Monday, November 25, 2013

Minute from the Quaker Concern Around Dying and Death

Dear F/friends,

This is combination minute/epistle from the recent gathering of the Quaker Concern Around Dying and Death.  Please feel free to share, and please feel free to ask me about our work.

In Friendship,
Blessed be,

QDD Gathering, November 21st-22nd 2013 at Woodbrooke
Helping Children and Young People to face dying and death


We have explored our own memories and experiences in order to seek a greater understanding of how children and young people may best be supported in facing their bereavements.

We have been led to recognise that we cannot truly hear what children and young people need from us if we do not face our own losses with integrity.

We must be ready to acknowledge the intensity of children’s feelings and to allow a free expression of those feelings rather than stifling what we, as adults, find too disturbing to listen to.

We have learnt that, above all, we must be truthful and loving in preparing children for the facts of loss and death. Children and young people easily blame themselves for the death of a deeply loved relative, especially a parent. We can be gentle but strong in holding children emotionally and spiritually, and maybe, physically, while they make sense of human mortality. We have heard of the aunt who gave lasting comfort by saying, ‘I have known death all my life: there is nothing to be frightened of.’

As flawed human beings ourselves, we may make mistakes because of our own fears, sorrow or confusion; but we must return to the child or young person’s side, maybe with stumbling steps, but not with false promises. 

Through play and stories children and young people explore their confusion and hurt. In these ways they may discover a new understanding and hope however sombre this might seem. At each stage of maturing children and young people may need to visit their loss regularly, by being given the open acceptance of loving adults. We can help children create reservoirs of memories to affirm the friendly presence of the dead person in their lives.

At this Gathering, we have revealed our own vulnerability in a safe, supportive, loving environment, and so enabled each other to explore and accept our own feelings as we move towards healing. This 24 hour Gathering, led by two skilled facilitators, has brought us to a place where we recognise how precious this work is. We have learnt that transformation is possible, a transformation that accepts pain and joy exist together.

We feel more ready to accompany children and young people on their own journeying.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An invitation to FLGBTQC Mid-Winter Gathering

Beloved Friends for LGBTQ Concerns,

The theme of our Midwinter Gathering, “Radically Inclusive Beloved Community,” guides our efforts to enable all who are led to attend this gathering to be there.  Travel Assistance funds are but one way in which we attempt to live up to this vision.

Are you led to come to the Midwinter Gathering of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Concerns in Portland, Oregon February 14-17, 2014?  If so, please do not allow financial barriers to dissuade you from considering it.  Friends for LGBTQ Concerns is attempting to increasingly live out our values of inclusion, which means we will do our very best to make it possible for all who are so led to come to our gatherings.  You don’t need to identify as LGBT or Q, you don’t need to be a Quaker, and you don’t need to have attended a Friends for LGBTQ Concerns gathering before in order to request financial assistance.  Financial assistance is a major priority for our budget, and there are substantial funds available to help Friends and fellow spiritual travelers attend our Midwinter Gathering.  We ask that you help us to practice living out Beloved Community, and we also ask you to help us practice good stewardship of resources by carefully discerning:

1)      Are you led to come to the Midwinter Gathering 2014?
2)      What method of travel would best represent good stewardship of funds, the earth’s resources, and your personal emotional and physical reserves (e.g., biking, carpooling, taking a bus or train, flying)?
·        Please also consider also the price advantage in booking travel arrangements earlier rather than later.
·        If you are part of a Friends meeting, please consider asking your meeting (whether monthly, quarterly, or yearly) or church to help you attend. That way, FLGBTQC travel money can stretch further, and it can be nice for the home spiritual community to feel connected to the Friends for LGBTQ Concerns community.
·        Could you carpool with others?

3)      What amount of travel funds would be just the right amount to allow you to come?

The 2014 FLGBTQC Midwinter travel assistance application process:

First Round requests due December 6, grants made December 10.  We wish to encourage people to register early when possible in order to 1) make life easier for the hard-working midwinter planning committee and 2) save money by buying tickets earlier.  Co-Clerks will note which applications come in earlier, and at the same time try not to discriminate against Friends who don’t learn until closer to January 1 that they will be able to attend.

Second round: requests due January 1, grants made January 6. Any requests that come in after December 6 will be held until January 1st and considered together then. Also in the second round we may be able to look again at earlier requests that we were not able to fund fully.

To apply for travel funds, please email both co-clerks, at e-mail addresses listed below, by December 6 (first round) or January 1 (second round), putting “FLGBTQC Travel Funds” in the subject line of your e-mail and including the following:

1) Your name, and the name of anyone else included in your request
2) Please share the results of your discernment, as described above, regarding each of the following:
a)      Are you led to come to the Midwinter Gathering 2014?
b)      What method of travel will you use? Please consider what would best represent good stewardship of funds, the earth’s resources, and your personal, emotional, and physical reserves and time available (e.g., biking, carpooling, taking a bus or train, flying)?
c)      What total costs for travel do you anticipate, and how much you are requesting from FLGBTQC?
d)      Where else you are seeking funds?
3) To whom should a travel grant check be made (if funds transfer would be better, e.g if you are outside the US, please indicate this)?
4) Please provide your e-mail and snail mail addresses

Please forward this co-clerks’ love letter widely. Feel free to ask us about anything that is not clear. And please hold us in prayer that we may distribute the funds available so as to both promote the Beloved Community and practice good stewardship of finite funds.

In service, prayer, and love,
Ted Heck and Kathy Beth*
 (change the [at] to @ in each email address)

*whose regular attendance at FLGBTQC gatherings has been facilitated by these very funds.
For more information: