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Christian Friends Conference – Western Region, Palo Alto, California

By Bruce Folsom

The quarterly meeting of the Christian Friends Conference-Western Region was held on Saturday June 2, 2012, at Palo Alto Friends Meeting, with Friends present from Quaker congregations in Sacramento, Berkeley, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Santa Cruz. After an opening period of worship, an excerpt was read from George Fox’s Pastoral Sermon VI: “Christ is exercising his offices as a counselor, and as a bishop to oversee, and as a king, priest, and prophet, who renews men again up into the image of God, as man was in before he fell. Let your eyes be turned to this bishop and prophet . . .” (Devonshire House, London, 1677). Then a letter written in 1900 by William Burgess, the great-great-grandfather of Charles Martin who found it in Friends’ Intelligencer on a recent trip to Pendle Hill. The letter read, “. . . several of the attendants [in S.F.] are members of some branch of Philadelphia Yearly Meet­ing, while others represent different localities, some being members of the other branch of Society; yet all meet in harmony with the same great object in view, for social and religious communion, and the performance of acceptable worship in ac­cordance with the precepts of the Master, under the Christian dispensation. Slight differences of opinion on doctrine, or conventional forms and customs, which by many seem to be considered as dogmas of the church and essential to salvation, are not allowed to interfere with that friendly intercourse which toleration invokes and true charity demands.

Friends then gathered for over two hours of worship beginning with Bible reading. Ministry included readings from Psalm 90, Revelation 20:11 and following, and James chapter 3. (Later a Friend noted that at least four Friends were reading Revelation today.)

After fellowship over lunch, we were blessed with a wonderful presentation by Barbara and Thom Wallace on their experiences at the Leadership Institute for Group Discernment, held over three days in May 2012. The web address for Good News Associates and The Leader­ship Institute for Group Discernment is: www.goodnewsassoc.org. It was also noted that Ben Lomond Quaker Center will hold a conference “Clerking among Friends” from August 31 to September 2, 2012.

Our next gathering will be held on September 8, 2012, with Bruce Folsom presenting “Evil — Why Talk about It?” We then gathered for our final hour of worship. Ministry included an expression of gratefulness for Friends here today, and thoughts from the recent FWCC meeting on hope in Christ.

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