Amidst turmoil, a place of warmth

Dec. 5 2023 | Cheryl Mitchell

Photos from the archives: Beacon Hill Friends House drawing and top middle picture of two Friends from a ten-year anniversary pamphlet (around 1967), bottom picture of gathering on the deck dated May 1970 captioned: “Host to Smith Neck Young Friends.”

It was the summer of ‘68.

Cities across America were erupting in riots, political differences were dividing families, the war in Vietnam was raging, protesters at the Democratic National Convention were met with unprecedented police brutality. My husband and I were staying in a little walk-up apartment on the back side of Beacon Hill. He was turning our hitch-hiking experiences from the “Summer of Love” into the book Thumb Tripping. I was working with preschoolers at the Dorchester Settlement House. It felt as if the world was coming apart.

Then one Sunday, we happened to be walking past the beautiful building at 6 Chestnut Street. There was a small sign inviting people inside for a time of calm and quiet reflection.

Settling into the cool and silent meeting room downstairs, it felt like being washed in an oasis of love. It was simply clear that everyone was welcome, that the atmosphere of prayer could touch each of us in the way we most needed, and that healing and hope were possible. I don’t recall any vocal ministry that first morning, only a deep sense of peace so different from the news outside.  

I fell in love with Beacon Hill Friends House at that moment and have loved it ever since. How amazing to find a place that offers the deep solace which gives people strength to work for justice in the world.

For these many years, contributing to BHFH, both financially and as a volunteer Board/Corporation member has been a grounding part of my life. I am grateful that the House continues to grow and thrive, that so many diverse seekers and residents have had an opportunity to sojourn there. I invite you to be part of this warm welcome.

With warmth,

Cheryl Mitchell

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