State of the Meeting Report

Posted by admin on Mar 15, 2016 in Meeting News

After some deliberation and revision, our State Of the Meeting 2015 was approved at our 3rd month business meeting and submitted to the Yearly Meeting for wider distribution this summer. The report is also posted here on our website:


State Of the Meeting, 2015


Workshop: Stand Up and Act Against Racism

Posted by admin on Jan 23, 2016 in Meeting News

Developing Our Spiritual Leadership to Stand for Black Lives Matter and Act Against Racism
February 27 (10:00-3:00)
Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga

Join us for a dynamic and interactive workshop with Unitarian Universalist educator Chris Crass on using our spiritual superpowers of prayer, ritual, song, and community to act with courage against racism and for Black Lives Matter. We will talk about the challenges and opportunities the congregation is experiencing as we have taken a bold and public stand for Black Lives Matter. We will explore ways we can deepen our church’s internal understanding and commitment to anti-racism, as well as strengthening out external work for racial justice and racial equality.

Utilizing story sharing, small and large group discussion, this participatory workshop will focus on how we can help create supportive and healthy leadership and culture that enables more and more of us to be effective racial justice leaders in these Black Lives Matter times, in our congregations and our communities.

Chris Crass is a white anti-racist activist, also a Unitarian Universalist, who leads anti-racism trainings around the country, and is the author of Toward Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategies.

Click for more info:





Memoriam: George White, founding member of AFM

Posted by admin on Jan 22, 2016 in Meeting News

GEORGE LEVERING WHITE, 88, of Greensboro, NC died from complications of a heart valve failure on Thursday, January 14, 2016, surrounded by close members of his family. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marilyn Root White, his four children, Becky White Rodzik, Alan Robert White, Cynthia White Lenda and David Ernest White, and their families including 7 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter: Jason & Rachel Rodzik; Bunny (Paulette), Tristan, Rachel & Nora White, Caleb White; Brian, Ian & Ben Lenda; and Jan & Jonathan White. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy White Hartley, and was preceded in death by his sister Ruthanna White Holmes.

Born in Greensboro in 1927, to Vivian Robert (Bob) and Ruth Levering White, George became an Eagle Scout in high school and joined the Navy as World War II came to a close. He attended NC State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1949. George enjoyed his 42-year career with Southern Bell Telephone Co. as an electrical engineer, then district level engineering manager in various cities in North Carolina. He served on the board of Friends Homes at Guilford and was very active in Friendship Friends Meeting in Greensboro. He was active in the BellSouth Pioneers club.

George loved traveling with his family including many road trips across the country that took him to all 50 states. After retiring, George and Marilyn enjoyed bicycle tours in Europe and other travel. He rented a large house at Ocean Isle Beach, NC every year to host his family of up to 18. He loved talking about current events, watching the evening news, and reading the New York Times. George enjoyed telling stories, had a great sense of humor, and loved his family dearly.

A Meeting for Remembrance in the manner of Friends for George White will be held on February 6, 2016 at New Garden Friends Meeting, 801 New Garden Rd, Greensboro, NC at 1:00 pm, with time to share stories of his life after Meeting in the Friendship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, if you would like to give a gift in Remembrance of George White, please consider a donation to one of the following:

Guilford College (memo line: V.R. & Ruth L. White Scholarship Fund)
Friendship Friends Meeting Building Fund
Friends Committee on National Legislation


Memoriam: Brett Miller White of SVFM

Posted by admin on Jan 18, 2016 in Meeting News

Lyman Brett White of Swannanoa, NC, passed away on December 2, 2015 at the age of 87. Born in Nyack, New York to James Henry White and Lillian Victoria Owen White, Brett and his siblings (sisters Joy and Ruth, brother Harry) were raised in Bethel, Connecticut. Brett graduated in 1946 from George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut before being employed as a Sales Representative and Office Manager with Bard-Parker, a division of Becton, Dickinson and Company.

Brett married Theodora N. Whittaker in 1951 and they had four daughters together. During this time, Brett pursued and accepted a position with Church World Service, the relief, development and refugee assistance arm of the National Council of Churches. The family was sent to Jerusalem, Jordan in 1963 where Brett and his team were instrumental in the building of roads, schools and wells to provide sanitary drinking water. After three years, the family returned to the United States where Brett was involved with the relief effort in Haiti before accepting a position as an Associate Director for Material Aids at CWS headquarters in New York City.

Brett left CWS to pursue his interests in franchising and real estate syndication in Florida. A lifelong Quaker, Brett was associated with the Palm Beach Friends Meeting, the Miami Friends meeting and was a representative of or attended the Friends United Meeting, the Southeast Yearly Meeting and the Friends General Conference. Brett was the Business Director for Pendle Hill, a Quaker study, retreat and conference center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania from 1972-1974.

Brett had many ardent interests one of which was Barbershop Quartet singing. A longstanding member of SPEBSQSA, he sang baritone with many quartets, directed several choruses over the years and was the Sunshine District President from 1971-1972.

A profound event in Brett’s life was the loss of his daughter, Marcia Robertson White, in 1979.

In 1986 Brett met Ruth Passmore Miller; he was devoted to her until her death in 2007. By then a resident of Swannanoa, North Carolina, Brett continued to foster support for the Palestinian refugees and further explored his religious and secular self, described in a narrative theology published in 2004.

Brett is survived by his second wife, Ellie J. Essink White, three daughters, Lorna Brett (Robert Willis), Kendra (Frank Skellen) and Camela (Benjamin Dicus), five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting House on February 6, 2016 at 2:00 PM.

In honor of his life, donations made be made to Church World Service (cwsglobal.org).


A Different Perspective On “White Supremacy”

Posted by admin on Oct 20, 2015 in Meeting News

Asheville Friends continue to struggle with the term “White Supremacy” and what it means to us as a community. Our Racial Justice Committee has been led to recommend the term be used in the description of their committee’s charge (i.e., statement of purpose), but after two business meeting discussions and a threshing session, Friends are still not united in accepting this. After a sleepless night following the second business meeting discussion, one Friend felt led to write the following essay.

Reflections from a Friend
Patricia M. Johnson

Asheville Friends Meeting joins many others in their concern about racial injustice and has formed a committee to address it. We are trying to discern the mission of this committee but have not yet come to unity on the particular wording. The term “white supremacy/racism” preferred by the committee has deeply hurt and offended some of us. Others recognize this term as an academic definition of an historic and ongoing system in which structural or societal racism privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred.

In the manner of Friends, we continue to hold each other in the Light and hopefully treat each other with respect, tenderness and understanding. I invite each of us to look deep within to examine whether our attitudes, reflections & reactions are derived from Spirit or from our own unresolved issues.
The following comments are my own personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the the thinking of the Asheville Friends Meeting:

As we continue to discern the mission statement of our Racial Justice Committee, let us for a moment or two take our thoughts to a less personal level and try to see the issue as a more systemic reality.
Let’s pretend for now we’re from Mars or some other planet and we’re looking at the history of planet earth from a few hundred years ago. We see the North American continent with many people of darker skin living and working, raising families and taking care of themselves and their part of Earth. We also see the European continent with white skinned people doing some of the same actions.

One day, some of these light-skinned people decide to go on an adventure in hopes of gaining more land and wealth. They get in ships and sail away to the American continent. When they get to this far-away place, they see that the people have a different way of doing things and a different way of being. The light-skinned folks don’t particularly like these other ways and they tell the darker-skinned people we have a better way. We will take this land and do things our way so you’ll have a good life. We know better than you what’s best for you.

Of course, the dark-skinned ones don’t like this and there is much conflict. But the light skins set up laws, systems and institutions to be sure they are in charge and have power over the dark skins. As we keep looking at this history, we see the light skins continue to be in charge and they suppress the dark skins so they can maintain their power over them. The light skins say we have more knowledge and expertise than you so our way is superior to yours. We’ll build the best of all worlds here and for your own good, you’ll help us do things our way.

Now as an outsider from another planet, wouldn’t we say this scenario illustrates how the light skinned (white) people have supremacy over people of color? Today we can’t change any of this history but can’t we at least acknowledge that our systems, institutions and culture elevate white people to a supreme position? It doesn’t necessarily mean a particular individual has supremacist attitudes but that our white skin automatically puts us at a higher level than dark-skinned folks. My understanding is that our Racial Justice Ministry uses the term “white supremacy” to name and acknowledge this fact.


Asheville Friends Strive for Living Wage

Posted by admin on May 26, 2015 in Meeting News

Finance Committee has recommended that Asheville Friends Meeting seek Living Wage Certification through Just Economics, and commit to offering all regular full-time and part-time employees a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour without qualifying employer provided health insurance, or $11.00 per hour with employer provided health insurance.

In reality we are already paying one of our two employees $15 per hour, and Finance Committee recommends raising the wage of our other employee to $15/hr from the current $12. This will incur a cost to the Meeting of about $250 annually.

Friends are asked to examine the Just Economics Web Page in advance of our next business meeting, when these recommendations will be presented for approval. Finance Committee has also set up a Google Group and invites comments at this email address: afm-finance-and-board@googlegroups.com


Concerning Palestine

Posted by admin on Feb 28, 2015 in Meeting News, Other Social Action, Peace & Justice

On Saturday February 28, interested Friends are invited to come to Asheville Meeting at noon for a bag lunch, then a session from 1 till 4 with Deborah First, an Israel-Palestine veteran and Jewish Friend from New York Yearly Meeting. Several members of our Peace and Social Concern Committee will be there, working with Deborah to draft a minute that speaks to the current situation in Israel-Palestine. No cost for this, and no reservation necessary. Just show up and help us if you can.


Friends Support Love Of Reading In Swaziland

Posted by admin on Feb 28, 2015 in Local Social Action, Meeting News

Once again, Asheville Friends have been led to make a very substantial donation to support fundamental and profound change in quality of life for people living far from our own geographic and economic place in the world. At our twelfth month 2013 meeting for business, Friends approved fully funding the Vusumnotfo reading project in Swaziland, the latest effort of Stephanie Gossett’s Peace Corps career, to provide a home for the several thousands of books that have already been donated to promote a love of reading and learning among Swazi youth.

Over $6000 was donated from the Alice Brown Fund, which Friends thought especially appropriate because of Alice’s connections to Southern Africa and her unflagging support of the leadings of young Friends in our Meeting. Friends were hesitant to make such a large donation without taking the time for deeper seasoning, but in the end were moved by the urgency of the need and influenced by memory of Alice’s frequent advice to “just get on with it”.

One Friend, reflecting more recently on our support of Stephanie’s work in Africa, shared these thoughts:

“To Friends, seeing the photos and reading the reports on teaching reading in Swaziland make me feel delighted to be a member of our Meeting, and glad to be sending support to Stephanie to do this work.”


“Advocating With Compassion” Training

Posted by admin on Feb 28, 2015 in Digest, Meeting News, Other Events, Other Social Action

Join Creation Care Alliance of WNC from 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 5 for an Advocating with Compassion training at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville.

In preparation for their trip to Raleigh on March 25 for Advocacy Day, Susannah Tuttle, Director of NC Interfaith Power and Light, and Veronica Shingleton, NCIPL’s Communications and Advocacy Consultant, will lead us in a one-hour training on a compassionate way to speak to our legislators. Join us for this essential skill-building event. Dinner and discussion will follow the training.

Please RSVP so we can have enough food for everyone.

Date: Thursday, March 5
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 789 Merrimon Ave.
Cost: Free
Registration Deadline: March 4 at 5 p.m.



Asheville Beyond Coal

Posted by admin on May 3, 2014 in Meeting News

A coalition of ecumenical and environmental groups has drafted a letter to Duke Energy requesting that they move away from carbon-based power production to renewable energy solutions. Specifically, Duke is being asked to decommission the coal plant at Lake Julian.

Friends are asked to review the letter to see whether it resonates with them. At our next business meeting, we will consider whether Meeting will endorse this letter.

You can read the letter here:

Asheville Beyond Coal Letter

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