Rock Friends Meeting with many reasons to get out and get active. Starting as early as June each year, the John and the Peace and Justice committee stay busy reminding us all of the great array of peace-oriented events happening just as summer turns to fall. Ninth month this year was no different. We also began to remind one another of the upcoming Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting so that arrangements might be made for carpooling and the coordination of shopping for our meeting's meal rotation duty.
On the third, Amanda launched our exploration of Quaker missionary Thomas Kelly's classic text, "A Testament of Devotion," and started us off with a focus on the section entitled "The Light Within." She shared an Internet Archive link to a copy made available for free download to all who wish to join in on this journey into the work of this American Quaker educator and mystic. Between Zoom and the meetinghouse, there were nine of us present that Sunday, and the spirit-led discussion centered on our joy on experiencing and being in relationship with the Inner Light.
On second Sunday, John Coffin led a discussion of South Central Yearly Meeting's draft Faith and Practice document, eagerly gathering our reactions and suggestions, while SCYM continues the monumental task of crafting a Faith and Practice document that provides guidance on how we Quakers in SCYM practice our faith. Any wishing to see how this process is coming along can view a copy of the current draft on the SCYM webpage. This was also the day that Young Friends made proofs of their linocut designs first on scrap paper, then on very old tee shirts, and finally on good tee shirts. We are happy to be learning as we go. Announcements after worship included plenty of opportunities for us to get involved in restoring defaced sections of our city's seventh street murals, attend interfaith events, and help hang up our colorful Arkansas Peace Week banners on our historic rock and wrought iron wall. It was also potluck Sunday!
Third Sunday is now our regular day to hold meeting for worship with attention to business and is no longer our potluck day, but food was once again part of our fellowship at the Rise of Meeting when the Chamberlins so graciously provided sandwich trays in support of the Meetinghouse repair project, which in turn took place thanks to Liz and husband Dave, our traveling Friends from Oklahoma.
The parking lot was full on the 24th as eleven gathered in the worship space for Compassionate Communication, marking the end of Peace Week with an open house that drew two visitors! Three met in the Young Friends space for a continuation of sewing lessons.
As summer draws to an end and local farmers' market tables brim with late summer bounty, so too it seems we as a meeting are coming into a period of harvest. A lot of time, devotion, and energy has been poured into our little meeting of late, and we are seeing some of the fruits of that labor of love.
At our first August meeting, we concluded a months' long journey into Jim Pym's book Listening to the Light: How to Bring Quaker Simplicity and Integrity into Our Lives. The last section we read included Quaker Testimonies, Simplicity, and an Adventurous Life. The appendix includes the Advices and Queries.
All arriving at the meeting house on the morning of the 13th were greeted by the long-awaited sight of the SCYM traveling quilt hanging in the southwest corner of the worship room. In addition to artfully representing all the meetings that make up South Central Yearly Meeting and beautifying the space, Zoom attenders reported a noticeable improvement in sound quality that day!
Having already reached unity behind our 2023-2024 budget the previous month, Second Sunday found us continuing the final piece of our budget discussion by reflecting upon the organizations that Little Rock Friends Meeting supports. A list of those can be found on our website under ABOUT US - "Our Meeting Supports". The Alban Institute at Duke Divinity School asks the question of congregations "How do we take [our] assets and use them to establish justice, and for the right reasons?" This question helped frame our discussion. We ended the day with a potluck.
Third Sunday was, as is now the custom, our meeting for worship with attention to business, and the last Sunday of August was an energized and very well attended open discussion. In fact, the presence of sixteen people caused some to muse whether we ought not weave open discussion time into the first-hour slate more often. Among those present were two Friends in the process of moving to Little Rock--one from southeast Arkansas and one from Texas. A few newer attenders are also contributing to the recent swell in attendance, something in which we all unequivocally rejoice and welcome.
While the animated open discussion was taking place in the front of the house, three were gathered in the Young Friends space to learn to use our donated sewing machine. We are exploring ways in which learning to sew connects to many of our Quaker testimonies, so often represented by the letters of the word SPICES. Which of these six values--simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship / sustainability--do you think is/are related to learning to sew? (Yes, this blog has a comments feature!)
Friend Liz Lesher gave a report on the memorial meeting that was held for Sue Garzon in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on the fifth. Liz' grandchildren, who had loved Sue, took great care in making cookies for the memorial meeting. Jan Michael, Sue's widower, was moved by how well-attended the gathering was and was especially touched by the fact that his siblings had driven a great distance to be with him at this time.
Little Rock Friends Meeting ended the month in a spirit of gratitude for our beloved community and for the fact that more seem to be finding us. We look forward to Arkansas Peace Week commemorations and gatherings, including many opportunities to break bread with those of other religious backgrounds at a number of interfaith meals planned in September.
Depending on where in the world you find yourself sitting in silence among Friends, you may encounter those who still follow the early Quaker habit of abandoning the use of Gregorian month names in favor of the more simple first month, second month, third month. Whether we call it seventh month or July, it was a hot one, and those gathered in the meetinghouse this month voiced appreciation for a permanent meeting place that has central air conditioning and other comforts not all meetings enjoy.
Over the past few weeks, as cicadas droned and fireflies jeweled Arkansas evenings, our meeting has explored the history of Little Rock Friends, engaged in Compassionate Communication role plays, collaborated across generations to create a booklet, sat down to eat together, and has (mostly) approved a budget for the new 2023-2024 fiscal year. We also received an in-depth report with photos from Friend Liz Lesher after she attended, with our sponsorship, the annual awards dinner of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Also in July, some of us began to make plans to travel to Oklahoma for the memorial service of Susan Garzon--a longstanding and very active member of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting.
Regarding her attendance at the OK-CADP 2023 annual dinner with reporting and keynote speaker, Friend Liz let us know that over 160 people attended the June event, filling an Oklahoma City church hall. The keynote speaker was Adam Luck, retired chairman of the Oklahoma City Pardons and Parole Board. Friend Liz was delighted to be asked to represent Friends this year, physically taking the place of our late friend Rex D. Friend, who appeared in a recently taken photo that was enlarged and placed on each table as a tribute to his years of support.
Other speakers and attenders included Paris Powell, exonerated in 2011, who spent fourteen years on Death Row at the same prison as Richard Glossip for a crime he did not commit. He, his wife, and their three daughters were seated at the table with Liz. She also had an opportunity to talk to law student Lea Rodger, Richard Glossip's wife.
In June, Little Rock Friends celebrated Pride Month, dealt with the breakdown of our decades-old HVAC system just at a time when it was needed most, and mourned the loss of a dear Friend in the AR-OK Quarterly Meeting.
Pride Month in Arkansas is important to us as Quakers, and we welcome all to listen in on Peace and Justice Committee meetings, bringing your ideas and energy as we strive to participate more and more in local peace and justice initiatives like the celebration of 2SLGBTQIA+ Pride in Arkansas. Meanwhile, the Communications, Outreach, and Web Committee is trying out a few pamphlet ideas so that when we do set up our table at Juneteenth, wear our t-shirts while joining Arkansas Peace Week events, or have a picnic in a park, curious members of the public can walk away with something that invites them to join us while dispelling common myths and misconceptions about the Religious Society of Friends.
Regarding the air conditioner, with a flurry of calls to contractors, impromptu meetings of the (currently clerk-less) House and Grounds Committee, quick reviews of bids, and a lot of time and energy put in by a few, a new unit was installed within a couple of weeks.
Emergencies such as this one and the frozen / burst pipes this winter have driven home to us the great importance of having a functioning House and Grounds Committee with a clerk. With this in mind, we have recently begun sharing a list of list of current repairs and needed improvements along with an invitation for anyone who feels so led to answer the call to convene regular meetings and clerk them.
For the June 4th meeting, many chose to stay home and join by Zoom. For those who braved the heat, there was a sweating growler of chilled lemon-and-mint-infused water to guzzle. All present heard John and Liz recap their experiences at this year's South Central Yearly Meeting. They both found this year's theme and promise of "Spiritual Refreshment for the Long Haul" to have been fulfilled.
Susan Garzon passed away peacefully at home Sunday night, May 28th, after a long struggle with cancer. She and Jan Michael were happily married for 32 years and were cornerstones in the building up of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting, which is where many Little Rock Friends got to know them both. We continue to hold Jan in the Light as he grieves the death of his beloved life partner. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Guatemala Scholarship Program at Redwood Forest Friends Meeting (redwoodforestfriends.org) or Guatemala projects at Heifer Project International (heifer.org).
Not knowing if the new HVAC system would yet be up and running by second Sunday, the monthly potluck was cancelled for June. On the 11th we continued our study of Listening to the Light: How to Bring Quaker Simplicity and Integrity into Our Lives by Jim Pym. The third Sunday was Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. By the end of worship hour, fourteen members and attenders were gathered between Zoom and the now pleasantly cool meethinghouse. On the 25th, we used the worship sharing format to explore how often and in what manner we might broaden our Compassionate Communication journey. Many agreed that getting together one Saturday per month in person and on Zoom could work for them. Friends' value of community, seen in fourth position on our Quaker SPICES banner, was embodied in the sharing of summer squash freshly picked by Friend Jim. He even brought extra shopping bags to make it easier for everyone to partake of his garden's bounty.