Rising to another level through community

October 27, 2020 | By Nils Klinkenberg

Dear Friends,

This is Nils Klinkenberg, taking over for my colleague Jen Higgins-Newman in this week’s brief introduction to our bi-weekly digest. 

Early tomorrow evening (Wednesday, Oct. 28), Jen and I will be “traveling” virtually to be the guest conveners of the national Witness Wednesdays midweek worship hosted by Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), the nonpartisan Quaker lobby in Washington, DC. We were invited by FCNL to bring a quote or query to read aloud to open the silence; here is the passage we’ve decided to share:

“Of course, participation in a Friends meeting should satisfy personal needs and desires. But that is not the real goal or meaning of faith and practice. It is the far greater venture of placing one’s own gifts, insights and worth at the disposal of a group, which in turn places itself at the disposal of divine, imponderable purposes in the world. It is the mystery―indeed, the sacrament―of finding the best one has to offer individually raised to another level of worth and meaning when submitted to the processes of the community.”

– Douglas Gwyn, A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation

For me, Gwyn’s words encapsulate a core aspect of what the Beacon Hill Friends House is all about: each of us bringing our full selves to the disposal of a larger group where we may find our contributions raised to a higher level. The House has a handful of openings for new residents over the coming few months – please help us fill them by passing along our information to others you think might be interested or by reaching out if you’re curious about residency yourself.

Doug Gwyn’s quote also reminds me of ways we might all work together for justice. In this month’s Tuesday evening Quaker Preparation and Response to the Election programs, participants have been discerning in groups what advocacy work they are individually called to do and how they might work together in concert with other communities in their efforts. And later tomorrow evening, mirroring our own “visit,” FCNL staff member Bobby Trice will be the guest facilitator for this week’s MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness – leading participants in a contemplative practice exploring the historical context and spiritual grounding of Friends’ efforts to change government through the centuries.

I hope you’ll join us for Witness Wednesday, MIDWEEK, or any of the other upcoming events in our calendar that speak to you. Thanks for taking the time to read these words and to be a part of our collective work.

 In Light and community,

Nils Klinkenberg
Executive Director, Beacon Hill Friends House