My family has shown me the Light through their hospitality. When my grandparents were young adults, they hosted a weekly event at First Friends Meeting. It was called “Friday Nights." I think this happened in the late 1930’s. Grandpa would drive around the neighborhood and fill up his car with as many as 13 children. Other children walked to the meetinghouse. My grandma always provided snacks. My grandpa taught wood shop during the day, so his craft project usually had something to do with woodcraft.
My grandparents were not wealthy, but they were always incredibly generous. "Friday Nights" was just one of many ways they shared their Light with their community. For decades, my grandma provided food and treats for church events. She served others until the end of her life. When she was nearly ninety-two, she could be found setting up the chairs for the Vespers meeting at Friendsview Manor.
My folks continued to model this tradition of generosity. I can’t even begin to cover all the many ways they have shown Light to me and their community. When I was a teenager, my dad helped other teenagers without a support system get into college. He would help them fill out applications, get scholarships and figure out where to go. To this day, these folks stop me in the store and tell me what an amazing thing my dad did for them. My mom led all kinds of groups for adults and kids. I watched her give love, support, energy and creativity to all her endeavors. We couldn’t walk through the mall without stopping every ten feet. People wanted to express their gratitude for my mom's work as a teacher, campfire leader, Sunday school leader or friend.
When Mike and I started West Hills Friends, my folks left the meeting they had attended for decades to come and help us. They have provided leadership and hospitality throughout their twenty-five years at West Hills Friends.
Observing the gift of hospitality in my relatives has shaped who I am today. At age twenty-four, I drew on this foundation as Mike and I began West Hills Friends. Most of the time, we didn’t know what we were doing; however, I was confident that a plate of cookies would somehow help the process along. Twenty-five years later, we often still feel like we don’t know what we’re doing, but sharing God’s light through hospitality has remained a clear leading.