Reports

University Friends Meeting made the following reports, statements, histories, and guidelines public via our website:

Statement of Support of Sanctuary for War Resisters in the Military (7/2006)

University Monthly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Seattle, Washington, USA

7/27/06

At their regularly scheduled meeting for business held this day, Friends approved the following statement of support:

In mid-June, 2006, First United Methodist Church of Tacoma became a sanctuary church and made the following statement:

“This church has long been active in efforts to achieve reconciliation and peace in our community and the world. Tacoma is surrounded by military bases and inextricably connected to the consequences of war. We have been asked to consider supporting service men and women by becoming a sanctuary for those considering resisting deployment to combat duties. We are called upon to respond to our Christian faith tradition and religious heritage, and to the needs of all who seek to live according to the dictates of conscience.

“We declare that ‘sanctuary’ is a place made holy by the sanctifying action of God, amidst God’s people–an act of obedience to the mandate of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We offer protection, advocacy, and support to those who, after individual examination of conscience, are unable to participate in the armed forces of the United States or combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. ”

University Friends Meeting, (Quakers) of Seattle, in accordance with our faith’s 350 year tradition of opposition to war, wishes to endorse First United Methodist Church of Tacoma’s stand in offering sanctuary, a sacred space for service men and women considering resisting deployment to combat duties. These decisions must be very difficult to make. And sanctuary will be a blessing to the men and women struggling with them. We will circulate your request for assistance to our members and our Peace and Social Concerns Committee is sending you a financial contribution. May God bless your continuing efforts.

We know that following one’s “inner light ” not to participate in war while in the military takes tremendous courage. We are heartened by those who take that path. They bring hope to a war-sick world. We thank them for considering seriously the path of peace.

What Do You Do That is Green? (3/2009)

(Posted on 3/4/09)

“What do you do that’s green?”

This question was posed by the Peace and Social Concerns committee, on a pin-board outside the worship room for the past several weeks. It drew 56 response cards, many with several ideas. Here’s a summary of what they said, followed by several interesting or amusing specific comments.

By far the greatest number of folks addressed transportation: several drive hybrid cars, several said they don’t own a car, seven ride bicycles everywhere, and several bus or walk when possible.

Recycling and composting were the most common responses after transportation, including trading or remaking clothes, reusing plastic bags, even collecting chicken droppings. Five people said they shop at thrift stores, and several limit their buying consumable goods in general. Six people said they grow some of their own food, and three others buy their produce from local growers whenever possible.

To save household energy, four Friends buy low-energy fluorescent bulbs, and two mentioned turning off lights when not in use. Six said they keep their house at 68 degrees and turn down the thermostat at night or when they’re away. To stay warm, one person suggests, “Wear sweaters and cuddle under blankets.” Several wash dishes by hand and seven dry their clothes outdoors or on a rack or lines indoors. One family has installed solar water heating. Two cards mentioned replacing old windows with double-paned windows.

To save energy and water, several said they turn off the water while soaping up in the shower or washing their hands. Two families even use “grey water” for flushing the toilet and vegetable-washing water to water their plants.

Three people mentioned saving trees by using cloth bags for groceries, and cloth napkins and towels in place of paper.

Finally, several Friends mentioned various forms of activism: educating acquaintances, lobbying, donating to green causes and shopping green, and voting “right.”

Here are some interesting, amusing, or unusual comments:

“Hold wonky tirades about the 3-year depreciation cycle for computers—I think it should be five years, at least.”

“Go on the bus to lots of boring meetings to promote pedestrian amenities.”

“Cremate draped body when the time comes to recycle quickly and easily…no jar—spread me around.”

“Understand why I enjoy nature; create things that are beautiful, will be cherished and saved.”

“We are the Recycle King and Queen of our block!”

“Clammy hands for the planet! I’ve mostly stopped using paper towels in public rest rooms.”

“I nag organizations (mostly via email) to present transit, bicycle and walking directions on their websites and event announcements. Amazingly enough, this is sometimes successful! Look at www.200.org for a good example.”

“Make my Halloween costume out of recyclable items…the ‘eco-couture model’!”

“My work, Urban Hardwoods, diverts trees from Seattle’s neighborhoods from going to landfills and uses the reclaimed lumber to build fine furniture.”

“I’ve rehabbed six old houses, adding insulation, double-paned windows, efficient furnaces and water heters. I’ve installed 200-300 compact fluorescent light bulbs in the past three years.”

Guidelines on Handling Email (11/2013)

Thoughts on UFM Email

While email is a tremendous benefit to us, at times it can be a burden. Care and Counsel Committee put together the following document to help fellow members. It is common when in the midst of an email problem that we feel the need to help the other person understand our position or make our points more firmly. In these guidelines below, we suggest another tack:

Whenever you feel the need to set things right, instead wait calmly. If after due consideration it is still necessary, briefly state your position once and move on.

Too Long

One strategy for long emails is to skim them looking for questions or requests. Limit your response to answering the questions or requests directly and briefly. This will greatly reduce how much must be read and understood, but still gives the other person a specific response. It represents a midpoint between ignoring an email and taking on the burden of reading and responding to an overly long missive.

Too Numerous

If you are receiving too may emails from another member, consider taking a break and filing for future perusal. Once your good feelings return you can limit the amount of mail you read from the other person by setting aside a period of time, say 10 minutes every Monday, to read and respond to their emails. Take the rest and file them for later.

Confusing

If the email is confusing and there are no requests or questions in it, then take whatever understanding you may have from it and move on. If there are requests or questions in it that you cannot understand, simply respond by letting the writer know that.

Unkind

A good rule of thumb is to read the first few sentences and ask yourself if you feel good about reading further. If continuing to read is digging a hole of bad feelings, then stop digging and move on. If you want, let the writer know that for you to read the email, he or she will need to rewrite it with kindness.

Writing Email

The other side of reading email is writing email. Kind, compassionate, and thoughtful emails that come quickly to the point and put any requests in the first sentence are the mostly likely to receive an audience. Put aside longer or heated emails until you have the chance to revise them to a paragraph or two of kind, compassionate, and thoughtful words.

Care and Counsel Committee, November 2013

Minute Welcoming Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (6/2017)

In June 2017, after a year of education and discernment, University Friends Meeting approved the following Minute:

University Friends Meeting, a member of North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, seeks to be an open and affirming faith community. We welcome all to share in worship and the activities of our common life.

University Friends Meeting understands that the Divine Source is leading our Meeting to honor the gender identity and expression of each person, as understood by that person. We affirm that gender expression and identity may be fluid and changeable. We recognize that when we embrace the Light within the full spectrum of gender identities in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enriched.

As part of our evolving struggle to live our testimony of equality, University Friends Meeting minutes our commitment to becoming an affirming, safe, and nurturing place for everyone to live fully that which the Spirit is leading them to be.

We extend our loving care to people of all genders, including, but not limited to, transgender, gender queer, cisgender, gender fluid, agender, gender nonconforming and intersex persons, their families and friends. We will continue to educate ourselves and our communities and take appropriate action to bring about a more equal world.

The North Pacific Yearly Meeting passed a similar minute in July 2017. If you have any questions, we have compiled a set of definitions and a list of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Stories & Resources.