Monday, March 30, 2015

Friend of the Court Briefs in the 8th Circuit

Well, it turned out the brief FLGBTQC signed on to in the US Supreme Court case(s) was not yet the last as we had all hoped: we've also signed onto multi-faith briefs in four cases before the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, because filing deadlines in those cases were scheduled before oral arguments in the Supreme Court. 

So it is my privilege to announce that Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) ( joined many other faith groups on friend of the court briefs filed on 26 March by Kramer Levin in four cases coming before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals this spring.

The cases are Lawson v Kelly (Missouri), Rosenbrahn v Daugaard (South Dakota), Jernigan v McDaniel (Arkansas), and Waters v Ricketts (Nebraska). 

As ever, the briefs are easy-to-read, enlightening, and encouraging. 

More information about the cases is available from Freedom to Marry at:
You can read the briefs here:
And also here:
Congratulations to all the signatories, and gratitude to everyone who has worked so hard on these briefs!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Eostara!

Happy March Equinox! Happy Eostara in the northern hemisphere!

  • What are the sunrise and sunset times where you are? 
  • How many hours of daylight are there today in your locale?

There are lots of places to look this information up, from the US Naval Observatory ( to TimeAndDate.Com (, and more. 

  • What spiritual lessons or reminders does Spring Equinox bring you?  

Other recent astronomical events: 

There was also a solar eclipse today, visible in much of Europe, northern Africa, and northern Asia.  We had brilliant sun mixed with scudding clouds here, but I did get some really cool views using a colander and a piece of white paper taped up to the side of the house.  That was pretty neat! 

Earlier this week, much of the UK saw some gorgeous auroras.  My city was fogged in, so I didn't get to see any, but there are some fabulous pictures at the AuroraWatch UK Flickr pool:

I hope this Equinox brings either Spring or the promise of Spring to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere who have had unusual amounts of cold, snow, or both this winter, and to anyone who is just. ready. for. Spring. 

Happy Eostara! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Worship and Mutual Care

Readings from a recent meeting of my Local Meeting's Es&Os (Elders & Overseers).  This was fairly deep with us, and so I thought I'd share:

The heart of the life of the Religious Society of Friends is the Meeting for Worship. It calls for us to offer ourselves, body, mind, and soul for the doing of God’s will.

Worship is the adoring response of the heart and mind to the influence of the Spirit of God. It stands neither in forms nor in the formal disuse of forms; it may be with or without words, but it must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We recognize the value of silence, not as an end, but as a means toward the attainment of the end, which is communication with God, and fellowship with one another.

In all our Meetings for Worship, we gather in a spirit of prayerful obedience to God, with a willingness to give as well as to receive. In speech or in silence, each person contributes to the Meeting. Worshiping God together, we strengthen one another, and our bodies and minds are refreshed in the Life of the Spirit. Our daily lives are linked with the Meeting for Worship, the Meeting for Worship with our daily lives.

Friends are encouraged to give adequate time for study, meditation and prayer, and other ways of preparing for worship, and to arrive at Meeting promptly with an open and expectant spirit. During the Meeting for Worship, some people may feel moved to speak, to share an insight, to pray, to praise. When we feel led to speak, we should do so, clearly and simply. When another speaks, we should listen with an open spirit, seeking the thought behind the words and holding the speaker in love. After a message has been given, Friends should have time to ponder its meaning and to search themselves before another speaks.

How do we prepare our hearts and minds for worship?

Do we meet in expectant waiting for the promptings of the Divine Spirit? Is there a living silence in which we are drawn together by the power of God in our midst? Is this inspiration carried over into our daily living?

Is the vocal ministry exercised under the leading of the Holy Spirit without prearrangement, and in the simplicity and sincerity of truth? As we listen, or as we speak, are we guided by the Inward Light and sensitive to one another’s needs? Are we careful not to speak at undue length or beyond our light?


Mutual Care

Our need for love and care, and our response to this need in others, make up a rich part of our lives. In an exchange truly grounded in love, each of us is both giver and receiver, ready to help and accept help. Neither pride nor fear keeps us from the unconditional love and care of God manifested through others. Let neither comfort nor self-centeredness blind us to need of others.

We listen to one another with openness of heart and in good faith, aware that greater wisdom than our own is required to meet our human needs. We lift up our hearts to the Source of all wisdom and power.

Are we charitable with each other? How careful are we of the reputation of others? Do we avoid hurtful criticism and gossip?

Do we practice the art of listening to one another, even beyond words?

How well are we able to love each other unconditionally?

Are we sensitive to each other’s personal needs and difficulties and do we assist in useful ways?

~ from Faith and Practice of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, Chapter 6, Advices and Queries, 1993 edition


I recently started a term on Overseers, the pastoral care and counsel group, of my Local Meeting, appointed by Area Meeting. 

I am deeply uncomfortable with the term 'overseer,' because of its association with chattel slavery.   I'm willing to be referred to as a member of Oversight, but I am not comfortable being referred to as an overseer.  And I'd much prefer if we were called something more in line with what we actually are, such as Care & Counsel.  

Local Meeting 'Es&Os' (Elders and Overseers) had one of our regular meetings this week.  Our convener asked me beforehand to bring a reading to share.  Usually these are from Britain Yearly Meeting's Quaker Faith and Practice, but sometimes from other Quaker texts or something different altogether.  I spent part of my afternoon beforehand delightfully buried in several different books.  I ended up finding much more than I was looking for in North Pacific Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice, which remains one of my all-time favourite Faith and Practice books, for many reasons. 

What I have above is what I ended up reading.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friend of the Court Brief Before the US Supreme Court

It is my joy and privilege to announce that Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) ( joined many other faith groups on a friend of the court brief filed on 5 March by Kramer Levin in four Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals cases coming before the US Supreme Court this spring.

The cases are Obergefell v Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v Beshear (Kentucky). 

More info is available here:

Again I encourage you to read the brief.  There are some changes from the first one two years ago, based on changes in statistics and in case law since then.  The brief is tremendously encouraging to read.  Also, it seems longer than it really is because the list of signatories is so long. 

You can read the brief here:

More information, and a list of briefs, at:

And -- NEW! -- also at: 

Congratulations to all the signatories! And deep gratitude to everyone who worked on this brief, and all the briefs.

We hope this will be the last friend of the court brief we sign on to on the issue of same-sex marriage.  

 It is widely held that, should the Court decide in favor of same-sex marriage, this case will be definitive.

As Friends in Britain say, HOPE SO!