The Big Eclipse?? Wake me When It’s Over

File this in the “Be Careful What You Wish For” folder.

Road signs that are flashing on highways all over North Carolina.

Once upon a time, in the summer of 1972, there was to be a total eclipse. It was, the media told us, going to be amazing, terrific & spooky. I was living in Boston then, and the path of totality was going to pass near me.

July 1972: The dark blue lines like a railroad track are the course of the total solar eclipse. The green arrows show where it was to cross Nova Scotia.

I got excited about this. And as the publicity buildup continued, I became steadily more excited. In fact, I was soon talking to my best friend David Eppers about a road trip: Continue reading The Big Eclipse?? Wake me When It’s Over

How North Carolina YM-FUM Did Itself In: A Blog Review

The post about the end of NCYM-FUM has been read widely.  And a question has recurred in comments across Facebook and in other media. It is:

How did this happen??

It’s a legitimate question; and it’s one we’ve been grappling with for three years. It’s also one this blogger is feeling a bit overwhelmed at having to try to explain again and again for those who are new to the saga.

Yet it’s important for concerned Friends to have answers for it.

Continue reading How North Carolina YM-FUM Did Itself In: A Blog Review

Breaking: North Carolina YM-FUM Shuts Down

At 10:58 Eastern time,  Seventh Day (Saturday), Eighth Month (August) 5, 2017, at Quaker Lake Camp near Liberty, NC, Clerk Michael Fulp asked, “Do you approve?”

The assembled Friends, about 120 of them, responded with a surprisingly subdued, “Approve.”

And with that, they pressed the button that demolished a yearly meeting which had lasted 320 years.

Continue reading Breaking: North Carolina YM-FUM Shuts Down

Yearly Meeting Dispatch: Baltimore & home

I was only able to visit Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) for two days of its five-day session in Frederick, MD  (that’s annual session number 345 & counting); so there’s much I  missed. Too bad for me; but there was pressing business at home.

Still, I was able to get a good whiff of BYM’s atmosphere, and it smelled like home (I first attended in 1978, and am still a non-resident member), and it smelled healthy.

I think I can say “healthy” even though I missed the two documents that I was most looking for to test this impression: Continue reading Yearly Meeting Dispatch: Baltimore & home

Here We Go Again: Trump vs. Transgender Soldiers

I spent 11 years at Quaker House in Fayetteville NC, near Fort Bragg, one of the largest U.S. military bases.
 
Most of my work there, directly or indirectly, was aimed at helping people get out of the Military. And I don’t regret a minute of it. 
 
But there was an exception: we also worked to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” [DADT] to let LGBT GIs stay in. 

Continue reading Here We Go Again: Trump vs. Transgender Soldiers

“The Sword of Peace” — 44th Season Opens Thursday

“The Sword of Peace” — Now, More Than Ever

Thursday July 6 is Opening Night for the 44th season of the Snow Camp NC Historical Drama series.

The “curtain” will rise at 8 PM, for “The Sword of Peace.” This gripping outdoor drama is based on actual events related to the American Revolution, in which many Quakers were involved. Convictions of patriotism, Quaker religious devotion to peace, courage, suffering and mercy all clashed in the historic Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781. This will be its 44th season. Continue reading “The Sword of Peace” — 44th Season Opens Thursday

Four for the Fourth: Holiday Ruminations

For thirty years or so, I was shielded from most July 4th festivities by attending a big Quaker Gathering which is always held the week of the holiday.

Going about our multifarious business there (as the saying goes, “We liberal Quakers don’t believe in hell — we have committees instead.”), we didn’t take much notice. Once in awhile we’d see some local fireworks, but there was no patriotic speechifying, flag-draped parades, or wreaths laid on war monuments. (Thank goodness.) Continue reading Four for the Fourth: Holiday Ruminations

“Cultural Appropriation” & “Pathway to Freedom”

Been hearing & reading a lot lately about “cultural appropriation” & how awful & widespread it is.
I’ve been musing about this all week, while sitting in on rehearsals for “Pathway to Freedom,” out in the woods of Alamance County NC.
Here, at the Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre, an interracial cast is preparing to perform the only ongoing play about the Underground Railroad. On July 13, “Pathway” will open its 23rd season. The cast has been working hard every day,

Continue reading “Cultural Appropriation” & “Pathway to Freedom”

The “Pathway to Freedom” Starts Here (For Friends & Others) — on July 13

On June 27, 2017, Mark Sumner’s friends and family buried him in a quiet North Carolina cemetery.
But tonight, in a wooded grove some miles away, Keisha Little Eagle will resurrect Sumner. And she’ll do it by running away.

Mark Sumner was 93 when he died last week in Chapel Hill NC. In his long life he did many things: became an Eagle Scout; served in the Battle of the Bulge in World War Two; studied engineering in North Dakota; taught riflery for the NRA; and was a professor at several colleges. Continue reading The “Pathway to Freedom” Starts Here (For Friends & Others) — on July 13

Philadelphia YM’s Racial Turmoil Continues: Ambushed by URG

No wonder issues of race in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting are in a mess.

Spring ferns at Pendle Hill, in the calm before the . . .

I’d read and interviewed and blogged about this on March 23, 2017; but it was brought home to me directly in early June.

That’s a restrained way to put it.

More plainly, I was set upon, ambushed by two persons claiming to be part of the self-styled Philadelphia “Undoing Racism Group,” or URG, as they called it for short.

It began at Pendle Hill in early June, where I was visiting their Young Adult Friends conference, as a specimen Geezer Quaker, before  moving on to the Quaker History Roundtable later in the week. It came as a request to hear some “concerns” about my March blog post; I agreed.

It turned out, though, that the two URGers, a white male and female, wanted rather more than to “express concerns” about the post. In a session that stretched to three hours, they declared it was full of racist lies, had damaged their cause, and that it and I were thereby shown to be enablers, even pillars of racist white supremacy.

To set things right, they insisted I must retract the post, publicly apologize for both the text and its headline, and as a sign of real repentance, become a booster of their agenda.

I was unable to meet their demands. For one thing, there are no lies in the post; I stand behind it. For another, URG’s repeated rebuffs in PYM came well before it appeared, as did the turmoil and division that accompanied their efforts. The post may have echoed the questions of some others, for which I am not sorry; it was hardly their source. And I am not moved to become URG’s scapegoat. Continue reading Philadelphia YM’s Racial Turmoil Continues: Ambushed by URG