Friends' Testimonies


Friends' testimonies on integrity, unity, equality, simplicity, and peace come together in our testimony on community, which calls us to sustain caring relationships for all. In today's interconnected world, human survival depends more than ever on discerning and actualizing the truth of our corporate experience, on mutual regard and support, on nurturing our relationships with one another, with society, and with the environment as a whole.

NY Times article about our own Oliver ryder's Research

by Chuck Orr, La Jolla Meeting

Bravo, Oliver Ryder! It's a great article and a brilliant scientific accomplishment. Friends, to read the article follow this link (Tissues in 'Frozen Zoo' Hold Hope for Wildlife). — Wow.

Quaker Gray

by Laura Kohl, La Jolla Meeting

On Saturday September 24, five of us from La Jolla traveled up to Irvine (Orange County MM) to an event named "Quaker Gray." Members from three other Southern California MM joined us to discuss our own and our Quaker families' aging. Our group included a total of fifteen people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

We shared our thoughts and hopes, which varied by age and experience, but some common issues came up. Some of us still care for aging parents and other relatives. Some felt uneasy about having enough money to retire and live safely. Others are looking for a place to live in anticipation of the future instead of waiting to respond to some crisis, or instead of haing some one else make that crucial choice for you. In general, we have a hard time asking for help, and more problems the more intimate the request. We had some discussion about the role or obligation of our Meetings in caring for aging members, who either ask for help, or need help but don't ask.

We were encouraged to be pro-active in anticipating our needs for the future and to pare down our belongings beginning now. Simplify, simplify. We acknowledged that when we make plans, "God laughs" at us. But, a plan helps all involved to feel comfortable and get taken care of.

Our own Laura Kohl will make a scholarly presentation ath the Communal Studies Association Conference in Shaker Village, Kentucky, on October 1

by the Website Committee

2011 Conference Theme: "Community in the Margins"

ABSTRACT of Presentation: Peoples Temple Christian Church of the Disciples of Christ denomination was a modern church which quickly stormed through the usual restraints on a house of worship.

Peoples Temple ignored societal boundaries in social, political, religious, cultural, and geographical areas as it fine-tuned its unique personality. From the earliest days, Jim Jones and Peoples Temple drew people from all backgrounds in spite of the practice of segregation throughout the United States. Political activism was part of the religious ritual. Serving our fellow man and creating a heaven on earth for all was the practical application of our religion. The Peoples Temple culture merged the histories of blacks and whites, Asians and American Indians, Hispanic and mixed members and embraced them all. And then, after living communally in the United States, Peoples Temple members moved out of the country as the ultimate statement of non-compliance with the norm.

A Quaker Question

by Laura Johnston Kohl, La Jolla Meeting
author of Jonestown Survivor: An Insider's Look

As a new author, I am presenting Book Talks all around our San Diego community as well as in venues further afield. On Saturday March 12, 2011, I appeared at a women's professional sorority gathering – Delta Kappa Gamma. It was held at the lovely Lake San Marcos Community Center, where I introduced my book. My preference at every speaking engagement at universities, libraries, and elsewhere, is to allow time for questions. I have found that I am unable to anticipate the areas which tickle their curiosity.

This last presentation was no exception. The audience was filled with teachers, both working and retired, and many were teacher friends of mine. As usual, I had shared that although I was an atheist and had been one for many years, I had become a Quaker in 1994, in Visalia, California.

One of the early questions that day was why and how I became a Quaker. This is how I answered that question – the first time it has ever been asked.

In 1992, I frequently protested against the first Bush war over oil, in Iraq. I was out on the street corner in Visalia, California, with my sign. Visalia is an agricultural city in the Central Valley. I was there because I was strongly opposed to the war. I noticed the others on the corner, and I was friendly. But, I was there for me. My conscience put me there, so I didn't have to converse much.

At around that time, my good friend Judy Malcolm adopted her lovely daughter, Angel. Judy was and is a Quaker. She arranged to pick up my son Raul every Sunday and take him to the Quaker Meeting with her daughter so that they could play together. It was wonderful. My husband and I would stay home and relax. Then, Judy and Angel moved away. Raul was about five. He would wake up on Sundays, get dressed, and insist that we take him to the Quaker Meeting. He wouldn't let us off the hook. So, we took him.

As I entered the Meeting House, I saw all of those same folks who had been on the street corner with me for that year. I saw my Friends of the Library folks and my Habitat for Humanity workers. I saw people who were living and working to make the world better. Whether they believed in God or not was irrelevant because they didn't rely on anything but their own hands and work effort. And, I felt I was at home there. So, I became a Quaker. And, sixteen years later, I still am.

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