Ecology As Spiritual Practice

Posted by admin on Mar 20, 2013 in Meeting Events, spiritual enrichment

Last week at Meeting, a small group of Asheville Friends stayed on for the second hour and were treated to a taste of Celo Friend Bob McGahey’s workshop on “Ecology As Spiritual Practice”. The purpose of the workshop is to acknowledge the Creator’s presence throughout Creation and re-awaken prophetic justice and compassion, both for the earth and for ourselves. The workshop was almost completely experiential, with just enough presentation to keep participants on track.

We engaged in three exercises. First, Bob presented us with three open ended thoughts to help us place ourselves in the continuum of Creation, to think about our impact on the Earth and how it will affect our children’s children’s children. Next we engaged in what Bob called an “unflinching moral inventory” of the actions, behaviors, and attitudes that we have that impact the ecology. After we had given voice to our “sins”, we each asked one another – and ourselves – for “forgiveness”. Last, we joined hands for a prayer-dance for the healing of the Earth. This was not an exuberant jig or complicated folk dance, rather it was a simple, slow series of movements set to a sad Eastern European song, whose words we could not understand, but we were given to know that it was a song about mothers losing their sons to war. After a few rounds of the dance, we were asked to name particular aspects of the ecology that came to us as being especially precious, lifting them up and holding them in the Light.

It was a beautiful, enlightening, and refreshing experience.


Sandwich Sunday

Posted by admin on Nov 11, 2012 in Meeting Events

Each Fourth First Day (Sunday) of the month, Asheville Friends enjoy a shared pot luck meal – we call it “Sandwich Sunday” even though there are often no sandwiches at all. There is often homemade bread though – several regular participants are accomplished bakers! Everyone is welcome, whether you bring something to share or not. In the “loaves and fishes” tradition, there always seems to be enough to go around.

Sandwich Sunday begins after rise of Meeting, once Friends have had a chance to clear the meeting space, set up tables, and set out the food. Then we gather in a circle, holding hands as we sing “Simple Gifts”. We usually let the younger attenders go to the front of the line – so they can practice restraint!

We encourage healthful, homemade dishes, along with fresh fruits and raw vegetables, rather than packaged foods. We avoid soft drinks. We ask that all prepared foods be labeled as to their ingredients, for the safety and well-being of those with dietary restrictions.

We don’t have a set ending time, except that we must be mindful of others who may be using the Meetinghouse in the afternoon, and acknowedging that the meal is not over until clean-up is completed.


Meeting For Business

Posted by admin on Nov 4, 2012 in Meeting Events, Uncategorized

At least that’s the common, short, expression for what is more formally called “Meeting For Worship With Attention To Our Meeting’s Business”.

Why is it a “Meeting For Worship”? Because in the Quaker practice, we conduct our business by seeking Divine guidance in all of our affairs. To accomplish that, we seek to remain in a worshipful state, open to the leadings of Spirit, holding one another in the Light, listening for that of G*D in our own hearts and in the words that are expressed by any other Friend who is led to speak.

The meeting is facilitated by the “clerk”, a person who is designated to listen carefully to all who speak and discern what is the way forward, if there is one. Once all members present feel clear to unite on a way forward, the clerk articulates the “sense of the Meeting”, and it is recorded as a “minute” of the Meeting.

This, in a nutshell, is the Quaker way of conducting business. Most matters are fairly routine, and minutes are recorded with little discussion. Some matters remain unresolved for years, or even generations. We continue to seek truth, and discover it anew. This process, famously referred to as “beyond consensus”, is what really sets Quakers apart from any other group.

Guests are welcome to join us, listen, and speak if they are led.


New Member

Posted by admin on Nov 19, 2011 in Meeting Events, Meeting News

Dear Friends,

After rise of meeting tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to welcome
our new member, Gail Hipkins, with gifts, cake and ice cream, a pot luck
meal, and our good wishes. The first three items are being provided by
the welcoming committee. Friends are asked to bring their own
contributions of the last two items to share.

Best wishes,
for the welcoming committee



Friends Digest, Vol 89, Issue 1

Posted by admin on Jul 15, 2011 in Meeting Events, Meeting News, Our Friends, Our Practices

Today’s Topics:

1. Announcements for July 16 and 17 (with belated announcements
for July 10)

As a reminder, Swananoa Valley Friends Meeting has invited us to a pot luck picnic at their meeting house on July 16 at 4 p.m. This is a follow up of our invitation to them last summer.

Directions to Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting

Beginning on Interstate I-40:
EXIT no.64 (to Rte. 9/Black Mountain/Montreat); travel NORTH (toward railroad tracks& town) on Broadway Avenue (Rte 9) to intersection with State Street (Rte 70); then RIGHT onto State Street (Rte 70). Travel ~ 4 blocks, then RIGHT onto Scotland Street for one block, then LEFT onto Center Street for ~ one block, which leads to the parking lot of
Swannanoa Valley Friends Meetinghouse

Paulette Meier will play music from her cd’s. She was artist in residence
at Pendle Hill. We played one of her chants at Meeting for Business in
April. She also will provide music suited for children, who are especially
invited to attend. Friends from Celo heard some of her music at SAYMA and have asked to be included. Additional information about Paulette and her music can be found at http://www.lessonsongs.com/


Pat Johnson says:

Hoping you can announce my trip to Tanzania and for those who are interested in following my adventures, please give my blog address as
http://tanzaniajourney-pjohnson.blogspot.com Thanks for your help. Take care.


Ministry and counsel will discuss eldering and calls your attention to the


“Elders are primarily concerned with the spiritual life of the group as a
whole and of its individual members…” (London Yearly Meeting, Governance #854)

“They [the elders] see to it that peace, love, unity, harmony and sound
doctrine are preserved in the church of Christ.” (Berkley’s Apology)

Among early Friends an “elder” was someone “well grown in truth” or as we might say today, spiritually mature.
Later, the role of the elder was often contrasted with that of the
minister. The latter was one recognized for his or her gifts of vocal
ministry and the role was often prophetic and public. The elders were
charged with nurturing the spirit of the community and the individuals
within it Their role was often more private and concerned with the process of the Meeting. Modern Quakers think that we are all elders, just as we are all ministers. Unfortunately, the term “eldering” has come to mean
“chastising” or “correcting” someone.


1. Remember: the most powerful form of eldering is by example.

2. Be sensitive to the gifts of others; help them to name them and offer support in their attempt to develop them.

3. Consider your own motivation. Are you trying to demonstrate that you are “more Quakerly than thou” or do you have a genuine concern for the individual and community?

4. Since it is easy to deceive ourselves about our motivation two people should elder together when possible. When it is not possible consult with others before eldering This is especially important if the eldering might be construed as criticism.

5 Engage the other person in a dialogue. Ask clarifying questions. It is as important to be a good listener as it is to be a clear communicator. A good test of our eldering is this: Do we genuinely want to understand and hear the other person?s perspective or do we just want to express our own?

6. . Be as specific as possible. General feedback such as “that was a
beautiful message” or “that was inappropriate” is not very helpful.
“Your message inspires me to be less judgmental” or “your humming during meeting for worship makes it hard for me to center” are more helpful.

7., Be direct and truthful. However, remember that “Let the truth be thy shield” is not a license to beat people over the head with it.

8. Be courageous in confronting conflict. Little problems tend to grow
bigger if neglected and may alienate people from the meeting.

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Friends Digest, Vol 88, Issue 1

Posted by admin on Jun 18, 2011 in Meeting Events, Other Events

June 19 will be Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business.
Minutes from the previous meeting are posted at

Swananoa Valley Friends Meeting has invited us to a pot luck picnic at
their meeting house on July 16 at 4 p.m. This is a follow up of our
invitation to them last summer.
Paulette Meier will play music from her cd’s. She was artist in residence
at Pendel Hill. We played one of her chants at Meeting for Business in
April. She also will provide music suited for children who are especially
invited to attend. Friends from Celo heard some of her music at SAYMA and have asked to be included.

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Agenda for second month business meeting

Posted by admin on Feb 11, 2011 in Meeting Events

Opening worship

Review of Minutes
Called Meting for Business 1/23/11

Committee report
* Budget
Rental policy – Adrianne

Religious Education
* Letter of recommendation for Paola

* Nominating – Steve Stevens for H&G

*House and Grounds
authorization to make home improvements
authorization to make repairs to furnace

Ministry and Counsel – Recommendations re long-range

Nick Wells – ideas for improvement projects

items marked with “*” are “action items” requiring approval of the Meeting


friends Digest, Vol 82, Issue 3

Posted by admin on Dec 25, 2010 in Meeting Events, Uncategorized

Dear Friends,

This week at rise of Meeting, we will have our usual Sandwich Sunday, an opportunity to divest of some of your leftovers if your Christmas feast was overabundant. We will continue our recent tradition of “table discussions”, with Rylin H presenting the theme of “what is the role of observing seasonal changes in your life?”

After Sandwich Sunday, Friends are invited to join Adrianne W and others who are going caroling at Highland Farms, weather permitting of course.
Contact Adrianne for more information.

Best wishes for the holiday season and the coming year,


friends Digest, Vol 81, Issue 4

Posted by admin on Nov 23, 2010 in Meeting Events, Other Events

Dear Friends,

Don’t forget we are having our Orphans’ Thanksgiving gathering on
Thursday at the Meetinghouse. Meeting, greeting, organizing, setting up, and setting out begins at 2 p.m., seating and eating will commence at 3 p.m. Adrianne and Nohe are providing the bird(s). Feel free to bring a dish, or just bring your appetite.

Also, Bob S. will have tickets to the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer
Breakfast for as long as they last, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.
This year’s keynote speaker is Donna Brazile
. Tickets are $25.

Best wishes,

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Friends Digest, Vol 80, Issue 4

Posted by admin on Oct 23, 2010 in Meeting Events

Dear Friends,

This week after rise of Meeting, please join with Friends on our second Gray Briggs Memorial Hike. We can’t help but call it a Gary Briggs Memorial Hike, because we can’t help but remember that Gary was such an avid hiker and outdoorsman, and always a joy to share a trail with. This hike will take us down a stretch of the Mountains To the Sea Trail near Mt. Pisgah, offering splendid views of the mixed forest in the upper Mills River valley. It’s only a mile and a half, a very gentle (though sometimes narrow) trail, mostly downhill. We’ll leave from the Meetinghouse at about 1 p.m. And carpool up. Don’t forget, this week is also our “Sandwich Sunday”, so please plan to share a noonday meal with Friends, whether you’re hiking or not.

Best wishes, Steve

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