11 February 2010

Klaipeda shorts

Walking to LCC International University:
a third of the way there

Klaipeda University; 2/3 point

I think we're there....
"Gordon’s greeting was legendary. A wide smile lit up his face and spread to a sparkling welcome in his eyes. The warmth and openness of his reception radiated at once acceptance and expectation, engaging friends across the spectrum of the Quaker family."

These words from Gordon Browne's memorial minute, adopted by Plainfield Meeting, Vermont, evoke a wave of wonderful memories. For example: As Friends World Committee for Consultation's Midwest field staff, I'd often go to Gordon's office in Philadelphia by overnight bus, via Dayton, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. After an early morning breakfast at a diner across from Friends Center, I'd enter the building, rub my tired eyes, drag a pen across the sign-in sheet at the Friends Center desk, squint into the hallway, and heave my backpack into the FWCC suite. My first glimpse of Gordon might be his back as he talked on the phone, but as soon as he turned and saw me, his face would light up exactly as Plainfield Friends described--and it was as if I had all the energy I'd need for a full day of work.

(Here's the full minute. Thank you, Friends!)

Judy and I are at the LCC International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania. In a few days, we return to our home with new visas, but in the meantime, we're enjoying getting to know this fascinating institution.

One of the highlights so far was yesterday's midweek worship service. Michele Hershberger presented an interactive sermon on the paralyzed man and his friends (Mark 2). The students proved to be alert and responsive co-preachers as she and they peeled back many aspects of the event--salvation in forgiveness of sins, salvation in healing, and even redemptive confrontation of a religious system that had been intended for good but had grown corrupt.

The background theme of the sermon was the question, "What would Jesus do in Haiti?" I was struck by an incredible image: the opening up of the roof by the paralyzed man's friends, linked in my mind to images of friends and family members desperately prying open the space needed to reach their trapped friends. How many people have been trapped by neglect, by systems and standards that were allowed to corrupt--in full view of the world?

Speaking of response to tragedy: If you're in Portland, Oregon, you still have a couple of hours to decide whether you can respond to this vigil request from Reed student Andrew Barney, as passed on by Reedwood Friends Church:
From Andrew who is organizing a vigil on the Reed College Quad this Thursday (Feb 11) at 5:30 pm to commemorate and show solidarity with the 14 high schoolers killed in Ciudad Juarez last Sunday. This event coincides with vigils held across the country and globe. Andrew says: "While I haven't been to Reedwood my family is Quaker and I thought that your attenders might be interested in attending. I invite anyone who has time to come this Thursday and show support."

Beacon Hill Friends House is an incredible place to live in community. Forgive my bias--it's where I met Judy. They've got space for several residents at a time of year when demand is fairly low, so please spread the word:
Vacancies at the Beacon Hill Friends House Spring 2010
  • Beacon Hill Friends House is a Quaker-sponsored community of 21 people, open to people of all religions and backgrounds. Quakerism encourages peace and social concerns. We make decisions in house meetings using consensus. Everyone attends two house meetings a month, at least three of the five meals a week cooked by our kitchen manager, serves on a couple of committees, completes a chore once a week, and is generally helpful around the house. If you are committed to the challenge of making a home with individuals of diverse interests and ages, our community may be an ideal place for you to live.
  • Typical room description: Share with one roommate of same gender. Room includes bed, desk, chair, mattress. Share a bathroom with two to four other people. Possibility of moving to a single, depending on how long you’ve lived in the house.
  • The building: Historic landmark on Beacon Hill, near the State House. 12 minute walk from Park Street Station and Charles/MGH on the Red Line. Common spaces include: library, parlor (with a piano), tv lounge, kitchen, dining room.
  • What’s included in the monthly bill: All utilities: electric, water, heat, wireless internet. All of your food: our kitchen manager orders all the food, so you never need to go grocery shopping. The kitchen manager also cooks five vegetarian meals a week, with occasional meat offerings. Residents fix their own meals the rest of the time.
More details and photos on the BHFH Web site.

Friday PS: I usually store my weblog photos on Photobucket, but yesterday and today I've been unable to access photobucket.com at all. For the time being, Photobucket-hosted images may be missing from my entries. If anyone knows what's going on with that service, let me know! Thanks.

More links:

Books I'm recommending sight unseen, written by Friends connected with George Fox University: Tom Head, a long-time supporter of Right Sharing of World Resources, has written Envisioning a Moral Economy, available from Pendle Hill Publications. And Barclay Press is announcing the publication of Ron Stansell's new book, Missions By the Spirit: Learning from Quaker Examples. Judy and I heard Ron read extensive excerpts from his manuscript a couple of years ago, and have been waiting impatiently for the full book to come out.

An eloquent goodbye to the late Serbian Patriarch Pavle.

Thanks to youtube and jesusradicals.com, an interview with Dorothy Day, part one, part two, part three.

Friends and abortion: Rachel MacNair's personal journey.

Christianity Today's "Global Conversation" continues: "Sowing subversion in the field of relativism."

Dorothy Stang's accused murderer returns to the news. (See "Testimony 3" here.)

Nancy Thomas describes the process and blessings involved with North Valley Friends Church's minute on immigration.

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