Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

August Newsletter




Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

Please respond to vbfm.emailer@gmail.com with ideas for future Newsletter Articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications committee
vbfriends.org


Contents:


Link to Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Home Page - VBFriends.org




Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Minutes from our August business meeting are posted at this link…

Highlights include:

  • The Nancy Delle Famine clearness committee heartily recommended Nancy for membership.
  • Virginia Beach Monthly Meeting agreed to host the fall Interim Body Meeting 10/27/18.
  • Meeting approved including a Welcoming pot luck for new members and attenders as part of World Quaker Day on 10/7/18
  • Michael Barclay, Head of School reported that the focus on Marketing and Branding campaign is entitled “Make New Friends ”and activities include: an advertisement on WAVY 10. The first video is now on the website - www.vbfschool.org. Openhouse is 8/19/18.
  • Faith and Practice: Please attend the upcoming Meeting for Eating (pizza) to discuss Testimonies as an outgrowth of our core beliefs. We will be focusing on equality and racial justice on 9/16/18 at noon.

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321st annual gathering of North Caraolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) - Summary of Exercises

The 321st annual gathering of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), met on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina in Seventh Month 2018, from Fourth Day the 11th to First Day the 15th. We arrived to find a number of construction projects underway across the campus, making changes to what for many is a very familiar space. We engaged with each other in the course of meetings for worship, addressing business, times of contemplation, eating and play. We found familiar relationships and practices while also constructing new relationships and receiving new guidance.

Our sessions were attended by a number of visitors from beyond our yearly meeting, including from Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and other communities in North Carolina. We were grateful for the fullness of participation of these visitors and the added richness they brought to our gathering. We also welcomed new participants from our own monthly meetings with joy.

On the first afternoon we began with grounding worship, and continued in the evening with a gathering of the body that cares for the ministry and nurture of monthly meetings. That body shared mostly informal reports among the monthly meetings regarding how meetings are being cared for by those taking that responsibility.

At 6:00 AM each morning Friends gathered for coffee and spiritual conversation with Lloyd Lee Wilson in the lobby of Hobbs Hall. These gatherings were so well attended this year that we ran out of chairs.

Bible study this year was led by David Hobson of Rocky River Friends Meeting, exploring biblical passages in song. This was an intergenerational experience when the youth participated in the singing and in the selection of the songs.

A concern had arisen in Interim Body about our need to address social injustice. In response to this felt need we began our business sessions by sharing each monthly meetings response to the eleventh query which challenges us to consider these issues. In our final regular business session on Seventh Day we wrestled to discern how our yearly meeting, our monthly meetings, and individuals should actively and urgently respond to inequities. The focus was to recommend uniting with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival for those who can.

Other sharing during business sessions included reading state of the meeting reports and the remainder of the query responses from each of the monthly meetings. The body shared reflections upon hearing query responses, which as always was a time of depth of Spirit.

In the course of business we heard reports from Virginia Beach Friends School, AFSC, FCNL, the Travel in the Ministry Trust Fund, and other groups. We have lost contact with some of the organizations dedicated to Native Americans that we have supported in the past. Eric Ginsburg has looked into this and reported back on what he had found. He challenged us to consider our intention with regard to supporting Native Americans and presented some alternative actions that we will explore.

We heard a report from Bill Geary on the Southern State Worship Group in New Jersey, including an invitation to write messages to the participants in that prison community, as well as an epistle from that group. In response, Friends were led to write an epistle specifically for this worship group, recognizing the deep and long-term friendship between the two communities.

We also received a report from the Discipline Review committee and gave second approval to two more sections for the revised explanation of our faith and practice.

In interest groups, the Discipline Review committee received feedback on the introduction to queries with a need for some new changes, and also got people to brainstorm about possible queries. Other interest groups included: AFSC describing the local “Siembra NC” program focused on caring for undocumented immigrants, particularly Latinx immigrants, by strengthening leadership, engagement with surrounding community, and resisting deportations through mutual support; William Penn House presentation; Quaker Earthcare Witness; and Quaker House of Fayetteville. For the past few years those named by their monthly meetings as ministers or elders have met together to share stories and experiences. This year the meeting was opened up to any interested Friend. Twenty-four Friends showed up and they found the time for sharing too short.

Evening presentations included some terrific experiences. Barbara Gosney developed a presentation and acted as narrator while 14 other friends gave dramatic (and some not so dramatic) readings of historic letters and journal entries written by Friends in North Carolina during challenging times of slavery. We also heard from Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation, a talk held in the meeting room of New Garden Meeting across the street, sharing the experience with others beyond our yearly meeting. The youth program organized a talent show for Saturday night, which was a fun experience for participants and the audience. This was preceded by a time of worship reflecting about how the theme and organization of the yearly meeting sessions had impacted those participating. Every night ended with snacks and fellowship, enjoyed by all.

In addition to organizing the talent show, the youth got to experience time together and fun with outdoor games, a visit to the Elsewhere museum, bowling, ice cream making, swimming, and jigsaw puzzle assembly. The “adults” got to encounter their lively presence throughout the sessions and were grateful. We left the campus inspired by the experience, each other, and the Light, and look forward to gathering again in a year, if consistent with Divine Will.


Click here for a printable version of the 321st annual gathering of North Caraolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) - Summary of Exercises...


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Inner Light Yoga Series V - Ahimsa and Asteya

April Megginson Mitchell is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and an ERYT-500. She has a private practice, teaching individuals and groups. She is trained in yin and restorative yoga, Ayurveda, fascial anatomy, and postural biomechanics. April believes it is profound work to discover our own habits and patterns in a compassionate way in order to unravel them, moving toward Wholeness. Her greatest passion and purpose is to teach and share methods which promote good health, awareness, empowerment, healing, connection and calm abiding.

In this month's Newsletter April continues the series, Inner Light Yoga.

For printing, the PDF version of this article can be accessed by clicking here...


In yogic philosophy, Ahimsa, translated from Sanscrit as non-violence or non-aggression, and Asleya, translated as non-stealing, are pillars of the practice. These are foundational tools to anyone seeking to live in a balanced way. We can jump in right here and bypass all the stories in our heads that say “of course I’m not violent and I don’t steal.” These thoughts set us up on an invulnerable pedestal. We are all violent and we all steal – and when we have the courage and strength to look deeper, we see it.

These lens of violence and stealing were shocking to me as I committed to do my own work. But, as I continually renew my commitment to seeing clearly and waking up, these issues are revealed. It has been a gentle process, not forced or fraught, but a gradual unwinding, informed by every person I’ve met along the way. Slowly and kindly, my own aggression and stealing are being dismantled.

I find that we become so attached to “our stories”, so attached to our addiction to our fictional ME , we do not even know that our deeply-held beliefs imprison us. Without understanding this and committing to deep work to shed light on our story, they become THE story and belief system by which we live.

I started suspecting a long while ago that a “victim” persona was lurking somewhere inside me. I began to see how these beliefs about myself and my world were absolutely aggressive. In the truest sense, we are all victims of something that defines part of what it means to be human, but we do not have to live out that story. The victim persona that I began to notice in myself was subtly aggressive toward others and toward life itself. These beliefs implied that everyone else wasn’t doing what I wanted and things weren’t how I thought they should be.

This type of thinking is the root of wars. That sounds exaggerated – but it’s not. This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out (Matthew 18:9)” This seemingly small thing of playing the victim every once in awhile sets us up to see the world as black or white, good or bad, and frighteningly, us vs. them. It’s a world of constant judgment and uncharitableness. In my experience, it’s a small world to live in. I began to se all of this within myself. The amazing thing is that when we begin to see ourselves clearly, we realize that those old patterns are already changing even if the habit is stubborn.

Perhaps an even more subtle distortion lives in me as “rescuer”. The other side of the victim coin is the hero/helper. This is one I am still exploring. This aggression is deep and it focuses on those who are not doing as I think they should, so my first inclination has been to swoop in and rescue them from their situation. This is violent toward them though so deep and subtle as to almost be moving through unconscious channels in the guise of love. I have wondered if the root cause is a lack of presence, that in my estimation they are simply not good enough and must be altered in some way. This has all been unconscious but once seen, it is a difficult thing to admit. It takes a lot of tenderness and patience to see it in ourselves and to know that we are works in progress. Perhaps this is violence turned inward.

The hero role goes even further however. It steals. It steals the other individual’s experience and journey. Perhaps a lesson that they are to learn becomes delayed and made worse the next time around due to my robbing them of that experience. Perhaps that is why we end up in endless cycles because we do the same to ourselves. Rather than accepting and learning, we dwell on not being enough and forgo the experience.

When this hero role is rejected and the person isn’t interested in my help, I have distracted myself with behaviors involving comfort – sleeping, binge-watching a show, or getting lost in a book – but the energy is the same as turning to alcohol or drugs or whatever society considers untoward. When we can own our addictions, we have much more generosity towards others’ escape mechanisms. Pema Chodron says in The Wisdom of No Escape:

It’s as if when you resist, you dig in your heels… In my case, worrying about things that are going to happen is very unpleasant; it’s an addiction. It’s also unpleasant to get drunk again if you’re an alcoholic, or to have to keep shooting up if you’re an addict, or to keep eating if you have overeaten or whatever it is… We all know what addiction is; we are primarily addicted to ME.

These cycles and addictions are all tied into our nervous systems (see Grace, Silence and our Nervous Systems). Because we can’t handle the present, we resist it through our flight, flight, freeze or appease survival mechanisms. I have fought by blaming others for my own circumstance or fought by trying to help others whom I thought needed rescuing; I have fled to my own comforts when fighting didn’t work, or have appeased others when I knew deep down it would help my perceived survival. Isn’t it liberating to know that this is partly a physiological response of an untrained nervous system? It has been for me.

We can break self-defeating habits by being vigilant and moving deeper into understanding with goodheartedness and patience. Just yesterday, a friend pointed out to me, unintentionally, where I was addicted to my story that someone wasn’t doing what I thought they should. I had devised schemes in my head to make them. I was relieved when I realized my pattern and I giggled a little at my own blindness. Aren’t we all just trying to see our way through? We can do so with some lightheartedness instead of heavy reproach. Not because it doesn’t matter, because it matters a lot, but because we don’t have to continue the cycle by being caught up in our own drama. Instead, we can detach and witness our growth.

When we commit to observing ourselves honestly, we can also commit to loving ourselves. We can see and feel our human emotion with kindness and spaciousness and let it go without the customary self-deprecation. Why do we do that? Why are we so bitter and violent toward ourselves? It is another habit fueled by every voice that tells us we don’t do enough, not being enough – we’re simply not enough. We can stop this madness by declaring “Enough! I am done with this violence toward myself.

How do we cultivate this deep sense of Being within? We come to our mats, chairs, benches or prayer cushions and we are Still. We Sit. In committing to Stillness, we are training our nervous systems. We begin to see what arises in our minds, see our stories play out and start to wonder if they are even true. We cultivate an inner inquisitiveness and generosity that spills out toward all with whom we come into contact. We sit and stop resisting...we rest in our humanity. We know our life purpose is to be human. It is what we are, after all, and we commit 10 or 15 minutes a day to that.

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Previous articles in the Inner Light Yoga Series:


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Campaign to Promote the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

On Thursday, August 30 a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens met with Ana Przebinda – an aide to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

The meeting was held at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Norfolk.

The topic of discussion was the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

We delivered Peace Cranes for Ana to present to Senator Kaine.

We also delivered a passionate plea to Ana, urging Senator Kaine to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to champion the US as a leader in gathering the nuclear weapons states to adopt the treaty and begin real movement toward a nuclear weapons free world.

- Nancy Craft

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QuakerSpeak

QuakerSpeak is a project of Friends Journal and is directed by Jon Watts.

QuakerSpeak is in its 5th Season!

A new QuakerSpeak video is released every Thursday and folks can SUBSCRIBE to be in the know!

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Communications cmte and the VBFM Newsletter staff have decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018. This issue features Arthur Larrabee, who as a lifelong Quaker, was frustrated that he couldn’t answer the question, “What do Quakers believe?” So he set out to do just that.



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Quaker Women Gathering

FELLOWSHIP, FOOD, and FUN!!!

Koinonia and Lunch of the Women of the Virginia Beach Society of Friends.

Koinonia is a term used almost 20 times in the Greek New Testament.

It means joint participation, and sharing.

Those who experience spiritual transformation and enjoy Fellowship and a nice, healthy meal - are warmly invited to come to our Koinonia Lunch.

We will have a special Prayer about Moving Forward in a Peaceful World.

(September 29 is also the day the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael were sent from Heaven to help us.

For your preference of dietary choices, you may wish to bring an optional Covered Dish.


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Legislative Collaborative Table / Social Justice University Planning

We are grateful that people from so many wonderful local groups and organizations that work for the common good in our community took the time to come out on June 11 to build consensus together in prioritizing a collective agenda for the Legislative Collaborative Table this coming year. The issues listed below are the six highest priorities, but in the event that there is a need to support some of the other issues that did not make it to the top of the list, we will be happy to use the Legislative Collaborative Table network to assist with mobilizing efforts in a timely way.

Our top 6 issues for SJU and our legislative visits are:

  • Voter Access and Redistricting
  • Immigration
  • Criminal Justice Reform with an emphasis on Community Mental Health through support of STEP VA
  • Non Discrimination and ERA Ratification
  • Virginia Coastal Protection Act
  • Social Justice University (SJU) is scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 30th from 2:30 - 5:00 pm tentatively at The Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalist (CVUU) church, 809 S Military Highway.

Social Justice University (SJU) is scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 30th from 2:30 - 5:00 pm tentatively at The Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalist (CVUU) church, 809 S Military Highway.

For more information concerning the Legislative Collaborative Table and Social Justice University, please contact Nancy Craft, nancydcraft@gmail.com / 757-426-2019.


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The Climate Impact Of The Food In The Back Of Your Fridge

Many of us have had the experience of opening the refrigerator door, reaching to the back and pulling out the remains of a dinner spoiled and gone to waste. No one likes to waste food, and the negative emotions we feel when we do stem from a variety of sources.

What may not come immediately to mind, however, is food waste’s impact on the climate. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.

Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorcarbons (fluorinated gases used in refrigeration) are produced and emitted from food production to our refrigerators. And don’t forget all the metal cans, plastic bags and cardboard boxes our food comes in. By throwing away half a lasagna, half of the emissions that resulted from producing and processing, packaging, shipping, storing, picking up and cooking are also wasted.

It turns out reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming...

READ MORE HERE...


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Inner Light Books Review - Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly

Modern Quakers as Everyday Prophets

Inner Light Books is pleased to announce the release of the fourteenth publication from Inner Light Books, Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly, by Margery Abbott. By considering the prophetic ministry an ordinary consequence of listening for the Spirit of Truth as often as possible in all we do, space opens up for this way of being to be part of our life journey. The awareness of God is an awareness of the value of all life. Considering this as part of a journey makes it easier to accept setbacks and mistakes and to notice growth and newness, whether our journey is one of radical witness or of loving care for our neighbors.

Often the prophetic work starts with self-knowledge and personal healing. The Light, which is such a powerful instructor about the way forward, is also relentless in allowing us to see the painful corners of our attitudes and behaviors. Peace is not just about opposing war but is also about establishing justice, and it is initially felt within each heart and soul.

We have the choice to shift our focus from what is “ours” to what is infinite. Early Quakers again and again pointed out that the kingdom of God is within and that we will find this new creation within. The prophetic voice is nurtured by communities that know the reality of the new creation. Such a community is filled with everyday prophets and the occasional radical prophets who call the community to account as well as carry their deepest hopes to the wider world.

Margery Post Abbott is a member of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, where her ministry has been formally minuted. She has been traveling and writing in the ministry for over twenty years. Marge has served as clerk of Friends Committee on National Legislation. Her numerous writings include Walk Worthy of Your Calling: Quakers and the Traveling Ministry and To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today. In 2016, she presented the Backhouse Lecture for Australia Yearly Meeting. She has also spoke that year at the Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting.

Marge’s ministry seeks to connect Friends of different traditions. She believes we grow more fully as we engage across our traditions.

Walk Humbly Serve Boldly
Modern Quakers as Everyday Prophets

by Margery Post Abbott

Visit the Inner Light Books website, www.innerlightbooks.com.


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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

As Anne Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO for USA UNHCR explains: "standing with the Refugees and supporting their resilience as they overcome enormous challenges is essential".

Supporters of this cause make a tremendous impact on the lives of refugee families.

The stories of these families from Burundi, Syria, Rwanda, and other ravaged Countries, speak volumes of incredible strength, determination, and resilience.

Take for example the numerous Refugees from Bangladesh. These families have gone through enormous struggles after the recent devastating monsoon season.

But the generous support of many compassionate Americans has provided disaster relief with hospital tents, shelter kits, medical supplies, food and safe water, clothing, and much more.

There are so many ways to support Refugees through this agency.

I recently met someone who explained he had donated to USA UNHCR the miles earned when booking a flight with American Airlines! This method, too, helps lower the cost of workers travels.

I conclude this Note reaffirming that no family should be forced out of her home because of prosecution, or other dangerous circumstances.

We can help.

For information about Donor Services, please call the Washington D.C.office at 202-644-7166

Thank you!


Submitted by Liana Fleming
Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 7:50 PM(EST)


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Kofi Annan

The World of Human Rights and Social Justice cries at the death of Kofi Annan.

Born on April 8 1938 in Ghana, Kofi Annan died in Switzerland on August 18, 2018 at age of 80.

Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he let his voice be heard before and after becoming the seventh Secretary General for the United Nations.

Among the Prizes awarded to him were the Nobel for Peace, the Fulbright, the Gandhi, and the Profile in Courage.

Among his most famous books we remember "Intervention", "We the People", "Pandemic", and "Confronting Anti-Semitism."

Annan was a passionate advocate of Human Rights and a strong believer in the universal values of equality, tolerance, and human dignity.

He created the Global Funds to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

He opposed the Invasion in Iraq, well anticipating its disastrous consequences.

Here are some of his remarkable Quotes :

  • "Gender equality is a precondition for meeting the challenges of reducing poverty, and building good governance..."
  • "Literacy is a bridge from poverty to hope".
  • "To live is to choose. But to choose well, we must know who we are, what we stand for, where to go, and why we want to get there."
  • '"The Lord had the wonderful advantage to be able to work alone".

Rest in the Light, Sir.


Submitted by Liana Fleming
Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 8:47 AM (EST)


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Save The Dates!


Listed below are events that Virginia Beach Friends Meeting is supporting/promoting for the next three months - as recorded on our website at the time this month's Newsletter was published.

Frequently check our Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Upcoming Events webpage as event details are worked out and new events are added.


Coastal Friends Gathering (03SEP2018 note - this event date has been corrected since our August Newsletter was published)

Date: Saturday September 15
Time: 11 am worship followed by potluck
Location: The home of Greenville Friends Meeting members Mark Moss and Mary Kay Glazer
1607 Rondo Dr., Greenville, NC 27858

Meeting For Eating - Faith and Practice Discussion

Date: Sunday, September 16
Time: Noon - 3pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Friends School Community Picnic and World Peace Day Celebration

Date: Friday September 21
Picnic Time: 5-7 pm
World Peace Day Celebration: 7-8 pm
Location: Friends School Campus

Quaker Women Luncheon

Date: Saturday, September 29
Time: 11:30 am
Location: 2121 Marina Bay Cove
  Virginia Beach, Va 23451
Contact: Liana Fleming: 757-481-6412, or Kathy Garner: 804-714-4012

Creeds Hum Dinger

Date: Sunday September 30
Time: 10:30 am until...
Location: Creeds Preparative Friends Meeting

Lynnhaven River Now Fall Festival

Date: October 6
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Williams Farm Park
5269 Learning Circle
Virginia Beach VA 23464

World Quaker Day / Welcoming Potluck For New Members and Attenders

Date Sunday October 7
Time: Noon - 2 pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Interim Body Meeting

Date: Saturday October 27
Location: Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

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Next Meeting for Business Query - #3 / Meeting for Worship:

Are we faithful in our attendance at meetings for worship and are we careful not to disturb the spirit of the meeting by our late arrival? Is our behavior therein that of open submission to God in silent communion?


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Ponder This

Astronomers have just assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history, based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. In particular, Hubble’s ultraviolet vision opens a new window on the evolving universe, tracking the birth of stars over the last 11 billion years back to the cosmos’ busiest star-forming period, about 3 billion years after the big bang. This photo encompasses a sea of approximately 15,000 galaxies — 12,000 of which are star-forming — widely distributed in time and space. This mosaic is 14 times the area of the Hubble Ultra Violet Ultra Deep Field released in 2014.

Click the image below for more information.


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