Our Collective Journal

July 2015/ September 2015

  

"I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints

in writing of my experience of the goodness of God." 

--John Woolman  

 

Chapter 23

How did the Light lead

you to West Hills Friends?


Godly Play® (at West Hills), by Beatrice, age 8


 

Held in the Light

“Blessed in the certainty that we are held in the Light.”  This was the final line of our wedding vows.  It’s a sentence that jumped out at me even when I was new to having a fully developed brain and planning a wedding; succumbing to the pressure to throw a Martha Stewart Weddings worthy event.  It’s a line that has stuck with me as a mantra during rough patches.  It’s a line that, even if... [more]

 
 

Young Friend's Story

In Godly Play® I can speak without other people judging me. I feel respected by others, and I like the stories.

 

I also like the music and the singing at the beginning of meeting.

Beatrice, age 8

 
 

How I Got Here

I came by boat, a wooden boat,

half decked and half open.

The barbarian crew carry animals

to sell, in boxes and cages.

When the storms lash our deck

men and animals howl.

 

Now here’s land for sure:

a smudge of blue hills,

one lighthouse like a white tooth.

 

I’ve started to think

how the rich people of this land

will look at me

when I get off this boat

with all these animals.

 

I know!  When I go up to see the Prince

I’ll take Him a beautiful leopard.

—Derek... [more]

 
 

When I Reach the Place I'm Going I Will Surely Know My Way

On summer Sunday mornings, the year my daughter was about to turn one, I could usually be found hanging out with her on our front steps.  Most of those mornings, my neighbor Derek would slam out his front door, catch sight of me and yell, “Sister, do you want to go to Meeting with me?” I’d smile and say, “No, not this morning, Derek, thanks anyway.”  As a new Mom with a full-time job outside... [more]

 
 

Come to the Table

In April 1987, I dreamed that I was being “called” and that I would have to give up my life to accept the call.  If giving up my life was a metaphor, I was ready to go anywhere, so I got down on my knees and offered my life to Jesus. I wrote in my journal that I wished I knew whether I was doing the right thing and whether Jesus was in my life.

 

That... [more]

 
 

Best Dog in the World

We live next door to West Hills Friends, and some of you may remember our dog Sam.  He was a black retriever mix, with a heart as big as can be and a playful spirit. My husband called him “the best damn dog in the world.”  And he was!

 

On Sunday mornings, when children were playing outside in the playground, Sam would drop his tennis ball in the dug out space under the wooden fence that... [more]

 
 

It Took a War

On March 19, 2003, I watched in horror as the United States carried out its threats to make “Shock and Awe” a reality in Iraq. Deep psychological pain enveloped me as the bombs rained down. The realization that our government had used lies and subterfuge to get us to destroy thousands of people who had done nothing to us was overwhelming.

 

At this time my husband Wilbur and I were attending church in Vancouver where we... [more]

 
 

Allowing Ourselves to Dream

In 2009, Beth and I (along with several college friends) moved to Denver, Colorado, hoping to start an intentional Christian community. After only a couple months, our hopes for that endeavor were shattered.  Conflict within the community grew to the point that we discerned it was time for us to leave Denver. I had spent the first half of that year in Denver desperately seeking work at places of worship where the theology fit with... [more]

 
 

My Angel

My angel led me to WHF in 1994.

 

One day I was led to try to try attending church again after a five-year abstinence.  Since I did not drive, I walked to the closest church up the street.  The people were so nice, and we met after for fellowship, coffee and chocolate cake.  Chocolate cake! Being that I am a true chocoholic, that surely was a sign I should go there. 

 

On the way out, there were two... [more]

 
 

Stranger in a Strange Land

Have I ever felt more like an alien arriving in a place where I didn’t belong? I stood in the pouring rain at one of many tables at the 1990 Earth Day Fair in downtown Portland, still astonished that I had managed to find this place, since I was navigating in the days before the MAX, the Internet, GPS, or even cell phones in a town as unfamiliar as the planet Mars.  I looked into... [more]

 
 

Nicho by Claire Nail

This photo is a close-up of a nicho (niche) I created to honor the holy woman, Hildegard of Bingen. After viewing the religious art of Latin American countries, I was inspired to make nichos to honor saints and sages of all walks of life.


 

 

I am inspired by Hildegard's words, "Dare to declare who you are. It is not far from the shores of silence to the boundaries of speech. The... [more]

 
 

Love at First Listen

My church of origin was conservative and patriarchal, and I spent most of my young life wrestling the belief that I would never be worthy enough for God’s favor (even as a child, I was sensitive and perfectionistic – I didn’t need a church to condemn my faults, as I did so quite well on my own).  I left the church because I realized that I didn’t need God to still be good and worthy. ... [more]

 
 

Light

I followed my atheist husband to church.

—Sarah Blanchard

 
 

Pew Art #2

 
 

Seeking Truth

Before moving to Oregon, I was a member of an unprogrammed Friends Meeting in Tucson, Arizona.  My family felt closely connected to many people in the Meeting, particularly three other families.  We socialized, traveled and celebrated holidays and family occasions with these families and were supported by them and others in our Meeting during times of illness, loss and hardship.

 

Once in Oregon, I attended several unprogrammed Friends Meetings, but worshipping with these Friends left me... [more]

 
 

My Kind of People

The other day I looked around the room at West Hills Friends, and it struck me that I was in a room full of people I love who know my story.  I thought about all the times in the last five years that I stood up to share during Joys & Concerns—about starting and completing grad school, getting a teaching job, a major illness and minor surgery, my mom’s illness and death, struggles with my... [more]

 
 

Pew Art #1

 
 

What a Gift

Sometimes the Light leads in a quiet way. And sometimes that still small voice can almost seem to follow decision-making, an inner validation to keep moving forward. I think that may have been the way I came to West Hills Friends.

 

When Patrick and I moved to Portland in the spring of 1988, we decided to find a spiritual community that would work for both of us. I was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Patrick... [more]

 
 

Finding Love, Life and Joy

We moved in 2009, fully expecting to transfer our membership to a silent, unprogrammed Friends meeting in Portland.  We visited both meetings and finally took a week out to visit West Hills:  we knew that once we decided about our new Meeting, we’d not be likely to visit anywhere.  We were very curious about WHF because of the incongruity of the only three facts we had: WHF was a part of NWYM;  WHF was a... [more]

 
 

Mural:  Come to the Table. Mike Huber and Derek Lamson.  West Hills Friends Meetinghouse.


 

Held in the Light

 

Young Friend's Story

 

How I Got Here

 

When I Reach the Place I'm Going I Will Surely Know My Way

 

Come to the Table

 

Best Dog in the World

 

It Took a War

 

Allowing Ourselves to Dream

 

My Angel

 

Stranger in a Strange Land

 

Nicho by Claire Nail

 

Love at First Listen

 

Light

 

Pew Art #2

 

Seeking Truth

 

My Kind of People

 

Pew Art #1

 

What a Gift

 

Finding Love, Life and Joy