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A Centennial History of the American Friends Service Committee

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:55
By Gregory A. Barnes. Friends Press, 2016. 498 pages. $24.95/paperback. Buy from QuakerBooks

At the Conference of Quaker Historians and Archivists in 1994, Quaker historian J. William Frost argued that the historical significance of Friends in the twentieth century lay primarily in social, political, and humanitarian activism. Of that activism, the best-known manifestation is unquestionably the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). It has been a source of at least mild dismay for many of us that, despite its massive archives, AFSC lacked a comprehensive published history. Now, to mark the centennial of AFSC’s founding in 1917, Gregory A. Barnes has provided one.

Barnes argues that the history of AFSC can be divided into three periods. In the first, from 1917 to 1950, AFSC was “ahead of its time” in its humanitarian interventions, focused largely on feeding programs. Between 1950 and 1990, Barnes notes, AFSC was “catching up with the times,” shifting work out of Europe and increasingly focused on problems of racism, poverty, and injustice in the United States. It was in this period that AFSC became increasingly assertive, and public, in its criticism of U.S. government policies. And it was also in these years, Barnes finds, that AFSC discovered the virtues of diversity. Finally, since 1990, he finds AFSC increasingly “data-driven” in its work, still grounded in Quaker practices and processes but focused as much on reconciliation and building effective communities as relief work.

AFSC was the product of war. When the United States adopted conscription after entering World War I in 1917, Quaker leader Rufus M. Jones of Haverford College proposed the creation of a service group for American Friends who could not conscientiously render military service, perhaps modeled on the Friends Ambulance Unit that British Friends had created. Representatives from Friends General Conference, the Five Years Meeting, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting agreed to oversee the creation of a “Reconstruction Unit” that would undertake rebuilding of homes and communities in France and relief work in Russia. After the war, the emphasis shifted increasingly toward feeding the hungry, especially in France, Russia, and, more controversially, Germany. In the 1930s, AFSC also developed domestic programs, winning the esteem of Eleanor Roosevelt for its attempts to create communities for displaced Appalachian coal miners. During the Spanish Civil War, relief work was the focus. While shut out of war zones during World War II, AFSC focused on aid to displaced people, including Japanese Americans. It also provided alternative service for conscientious objectors through Civilian Public Service, a subject that deserves more attention, I think, than Barnes gives it. Perhaps the high point of AFSC’s existence came in 1947 when it and the British Friends Service Council received the Nobel Prize for Peace on behalf of Friends everywhere.

After 1950, AFSC continued relief work, but increasingly focused on opposition to war and racial injustice. Perhaps the most provocative expressions of the former impulse came with a call for unilateral disarmament in 1955’s Speak Truth to Power and opposition to the Vietnam War that, in the minds of critics, verged on calls for a communist victory. AFSC adamantly supported civil rights, providing early support to Martin Luther King Jr. In the 1970s, a new emphasis on women’s and gay rights developed, and, in the 1980s, increased attention was given to immigrant rights.

It is impossible to summarize in a few hundred words everything that AFSC has attempted, and accomplished, or the criticisms that it has faced, often from Friends. They have ranged from charges that AFSC was insufficiently Christian in its aims, to worries over what was seen as a steadily declining Quaker presence within the organization. Today, less than one percent of its staff are Friends, and ties with many yearly meetings range from chilly to nonexistent.

Barnes is clearly an AFSC supporter, but he also acknowledges and addresses such criticisms. He has succeeded in providing a readable overview of the most important Quaker organization of the past century. He does, however, leave some important questions unanswered. For me, two are central. It is never clear where power resides within the organization, with the executive secretary, the staff, the board, or the corporation. Thus, when “the AFSC decided” to undertake some program, just what was the process?

The other question—since AFSC consciously decided to try to reflect the diversity of American society in its staff—is about the persistence of accusations of racism, sexism, and other oppressive behaviors. AFSC responses have usually conceded justice in the charges. As late as 2015, the organization was undertaking an examination of “structural and institutional racism.”

Even a work as long as this can provide only limited treatment of many important subjects. It is not the definitive history of AFSC. That will come only after other scholars have mined the archives to explore aspects of AFSC in greater depth. But this is a good start.

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We Answered with Love: Pacifist Service in World War I

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:50
Edited by Nancy Learned Haines. Pleasant Green Books, 2016. 412 pages. $19.95/paperback. Buy from QuakerBooks

In 1917 Mary Peabody and Leslie Hotson were students at Radcliffe and Harvard. They met through their shared interests in music and drama, poetry and philosophy, and quickly became soul mates as they discussed the war that had turned the campus into a military school.

Each was drawn to pacifism and service, though by different routes. Mary was the daughter of Sarah Peabody, the manager of a boarding house and a Unitarian suffragette raising two daughters on her own after her ex-husband spent most of her family money and left her in debt. Leslie grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Swedenborgian parents who had emigrated from Canada and were avowed pacifists in this war.

At Radcliffe, Mary was a day student, immersed in literary and musical clubs and street campaigns for suffrage, socialism, and workers’ rights. Leslie sang, acted, and studied English, wanting to be a writer. They both earned extra money tutoring fellow students in French.

Leslie’s brother Ronald had already declared his refusal to do alternative service and had been imprisoned along with other “absolutists,” men who absolutely refuse to serve the military in any way. At Fort Dix Ronald was beaten and starved. As Leslie watched his brother’s suffering from afar, he decided he had to respond to the horror of the war in a physical and positive way. He took a leave of absence from Harvard and headed for France to help the French Reconstruction Unit. Started by Quakers at Haverford College and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the FRU was the first initiative overseen by the new American Friends Service Committee.

Over the next year, Mary and Leslie wrote letters back and forth to each other, articulating their faith, their idealism that love would conquer evil in the world, their longing for each other’s companionship and cheer, and their plans for an activist future.

The French Reconstruction Unit helped rebuild villages destroyed in the war. It constructed homes from pre-fabricated materials, set up and managed medical clinics, organized stores to be run as co-ops, and taught in schools for refugee children. Leslie helped build houses, repair bombed water and sewage systems, and tutor children. He also wrote articles for Lewis Gannett’s newsletter, reporting on the work of pacifists so the disparate units working in France (and the world) could know the protocols and networks for responding to the war through alternative service.

In his letters, Leslie reported on his construction work, his views as he bicycled through the devastated countryside, the inspiration of his Friendly compatriots, the villagers who endured, and how he longed to be with Mary. He quoted the wisdom of Quaker leaders like Rufus Jones, who came to boost the morale of the Quaker service workers.

In her letters, Mary reported on her studies, helping her mother to run the boarding house, her work for the rights of women and laborers, and how much she missed Leslie. She, along with her mother and sister, came down with the Spanish flu, which would eventually kill 650,000 Americans, but which she and her family miraculously survived. She returned to school and activism, selling suffragette pamphlets on the streets of Cambridge, and supporting the factory strikes in Lowell and Lawrence, Mass., despite raids on dorm rooms looking for subversive materials.

The letters of their courtship offer a poignant study of young pacifists in war; even though WWI was thought to be the war to end all wars, the words of Leslie and Mary could have been the words of AFSC workers in WWII or Vietnam. Their words of sorrow at what they see, of determination to relieve individuals’ suffering, of belief in a true right and a corrupted wrong, and hope in a future no matter how grim the statistics of the present, are timeless.

In their letters, Leslie and Mary conversed about faith and pacifism and how, really, they were already, and should formally become, Quakers. When Leslie returned home after the war, despite Mary’s doubts about the institution of marriage, they wed and became an academic couple, Mary joining Leslie in his literary archival research. Eventually he became an English professor, teaching at Yale, NYU, and then Haverford College, where he lived next door to Rufus Jones and retired in 1942.

When Nancy Learned Haines found these letters, she knew they evoked a story larger than a young couple in love. An antiquarian bookseller specializing in Quaker historical books, Haines also knew these letters were of particular interest to Quaker historians. She transcribed and edited the letters so they move chronologically through the crucial year of 1918 in France. And she breaks them up into sections so, in introductions to each section, she can report on the family backstories for Mary and Leslie, the history of the war, the Religious Society of Friends’ organized responses, the treatment of conscientious objectors, and the formation of activist groups in Cambridge, Mass.; London; and Paris.

This April we celebrate the 100th birthday of American Friends Service Committee, and this book is an excellent tribute to the sacrifice, courage, inventiveness, and resourcefulness that has characterized every AFSC worker in every war or workcamp over the past century. It is Haines’ gift to essential Quaker history.

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The Anti-War: Peace Finds the Purpose of a Peculiar People

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:45
By Douglas Gwyn. Inner Light Books, 2016. 208 pages. $30/hardcover; $17.50/paperback. Buy from QuakerBooks

Doug Gwyn may have given more thought to the environment that incubated the earliest Friends than any other Quaker. In The Anti-War’s two interrelated essays, he digs down to the roots of our peace testimony and lays bare the ways in which it has evolved over the past 350 years. Each section is built on a section of scripture. The first essay, “Peace Finds the Purpose of a Peculiar People,” examines 1 Peter 2:4–17—one of the sources of early Friends’ claim to be a “peculiar people”—the second, “Militant Peacemaking in the Manner of Friends,” explores the significance of the Book of Revelation for the Children of Light. Don’t let yourself be put off by his use of the Bible; it illuminates the unique calling we have to model a society that is more than merely against war. Gwyn demonstrates that Friends are—or could be—the Anti-War.

First, a couple of definitions. In the King James Version, I Peter 2:9 is translated, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people . . .” In contemporary versions, instead of “a peculiar people” you will find “a people belonging to God.” The first Friends believed this verse referred to them. They belonged to God. They were called by God to fulfill a peculiar (i.e., God-chosen) role in this world—to live in peaceful relationships with each other and the rest of creation. This meant not merely forswearing violence; it was a life of total covenant faithfulness with Creator and all creatures—a model of interaction that is by its nature completely devoid of force and coercion. Violence does not have to be weeded out. It cannot grow in this soil.

Today, pacifism is frequently propounded as an ethical imperative—a superior philosophy that would yield practical benefits if only everyone would adopt it. This is very different from the situation of both the first Christians and the first Quakers. They embraced the consequences of covenant faithfulness. The surrounding cultures knew implicitly that this utterly rejected the bases of their civilization. Both peoples were rejected and persecuted, becoming internal exiles in their homes. “Their plea was no naïve plea to ‘give peace a chance.’ It was an apocalyptic unmasking of the machinations of worldly power, corruption, injustice, and violence . . . and advanced through revolutionary patience and suffering.”

The Anti-War is not something unseen to wish for. It is not practical or an effective plan to achieve a realizable goal. It is an alternative template for living in a society that is blind to alternatives. It will puzzle and offend others. It does not react to each new provocation with thoughtful and relevant answers. It dares us to stand still in the Inward Light until we can see clearly.

I read this book in September 2016 and again after the November elections. Seeing the reactions of my Friends to those elections made it clear the degree to which many Quakers identify building the kingdom of heaven with the platform of one American political party. This book can be an inoculation against that condition. It reveals the spiritual and religious bases of our testimony against war. It can help you find your purpose as one member of a peculiar people.

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The Beautiful Not Yet

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:40
By Carrie Newcomer. Available Light, 2016. 108 pages. $11.99/paperback. 12 tracks. $11.99/CD; $9.49/MP3 album. Buy from QuakerBooks

I once heard Carrie Newcomer recalling a conversation between herself and a friend about whether or not she should go back to grad school to get more credentials. This wise friend said that every album she had recorded and released was a credential, and that she has a PhD in her life’s work. The Beautiful Not Yet is Newcomer’s sixteenth solo album in a musical career that has spanned over 35 years. In it, you can hear a level of ease and mastery that comes with that experience.

Newcomer is a solo artist who is also, fundamentally, a collaborator and community builder. The songs in this album and the poems and essays in the accompanying book arise from solitude, silence, community, and collaboration. Several were written as a part of a spoken word and musical collaboration with fellow Friend Parker J. Palmer and musician Gary Walters called “What We Need Is Here: Hope, Hard Times and Human Possibility,” which is scheduled to premiere this spring. These include “You Can Do This Hard Thing,” “Help In Hard Times,” and “Three Feet Or So.” Others were inspired by the poetry of others or began as poems themselves in the accompanying volume.

Often compared to poet Mary Oliver, Newcomer’s work has a similar down-to-earth poetic sensibility, turning everyday interactions with others and experiences of the natural world into the sacred ordinary. This album and book have a prescient quality, showing up right on schedule as balm for politically divided times full of personal and communal suffering. The songs and writings are not simplistic, innocent, or blithe. They are instruction manuals and lunchboxes full of nourishment to help us put one foot in front of the other, find small hope and light, and enjoy love in the midst of hard times.

Musically, The Beautiful Not Yet is also a collaboration, featuring a symphony of Americana instrumentation—banjo, fiddle, mandolin, accordion—as well as standards for Newcomer—guitar, piano, bass, percussion, cello. The instrumentation lifts up the words, rather than detracting or overpowering them. In addition, incredible vocalists Moira Smiley (VOCO) and Krista Detor, among others, join Newcomer on this album. The first song, “Lean in Toward the Light,” is an anthem that gets to the heart of Quaker practice with a touch of gospel choir action on the chorus.

After listening to and reading The Beautiful Not Yet, I want to live in Newcomer’s world. It is a world that calls me to my best self, but in a way that seems possible, manageable, and desirable rather than overwhelming. As she writes in the poem “Kindness,” “Kindness is human size, / Honest and doable, / Softening even the hardest of days, / The country cousin to love.” It inspires me to read more poetry and to write more. Her ease, mastery, and devotion to her own purpose will likely inspire the same in those who read and listen to this album and book.

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Everyday Prophets

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:35
By Margery Post Abbott. James Backhouse Lecture, 2016. 52 pages. $14/pamphlet; $8/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

The two words in this title seem so antithetical—one so ordinary, one so formidable. Yet it is just this perceived incompatibility that provides both the space and the energy for Abbott to explore what prophetic ministry has meant and might continue to mean within Quaker history and tradition.

According to Abbott, the task of prophetic ministry, what she calls “the Big Picture,” is to nurture and evoke a consciousness or a perception that provides an alternative to those of the dominant culture around us. When, through our own experience, we come to see violence, suffering, or injustice with new eyes, we may find ourselves called to share and act on this revelation. But how do we find the courage and the humility to follow the guidance of our spirit? And what role, Abbot asks, can our meetings play in nurturing an individual’s “calling” when, within both the member and the meeting, “fear rises or when the comfort of what one once was lures us to inaction”? How do we listen each other into fuller life and trust that the Spirit is at work?

Abbott fears that for Friends, the willingness to be visible may be slipping away. We have grown fearful to share within our meetings callings that at first seem incomplete or unformed. And, while recognizing the value of Quakers’ “cherished list” of informants for ethical decision making—simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality—Abbott finds these insufficient in themselves to embrace fully either the source or the power of an individual’s call to “prophetic action.” We can be opened more deeply and with greater vulnerability to the voice of the spirit within, she writes, when we feel ourselves part of a community that is “carrying a vision of the New Creation, the Kingdom of God, that is being formed on earth.”

Interspersed throughout Everyday Prophets are stories taken from interviews Abbott conducted with individual Friends about their experiences listening for and trying to faithfully follow the voice of “deep spiritual guidance.” One Australian woman is called to persuade those of Anglo heritage to “pay rent” to Aboriginal people for use of their land; a lesbian couple from an evangelical yearly meeting whose Faith and Practice condemned such a commitment, remain present in their community; an older man arrives at an understanding that, under divine guidance, every aspect of our lives has the potential to be ministry and each act, however small, can be prophetic. There is no hierarchy of prophetic action, only a measure of faithfulness to the call.

Abbott is an experienced sailor and finds in the skills required to sail her small boat through rough seas apt metaphor for those embarking on a prophetic journey. While our boat may be small, the sea so large, and our journey unmapped, we do not have to fear being lost at sea. Many of our Quaker practices and beliefs, such as our direct relationship with the god or Spirit, a comfort with expectant silence, trust in continuing revelation, and practice in waiting on “way to open,” are available to help us “right ourselves and find the course that is ours to follow.” Each of us who chooses to raise the sails and ride the “voice of the wind” that calls us across the vast openness of the sea can, according to Abbott, provide witness to another way of being that is grounded in “beauty not fear.”

I plan to recommend that our meeting read Everyday Prophets, and I believe that we will be enriched and emboldened by reflecting together on the life of the Spirit in our community. How are members inhibited from or encouraged to share what we experience as a call from the Spirit? Is the Spirit alive in our meeting and are we willing to step out of our comfort zones to explore its movement among us? What are the ways we resist seeing the world around us with new eyes? How do we respond to an individual’s struggle to understand what the Light is revealing to her?

Margery Post Abbott is a member of the Religious Society of Friends and has served as clerk of Friends Committee on National Legislation. Her monthly meeting has formally minuted its support of her ministry as a writer and teacher on Quaker spirituality and history. Everyday Prophets was delivered as a lecture at the 2016 national gathering of Quakers in Australia. Order online from quakersaustralia.info or ipoz.biz/quaker-publications.

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The Distressed Body: Rethinking Illness, Imprisonment, and Healing

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:30
By Drew Leder. University of Chicago Press, 2016. 304 pages. $30/paperback or eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

To be human means to lead both a cerebral and a corporeal existence. The latter is easily forgotten by those of us whose pursuits are primarily intellectual and whose pastimes are electronic. Adults in particular may feel like walking, talking heads most of the time. Drew Leder invites us to take a long and paradoxically intellectual look at the other half of the equation: our animal bodies.

Leder approaches the subject as a philosopher and professor. His academic writing style is demanding. If you are not in the mood for words like hermeneutics and phenomenology, or for references to Kant and Descartes, this would not be the time to pick up this book. But if you are ready for serious study of the interaction between our physical existence and our mental and social constructs, The Distressed Body will challenge assumptions you never even knew you had.

The first few chapters are concerned with our relationship to our bodies in the face of disease. As a rheumatologist, I found his exploration of the experience of pain to be highly illuminating. Patients often accuse their doctors and families of not understanding what they are going through, while they themselves are confused by what they are feeling. With Leder’s guidance, informed by his own perspective as a physician but also as someone who has experienced neuropathic pain, the reader comes to appreciate the manifold nature of physical distress and what it does to our brains as we are confronted by the reality of our embodiment. There is comfort in making sense of the pain and coming to see that it can be borne.

The health story continues with a general analysis of our medical system and the tension between reveling in its contributions to our happiness and decrying its objectification of the human body. Our culture often regards the body as more akin to a machine than to an animal, made up of cogs and itself a cog in the economic system of healthcare. Leder suggests that rethinking the body and the entire material world as wondrous gifts could align our consumption and production of healthcare with our values.

The objectification of the human body is carried a step further by our penal system, which removes all control of their own bodies from the prisoners and treats them “like animals.” Although earlier in the book Leder had described his own medical experiences in dispassionate terms, when it comes to the tragedy of incarceration, passion must break through. Leder taught philosophy in a Maryland penitentiary and invited the participants to represent their experiences in their own words, which they do to great effect. We learn of the many ways that imprisonment distorts one’s self image and sense of space and time. We also hear their conclusions about the elements that would be needed to transform prison into a healing environment: hope, growth, recognition of merit, individuality, and community.

In factory farms, Leder finds the ultimate expression of being divorced from our bodies. Animals themselves are treated not as animals but as machines, inanimate slaves to human economics. By allowing ourselves to become oblivious to their distress, we inflict untold suffering on billions of beings in ways that would be considered criminal if applied to a pet dog or cat. This has profound implications for our treatment of the rest of the living world as well.

The book ends “on a positive note, examining how a reclaiming of a close corporeal bond with the natural world can help us revitalize the human world. Along the way, we discover that these are not two different worlds.” It is in the intersection between animals and humans that we catch glimpses of our own complete nature. Leder refers to the transformative experience of shape-shifting, which others would refer to as the spiritual experience of our connectedness to others. By feeling those connections and rethinking our assumptions, we may open ourselves up to possibilities for a society that makes room for all the inhabitants of our rapidly shrinking planet.

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Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality (Second Edition)

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:25
By J. Brent Bill. Eerdmans, 2016. 159 pages. $15.99/paperback or eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

Brent Bill’s writing style gets right to the point in Holy Silence, using language that Quaker meeting members and attenders will recognize. But Bill makes a point of addressing this book to all, as in anyone and everyone. As in our shared belief in the presence and accessibility of God, immanent but also beyond, pouring into us and allowing us to drop into silence that is deep and sacred.

Also in the manner of Friends is the use of queries. When Quaker ministry finds words (and this slim book is a lovely ministry), queries are often also present; they appear within the text from chapter 2 on. Queries also appear in a short section at the end. Because each of us is in a different condition, queries rather than directives help us internalize the ministry.

In this second edition, in addition to queries there is a new appendix called, “Silence Practices: Practical Steps to Experience Silence.” There are also a short glossary of Quaker terms and a list of suggestions for further reading.

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Sally Winton Bryan

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:25
Bryan—Sally Winton Bryan, 95, on October 25, 2015, in San Juan Island, Wash. Sally was born on July 15, 1920, in New Orleans, La., to Beatrice Stricker and David Knox Winton. Later her family lived in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Illinois before Sally left to attend Mount Holyoke College. She married James Bryan while he was studying engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and moved with him to his first position in Chattanooga, Tenn. They were unhappy in the South, and he accepted a position at Boeing that brought them to Seattle, Wash., in 1954🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Margaret L. Fogg

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:20
Fogg—Margaret L. Fogg, 90, on January 7, 2017, in Tallahassee, Fla., after a brief illness. Margaret was born on November 4, 1926, in Salem, N.J. She graduated from George School in 1944 and from Earlham College in 1948. The loving mother of seven children and grandmother of eleven, she nourished her family with her skills as a cook and baker. She loved travel and the outdoors and took her family on many adventures both in the United States and overseas. While living in the D.C. suburbs, she volunteered with🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Hero’s Journey: John Ritter, the Chip Hilton of Goshen, Indiana

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:20
By Jeff Rasley. Midsummer Books, 2016. 216 pages. $12.95/paperback; $4.95/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

What happens when heroes make mistakes or don’t live up to their outsized image? What makes a person a hero? Like many other terms that confer ultimate achievement, “hero” deserves a compassionate examination. Friend Jeff Rasley tells the story of a hero of his own and looks at how heroes appear in literature and history. Not everything can be “awesome” or “epic.” What happens when we give ordinary things the words we once reserved for the stuff of legends?

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Ellis Oliver Jones

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:18
Jones—Ellis Oliver Jones, 88, on October 25, 2016, in Foxdale Village in State College, Pa. Ollie was born on January 19, 1928, in Pontiac, Mich., the only child of Sybil Ellisa Ray and Ellis O. Jones. In 1949, in New Haven, Conn., he married Anna Mary Miles, a lifelong Quaker and niece of Anna Shipley Cox Brinton, his marriage bringing him a life of happiness. He studied at Yale University, University of Oxford, Columbia University, American University, and the Law School of Suffolk University. An economist, teacher, diplomat, international banker, and🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Joanne Marie Magruder

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:15
Magruder—Joanne Marie Magruder, 73, on October 25, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif., following a stroke. Joanne was born on February 25, 1943, in Long Beach, Calif., the oldest of five children of Lillian Ann Jensen and Gene Alvah Condra. Growing up on a small Anaheim, Calif., farm in an area with many Latinos, she was interested in cultures other than her own early in life. During her college years she spent a summer in Guatemala with American Friends Service Committee. She attended Whittier College on a music scholarship, earning a bachelor’s in🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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William Boyce Upholt

Friends Journal - Sat, 2017-04-01 00:10
Upholt—William Boyce Upholt, 72, on July 30, 2016, at home in West Hartford, Conn. Bill was born on September 14, 1943, in Orlando, Fla. He earned a bachelor’s from Pomona College in 1965 and a doctorate from California Institute of Technology in 1971, both degrees in chemistry. In 1975, after postdoctoral fellowships at University of Amsterdam and Carnegie Institution of Washington, he began research at University of Chicago in pediatrics and biochemistry, meeting and in 1980 marrying Mary Lee Morrison. He moved in 1985 to West Hartford, Conn., to work at🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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The World We Seek: We Can Live It (Providence)

On May 7, join us to hear firsthand about what the capital campaign means to FCNL and the future of Quaker advocacy. This local event welcomes everyone who wants to participate, and seeks to widen our network of supporters, local community leaders, and organizers.

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The World We Seek: We Can Live It (Boston)

On May 6, join us to hear firsthand about what the capital campaign means to FCNL and the future of Quaker advocacy. This local event welcomes everyone who wants to participate, and seeks to widen our network of supporters, local community leaders, and organizers.

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The World We Seek: We Can Live It (Hanover)

On May 5, join us to hear firsthand about what the capital campaign means to FCNL and the future of Quaker advocacy. This local event welcomes everyone who wants to participate, and seeks to widens our network of supporters, local community leaders, and organizers.

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FCNL's Yasmine Taeb Discusses Muslim and Refugee Ban in Stand.earth Webinar

Providing recent updates and advocacy tips for allies, FCNL Lobbyist for Human Rights and Civil Liberties Yasmine Taeb discussed President Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban in a webinar held by Stand.earth on March 28th.

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50th Anniversary of Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech

Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s prophetic sermon at the Riverside Church, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence."

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Quakers at the People's Climate March

Join thousands of people and hundreds of Friends at the People's Climate March. FCNL will be participating in several events the day before the march -- we hope to see you there!

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Civilian Deaths in U.S.-Led Airstrikes Highlight Misguided Military-First Approach

In response to one of the deadliest U.S.-led bombings of civilians in 25 years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation mourns the loss of life and expresses grave concern about U.S. complicity in the March 17 airstrike that killed scores of civilians in a neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq.

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