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Spiraling Around

Keep Calm and Drink Tea TeapotBy Margaret Fraser

FACEBOOK REMINDED ME that it was ten years ago this fall that I drove a small delegation of Jewish and Roma Hungarian peace activists from Dublin Airport to Belfast and Derry/ Londonderry. This started a surprising-to-me decade of introducing folk from outside Northern Ireland to cross-cultural experiences, new connections and a sense of wonder.

My posts show a focus on the rented Mercedes minivan that I called the Blue Beast, with its multiple gears, and my concerns about getting it and the passengers safely through narrow busy streets. I had no idea, of course, that saying yes to a request from an acquaintance would lead to ten years of shepherding visitors from other countries around Northern Ireland. Continue reading

Ears to Hear, Eyes to See


Photo: Christine Hall

By Christine Hall

In this day when the burdens of humanity
    press so heavily upon us
I would begin not first with techniques of service
but with the most “Serious Call to a Devout Life,”
a life of such humble obedience to the Inner Voice
    as we have scarcely dared to dream.
Hasten unto Him who calls you
in the silence of your heart.
The Hound of Heaven is ever near us,
    the voice of the Shepherd is calling us home.

—Thomas Kelly (Quaker, 1945), from A Testament of Devotion

THE PANDEMIC SHUT DOWN THE POSSIBILITY for in-person retreats indefinitely. Retreats were the backbone of the Way of the Spirit program I direct. This summer, the new reality plunged me into big questions: How could the program even continue?

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God, Make It Possible

By Emily Provance

Dear Friends,

In June, I did an experiment.

I had noticed that my Facebook feed was overwhelmingly political. It used to be filled with photographs of kittens and updates about people’s babies, but now, it was nothing but news article after meme after angry exclamatory statement. Moreover, it was all from one particular point of view, like an echo chamber — a really, really loud one.

And I knew I had friends, some of them very good friends, who were not in agreement with this point of view. Where had they gone? Why had they disappeared from my feed?

So I started using the ‘hide this’ button, which can be found in the upper right hand corner of posts. I wanted to teach Facebook to give me less of the same people over and over and more from people I wasn’t hearing from.

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“Difference is of the essence of humanity” —John Hume

Cows in the Field

By Margaret Fraser

LAST MONTH MARKED THE 45th ANNIVERSARY of the ambush of the Miami Showband, in which three band members and two of their attackers were killed. Flourishing from the 1960s to the 1980s, Showbands were an Irish cultural phenomenon, performing in village and parish halls, offering a way for young people to meet each other and have a night out. Dublin-based, the Miami Showband was one of the most successful.

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Living in the Unknown


By Jan Wood

THE GOOD NEWS ASSOCIATES are used to scheduling commitments, retreats, and events for months and years ahead. And we — like you — have lived into this strange state of suspended animation during the COVID crisis. All of our lives, schedules and plans have been upended. We are living in the unknown. Continue reading

The First Day

Emily Provance

By Emily Provance

I THINK OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, as the beginning. For me, two things happened that day.

First, I received a barrage of communications: emails, phone calls, text messages, social media contacts. “Who has a plan? What’s the Center for Disease Control (CDC) saying? Are other Friends cancelling worship? Are other Friends staying home?”

And second, I had to figure something out: where was I, as a traveling minister, going to go?

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A Sturdy Faith

Together We CreateBy Jan Wood

THERE IS A REFRAIN FROM AN OLD HYMN, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” that rings in my ears these days:

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is shifting sand.
All other ground is shifting sand.

We are in the midst of a massive national — and global — shock. A few weeks ago our worlds had the contours of normalcy. It felt like our lives have been turned upside down overnight. Our normal expectations that we live our lives by have been swept away in a tidal wave of change. Life and death are suddenly front and center of our consciousness. Our carefully balanced finances have been thrown into disarray. The ability to gather with folks you love in times of trouble has been erased. Uncertainty is the only certainty about the future. Continue reading

Dolls of hope, dolls of peace

By Nancy McCormick

IN 2010, under the leadership of former Curator Ruth Brindle, the Quaker Heritage Center of Wilmington College created an exhibit that celebrated a doll exchange program that occurred in 1927 between Japan and America to help build relationships between our two cultures.

I was fascinated with the idea of building bridges with a culture before Pearl Harbor, Nagasaki and Hiroshima; another reminder that each generation needs to be building peace, one day at a time, passing that torch to the next generation.

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