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 was raised Catholic. We both had some connections with Quakers in our families. Patrick’s mother had attended a Quaker high school. My great grandfather was a Quaker from Illinois.
I had received some non-violent training from Quakers in Seattle years before we came to Portland. Patrick and I both had a good feeling about the Quaker way and decided it might be a common path that would suit us as a couple. We found two Quaker meetings on the west side that interested us. We opted for Maplewood Friends since they had just one service, not two, and that felt more comfortable for us.
We found a tiny band of Quakers preparing for Maplewood Friends to morph into West Hills Friends with a new pastoral team expected in a month, Mike and Erica Huber. We liked the folks there, and Patrick liked that they played softball together. We attended Northwest Yearly Meeting for the first time that July and from our balcony seats, we got a great feeling as Mike and Erica were introduced. We noticed their integrity, humor, and genuine spirit of service and commitment.
In the following months, we helped prepare the new West Hills Friends for others to join us, as we simultaneously deepened our connections with this loving circle of Friends. We were also expecting our first child. Our older son was born a month after West Hills Friends “officially” welcomed the larger community in the doors in March of 1989.
I have been greatly blessed by many years of membership at West Hills Friends, and I am grateful for the foundation it provided for both of our sons. I have felt supported and encouraged to act at West Hills Friends in areas that touch my heart, such as hunger concerns, earth concerns, and music. I have felt welcome always, even when I have missed Meeting for a period of time, here and there. I have watched this dear community, this community of God, grow and flourish, and also go forth bravely and with dignity in hard times. I have deep appreciation for the dedicated God-centered leadership of Mike and Erica, and for the many folks who have taken responsibility for different aspects of ministry over the years.
Patrick and I decided years ago to try a Quaker meeting. I know that the Light was gently guiding us to West Hills Friends. And what a gift it has been, and is, in my life. What a Gift.