Focus on the Family invites Freedom Friends Pastor and spouse to reatreat

Save the Date!
Pastors and Spouses —
Do you need a vacation?
Could you use some encouragement?
Imagine a vacation wrapped around a life-changing conference!
Then please plan now to join us at one of these
Focus on the Family
Pastor and Spouse Retreats! 
I get lots of pastor spam at FFC, but those nice people at F on the F are  fairly prolific. But How thoughtful! A vacation. 
Alivia thought so too! 


Blind Boys of Alabama

We Have tickets to see the Blind Boys tonight
Bar-b-que beforehand, of course.

Gonna get filled, body and soul!


Teacher Peggy Psycho 101

Nice long weekend - now back to school.


Patrick Stewart - Hero of the Faith

Sir Patrick Stewart (Queen Elizabeth recently said "make it so")
is hereby made a SPG Hero of the Faith, by virtue of his courageous, honest, and nuanced testimony against domestic violence.

It is difficult for anyone to speak publicly about a nightmarish childhood. It is even more laudable when they can do so and also be honest about the good in the abuser, and how the violence debased their soul as well as their victims. Stewart's father had a heroic military career, a respected leader of men, fearless in the face or terrible odds, so like fabled Captain Picard. But his post war home life was deplorable. His son is unfailingly truthful about both aspects of this man.  We also make special note of one Lizzie Dixon a hero in Stewart's memory, and let her stand for all those who have stood in the way and said "Come on, have a go at me."  May we all find the courage to speak for the voiceless.

Update   Here, Stewart speaking more recently about his mother and his father and how he works on behalf of both of them.  What a human!




Fashion advice for the lesbian professional

From the SPG Fashion desk

Dear Peggy,

I have a job interview coming up for a professional job in a large bureaucracy. I have no idea what to wear. I know I need to buy some new clothes, but what? and where? I am a  younger woman on the butch end of the fashion continuum. I am good at t-shirts, jeans and hoodies. More formal than that and I get confused. Please help!
Confused in Oregon

Dear Confused,

Panic not, I have confidence that with a bit of guidance, you can understand and execute this mission.

First some general rules about job interview fashion.  You need to do your homework. At the interview you want to look like you fit in with the organization.
Most workplaces tolerate a reasonable range of styles. You want to know what that range is. You want to aim for the upper middle end of that range.  You really want them to notice you, not your clothes. So you want to be comfortable and have them be immediately comfortable with you. Visit the workplace if possible, talk to someone who works there if you can.

Next: Some do's and don'ts

Do be yourself - within reason.  There are almost no jobs in the Pacific Northwest that require a woman to wear a skirt. If you never wear them anywhere else, you don't have to wear one now.  If you never wear make-up, don't put any on now, you will just be uncomfortable and that will show. But you do need to look professional.

Do find someone who cuts hair well. Get a haircut about a week before the interview, unless you have exceptionally unruly hair - then get it done on the day of. Be 'out' to your hairdresser. Ask your hairdresser if you need to tweeze your eyebrows, let them wax them if they will - This simple thing can make you look five years younger.

The fashion challenged should stick with solid colors.

Wear pants that are not denim. Khakis, non-industrial Dockers, natural fabrics, solid dark colors. You can buy pants in the men's departments, but large department stores have multiple sections of women's clothes, most of them have a section of  work clothes for women, they will have racks of pants. If you are slender, you can have pleats, if not, a flat front will look better. Buy the right size, most women wear their pants a size too small or a size too big. If you feel the waistband when you sit down they are too small, if you NEED a belt they are too big. Your pants should just settle on the top of your shoe when standing.

Buy a jacket/sports coat/blazer in a color that is harmonious with your pants color. Navy or tweed over Khaki, black over dark green.  Not too much black - Johnny Cash is not what you are going for.  Darker blue above slightly lighter blue- ok. Never lighter on top unless you are in the tropics ( I know you are not big on pastels).  Buy your coat in the women's department. Men's jackets will not hang right, even if you are small busted.

For the shirt under the jacket, nicer-knit shirts in solid colors,  this is where to add color. Collars optional, you will look smoother without one. Matching  the color of your eyes is almost always a good idea (except bloodshot) A good woven collared shirt is always acceptable. No one looks bad in a crisp, clean, white shirt - one button open.  Again, something that fits - not too tight or baggy. Do not fear the salespeople - they will tell you if you are wearing the right size. Woven shirts tuck, knit shirts do not.

This is your basic professional outfit. Jacket shirt and slacks, leather shoes.

Belts are optional.

Wear dark socks, but if they can be seen,  you pants are not long enough. (Do not cross your legs ankle on knee. Your knees should stay within six inches of each other when sitting)

Lesbians rarely make jewelry mistakes, a watch, a ring and simple earrings if you normally wear them - if you don't, that is fine as well. If you want to soften your look a bit, a simple small pendant or string of pearls will do that.

Some absolute "No - don't even think about it" rules.

Do NOT wear athletic shoes to the interview or the job.  You need to invest in a pair (or two!) of sensible leather shoes or short boots. If they fit right they will be comfortable. You always get what you pay for in shoes. You do not have to wear heels, but you need shoes that can and should be polished - probably in black. West of the Mississippi you can wear cowboy boots if you are so inclined, but dude ranch boots, not clodhoppers. Again - polish.



Do NOT wear your keys, phone or any other appliance on your belt. Only batman gets away with this. You are not that cool.

Your watch should not look like it was designed by the US Army Rangers or NASA. 

The part you aren't going to like:

You will have to commit some time to shopping. Shopping and buying are two different things. You will have to go into multiple stores. You might have to talk to sales people. (woefully hard to find at times) You MUST try clothes on. You should plan to spend half a day looking, then buy lunch and make a list and then go back and make purchases. If you can get someone to go with you for moral support, do so. A straight ally with time on her hands is a great resource.

Once you find a source for clothes that work for you, you can become a loyal customer and shop much less.

Do the best you can with this, and then don't stress about the wardrobe. They will hire you or not based on you, not your threads.

Good luck!


Freedom Friends - the State of the Church

The State of the Church
Freedom Friends Church
For the Year 2009

To Friends Everywhere:

Freedom Friends Church is Five years old!  That is old enough that we have stopped counting months. People who find our door find a community where honesty is the norm, acceptance is deep, and where people are willing to be stretched.  We are all works in progress and we know it. 

We represent 21 households with about 32 regular attenders. We took in our 20th and 21st members by convincement this year. We range in age from our early teens to our eighties with a very even age spread.  We are diverse in so many ways; we come from and live in different social classes, we do not all vote the same, we are gay and straight, bi and trans, we have various mental and physical disabilities, we have a wide range of education levels. All are welcome and all minister.

Our worship is alive. We give instruction in Quaker ways every time we worship. First time visitors often feel comfortable enough to speak. Most of us have something to say in worship with some regularity.  We give much liberty in worship; friends knit, draw, journal, write poetry, read, and still find time to be silent.  We are not all skilled at sitting still, but we work on it. When people come who are very new to our ways, we try and be patient as they learn to settle into worship, and how to share their gratitudes  and petitions and still leave plenty of room for others. We understand that others have been and are often patient with us.
We have been in our space on 13th street for three years now. We continue to struggle to make our expenses. The recession has left many of us with not much of a cushion and the church finances reflect this. About one half of our regular attenders are unemployed, underemployed, disabled, retired or students. Only about one third of our attenders have a full-time job with benefits.  And yet we have made it, and we have a very small cushion going into 2010. Our church budget is about $22,000 a year, 16 800 of that goes to rent.  We made donations of food and money to our local Food Share organization. 

We are greatly assisted by the faithful leadings of a group of people we call “The Friends of Freedom Friends” these folks live at a distance from us, or belong to other meetings or churches and yet include us in their giving because they believe in what we do.  These friends have kept us afloat this year, but more than that they make buoyant our hope, they encourage us to greater faithfulness. Our gratitude to them is deep. One such couple this year donated a beautiful quilt to the meeting to sell, another generous friend purchased it, and that money balanced the budget one month.

The great achievement of the year was the final approval and publishing of the Faith and Practice of Freedom Friends church. This 67 page document which is for sale on our website and at FGC Quakerbooks, took us four years to write. Which we understand is pretty swift for Quaker meetings. It was needful because we have no Yearly Meeting affiliation and we needed a grounding for our good order. It reflects a fairly orthodox, but generous, Christianity.  It describes a way of doing business that is working well for our meeting. We do not use it like a creed. But it is our common ground and each of us take our place on that ground where we are comfortable.  The theological diversity in our meeting is rich, and we treasure that.
We printed 250 copies of our Faith and Practice, at year’s end we have 44 left.  We hoped not to lose money making them and asked a price of $10 for them, and we made $548 dollars on the project. That was a pleasant surprise.  Copies of our book have gone off to every yearly meeting in the US and Canada, and to Europe, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific. Copies are sitting on shelves of several universities and many meeting libraries. We are thrilled by this.  It is also posted in its entirety on the web. We have received regular communications by mail and web thanking us, and sharing with us what our expression of faith has meant to others. They tell us that we have articulated something that needed to be spoken. We feel we have been faithful.

A highlight Event of the year was the worldwide FWCC gathering in Canby early in the year. We were tremendously grateful to the organizers for making us feel welcome. Freedom Friends was highlighted along with the Two Yearly Meetings. Our pastor was given a chance to speak and we had a dozen of us there one evening. We felt so grown up and real! The big kids let us play on their field. Our F and P’s sold like hotcakes that night.  British Friend and FWCC international Committee Member Roger Sturge paid us a visit and we enjoyed him.  We have hosted other Friends during the year; we especially remember the Daniels Family who spent Easter with us. Wess Daniels did a research paper on us for his doctoral degree at Fuller. He presented his paper at Guilford University and Guilford ordered a couple of F and P’s - that’s how it went this year.  Wess is now pastor at Camas Friends in Northwest Yearly Meeting and we feel we had a part in wooing his family up to the Northwest.

Many of our number have traveled this year in various ministries. Traveling minutes have been written to conferences on 21st Century Quakerism, diversity and Racism, and we sent one member to a Quaker Youth conference in Kenya.  Our pastor taught about how to be a dangerous Quaker at Pendle Hill. Two of our members are discerning calls to ministry and are under the care of Ministry and Oversight.  One of those has started a two year program with the School of the Spirit in North Carolina - this member is presently shepherding the 2010 Northwest Quaker Women’s Theological Conference to fruition. Another member is on the editorial Board of the Quaker Youth Book Project.

We care about freedom, this is expressed through our hosting a 12 step group, our presence at our community’s annual Pride picnic, our membership in the Community of Welcoming Congregations and this year we became signatories to the effort to repeal the Death Penalty in Oregon. Many of our members work in education, mental health care, governance and justice. One of our members was instrumental this year in an investigation of human trafficking.  One of our members developed a new and effective program in mental health in the State hospital.  Many of our members are artists. We consider all of this to be ministry. Our coffee is fair trade.

We have a web presence that is much bigger than our actual footprint.  Eight of us are bloggers.  Our Forum ( is not as much used as it was in the beginning; this reflects a real trend on the web. But we find it useful for meeting business, it has 35 users, and one member writes his blog there and has had 44,684 views in about 4 years. There are 77 individual threads on the forum with over a thousand views, 33 of them in the Quaker 101 section. I believe we are very googlicious, and many are viewing and using our resources.

Speaking of Google, there are 246 entries referencing Freedom Friends including many reports by visitors. On the evening that this report was written, if your googled “Friends Church” of which there are 18,000 entries, we are entry number 10.   

Our church website ( has about 300 page views per month.  Our main website now has a paypal button and some Friends have found this useful. We also now have a Facebook Page and reflecting current trends, Facebook is where most of us keep track of each other. Our Facebook group has 92 members.

We hosted quite a few visitors this year; we love it when traveling Friends stop in. We like to get a head’s up so that we can put a little time aside to be with you. Please come. Please remember us in your prayers.  When we sit on Sunday morning in the Presence we know that we sit with you. Thank you.


Out of the Mouths of Babes

So there I was ...
talking to a four year old.

I had a new car.
It was "inferno red"
I had decked it out in flame decals.

All the little boys loved it. It looked exactly like a hot wheels car.

Then I spoke to a little girl,

LG: Did you put those fire stickers on your car?
Me: Yes, cool, huh?
LG: So you are pretending that your car is on fire?
Me: Well, kinda, like it was going real fast...
LG: If you were going really fast, wouldn't flames coming from your car be a bad thing?

 photo came from  here




Goma - a tough place to survive for human or critter

This in from the SPG world desk.

Mount Nyamuragira a few miles north of Goma in the DRC erupted yesterday with Lava flow that has set forest fires. No one fights forest fies in the Congo. This one will affect some outlying villages and a lot of Chimpanzees. The mountain gorillas mostly live on the flanks of a different volcano. The Gomans call the five volcanos that ring their city "neighbors."  They are prone to say that the neighbors sometimes come to visit. Below is a picture of downtown Goma after even closer neighbor Nyiragongo came to visit in 2002. Among thr 600,000 souls who live in Goma are quite a few Quakers, and some of my former students.

That's Lava flow halfway filling a building with vehicles driving on the "new road"  at least six feet higher than the old road.