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My Campus Crusade for Free Speech, 1963

A Friendly Letter (Chuck Fager) - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:13am

I

            Not long ago, over a friendly lunch near a progressive college, I told the story below to a rising young academic.

            As he listened, his eyes widened. Then he shook his head, and put down his fork.

            “You could never do that now,” he said quietly.

            Did I hear regret? Maybe even a touch of apprehension? (Was it: You couldn’t do that now, because “they” wouldn’t let you? Or, “they” (maybe a different “they”) would stop you from doing it, by  force if need be?)

            I wasn’t surprised at this reaction. Not today. But then, and there, we would have thought it outlandish, even absurd.

 II

            “Then” was the fall of 1963; “there” was Colorado State University, or CSU, which was spreading out along the front range of the Rockies, an hour or so north of Denver.

The Administration Building at CSU, Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1963.

And “we” were Dennis Lone, editor of the Collegian, the campus paper, and me, a budding writer who produced a widely-read, pot-stirring weekly column for his pages.

            On a Saturday morning in September, Dennis and I were hanging out in the Collegian office. It was otherwise deserted: the paper didn’t print on weekends.

The CSU seal, in the 1960s

            We were bored. Our social lives were nothing to brag about. The CSU football team was on a record-setting 28-game losing streak. Culturally, CSU was then a backwater, deep in what would one day become “flyover country.”

From a far away Outside World, faint echoes could be heard of civil rights protests and political struggles, but most were shrugged off in what a few of us decried as our “hotbed of apathy.”

            I slouched; he smoked. When Dennis, who had been paging through a thick weekend issue of the Rocky Mountain News, said, “Hey, listen to this,” I only half-perked up.

            “What?”

            “It looks like James Meredith is coming to Denver.”

            I sat up straight. “What?” I said again.

Chuck Fager, CSU 1963

            He read a brief notice, announcing that Meredith, who had desegregated the University of Mississippi in September of 1962, was to speak to the Denver chapter of the NAACP.

            “Wow, that sounds exciting,” I said.

            Meredith’s arrival on the Mississippi campus had set off riots that killed two, and required federal troops to quell.  Until he graduated in August 1963, he had federal marshals as constant bodyguards when attending classes.

            As Dennis read, I grew wistful. “I wish he was coming to speak here, too,” I said. “But you know this place. . . .”

            Dennis looked up. “We could ask him,” he said, with an offhand practicality.

Dennis Lone, at the Editor’s desk in the CSU Collegian office, 1963.

            “Could we really?” I said. “How?”

            Dennis was a reporter, and he was thinking like one: a former Collegian editor now worked at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Dennis called him, got an NAACP contact, who gave him an address in Mississippi. But no phone number.

            “Oh no,” I fretted, “There’s not enough time to write him a letter.”

            Dennis was undaunted. “We could send him a telegram.”

            A telegram! I’d never sent one. Didn’t they cost a fortune?

James Meredith, center, is escorted to the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. marshals on Oct. 1, 1962.

            Not really, it turned out, if one kept them brief. And ours was: would he come speak at CSU while he was in Colorado?

            I was excited, but still skeptical: A living specimen of that distant Outside World — here, at Apathy State U, up in Backwater County? It seemed very unlikely. But what the hey? The worst he could say was “No.” Worth a shot.

            And two days later, Dennis was waving a pale yellow telegram reply in my face: “Meredith says yes!”

 III

            That is, James Meredith said “Yes,” he’d be happy to speak at CSU–for $500. (About $4000 in 2017 cash.)

            It was a reasonable price. But there was a hitch: we didn’t have it.

            But we got past this hurdle: after some pleading, the student legislature reluctantly agreed to underwrite the fee, and we agreed to collect admission of fifty cents each ($4 in 2017 money) to help recover it.

            Then Dennis and I shamelessly exercised our media influence to hype the talk: I wrote a column, he published articles, the buzz spread, our hopes were high.

            Sure enough: something like 1300 students and faculty filled most of the Student Center’s big ballroom, likely a record. The turnout meant we not only covered Meredith’s fee: the student legislature — to their amazement– actually made a profit.

            Further, Meredith’s speech hit the mark. No stemwinder, he didn’t try to compete with Dr. King or other eloquent movement orators. Instead, he calmly told of growing up respectably poor, joining the Air Force, and wanting to use his veteran’s benefits to become the first in his family to attend college, at a state-supported university.

James Meredith at CSU, September, 1963.

            The room was pin-drop quiet as this basically undramatic story unreeled. That’s because, apart from the riots which it evoked, it was very familiar to many of those present: CSU was not an elite school, with generations of legacy admissions. Many listening were likewise among the first in our families to go beyond high school. Veterans’ benefits after World War Two and Korea –and low public college tuitions –played a big part in opening those doors; the same was true for many of the CSU faculty.

            So even though Meredith was speaking to a virtually all-white crowd, across unimaginable cultural gaps of slavery and segregation, the basic arc of his aspirations was something many in this CSU audience could relate to at a deep level. The fact that Meredith’s path became a death-defying quest gave it depth without the need for soaring rhetorical flourishes. And among the many who were moved by his words was me.

             I was also moved before the speech by an unexpected behind-the-scenes shock: to save on expenses, I had invited Meredith to stay at my fraternity, called FarmHouse.  Members were permitted to do this, occasionally, and I hadn’t done it before.

            What I had done, though, before I joined FarmHouse, was check its Bylaws, to see if they included discriminatory membership clauses (still common in those days). They didn’t. Their motto, “We Build Men,” was okay too.

            Further, in those years FarmHouse regularly won the trophy for the highest grade average of any frat at CSU.

           All good. But personal attitudes, unspoken til now, were something else. When word spread around the house about what I had done, I was pulled into an impromptu chapter meeting, and was stunned to hear several members declare that they couldn’t accept having a black person stay in the house. Before I had absorbed these comments, a vote was taken and my invitation to Meredith was overruled.

           I staggered out, wondering if I had been teleported to Mississippi, and began writing a resignation letter in my head.

           But the next morning, word of this decision had somehow reached the CSU administration. Our chapter president was summoned, and reportedly read the riot act. I don’t know what was said, but expect it went something like this:

          “Do you know what will  happen when this hits the press? A man who had to have the army escort him into a public university was turned away by a group at CSU? Do you want that spotlight pointed at FarmHouse? And your alma mater? Do you expect us to put up with that?”

          The fraternities were private groups, but were chartered by the university; and what CSU gave, CSU could take away.

          After lunch that same day, another emergency chapter meeting was convened. The officers told us the house and its reputation were on the line; news of the refusal would be devastating.

         Two or three of the hardliners against inviting Meredith stood to agree. They said that “somebody” (sneering in my direction), had snitched to the authorities and betrayed our brotherhood. Now we all had to swallow hard, bite the bullet, and save its good name from the traitor.

         Another vote was taken; the invitation was sullenly, reluctantly revived.

         Meredith did stay at FarmHouse, without incident. While with him at dinner that evening, I noticed a few absences; no doubt a number of the hard core took shelter elsewhere.  But as we left the house for the student center, he never suspected a thing.

        No word of this incident leaked out (until now); the FarmHouse reputation was saved. But it ruined my relationships there; I did resign a few months later.

       And my conscience was clear. I hadn’t called the administration. My guess was a conscience-stricken officer had done it, or someone else was bragging too loud where somebody outside heard him. Instant karma, even then.         

IV

            The morning after his speech, Meredith returned to Mississippi; Dennis and I basked in the afterglow of our successful debut as accidental undergraduate impresarios.

            A couple of days later, we held an open discussion where students and faculty could talk about what Meredith had to say. Following the meeting, a student came up to us and said, “So you’ve presented one side of the issue. Are you going to present the other?”

            Light bulbs appeared above our heads: if we could do this once, why not do it again?

            Soon Dennis was back on the phone.

            He called the office of Arizona’s Republican Senator, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was running for president and was an opponent of the civil rights bill then in Congress ; but no dice. I think they figured conservative Colorado was in the bag (if so, they were very mistaken: Lyndon Johnson beat Goldwater by 23 points in his 1964 landslide. But that’s another story.)

            However, two pro-segregation insurgents were eager to visit CSU: one was Ross Barnett, at that time the governor of Mississippi who had vowed to keep Meredith out of “Ole Miss”; the other was George Wallace, the sitting governor of Alabama. Both came in January 1964.

Ross Barnett at CSU.

            By the time Barnett got to CSU, he was out of office, so he traveled on a commercial flight sans retinue. Barnett was fascinating, in a repulsive way: he shouted more than spoke, and in his ranting we could imagine him stumping his mostly rural state, exploiting the fear and rage of a poorly-educated white electorate. But as he finished, I understood much better why it took federal troops to get Meredith enrolled at “Ole Miss,” and a continuous bodyguard detail to keep him alive there.

            But Barnett was old news compared to George Wallace who, as a sitting governor, traveled on an Alabama state aircraft with an assortment of aides and bodyguards. Where Barnett voiced the racism of yesteryear, Wallace was preaching an updated racist gospel for 1963–and, we now know, for decades to come. He too was running for president, but as an insurgent Democrat, and would soon be shaking up primaries in seemingly enlightened states like Wisconsin.

Gov. George Wallace at CSU.

            Wallace was slick and smart. He fenced deftly and often humorously with our questioning local liberals. His speeches were peppered with attacks on intellectuals and “pinkos,” loud calls to “Send Them a message” about “law and  order,” mixed with populist promises of raising Social Security payments. His themes and memes exposed deep veins of rhetorical ore which was to be refined into winning campaign messages by his rightwing populist successors for a half-century to come (and counting). And we got to watch him do it.

  V

            After that busy January, Dennis and I were on a roll. We had brought voices from the Outside World into our backwater, and they were stirring the pot, waking us up. Both Barnett and Wallace brought out protest picketers (peaceful), a new thing at CSU. But did putting racist reactionaries like Wallace and Barnett allow them to peddle their political wares, influence students, recruit followers?

            Good question. And for sure, the two influenced me. Not to become a supporter; just the opposite. But they, along with Meredith, showed me the reality of forces and ideas that were previously  only occasional headlines.

           Yet who knows, maybe some among the large crowds we gathered bought into parts or all of their platform. (After all, in 2016, 52 years later, 43 per cent of Colorado’s voters cast ballots for a racist populist, one of George Wallace’s direct heirs. No question: ideas have consequences.)

            But after three speeches that had happened almost accidentally, we decided to take a more thoughtful approach. Political and social extremes were becoming more apparent in the country, underscored by the national trauma of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963.

Robert Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Edward Kennedy, at John Kennedy’s funeral, November, 1963.

            So why not present a series of speeches on the theme of extremism? We had been on both sides of civil rights; what if we next went with a right-wing extremist, followed with a left-wing extremist, and wound up with Attorney General Robert Kennedy talking about the impact of extremism in the country.

 (RFK? “Hey,” as Dennis said, “if you’re gonna dream, dream big.”)

            We didn’t get Kennedy. And neither of us was particularly political. But like all red-blooded Americans in 1963 and 1964, we knew Communism was The Enemy. So what about a Communist?

            Now this, we dimly perceived, could in fact be controversial; while we were vague on the details (I knew nothing of the Hollywood Ten, and little of McCarthyism), we knew that the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover was still warning us that they (or their dupes) were everywhere — even if, in fact, actual Communist speakers often had great difficulty getting a hearing.

            Yet we had listened to Wallace and Barnett, and the sky didn’t fall. So why stop now?

            But things weren’t quite so easy this time around. Dennis gave it his best shot. But in 1963, after years of hysteria, the American Communist Party barely existed. Its membership had been decimated by years of government persecution and FBI Infiltration. It had also lost credibility with many former members, disillusioned by the party’s unshakably loyalty to the repressive Soviet regime.

           The U.S. party leader, Gus Hall, was based in New York. He did give speeches on college campuses, but was an early denizen of “flyover country,” and we failed to tempt him to add a stop in Colorado.

            While we worked on finding another suitably notorious Communist, we also set out to get a right-wing spokesman. This one was easier.

            What was the most right-wing organization in the country? The Nazi Party, of course. And George Lincoln Rockwell, its flamboyant leader, was only too happy to talk to anyone who would listen. One telegram and he was set to go.

 VI

George Lincoln Rockwell, making his views plain.

          When Rockwell came, we moved to a smaller theater space in the student center, where it was still standing room only. Rockwell’s speech was a bombastic stream of bizarre sociological and anthropological “facts” that added up to, “they’re bad and we’re good.”  I remember him saying that there were “breeds of people, just like breeds of dogs.” Dennis and I did not sit on a platform with him, as we had the others; the front row was close enough.

Rockwell at CSU. Several people walked out during his presentation advocating racism, anti-semitism & national socialism.

         Rockwell caused lots of talk. A few days after his speech, some sociology professors held an open discussion they titled, “Is George Lincoln Rockwell a Closet Homosexual?”
           While many dismissed Rockwell as a kind of evil clown, and he was murdered by own of his own in 1967, he remains a cult figure for sectors of the rightwing which are still around.

            Meanwhile, after he left we didn’t have any luck booking more speakers.

          Which in some ways was a relief; I was a senior, preparing to move on from CSU, and Dennis still had a newspaper to put out. Then one day Dennis got a call at the Collegian office from CSU’s President, William E. Morgan. Morgan, who was genuinely respected by the students and faculty (and by us), told Dennis he had just talked to an alumnus, who referred to our speakers and wanted to know who was going to appear on campus next, Mao Zedong?

             Dennis couldn’t resist: “If I thought we could get him,” he said, “I’d send him a telegram today.”

William E. Morgan, longtime president of CSU. He quietly backed us up.

             President Morgan said he supported what we had done and still would if we wanted to continue, but wanted us to know that some people outside CSU were taking a dim view of our activities.

            He didn’t say anything about our speaker series in public; he didn’t have to. But would Morgan really have stuck with us if we had found a Communist? I believe so, although he would likely have taken some more heat. And as a political appointee, answerable to the state legislature for budgets, it could have gotten difficult for him.

             So, given our problems with lining up speakers, the apparent decline in interest among the students, and our own distractions, our series quietly petered out, after what still seems like a pretty good run. 

              Looking back from half a century-plus, Dennis and I have somewhat different feelings about our season of applying the First Amendment. For Dennis, never one to be burdened by gravitas, it was all a fun adventure, on a par with the time he sent Collegian reporters (including Chuck) to infiltrate the local American Legion stag show and report on which city officials attended. He would have been incredulous if anyone had suggested we couldn’t or shouldn’t bring the speakers.

              For me (Chuck) It was also a lot of fun, notwithstanding my frat house ordeal. Yet I also took much of it to heart. And it still seems like something close to what college is supposed to be about, even the difficult parts: hearing and grappling not only with unwelcome and even offensive ideas, but also the people who advocate them.

             One more time, I agree with those who say today that speech has consequences: I left CSU after the summer sessions of 1964, and within six months was in jail with Dr. Martin Luther King in Alabama.

               But that’s another story.  

The post My Campus Crusade for Free Speech, 1963 appeared first on A Friendly Letter.

Categories: Blogs

October flashbacks: Turns of phrases, Quaker political influence, and of course Halloween

Quaker Ranter (Martin Kelly) - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 6:00am

Apparently I once had an idea of periodically sharing posts from earlier eras of my blogs: flashbacks to archival posts written one, five, and ten years earlier. Maybe I could manage this once a month.

1 Year Ago: October 2016

Bring people to Christ / Leave them there: One thing I love to do is track back on cultural Quaker turns of phrase. Here I looked at a phrase sometimes attributed to George Fox and find a largely forgotten British Friend who laid much of the groundwork for Quaker modernism and the uniting of American Quakers.

5 Years: October 2012

The secret decoder ring for Red and Blue states: Discussion of the Quaker cultural influence of American voting patterns based on David Hack­ett Fischer’s fascinating (if over-argued) book Albion’s Seed.

10 Years: 2007 (October 2007)

An Autumnal Halloween: A family post, pictures of kids posted to the web long before Instagram was founded.

Categories: Blogs

The lost A List

Quaker Ranter (Martin Kelly) - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 4:37pm

In #waitforyourlaugh (upcoming film on me) it covers my music being cut from Top Banana film because I wouldnt sleep w/ producer in 1950s.

— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) October 10, 2017

As A List Hollywood stars come out to tell their Harvey Weinstein couch harassment stories, I have to wonder about those who didn’t make it through after saying no—actresses who saw their roles evaporate and left acting. The New York Times headlines profiling Weinstein accusers touts Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie but also introduces us a woman who is now a psychology professor in Colorado. How many better actresses and strong-minded women would there be in Hollywood if so many hadn’t been forced out?

I thought of this after reading by a tweet from the actress Rose Marie. She’s best known as one of the jovial sidekicks from the 1960s’ Dick Van Dyke Show. Not to diminish the rest of the cast, but Rose Marie is one of the best reasons to watch the show, especially during those rare moments she’s allowed to step out from her character’s wisecracking spinster persona and sing or act. On Twitter, she shared that she lost a music contract in the 1950s because she wouldn’t sleep with a producer.

What if a talented actress like Rose Marie had been given more opportunities and wasn’t just known for a supporting part in a old sitcom? What if the psychology professor had gotten the Shakespeare in Love lead? (Imagine a world where Paltrow was only known to 800 or so Facebook friends for too-perfect family pics and memes from dubious health sites.)

Disclaimer: This is a minor point compared with any actresses who weren’t able to deal with the harassment and the industry silencing machinery. I’m sure there are tragedies that are more than just career pivots.

I’ve worked since I was 3, Im 94. W/ Weinstein, finally women are speaking up to power. I have suffered my whole life for that. Dont stop https://t.co/sad20SYn2V

— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) October 11, 2017

Categories: Blogs

World Quaker Day in Nairobi, Highgate, and Belize City

Friends United Meeting - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 6:59pm

Every year, Friends World Committee for Consultation hosts World Quaker Day! This year, it was held on 01 October, with the theme of “Gathering in Worship Around the World.”

Quakers throughout the beloved community of Friends United Meeting joined together with our fellow Friends around the world in celebrating this day. Here are a few examples:

The Nairobi Young Adults of Friends Program (NYAFP) Missioners is a group of young adults under the Nairobi Yearly Meeting of Friends Church Quakers who are determined to carry on the great commission as enshrined in Mathew 28:19.

This year, they decided to celebrate World Quaker Day  by visiting the Children’s Garden Home in the Kawangware area of Nairobi, which falls under the Kawangware Monthly Meeting jurisdiction. The home was started in 2001, and at present they serve over 200 children ranging from 0 months to 25 years.

The home has its own school, and a high school that caters to children in need. Students from the school who qualify for college after their O level education usually come back to teach at the school as a form of assisting their brothers and sisters, and also as a way of giving back to the community.

Our World Quaker Day at the Children’s Garden Home was very successful. We prepared food for the children, cleaned their stuff, and had a church service with them which was led by our Pastor Jane Mutoro, who shared on “The Lord being our shepherd,” drawn from Psalm 23:1.

After the sermon and meals, we had a talent show where the children showcased their talent in modeling, rapping, dancing, poetry, and plaiting.

At the end of the day, we gave items donated by our youth to the Children’s Home which included sanitary towels, a bundle of wheat flour, a bundle of corn flour, clothes, tissue papers, shoes, washing soap, and juice.

The management thanked the team for visiting and promised us that any other time we would be free to visit them.

We agreed that we will plan to buy them plates and paint the residential areas where they live.

We give God all the glory for the well-spent Quaker World Day.

From Highgate Monthly Meeting in Jamaica:

Today in our gathering for worship we focused on those whom God has prepared ahead of time to be receptive to Friends as messengers bringing the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ—to their communities. Many individuals identify by us, welcome us as messengers that God sends their way, and they try to serve and assist us in our outreach efforts as we spread the message to children in particular. Some are not yet believers, young people amongst them, but they all have great potential to be used in furthering the mission of Quakers and ultimately God’s kingdom on earth. We thank God for the good qualities we see in them. They are well-known people in their communities, they are willing to connect us to others and they are receptive to us as messengers.  We likened these individuals to Bible characters like: 1. The woman at the well 2. Cornelius 3. Rahab 4. The Philippian Jailer, etc.

As we look around us in the world today such a community of Persons of Peace seems far distant from actual realization. However, here in Highgate, Jamaica, we are determined to try everything possible within our means, to make such community a reality. Pictures showing Persons of Peace working with us in community outreach projects such as Vocational Bible School and school holiday youth camps were displayed on this day.

We thank God for prayers and donations from Friends as we continue to search for Persons of Peace to strengthen our mission here. We seek resources and guidance to teach others about Persons of Peace. We seek help to train the young Persons of Peace we are now working with, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with friends, family, and neighbours.

Edwin (Bobby) Coleman
Presiding Clerk
Highgate Monthly Meeting

From Belize:

Last Sunday was World Quaker Day, but here in Belize we don’t mind being a little late to things so we celebrated it today.

We have begun an inter-generational Sunday (First Day) School. Miriam Loh, on the right, led the class in an art activity centered on Psalm 119:89-90:

Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.

>> read more

 

Categories: Articles & News

Q+A Gregory Corbin

American Friends Service Committee - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:55am
Gregory Corbin

Gregory Corbin, director, AFSC's Philadelphia Social Justice Leadership Institute

Photo: AFSC/Tony Heriza
Categories: Articles & News

Vietnam Summer 50th Anniversary

American Friends Service Committee - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:25am
Vietnam Summer Protest

Photo courtesy of of Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Categories: Articles & News

Quaker Action: Inspiring Communities (Fall 2017)

American Friends Service Committee - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 8:12am

How do you successfully counter a growing wave of hate and fear driving policies that deny our civil and human rights? 

In this issue of Quaker Action, we share stories that show some innovative efforts to keep communities together as well as a few resources to spark your ideas and activism. Plus, we talk to activists on the 50th anniversary of Vietnam Summer and look at what's in store for our new program working with youth in Philadelphia, the Social Justice Leadership Institute. 

Categories: Articles & News

The Nashville Declaration Is a Hoot

A Friendly Letter (Chuck Fager) - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 8:36pm

Many friends of mine are upset about a recent anti-LGBT screed called the Nashville Declaration. I don’t begrudge their anger; yet I wish they would take a break from the issuance of indignant counter-screeds to ponder some of the upside resources offered by this piece.

I urge this because the “Declaration,” and its sponsor, the “Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood” (the Bibs, for short), look way overdue for a new approach: lampooning.

I mean, at the least, the Bibs deserve a Career Achievement Award from LGBT groups.

After all, when their Council was organized, public support for same sex marriage was barely above zilch —

Thanks, fellas!

— now it’s around 70 percent & still rising (yes, despite the current debacle in Washington). Coincidence?

Furthermore, the Bibs, who are joined like a bad haircut to the Southern Baptist Convention, also deserve a plaque for a key role in shrinking the SBC’s membership by a third since it came on the scene. (Yes, a third of SBC Baptists have since decamped.) A Carolina Quaker wag summed it up this way: “That’s not a church extension program, it’s a church extinction program.”

Keep it up! Keep it up!

Surely the Freedom from Religion Society would sign on to this, with its growing youth affiliate, the National Committee of Nones, Dones & Having Funs.

(No wonder Nashville’s mayor immediately rejected the Bibs’ Declaration. Theology aside–

— she saw it as a drag on tourism, more like a tired rerun from the Bland Old Opry.)

And not least, there’s the Bibs’ theology, chronically misspelled as Complementarianism. Misled by the typos, they say it means women are to “complement” men by deferring & submitting (& by pretending LGBTs don’t exist).

But of course, what their theologians really meant was Complimentarianism, which shows what a difference the right “i” can make. 

This much more nuanced and profound doctrine is built on repeating two Great Commandments —

First: “Darling, you look fabulous!” And, 

Second: “That outfit does NOT make your ass look fat!” 

(There is some dispute over a third: “Jesus, this must be the best wine in all of Cana!” But that’s another story.) 

How much more peaceful will our world be when the Bibs finally get their “i” versus “e” issue worked out? Shouldn’t we help them at every chance?

And isn’t there more mileage for us, their truest friends, to be made by subjecting their self-parodying pronouncements to the corrosive force of the laugh test? There are many more ways here just waiting to be tried out.

I’m sure the Bibs’ Alpha Leader will take it all like a man.

Or maybe — because you never really know these days, like a woman.

The post The Nashville Declaration Is a Hoot appeared first on A Friendly Letter.

Categories: Blogs

Spiceland Friends Meeting Seeks Youth Minister

Friends United Meeting - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 8:12pm

Director of Student Ministry (Youth Minister) Opening

Spiceland Friends Meeting is searching for a part-time Director of Student Ministry (Youth Minister).  Anyone interested in the position that would like a copy of the job description or more information, please contact Cathy Harris, and send a resume to Cathy (see below). The salary will be commensurate with experience ($10,000-12,000 annually). Cathy Harris Spiceland Friends Meeting/Church P.O. Box 27 Spiceland, IN 47385 Phone:  765-465-0994 Email:  cathy.spicelandfriends@gmail.com
Categories: Articles & News

FUM Board to Meet In October

Friends United Meeting - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 6:48pm
Members of the FUM General Board—Africa meeting in February, 2016.

Every three years, the 34 member Yearly Meetings and Associations of Friends United Meeting name representatives to serve on the General Board. Together, these Friends work in partnership to provide essential governance for our global fellowship. Like every good board, they help set direction, make policies, and provide accountability for the staff, as FUM ministers in many places and in varied ways.

With the new 2017 – 2020 Triennium now underway, new members of the General Board have been receiving past minutes, finance reports, and other orientation materials to prepare them to serve effectively and faithfully. A first meeting of the North American-Caribbean Region of the Board will be held in Richmond in late October. The Africa Region will meet in early February in Kenya. An Executive Board, comprised of 14 members who represent the entire global community, meet regularly with the FUM General Secretary by conference call.

At the 2017 Triennial gathering in Wichita, Kansas, new officers were approved for the next three years. Ron Bryan (Iowa Yearly Meeting) is the new Presiding Clerk. Sara Lookabill (Western Yearly Meeting) and Richard Sitari (Nairobi Yearly Meeting) are Assistant Presiding Clerks. Hellen Kulundi (Chebuyusi Yearly Meeting) and Rosemary Zimmerman (New England Yearly Meeting) are Recording Clerks. Jim Crew (Western Yearly Meeting) continues to serve as Treasurer for FUM.

The new Board will continue exploring how to expand the work of FUM in a sustainable way. Colin Saxton, outgoing General Secretary, states that “a more robust North American ministry remains a very high priority.” He also celebrates potential areas of expansion among Friends in East Africa, and says that FUM “continues to recieve requests from Quakers in other parts of the world to join FUM.”

Part of the Board’s work in this Triennium will be figuring how, with God’s guidance, to build healthy, mutually-supportive connections across our beloved community and out into a world in need of love.

On a more short-term basis, the Board is focused on finding a new General Secretary, helping to sharpen the focus and direction of our relaunched Friends United Press, and discerning how to support Yearly Meetings that are in conflict, as well as how best to collaborate with and assist Yearly Meetings that may be struggling.

From his own experience, Colin writes: “It has been a great joy to work with the FUM General Board the past six years. The members are thoughtful and discerning. Their willingness to stay engaged with one another—even around controversial or difficult issues—is tremendously helpful for FUM, the organization, and a great example for FUM, the community. It has been especially gratifying to see the Board make huge strides toward becoming and functioning as a global partnership. I think one of the great gifts of FUM is connecting Quakers around this world in fellowship, service, and mutual support—and it begins by having a Board that embraces this vision.”

Categories: Articles & News

Student Voices 2017-18

Friends Journal - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 7:00am


2017-2018 SVP Theme: Testimony Stories. The fifth annual Student Voices Project is underway! We welcome submissions from all middle school and high school students (Quaker and non-Quaker) at Friends schools and also Quaker students in other educational venues, such as public schools and homeschooling.

The post Student Voices 2017-18 appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

Doing This Great Work Together

Friends United Meeting - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 12:56pm

Dear Friends,

Your partnership in the work and witness of Friends United Meeting is making an important difference in the lives of many Quakers around the world and in the communities they serve.

• In Belize: an expanded school, array of new ministries and a church planting effort is making inroads into a needy community. Our recently acquired Belize City Friends Center gives us a stable base to work from and a great site for Friends to visit!

• In Ramallah: our new Field Staff, Adrian Moody, is just settling into his role alongside the dedicated staff and board of Ramallah Friends School. With a new strategic plan in place and with plans to add a Quaker Life Coordinator in the coming year, we look forward to a more clearly focused ministry within the school and in the surrounding community.

• In East Africa: peacemakers are at work in response to election turmoil in Kenya; church planters and evangelists are doing effective outreach in new places and among different countries; Friends Theological College is thriving—training record numbers of pastors and other leaders for a growing church; thousands of eager children are receiving education in Quaker schools; women and men are being inspired, empowered, and equipped for service and leadership; and the FUM African Ministries staff is tirelessly supporting and sustaining the heart of the Quaker movement in this 21st century.

• In North America and throughout the Caribbean: programs aimed at strengthening local Churches and Meetings are rebuilding vital fellowships. Especially in places where Yearly Meetings struggle to provide adequate support, FUM is collaborating through leadership training, stewardship education, Friendly resources and programming, and staff visitation.

• In print and digital communication: FUM keeps you updated on news, activities, and resources that energize, equip, and connect you for a growing life with God and others in this beloved fellowship. Connections, Quaker Life, the weekly e-newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and our website (undergoing expansion and re-design as I write) put you in touch with all that is happening today. Our soon-to-be released FUM Bookstore Catalogue gives you access to past and present writings aimed at helping you be faithful for the future.

There is so much more FUM is doing and seeks to do. None of it, however, is possible without you. Today—I ask you to make a gift to FUM so that we can continue to do this great work together—tomorrow and for many years to come. Your gift to the General Fund provides the support needed to make all of our global work possible. Please, make a generous gift today

With great gratitude,

Colin Saxton
FUM General Secretary

Categories: Articles & News

Discipleship Classes at Katapokori Friends Church

Friends United Meeting - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:54am

Since 1970, Friends have been building community with the pastoralist Turkana people in northwestern Kenya. Nineteen Quaker churches meet for worship in the Turkana region under the care of the Turkana Friends Mission. The Director of the Mission is John Moru, the first Turkanan to hold this position.

At one of the Turkanan Friends churches, in Katapokori, members have been studying discipleship. The members of Katapokori Friends Church, located one full day’s walk from the nearest town, are all new Christians. Before Turkana Friends Mission began working in this area about ten years ago, the community had never heard the gospel.

Today, these Friends are equipped to share the good news with others in this sparsely-populated region of northern Kenya!

John Moru reports that 39 members of the church, both men and women, most of them under 30 years old, have completed a discipleship program and will be graduating on October 8, 2017. The curriculum consisted of teachings in Christian doctrine and spirituality; Quaker faith, practice and history; and methods of evangelism. As Quakerism spreads rapidly in Turkana, these young and energized members are ready to share with their neighbors and gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved, and obeyed, as Teacher and Lord.

Categories: Articles & News
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