How did the Light lead you to West Hills Friends (or your own meeting)?

Chapter 23 of Minding the Light: Our Collective Journal is now available online and attached as a PDF file, below. For this chapter, we invited Friends to respond to the query, "How did the Light lead you to West Hills Friends?" In response, we received 17 stories.  One of the stories is from an 8-year old, who included a drawing with her story. 

We invite you to read these stories and consider responding to the query yourself, substituting your own meeting for West Hills Friends. What stories rise for you as you sit this query? Consider sharing your response on QuakerQuaker, either as a response to this blog post or a blog post of your own. 

There are links below to the West Hills Friends website and Minding the Light website, where all 23 chapters can be found.  There's also a link to a PDF version of Chapter 23.

Minding the Light is a quarterly publication of West Hills Friends, a Quaker meeting in Portland, Oregon. Using the guidelines of "worship sharing," we invite members and attenders to reflect on a specific query for each chapter.

Sally Gillette, Clerk
Story Committee
West Hills Friends

Minding the Light website

Chapter 23.pdf

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Comment by Daniel Wilcox on 12th mo. 5, 2015 at 7:35pm

Thank you for these warm, searching stories. They encouraged me today.

Comment by Howard Brod on 12th mo. 5, 2015 at 8:48pm

Thank you Sally for these heart-warming testimonies.  They represent the best of Quakers!  And this is so no matter what "flavor" of Quakers one prefers.  The acceptance, genuineness, and non-judgement that is represented in these testimonials are my own particular experience that has healed me time and again during my 30 years as a Quaker.

I was raised and entrapped in a fundamentalist Christian cult as a child and young adult, as was my wife.  We were not even allowed to date until we became engaged.  Once we were married and had children, I seriously questioned whether I wanted to continue in my childhood cultish religion - because I did not want to subject my little children to the same severe legalistic, dysfunctional treatment that my wife and I had endured.  The price we paid for leaving the cult was severe: shunning by all of our family and friends (we were not allowed to have friends outside of the cult).  Needless to say, once we left the cult I was turned off on religion, human religious leaders, and religious doctrine because, to me, it was suffocating the action of godly love. 

I wanted nothing to do with religion after my experience, because I felt I would never find God there.  During a research project, I visited a liberal Quaker meeting to do research on the Quaker way of understanding God.  I immediately felt love, acceptance, and no judgement whatsoever.  The liberal Quaker disdain for doctrines was perfect for me.  And for me, the best part was that no one was "in charge".  Everyone ministered to each other.  I eventually moved and found another liberal Quaker meeting nearer my home.  And it is now 30 years later!  My life has been so wonderful and meaningful because of my Quaker experience.  The Spirit is an intimate part of my hourly life.  The website for this meeting's thrift store says it all!  It reads:

Quakers worship in a simple manner. There is no pastor or human leader whatsoever. Worshippers simply seek 'that of God' within themselves and each other in a backdrop of silent meditation and prayer, punctuated by vocal ministry that may be spontaneously offered by any worshipper moved by the Spirit to do so.  Quakers focus on 'Love and Light' instead of doctrines, believing that the Spirit is willing to come to each of us on our terms and perceptions, then work within us from where we are in order to bring us on a personal journey to where we need to be.

My Quaker experience has been exactly the above for 30 years.  And I am so grateful for the grace of God in bringing me to this wonderful community of Friends.

Comment by Sally Gillette on 12th mo. 9, 2015 at 2:22pm

Thank you, Daniel, for your comment and blessings to you!

Comment by Sally Gillette on 12th mo. 9, 2015 at 2:22pm

Thank you, Howard, for your comments and for sharing some of your story.  Blessings to you! 


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