3rd Sunday Missions & Social
Over the past
several years, approximately 8% of each dollar placed into the regular
Sunday offerings of Winchester Friends Church has gone to cover our
Indiana Yearly Meeting "missions assessment" in support of the various
missions activities of IYM and Friends United Meeting, including FUM
missions personnel and programs in Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Kenya, and
Palestine, plus White's Residential & Family Services chaplain's salary
and a lengthy IYM list of other outreach ministries.
Many Friends also often give extra offerings marked "missions."
The Missions & Social Concerns Committee forwards those directly to the
intended recipient, if one is specified. If a specific recipient is not
named, the Committee accumulates and then distributes two-thirds of all
such gifts quarterly to the local Food Pantry, the local Gas Help Fund,
Christian Peacemaker Teams, and the FUM missions programs supported by
our IYM missions assessment. The final one-third of unspecified missions
donations is used to respond to other needs that arise spontaneously
throughout the year.
On the third Sunday of each month, we collect and donate food items and
money for the local Churches & Community Food Pantry.
For the Indiana Yearly Meeting 2012 Woolman Award, Winchester Quarterly
Meeting asked Friends in this area to raise funds to care for orphans in
East Africa and to support Randolph County's Pregnancy Care Center. That
collection closes on April 15 for the May 1 project deadline.
FOAM (Fast Once A Month) participants skip a meal on
the last Wednesday of each month, contribute its cost to local and
global hunger relief, and use the time not spent cooking and eating to
write to Congress regarding a hunger or poverty concern, and to pray for
those who lack adequate food and nutrition.
Each fall, the Committee highlights one of the FUM mission
locations to educate Friends about the mission work we support, and to
encourage additional giving to that particular mission. The fall rummage
sale proceeds and at least part of the Christmas Envelope Offering for
Missions are designated to the work of that year's highlighted mission (FUM
Belize in 2011).
Each spring, the
Committee highlights a social concern or a non-FUM mission and
encourages extra outreach giving to it. The Easter Envelope Offering is
normally designated for that concern, or to an urgent current need that
may have arisen (for 2012, tornado relief in southern Indiana, and the
Lunch 'n Munch kids' summer supplemental food program of the
FROM HEAVEN $10 bills are available from Missions & Social
Concerns members for Friends willing to carry them until led to give it
to someone needing a bit of help and a reminder of God's love.
SHAREHOLDERS IN SHALOM "seed money" of up to $50 is
available to Friends willing to invest it along with their skills and
time to produce something to be sold to benefit agencies working for
peace and nonviolence, both locally and globally. You can participate by
donating for the Shareholders items of other Friends at the
south parlor table in the sanctuary.
Missions & Social
1) What country was last fall's FUM missions focus at Winchester
Friends? What is this spring's current social concerns focus?
2) Which Sunday each month is Food Pantry Sunday at Winchester
3) What organization receives the food donated on Pantry Sunday?
4) What do the letters F.O.A.M. stand for?
5) What is Winchester Quarterly Meeting's 2010 Woolman Award
6) People in what four countries have thus far received KIVA
microcredit loans from Winchester Friends?
7) How much Pennies From Heaven money will the Missions & Social
Concerns Committee give at one time to Friends to carry in
anticipation of being led to someone needing a bit of help and a
reminder of God's love?
8) Name the Friends who do/have done the following Shareholders
In Shalom projects to multiply seed money towards a world where
violence is unnecessary and counterproductive:
Books for a Buck_____________ Baked goods, "cocoa
Fruit jams __________________
Crocheted items _____________ Pickles and
9) When is Earth Hour 2010, and how many people worldwide will
10) When is Earth Day 2010, and what will Winchester Friends do
to celebrate it?
11) What is the name of the girl supported by the Compassion
Garden, and in what country does she live?
12) What organization do the letters FCNL stand for?
Winchester Friends offers everyone many opportunities to
actively share God's love with those around you.
During the first
half of 2010, the Missions & Social Concerns Committee asks Friends to learn
about the problem of violence in American society and culture, and to work
at finding ways to helpfully address and reduce it.
2) Community Food Pantry Sunday is observed on the third
Sunday of each month.
3) Friends bring
staple food items to help restock the Community & Family
Services / Area Churches Pantry at the CFO building.
4) Fast Once A Month: Participants in this project fast
from one meal each month, offer its cost to the FOAM Fund for
local/global hunger relief, advocate for compassionate public
policies via Bread for the World, and spend extra time while
fasting to meditate and pray about those without enough food.
5) The IYM Woolman Award is
a project in which the churches of our Quarterly Meeting work
together for peace and/or to address a current social concern.
In 2008, Winchester QM won the Award with their FOAM project. In
2009, our QM collected over 3000 food items and $8000+ for
hunger relief. This year's project is collecting broken/unwanted
electronics for recycling by a ministry in Indianapolis that
trains and employs released jail/prison inmates.
6) KIVA Microcredit
Loans: With $1000 from Best Special Projects in 2009, the
Missions & Social Concerns Committee established a <KIVA.org>
loan account and has made six $200 loans to clothing sellers,
livestock growers, car parts sellers, grocers, and fishmongers
in the Dominican Republic, Uganda, Kenya, and Lebanon. As the
money is repaid, new loans are made.
7) Pennies From Heaven participants accept $10 or $20 and agree
to ask the Lord to lead them to another person (not a relative
or close friend) who is struggling in a situation of genuine
human need and could use the cash and encouragement. After the
gift is given, the participating Friend agrees to report briefly
in writing as to how God led them, how the money was actually
used, and any spiritual lessons they learned by taking part.
8) Shareholders in Shalom
participants accept from $10 - $50 to invest in raw materials or
ingredients, then add their own skill, time, and sweat to
produce something which can be sold to increase the original
money for supporting people and organizations doing
peace/nonviolence projects and training around the world. The
participating Friend reports briefly in writing on how the money
was invested, how much was gained, and what God taught them.
Books for a Buck : Georgia
Thorpe, Baked goods, "cocoa cones": Linda Sipe, Fruit
jams: Doris Girton and Norma Ludy, Woodcrafts:
Murray Schemmer, Crocheted items: Delilah Wilkinson,
Pickles and salsa: Pam Ferguson
9) Earth Hour 2010 is from 8:30-9:30 PM on Saturday March
27. Over one billion people are expected to turn off all lights
for an hour to reduce fossil fuel use.
10) Earth Day 2010 is
April 22. The Missions & Social Concerns Committee plans to hand
out 100 flowering dogwood tree seedlings on Sunday April 18.
11) The Compassion
Garden has been grown beside the church parking lot each summer
since 2002. Friends donate for the vegetables produced, and all
the proceeds go to support the education and living expenses of
Janet Murekensi (now 14) in Uganda.
12) Friends Committee on National Legislation offers frequent
assistance for contacting Congress to advocate for Friends'
spiritual values in national policies.
If you're not involved in missions and social concerns, it's not
for lack of opportunities -- it's a choice you make!
Fall 2014 Missions Focus: Jamaica
During the first half of each year, the Missions &
Social Concerns Committee asks Friends to focus on a
contemporary social concern. In the latter half of each
year, we call Friends' attention to one Friends United
Meeting international missions location. For the fall of
2014, that focus is upon Quaker presence and ministry since
1881 on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
Jamaica is an island nation just south of Cuba in the
Caribbean Sea (map attached). It is home to nearly 3
million people and measures 145 miles east to west, 50 miles
north to south at its widest point, making it slightly
smaller than Connecticut. Jamaica is the third-largest
island in the West Indies, smaller only than Cuba and
Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic). Half of Jamaica's
area is mountainous; its highest peak is Blue Mountain at
7402 feet. Jamaica means "land of wood and water,"
an apt name for the island described by Christopher Columbus
after his 1494 visit as a place filled with lush foliage,
tropical fruits, forested mountains, and exotic birds.
Spanish entrepreneurs and settlers followed Columbus and
established plantations to export various products to Europe
during the 16th and 17th centuries. Much of the hot,
difficult agricultural work was done by African slaves and
indentured servants brought from India.
England's competition for colonizing the New World
led to armed conflict with Spain, and in 1650 the English
navy took Jamaica from Spain. Among the English settlers
who quickly replaced the Spanish on Jamaica were a number of
Quakers seeking religious freedom and opportunities for
evangelism and ministry to the island's slaves. When
Friends founder George Fox visited Jamaica in December 1670,
he was welcomed by around 9000 Quakers and helped them
establish seven Friends Meetings before he left in February
1671. He urged humane treatment and spiritual ministry for
the slaves and encouraged Friends to set up schools for the
England controlled Jamaica from 1650 until granting
it independence in 1962. English is the island's
official language. Locals use a unique English dialect
called patois (PA' twah) in everyday conversation.
Friends United Meeting's ministries in Jamaica can be
traced back to 1881 through the work of Evi Sharpless, a
missionary from Iowa Yearly Meeting. Those Friends'
earliest efforts included concern for the especially poor
descendants of Indian indentured servants and other rural
Jamaicans on the eastern half of the island. Schools and
orphanages were set up, and several Friends chapels or
meetinghouses were built.
Fall 2013 Missions Focus - Cuba Yearly Meeting
From 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM
on Saturday September 20,
the Missions & Social
Concerns Committee will
conduct the Fall
Rummage Sale for Missions
in the meetinghouse
basement. Many Friends
already have contributed
secondhand or unwanted
household items, furniture,
clothing, and other rummage
for this fundraiser. (You
are welcome to bring
additional donations to the
meetinghouse until Wednesday
the sale will go to help fund the construction
of a new meetinghouse for Friendstown and Albany Friends
in northeast Jamaica. Albany's building has become
unusable due to age and storm damage, and the two
congregations have decided to merge and build a new
facility. Deep River Friends (North Carolina Yearly
Meeting), pastored by Scott Wagoner (son of Joyce and
Bill), has taken the lead in helping the Friendstown-Albany
group to raise funds and get their new meetinghouse
built. The money raised by our rummage sale will be
channeled through Deep River Friends for the purchase of
building materials and other construction expenses.
Opportunities to join a work team to Jamaica this winter
also will be explored.
The Missions &
Social Concerns Committee welcomes everyone to come help
sort and display rummage beginning the evening of
September 14, and to help conduct the sale on the 20th.
Contact the church office for additional information.
From the October newletter:
I had the exciting opportunity to
go on my first international mission trip to Jamaica
with North Carolina Yearly Meeting. My trip was
from July 26th - August 2, 2014. We flew into
Montego Bay and then traveled to Amity Hall where we
stayed for the week. During our time there, we also
visited Seaside and Port Antonio.
Our mission work focused on
interacting and building relationships with the
Jamaican children through sports camp. The main
sport we focused on was American football. The
children were so loving and accepting of us.
I learned a lot on my trip to
Jamaica, most of which came from the Jamaicans that
I met. The one thing that I learned, that will stay
with me forever, is that it is possible to be happy
even in the worst of situations. The Jamaicans are
always so full of energy, constantly smiling and
always talking! If you aren't talking or smiling
they think that something is wrong and will do
whatever they can to make you smile. Even with very
little (in our American eyes), they are happy and
ready to serve the Lord. That is what I will
remember most about Jamaica.
I feel it is important for North
American Christians to have a relationship with
Jamaican Christians because they can teach us how to
worship in the simplest of ways. Their church
services consist of only their voices and an old
tambourine. However, they need our help in
developing their church facilities. They are small
and most do not have air conditioning; many have
just a small fan. The location of the island makes
the heat of the sun even hotter and makes the
churches stifling at times.
I am so thankful I had the
opportunity to go on this trip and make new friends,
experience a new culture and learn that Christians
are united by the same God, wherever they live, and
wherever and however they worship.
Bales of New Liberty Congregational
Christian Church, Randolph Southern HS junior,
granddaughter of Gary Girton
Rummage Sale for Missions held
September 21 raised over $900 for construction
materials for the new Friendstown/Albany Friends
meetinghouse in northeast Jamaica. The Missions &
Social Concerns Committee will add Missions
Unspecified funds to make our donation an even
$1000. Thank you to everyone who gave sale items,
money, and effort!
From November Newsletter:
Fall 2014 Missions
Focus: Jamaica Yearly Meeting
During the first half of each year, the
Missions & Social Concerns Committee asks
Friends to focus on a contemporary social
concern. In the latter half of each year, we
call Friends' attention to one Friends United
Meeting international missions location. For
the fall of 2014, that focus is upon Quaker
presence and ministry since 1881 on the
Caribbean island nation of Jamaica.
Hanna Townsend, at Dover Friends
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Jamaica
in August 2014 with North Carolina Yearly
Meeting. While it was always planned that the
trip was a work trip, I had a secret (okay,
maybe not-so-secret) motive for going. Jamaica
has always had a very special place in my heart
because it has played a very special part in the
life of my family. It is where my mom grew up
and where my grandparents Joyce and Bill Wagoner
called home for over 10 years. To have the
chance to go to Jamaica, see places that I grew
up hearing about, meet people who know my family
and hopefully do my grandparents proud, was a
dream come true.
My meeting, Deep River Friends, partnered with
Centre Friends and Poplar Ridge Friends to bring
a group of almost thirty people to the island!
We had enough people on our team that we were
able to do two Vacation Bible Schools, work on
building the Friendstown and Albany
meetinghouse, and repaint the inside and outside
of Dover Friends Meeting. None of that work
could have been completed, however, without the
help of our Jamaican friends who worked beside
The goal of the partnership between NCYM and
Jamaica Yearly Meeting is to help foster
leadership within JYM and it was such an
experience to see the budding leadership in our
friends. Friends like Anthony, Odio Junior,
Hyjahman and Junior; all men in their twenties
with a passion for furthering the kingdom of
Christ in Jamaica. Newly recorded, Anthony has
a dream to move to the Dover community and
revitalize the meeting. These men are just one
of many examples of who we are supporting when
we support Jamaica Yearly Meeting.
While work through manual labor is easily
measured, the greatest work of all -- the work
that was done in the hearts of those who went --
almost completely lacks tangible proof. I know
we were the ones who were supposed to be
"ministering", but we left Jamaica feeling like
we were on the receiving end of the ministry.
God is doing great things in Jamaica and it was
our blessing to be a part of it!
--Hanna Townsend of Deep River
Friends Meeting, North Carolina; school teacher,
granddaughter of Winchester Friends Bill & Joyce
From December 2014 Newsletter....
On November 30, a panel of Friends with Jamaica
experience (Karen and Norman Peters,
MacKenzie Bales - New Liberty Congregational
Christian, Joyce and Bill Wagoner, Judy
Kendall, Letha and Austin Cox, Sharon
Reynard) shared their missions learnings
with an intergenerational Sunday School
class. Wagoners served as pastors in
Jamaica from 1958-1971; Kendalls were
pastors there from 1961-1969; Sharon, the
Coxes, and the Peters served on a short-term
missions team to Highgate in the mid-1970s;
and MacKenzie was part of a North Carolina
Yearly Meeting work team to Amity Hall in
In their reports, the
panelists noted several consistent themes.
All were exposed to a new kind of poverty
that made them newly aware of and thankful
for the abundance back home that North
Americans too often take for granted.
Several spoke of the spiritual growth that
took place when they stepped out of their
comfort zones and had to trust the Lord for
protection and grace in unknown
circumstances. Others spoke of their hope
for new self-reliance and indigenous
Christian ministry among Jamaican Friends
after years of dependency upon and "brain
drain" to the US (some for educational and
economic opportunities, others as
missionaries to "lost" America!). Joyce
Wagoner closed the discussion by telling of
a US Friend's prayers for her family in
Jamaica at the precise time that one of her
children was dangerously ill. Joyce told
the group that every exposure to God's work
in Jamaica can heighten our awareness of
Friends' needs there and remind us to be
those "unknowing" pray-ers who might just be
announcement of opportunities to join a work
team to help build the new Friendstown
meetinghouse in early 2015!
Thank you to
who responded to
the Missions &
make a special
to help refugees
from violence in
and sent in
(along with $250
the name of
During the first half of each year, the Missions & Social
ConcernsCommittee asks Friends to focus on ways to address a contemporary
social concern. In the latter half of each year, we call Friends' attention
to one Friends United Meeting international missions location. For 2013,
that focus will be upon Quaker presence and ministry on the Caribbean
island of Cuba since 1900.
While returning to the US aboard a Boston Fruit Co.
ship after an 1897 visit to Friends mission work in Jamaica, Iowa Yearly
Meeting general superintendent Zenas Martin was challenged by the ship's
captain Lorenzo Baker to start similar evangelistic, education, and
development work among the laborers and families on new fruit plantations
his company was opening in eastern Cuba.
The Spanish-American War (Cuba's war of independence)
had raged since 1895, and the eastern end of the island had been badly
damaged physically and economically. The Spanish held much of the
population in harsh detention camps to suppress the rebellion, causing
widespread starvation and disease. Infrastructure barely existed, poverty
abounded, livestock numbers had been decimated, and people were hungry
despite the rich agricultural potential of the area. In early 1898, the US
battleship Maine was sunk in Havana harbor, prompting the US to
declare war on Spain. After only three months of fighting, the Spanish gave
up their hold on Cuba. They withdrew in January 1899, and American troops
moved in to occupy Cuba.
Zenas Martin returned to Iowa in 1897 and over the
next two years persuaded Friends there to organize for new outreach in
Cuba. Without coordination, Captain Baker simultaneously raised interest
and support for Cuba missions among New York and New England Friends. At
the same time, Quaker missionaries in Mexico also were becaming concerned
for Cubans' plight via cultural contacts with Cuban Christians. When they
all learned of their common goal through connection with the budding
American Friends Board of Missions (a forerunner of FUM), they saw the
Spirit's clear leading and moved ahead with plans to send workers supported
by five midwestern and northeastern US Yearly Meetings.
Zenas Martin traveled back to Havana in April 1900,
then one month later sailed 500 miles east to the Holguin region where
United Fruit Co. had opened its plantations. He was joined in November 1900
by Friends volunteers from Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Indiana, and Mexico. In the
small triangular area between Banes, Holguin, and Puerto Padre, these
Quakers began holding worship gatherings and started schools for "the
preaching of biblical Christianity and its practical expression through
Friends' testimonies." Quaker work in Cuba was underway.
(source - Friends in Cuba, Hiram H.
From August 2013 Newsletter:
Cuba Yearly Meeting - Fall 2013 Missions Focus
Cuba Yearly Meeting is headquartered at Holguin in eastern Cuba. It is
quite evangelical in its message and ministries. There are at
least twelve churches (Holguin, Vista Alegre, Banes, Velasco,
Bocas, Puerto Padre, Gibara, Havana, Retrete, Delicias, Floro Perez,
Pueblo Nuevo), some of which attract 100
or more worshipers on Sundays. All except the Havana Meeting are
located in Holguin or Las Tunas Provinces in eastern Cuba. Some are
rural, and others are in busy urban centers. A few Meetings are served
by a resident pastor, and several others have seminary students
(primarily being trained at the Good Shepherd Lutheran seminary) giving
leadership to the churches. All employ a programmed style of
worship. Most have very active men's, women's, and young
Friends' groups that meet through the week, in addition to meetings for
Christian education on Sunday morning and worship on Sunday evening.
There are over 1000 Friends now taking part in the
ministries of Cuba Yearly Meeting churches. They are experiencing at
least some freedom to meet for Bible studies, prayer, and fellowship in
Cuba Yearly Meeting's primary goal currently is to train up
leaders for these already-established groups, plus additional
leaders for opening new churches and staffing other ministry
opportunities as well. At present, that is being accomplished mostly
through supporting Friends students at the Good Shepherd seminary and by
training at the local Meeting level. Cuba Yearly Meeting also is
building a three-story multipurpose facility in
Holguin, where the Yearly Meeting office will be situated along
with modest apartments for retired pastors, a seminary facility, and
accommodations for visitors. A longer-term goal is construction of a
meetinghouse for the Friends in Havana, the capital city.
FUM's 10-person work team trip to Cuba
20-February 1, 2014, will help with the construction project in Holguin
(approximate cost $2000 per person, registration deadline September 30,
scholarship assistance available). Contact the church office if you're
interested in joining this work team.
Linda Garrison, FUM Cuba trip leader; Ramone Gonzales, CYM clerk)
From September 2013 Newsletter:
Friends in Cuba have recently adopted an
ambitious goal of establishing the Instituto Cuaquero
Cubano de Paz (Cuban Quaker Institute of Peace), a
school in Holguin which will offer courses in peacebuilding/conflict
transformation along with Quaker history, theology, testimonies, and
practice. The Institute's goal is to help develop a culture of peace
across Latin America by forming an international community of
peacemakers who take practical actions to reduce violence in their
societies. The Institute will train community leaders in both
conflict transformation skills and concepts, and the spiritual
principles of peace which are integral to Friends' gospel message.
That training will take the
form of short and extended courses, conferences, public lectures,
and publications. The Institute's target audience includes pastors
and seminary students, social services and mental health
professionals, political leaders, and others in positions of
influence in their communities. During its early development, the
Institute will bring guest instructors to Holguin from outside
Cuba. The school hopes to welcome a diversity of students -- Cuban,
North American, Latin American, Christian and non-Christian, women
The Institute of Peace will be housed in a three-story
building in Holguin (still under construction at this
time), with some courses also conducted in Cuba Yearly Meeting
facilities in nearby Gibara. Both locations will be able to offer
accommodations and meals for students.
Friends United Meeting will sponsor a work team to Cuba
next January 20 to February 1, both to help with the
ongoing construction of the building in Holguin and to build
relationships with Friends in Cuba. You can support their efforts
in three ways. First, pray for the logistics
(permits, visas, transportation, etc.) to work out smoothly.
Second, the proceeds of our September 7 Rummage
Sale for Missions will be sent to Cuba Yearly Meeting to help with
the construction and startup costs of the Institute of Peace, so
donate and/or purchase rummage and help with the sale.
Third, the Missions & Social Concerns Committee is offering
financial support to help send some Friends from Winchester to serve
on the FUM work team. Friends interested in making the trip to Cuba
should let the church office know of your interest by September 15.
From October 2013 Newsletter:
The September-October issue of Quaker Life magazine
included a brief summary of Cuba Yearly Meeting's recent report to
the FUM Board indicating that CYM now has 500 official
members in nine Monthly Meetings. Previous information has
listed eight Meetings and five worship groups, with up to 1200
Cubans participating in the thirteen groups on a typical Sunday.
CYM's goal is to increase their membership to 600 by the end of
2013. FUM's September Focus insert reported that the
presiding clerk of Cuba Yearly Meeting is now a woman named Odalys
Hernandez. Former clerk Ramon Gonzalez-Longoria remains
very active in CYM's growing ministries.
On September 7, Winchester Friends' Missions & Social Concerns
Committee's annual Rummage Sale for Missions raised a total
of $800 to be donated to the work of Cuba Yearly Meeting,
most likely for construction costs of the Cuban Quaker Institute of
Peace in Holguin. The Committee thanks everyone who donated sale
items, helped sort, display, and sell them, and helped clean up
after the sale! Half a box-truck load of unsold items were donated
to Muncie Mission after the sale.
The $800 raised by the rummage sale will be carried to Cuba next
January by our Friends Shane and Julie Hall, who have joined
FUM's ten-member work team traveling to Holguin January 20-February
1 to help with construction of the Peace Institute facility
and to build relationships with Cuban Friends. Winchester Friends
will underwrite part of the $4000+ cost of their trip with a Best
Special Projects grant and possibly with unused funds from previous
grants currently held in reserve. If you would like to invest in
this outreach ministry, your donation can be made to the church,
clearly designated "Cuba missions trip." Please pray for
the Halls and the entire FUM team as they prepare for
travel to Cuba, especially in light of possible delays in diplomatic
permits and paperwork due to the current US government shutdown.
From November 2013 Newsletter:
SIMPLICITY + VISION + SPIRITUAL VITALITY = A LIVING CHURCH
I was staying with a young couple in the
city of Holguin, Cuba, who were members of the Holguin Friends
Meeting. Our group from Friends United Meeting was traveling
among Friends in Cuba, and on this night there was a carry-in
meal at the Holguin meetinghouse. Holguin is a busy city of over
300,000 people, with a lot of traffic. My host and I were going
to the meetinghouse on his bicycle, and yes, I was perched on
the back as the passenger, desperately hanging on while holding
a dish of food at the same time! We stopped at a red light, and
I heard a snorting noise behind me. I turned around only to look
up into the nostrils of a horse. It was pulling a small
carriage, called a Coco-Taxi. Yes, you can get bus rides and
various automobile taxis, but one of the simplest ways of
conveyance is by horse and carriage (didn't the Quakers call it
horse and buggy?), otherwise known as a Coco-Taxi. The
people who operate those Coco-Taxis probably struggle to make a
living, but they do so by keeping it simple, with a vision of
what they can do in that sprawling municipality, and believing
they can do it. And they stay closer to the people they help.
Life has never been easy for Cuban
Friends since Quaker work began there in 1901. The last
half-century has been a particular struggle for Cuban Quakers as
a result of the revolution. Government regulations and
restrictions have forced Friends to labor to keep their
meetinghouses standing, and not just open, and they are
succeeding. They have had to work hard to fill leadership gaps
after members have migrated to the USA. Thankfully, others --
including young people -- have come forward to fill those gaps.
In lifestyles and material things, they have had to do without
much that we take for granted, but it hasn't dampened their
faith. It probably has increased it. I recall once when another
host, Roberto, had to go out early one morning just to try to
find bread.…and God supplied.
But finally, I am convinced that
our Cuban Friends have gladly embraced simplicity and faithfully
maintained their vision because of the vitality of their times
of worship. They are full of joy, and the presence of the Spirit
is evident, no matter which of the local meetings, or what kind
of meeting. Their singing is exuberant. One comes away
Friends in Cuba still need our help and support: to maintain
their meetinghouses, to train their leaders, to encourage them
as Friends in their Christian faith as they witness to peace and
other testimonies, and in other ways as brothers and sisters in
But I'm convinced we also
need their witness to us as a living church---as Coco-Taxi
Christians and Quakers!
Culture of Fear by Building a Community of Love
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives
out fear..... (I John 4:18)
During the first half of
2013, the Missions & Social Concerns Committee invites Friends to pray,
read, and think deeply about the many challenges we face every day which
tempt us to respond in fear, and to consider together practical ways instead
to answer those challenges from a solid grounding in the perfect love that
drives out fear.
In the final century before
Jerusalem fell in 586 BC and its inhabitants were sent to exile in Babylon,
external threats grew, the Israelites' faithfulness waned, and conditions in
Judah steadily deteriorated. God's prophets increasingly looked forward to
the promised arrival of Messiah and His correction of all that had gone
awry. Part of that vision of hope included Micah's word that every person
would "sit under his own vine and his own fig tree, and no one will make
them afraid" (Micah 4:4). That's a tall order, no matter what century
you live in, but from experience Micah knew that God's Spirit would address
all the insecurities that caused people to live in fear. We know now that
God seeks to do that through the Church, His people called to love the Lord
with their entire being, and to love their neighbors -- all of them -- as
they themselves wish to be loved.
In a world filled with violence, Christ's followers
can choose to live unthreatening, peaceful lives. They can treat others
with such kindness, justice, and protective compassion that their greatest
fear would become losing Christians' friendship.
People fear financial distress, whether from bad
luck, foolish choices, or predatory people. Jesus' followers can offer a
community of sharing, generosity, instruction and modeling of wise
stewardship, and accountability that transforms greed and poverty into
contentment and adequate provision.
Perhaps because of instantaneous communications and endless news
coverage of every corner of the globe, we are subconsciously trained to
fear people who are somehow different from us. Christ's
community of love can offer a safe place to learn to identify and relate to
"that of God in every person," regardless of their ethnicity, culture, or
An often-unspoken fear of 21st century people is that their
lives will be of little consequence or meaning. If I am one of
over seven billion humans (and I'm not on TV, a rock star, or a professional
athlete), how could my life possibly matter? Jesus' invitation to become
"fishers of men" alongside Him is still open. The Church can eliminate that
fear by providing constant opportunities for loving service, simple witness,
and koinonia (deep fellowship "in the things that are eternal").
The fear of failure often inhibits people from doing
what they sense they should, or from making changes they know would improve
their lives. The Church can offer both encouragement and accountability to
nurture success, and the redemptive, restorative fellowship of a "community
of self-confessed failures" who've been rescued and renewed by Christ's
Others fear the suffering of illness and the
unknowns of death. In disciples seeking to "bear one another's
burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ," they can find healing
accompaniment, effective intercession, and life in God's constant presence
already begun here on earth in a way that doesn't solve all the mysteries,
but makes eternity no longer frightening.
God's desire is for the Church to be that community of perfect
love that drives out fear. We must strive for nothing less.
Answering a Culture of Fear by Building a
Community of Love - As Jesus Loved
There is no fear in love. But perfect
love drives out fear.....
(I John 4:18)
From May's Newsletter..........
We all know what real
fear is. On this page in last month's newsletter, some incidents were
related on how some people reacted in fear to what they thought were
threatening situations. They were both amusing, and sad. But what is love?
From his book "The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way," Bill
Bryson tells of a conference of sociologists in America in 1977 that came up
with this definition of love: "The cognitive-affective state
characterized by intrusive and obsessive fantasizing concerning reciprocity
of amorant feelings by the object of the amorance." And we say, "Whaaat?"
The Bible tells us in I
John 4:18 that "perfect love drives out fear." But what is perfect love,
and in our fallen human condition, can we ever live out perfect
love anyway? Jesus must have taken that into account when he left with his
disciples and us a model for love: his
love. He was meeting with his disciples just hours before he
was to be arrested and crucified. The disciples had a feeling something bad
was about to happen, because Jesus had talked about it, but they still
didn't understand. And when you are facing something you can't control
and you don't understand, and all that has given your life meaning and
stability seems to be threatened, that can be fearful. In that context
Jesus calmly tells them to meet that fear and everything else that awaits
them with love. This was not to be just any kind of love, but the kind of
love he gave to them and to everyone he met and ministered to. We could try
to describe it using many superlatives, but one word stands out in how we
need to express the love of Jesus in the midst of today's culture of fear:
We need to love people as Jesus loved people: in spite of
different ethnicity, culture, color, language, financial and social status,
and every other category that makes them different and therefore persons we
often fear. Jesus lived a "hands on" love. There wasn't the worst kind of
disease or the widest cultural barrier or the most threatening situation on
earth but what he didn't meet them all with unconditional love.
Where and how do we put that into practice? It does need
to become more than a pious platitude, or a neat theory. Can it be fleshed
out in how we relate to our neighbors, or support a community effort to
offer grace and space to immigrants, or just give more than a safe handout
to a transient? It may be like Jesus loved his disciples in the upper room
when he washed their feet. The instrument of love may be there right beside
us waiting to be picked up and used. It may never be easy, but his Spirit
is here to help us. So why don't we start, even in simple ways, to try
changing a culture of fear into communities of love--
and try it the way Jesus loved?
--by Bill Wagoner, Missions & Social
Answering a Culture of Fear by Building a
Community of Love
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out
(I John 4:18)
from April's newsletter.......
One day in 1973, a
staff writer for a famous late-night comedian saw a tiny news article about
a government agency having bureaucratic difficulty filling a contract for a
large quantity of toilet tissue. The writer sensed there was a joke in
there and wrote something funny about a national toilet paper shortage into
his boss's monologue. Word of mouth took over, and people across the US
rushed out to buy a year's supply of toilet tissue, creating an artificial
shortage that caused hardship for many and snarled the usual supply channels
for many weeks.
In the 1980s, fear
of a Korean religious leader's growing popularity in the US prompted some
Christians to mount a campaign to discredit him. After someone noticed a
crescent moon symbol on a coffee package and began spreading the false story
that that company had been taken over by the Korean cult, many thousands of
hours and dollars were wasted mounting a damaging boycott of their products
-- time and money that could have been spent tangibly expressing Jesus'
love, actually helping people who suffered.
the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and after the terrifying events of September
11, 2001, fear-fueled responses based on false assumptions caused the unjust
deaths, mistreatment, and suffering of many people in this country whose
only "crime" was their ethnicity, culture, or religion.
A Friend reported recently that his coworkers, in response
to last December's tragic school shootings, continue repeating unfounded
rumors of a government ban or seizure of firearms in order to justify their
costly stockpiling of guns and ammunition. Investigation by public health
and peace groups has shown that much of that fear has been stoked by the
very companies reaping record profits from the extra sales of all those guns
These examples illustrate the sad reality that when people
fearfully try to protect themselves through falsehood, rumors, and
half-truths, the reputations of others get damaged, mistrust is injected
into relationships, innocent people get hurt, community is shattered, and
the fear spreads. That stands in stark contrast to the way of Jesus, who
often opened conversations by saying, "Don't be afraid."
One of the most basic, important ways His
followers can begin building the community of love which drives out fear
is to consistently speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and
consistently live the truth that sets us free (John 8:32).
Answering a Culture of
Fear by Building a Community of Love
from the March Newsletter......
Spring 2013 Social Concerns
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.....
(I John 4:18)
During the first half of
2013, the Missions & Social Concerns Committee invites Friends to pray,
read, and think deeply about the many challenges we face every day which
tempt us to respond in fear, and to consider together practical ways instead
to answer those challenges from a solid grounding in the perfect love that
drives out fear.
On the news in late February were
two stories about people who make their living from commercial ocean
fishing. One report told about a Louisiana family whose fishing business was
closed by the devastating April 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil
spill. Prohibited by the government from fishing in potentially tainted
waters, this family had to find other ways to earn money. They used their
boats to help contain and collect the oil washing in from the sea, and they
offered their local expertise to the scientists brought in to study the
spill's impact and to try lessening its damage. After more than a year's
hiatus, commercial fishing was allowed to resume this year. The fisherman
told interviewers that after that "sabbath," the fish are larger and more
plentiful than he had ever seen in his ten-plus years of fishing.
Contrast that story with the other one regarding New England fishermen
who've been told by federal regulators that they must limit their commercial
catch of cod by 70% due to rapidly dwindling fish stocks caused by years of
over-fishing. The only reaction reporters got from the fishermen they
interviewed was fear over cutbacks and anger about government intervention
into the industry they've profited from handily for the past thirty years.
There was no acknowledgment of shared responsibility for past excesses. The
message seemed to be that it would be better to allow them to keep making
money for a few more years -- totally depleting the cod population in that
area and guaranteeing that their grandchildren would never be able to fish
commercially there -- rather than accept limits for a time so the cod
numbers can recover for future generations.
Most of us feel powerless in the
face of environmental disaster and climate disruption. It truly is
frightening to contemplate rising sea levels, dislocated populations, more
and stronger tornadoes, larger hurricanes, longer droughts, more damaging
floods, and evermore expensive insurance. Too often, such fear causes people
to get angry and bitter, or to try to gain an advantage. On the other hand,
the love that drives out fear motivates people to get busy. It's not "26
acts of kindness," but those who love our planetary home and the Lord who
created it should respond to ecological threats with an accumulation of
small efforts that collectively could make a big difference -- participating
in Earth Hour on March 23, shutting off unneeded lights and
appliances, repairing leaky faucets, planting trees, helping the victims of
environmental calamity, finding new ways to use less fossil fuel, lobbying
government for policies that price carbon realistically, and on and on.
"Never doubt that a
group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's
the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)
Answering a Culture of Fear
by Building a Community of Love
Spring 2013 Social Concerns Focus
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out
fear..... (I John 4:18)
From February's Newsletter......
Following December's Connecticut school
shootings, the entire nation seemed to become caught up in fear-driven
debate over just how many and what kind of guns are needed to make everyone
safe. Almost unnoticed, some of the people most closely affected by the
Newtown tragedy launched a 26 Acts of Kindness project to provide a
way for traumatized people to change the world by filling it with
intentional gentleness, in memory of the innocent Sandy Hook victims. Their
example challenges us to move beyond our fears, to ask what could be done
right here in our community to help people not to be afraid of others, but
rather to serve them. What tangible expressions of Christ's perfect love
could drive out that fear?
Many people have learned in the past five
years to fear economic crisis, and to give up being compassionate and
generous in order to safeguard whatever they still have. Imagine how
remarkable it would be at such a time as this for the followers of Christ --
who fearlessly know that their "God will supply all of their needs according
to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" -- to keep right on sharing what
they have, watching over one another for good, so that others who are afraid
will come to realize that they don't need to be. What could Jesus' followers
do to live such fearless lives of practical, wise stewardship that others
will want to learn to do the same?
Many other aspects of 21st century life
are fueled by fear. Our nation's military spends more than do the next 15
largest national militaries combined, yet we fearfully keep buying weapons
and ignoring human needs. We have clear, frightening evidence that burning
fossil fuels is altering the earth's atmosphere, raising the level of the
oceans, and making weather more extreme, yet we seem even more fearful of
changing our lifestyles to use less energy. The contentious debate over
immigration reform confronts us with our dueling fears of people who are
different from us and the reality of life without their low-cost labor.
For the first half of 2013, let's be
courageous enough to ask how fear has affected our opinions, our attitudes,
our words, and our treatment of others. Let's find practical ways to express
Christ's perfect love that drives out fear.
Let us then try what love
will do. (William Penn, Fruits of Solitude, 1693)
Justice God Loves -- Spring 2012 Social Concerns Focus
Stop doing wrong, learn
to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the
For I, the Lord, love justice.....
(Isaiah 1:16,17; 61:8)
Definitions of justice abound. In government terms,
justice refers to the societal system of determining which
behaviors are acceptable and which are unacceptable, then
implementing policies and regulations that encourage the former
and discourage the latter. In theory, it is a way of
conducting society "just as" the people desire and intend.
In reality, however, only some of the people are allowed a real
voice in that system, the policies and regulations that are
adopted too often favor those who have a voice at the expense of
those who do not, and the justice in that system ends up being
The justice God loves surely is not like that.
Sometimes justice is most clearly understood by awareness of
what it is not, or by its absence. A construction worker
relates his experience of working through months of classes and
on-the-job training at apprenticeship (reduced) wages in order
to qualify for trade union certification and membership.
In the midst of that training course, he was assigned to labor
alongside full-wage workers who had fewer skills and less
knowledge than the apprentice had, but who had been allowed to
skip apprenticeship and certification by simply purchasing the
credential for a large sum of money. Such an arrangement is
apparently legal, but few would describe it as just, either for
the apprentice or the customer.
Spiritual justice -- the justice God loves -- describes human
society that functions "just as" its creator desires and
intends. It speaks of the treatment of people and the natural
world according to the standards of the One whose very essence
is love (I John 4:16), whose identity is truth (John 14:6).
Such a society deals with people on the basis of the truth of
God's image in every individual, the truth of God's love for
each person and the infinite value that love confers upon them.
Functioning in spiritual justice, a society treats people
according to their humanity and need, not according to their
skin color, gender, economic status, language, culture, country
of birth, or other secondary categorizations.
During the first half of 2012, the Missions & Social
Concerns Committee invites Friends to carefully consider "the
justice God loves" and how it should impact our responses to the
challenges facing our nation and the world after years of
economic recession and globalization, environmental degradation,
population migration, and armed conflict. How might
"the justice God loves" shape our actions regarding societal
injustice in wages and prices, educational opportunities, access
to health care, opportunities for employment, the treatment of
foreigners, the use of natural resources, and care of people in
need? Might we together find a way to "let justice roll on like
a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream" (Amos 5:24)?
For the March Newsletter,
Suzanne Weber reflects on
justice in the education
teach in a school where 58%
of the students are eligible
for free or reduced-price
lunch. I am challenged to
think about educational and
economic justice every day.
Government analysis shows
that one in six US public
school students attend
high-poverty schools, and
that the percentage of
schools that are
significantly increased over
the past decade. It also
confirms what we've long
achievement at high-poverty
schools is lower than at
other public schools.
The difference in average
academic skills between
high- and low-income
students is now 30–40%
larger than it was 30 years
ago. On a 500-point scale,
the reading achievement gap
in 2009 between eighth-grade
students in wealthy vs. poor
schools was 34 points, and
the mathematics achievement
gap was 38 points. High
school students from
low-income families dropped
out of school six times more
often than did their peers
from high-income families.
About 28% of graduates from
poor high schools attended
four-year colleges, compared
with 52% of high school
graduates from wealthier
schools. And high school
dropouts will earn about
$260,000 less than high
school graduates and
$800,000 less than college
graduates in their lifetime.
for these differences is
that children from poor
families have less access to
quality child care and
preschool. (This is one
reason the expansion of
Winchester's YMCA child care
program is so important.)
is that higher-income
families spend more on
tutors and lessons, on
private school tuition, and
on college. Simply put,
wealthier families have more
money to invest in their
children. In a
system of true justice,
public funds would be used
to balance the difference,
but that is difficult when
corporations are given
annual state tax cuts of $14
billion, resulting in school
budget cuts of a similar
size (source: Paul Buchheit,
".... Let the Children Pay,"
Many very intelligent,
skilled children are born
into low-income homes and
likely will attend
Without societal mechanisms
in place to balance
educational spending and
opportunities and provide a
base level of quality
instruction for all kids,
many of our brightest never
will be "discovered" and
placed into the educational
programs that could help
them to fully develop their
intellect and capabilities.
Those opportunities will go
instead to less-capable kids
whose wealthier families can
pay for them. As a result,
society might very well miss
out on a cure for cancer, a
much-needed new idea for
clean renewable energy, a
musical or artistic prodigy,
or a statesman gifted for
diplomacy and resolving the
world's deadly conflicts.
Those are losses we
can ill-afford. A
society concerned about the
justice God loves will do
whatever necessary to avoid
those potential losses by
using resources equitably to
provide quality educational
opportunities for all kids,
regardless of their
families' economic status.
The Justice God Loves
-- From the April 2012 Newsletter...... Social Concerns Focus
scriptures make it clear that
political and economic
justice go hand in
hand. The prophet Amos warned
those with power against
exploiting the poor, crying
"Hear this, you who trample the
needy and do away with the poor
of the land saying, 'When will
the New Moon be over that we may
sell grain, and the Sabbath be
ended that we may market wheat?'
-- skimping the measure,
boosting the price and cheating
with dishonest scales, buying
the poor with silver and the
needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with
the wheat." (Amos 8:4-6)
The United States' system of governance demonstrates quite
clearly that political and economic power also
go hand in hand. Election to Congress or other high office
pretty much requires that one be wealthy or closely connected to
wealth. The average spent by each candidate for the US House of
Representatives in 2010 was $571,000, while each candidate for
the US Senate spent an average of $2.42 million (Center for
Responsive Politics). Most candidates must obtain their
campaign money from wealthy people or corporations, with a
resulting sense of obligation once in office.
With the recent rise of Super PACs (super political action
committees), anonymous wealthy sponsors are free to recruit and
lavishly fund candidates who support preserving the legal
framework that protects their advantages for accumulating and
holding great wealth. The wealthiest 1% of Americans currently
pay the lowest tax rate that group has paid in the past 50
years, only one-half the rate they paid on ordinary income prior
to the tax cuts of 1981. The ratio of corporate profits to
laborers' wages was higher in 2011 than at any time since before
the Great Depression. The average salary increase in 2010 for
CEOs/executives was 24%, while the average wage increase in 2010
for laborers was a mere 3% (MSN Money). Such policies
shift wealth into fewer and fewer hands and greatly increase the
gap between the wealthy and the poor. The richest 1% of
Americans now take home 24% of all income, the biggest
percentage of total income gained by the top 1% in the past 90
years. (Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor; and Judd Legum,
These realities have even secular commentators sounding like
Biblical prophets. "Current systems are deeply corrupt and not
responsive to the needs of people. Representatives chosen
by money and influence govern by money and influence....
When [profit], property, and privilege arrangements are not
just, they must yield to the demands of human rights....
Exploitation is unacceptable." (Bill Quigley, Counterpunch)
Living out "the justice God loves" means that the quest
for gold must never violate Jesus' "Rule of Gold" --
always do to others "just as" you wish to be done to yourself
(Luke 6:31), never forgetting that we are treating Jesus just as
we treat "the least of" His brothers and sisters. (Matthew
The May Newsletter
justice in immigration.
After centuries of
enslavement in Egypt,
part of the Israelites'
experience of becoming
Jehovah as they trekked
to the Promised Land was
learning about God's
love for justice. Right
in the midst of the Law
given to Moses at Mt.
Sinai, they were
instructed, "Do not
mistreat or oppress an
alien; you yourselves
know how it feels to be
aliens, because you were
aliens in Egypt."
(Exodus 22:21 and 23:9)
In the detailed ordering
of life contained in
Leviticus, they were
told, "You are to
have the same law for
the alien and the
native-born. I am the
LORD your God."
(Leviticus 24:22) The
accounts of the Hebrews'
resettlement of Canaan
demonstrate that those
instructions proved far
harder to obey than they
sounded. From the news
reports and political
rhetoric of the 21st
century, it appears we
today are still learning
how difficult they are,
Where is the line
oppression? In some
places in this country,
drivers are stopped by
police on a mere
suspicion they are
because they look
Hispanic. One city in
the Southwest recently
studies courses and
withdrew books on that
subject from schools'
libraries. Those kinds
of actions are not being
carried out against
people whose ancestors
came here from England,
Ireland, Germany, or
Sweden. When immigration
prosecuted, in many
cases those now being
deported in record
numbers were brought
here as infants by their
parents and know no
other home. They are
sent to their parents'
homeland as aliens there
because of others'
actions they had no
choice about. Sometimes,
whose young children
have been born here as
US citizens are forced
by deportation to break
up their families. Too
often, those calling for
harsh immigration laws
and enforcement refuse
to acknowledge the
contribution made by
migrant workers to the
standard of living
Undocumented workers are
paid those sub-par wages
for labor documented
workers won't do because
employers know those
workers have few rights
and cannot report
violations of labor
The Law's instructions
to the Israelites
regarding aliens give us
insight into the justice
God loves. The Lord
knows the status of
"alien" is relative -- "you
too were aliens in Egypt"
He tells them, loved by
God just as
those are whom you are
tempted to mistreat or
oppress. What would life
be like if Native
Americans had had
today's immigration laws
on their books 500 years
ago? "I am the LORD
your God" means "I
the LORD am their God,"
too. And don't forget,
Jesus told His disciples
that the alien they
encounter might just be
Him; "I was a
stranger, and you took
The June Newsletter
justice for women's wages:
In the final
book of the Old
will come near
to you for
judgment. I will
be quick to
of their wages,
who oppress the
widows and the
of justice, but
do not fear
(Malachi 3:5) In
writes to people
in positions of
slaves with what
is right and
you know that
you also have a
Master in heaven."
The justice God
loves does not
that all people
be treated "just
as" God intends,
News stories in
the Equal Pay
Act became US
law in 1963 (at
a time when
women were paid
only 59% of what
men were paid),
49 years later
on average still
earn only 77% of
what men earn.
For Hispanic and
out that state
wages for "work
of like or
usually fail to
work, so women
to be paid less.
Committee on Pay
46th out of the
50 states in pay
equity for women,
at only 71.8% of
are of great
of the 21st
women now head
30% of all US
25% of all US
age 18. (source
Law Center <www.nwlc.org>)
lower wages than
men also receive
they and their
hard-hit by the
It is difficult
to imagine that
the Lord who
could be pleased
with the huge
and growing gulf
wealthy and the
poor in the US.
What pleases God
"just as" Christ
had shown them,
and working to
people were more
much grace was
upon them all.
There were no
THANK YOU FOR BEING A
MISSIONS SUPPORTING CHURCH!!