Participant Bios

Janet Abrams

Preferred personal pronouns “she, her.”

Grew up in Baltimore County, MD. Living in Baltimore City, MD.

Daughter of Robert, a Jewish surgeon who grew up in Baltimore, and Dorothy, a non-practicing Baptist who grew up in western KY. They met in the Navy, at the Oakland Naval Hospital at the end of WWII.

Sister of Michael (76), Karen (70) and Susan (70). (Yes, they are identical twins.)

Mother of Julie (38) and Cathy (35). Mother-in-law of Vivek and Alex. Grandmother of Kira (7), Rohan (4) and Arthur (1 1/2). Julie and her family live in Oakland, CA. Cathy and her family live in Iowa City, IA, where she and Alex are completing medical residency training.

In a stable, loving relationship with my partner Karen. We met on Match.com during the height of Covid and have been together for 3 years.

Graduate of Oberlin College (BA in biology) and the University of Maryland School of Social Work (MSW in clinical social work).

Retired from full-time work at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2015, where I worked as a clinical social worker on an inpatient psychiatry unit for geriatric patients.

Retired from part-time work at Sheppard Pratt Health System in 2022, where I was a psychotherapist in an outpatient clinic serving older adults.

Seeking discernment on how to structure my time in retirement with meaningful service.

Lover of classical music of all eras and all genres, with special love for Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Alto in a chorale for 55+ adults who aren’t musically trained. (I’m learning. It’s a truly humbling experience.)

Walker for daily exercise and grounding.

Convinced Friend in the unprogrammed, liberal tradition, with an intense interest in finding the universal truth in all spiritual streams. Member of Homewood Friend Meeting (Baltimore, MD) but currently attending Gunpowder Friends Meeting (Sparks, MD). Active participant in the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Spiritual Formation program.

Seeker of deepening spiritual experience and clarity on how to use my gifts, which I am hoping to find through participating in this program.

Maria Arias

 

I was born on Christmas Day in 1957, in Barahona, Republica Dominicana. I am the oldest of 3 children born to Hilda and Alejandro Arias. I came to the United States in September of 1966. I am a graduate of Bronx High School of Science, ’75, University of Rochester, ’79, and NYU School of Law, ’84. I currently work as a Family Court Judge in New York County, adjudicating cases involving child abuse and neglect. I have been a Judge since January 2010. I have worked  in three counties Queens, Kings, & NY County where I have been since June 2018.  Previously, for 19 ½ years, I worked as a Clinical Law Instructor at CUNY School of Law in a Battered Women’s Right Clinic.

In my home I was raised Catholic. As a young adult after college, I began to participate in Buddhist meditation. I also began to practice yoga. I went to silent meditation & yoga retreats. In November 1995, I attended Quaker worship at Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and eventually this became my spiritual home.  I became a member of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting in March 2001. A line from my membership letter …”I seek to be still and to know God.” I am still seeking to be still and to know God.

Significant events in my life: the birth of my son, Djasi Arias, he will be 35 years old next month and his birth was/is this amazing miracle. I am still in awe of this miracle of life and how a being enters into the world. Being with my father through his lung cancer diagnosis and death on February 16, 1999.  When my father died I didn’t feel I had unresolved issues with him.  When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, we were somewhat estranged from each other.  He had separated from my mom in 1984, and we talked with each other on Father’s Day and on his birthday but we did not stay close in touch and there were lots of challenges. From October 1996 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer until February 16, 1999 when he died, we got reacquainted with one another and had a beautiful relationship with each other. I feel blessed to have had that time with my father.  I have been a part of an organization called  “Be Present Inc.” since 1984. It’s an organization focused on the development of leaders in social justice movement and it uses a model called the Be Present Empowerment Model.  Currently I work on Black Women’s Leadership in this organization. My mother is a big part of my life. She is 88 years old and I try to see her weekly (its not always possible). We have a very tender and loving relationship with each other. I have close and wonderful relationships with members of my family: my son, siblings, nieces and nephews. I love the arts, music, theater, dance, live performances. My friendships are important.

Olivia Bustion

 

I live in on the south side of Chicago, where I spend my days teaching religious studies classes and my nights plotting an escape from academia. My passions include rock-climbing, poetry, deep conversations, coffee, and God—not in that order. I attend 57th Street Meeting of Friends in Hyde Park.

Carol Clarke

 

My childhood was the most difficult time of my life – I was raised by parents who were emotionally wounded, abused alcohol and drugs, did not get along, and both resented the responsibility of parenthood.   I was abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.  I grew up with the belief that I had to assume responsibility for solving problems that weren’t mine to solve, and that this was a way to be safer and feel less disempowered.  I was resourceful, did well in school (which was a refuge for me), and was skilled at pretending my life was normal and I was fine.  I suppressed my feelings and denied my experience, and carried a lot of unknown rage and pain.

I was always thirsty for knowledge and independence.  In college I became a Marxist-Leninist and spent years engaged in the fight for justice and structural change.  I channeled some of my rage and pain into this in a constructive way.  I also began to drink self-destructively, and continued to suppress my emotional history.

As I turned 30 I had an insight; what I now recognize as a leading. I wasn’t happy, my life wasn’t what I had hoped or expected it to be, and I needed help.  With therapy I began decades of intense focus on owning my childhood experience, grieving and recovering, and learning to live authentically, not being self-destructive.  I went to AA in 1989; it was when I did the AA 2nd Step that my spiritual life began.  Doing the AA 12 Steps, I was able to begin to live authentically and see that a Higher Power had been supporting me and leading me to make the healthiest choices possible for me my whole life.

As I grew in my spiritual awareness,  I felt ‘nudges’ that I was compelled to follow without forethought or planning.  For example, I moved from political work to an IT job in 1989, and continuing to follow nudges, had a successful corporate career.  In 2005, I suddenly knew I had to leave NYC and the corporate world and, following another leading, I ended up in Ithaca, NY trying to farm for a living.

As I explored and deepened my spiritual life since 1990, I went through a time of being a pagan, then a Buddhist, and then found Quakers in 2018. God led me to Quakers when I was prepared to receive and welcome Quakerism in my life.  When I learned the testimonies (SPICES), I knew I had found my spiritual home.  My participation and involvement has grown steadily since.  

I opened up to and embraced my childhood pain and I’m still learning how to honor it and heal.  My journey has been to learn unconditional love for myself and the world. My internal experience continues to be very intense; when I connect to Spirit I am lost in sobbing.  I yearn to go deeper into the Divine, to grow into who Spirit wants me to be, and to know my next leadings.

Mary Chenaille

 

I’ve always been a Christian albeit of multiple religious denominations.  One of the first memories I have of my Canadian Mémé is of her snatching me off the foot pedals of the church pipe organ.  Quite innocently I’d slipped off the pew and came down on a black key filling the sanctuary with a sonorous C#.  I never sat near the organ again. That incident set me on a trajectory of growing curiosity towards the  church.  I don’t remember a time of disbelief in the saving power of Jesus.

I have three degrees from institutions of higher learning: in Animal Science, Occupation Therapy, and Religious Education. As you might expect no one degree prepared me for the next one, instead I’ve become a Renaissance woman, a woman who has milked cows, been in the first graduating class of OT’s at Worcester State College, and led Bible study, and distributed food and clothing as part of an Episcopal street ministry in Boston.

What do these experiences have in common?  Not much, however taken together they’ve allowed me to relate through experience, to the conditions of many people coming to Worcester Friends Meeting.  Some have called my life serendipitous, some say I’m the recipient of good old fashion luck, a few, in recent years, see my life’s trajectory as part of God’s everlasting plan for my life.  Looking back over 70 years I know I arrive here in this place and time having been given abundant grace.

Like Mémé, my herstory revolves around the church.  I became a convinced Quaker in the very early 20th century.  I’ve served on multiple committees: Buildings and Grounds, Peace and Social Concerns, and Nominating, also I act as Worcester Friends Meeting’s House Manager, Corresponding Clerk and representative to Worcester Interfaith.  Spirit has taken my disparate experiences and formed a person who is able of bringing God’s love to many different people.

The story of my coming to Participating in God’s Power is one of grace upon grace.  I do a fair amount of online searching and one day happened upon a post about the “Deepening at the Root” weekend. I’d not been to Pendle Hill nor heard of Christopher Sammond.  However, I knew I was to be there.  Towards the end of our time together Christopher mentioned “Participating in God’s Power.”  It was then that I realized who Christopher was.  I knew I was to be there but nagging doubts arose around previous denials I’d received from other programs. I checked in with Christopher happily to find no obstacle to my participation. What ensued was a late reference, missed deadlines, and the hustle and bustle of finances and logistics.  I know I am to be part of the second cohort. I pray the words of Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  And, I beg pardon from all the people inconvenienced by my process.

JT Dorr-Bremme

 

Although raised as an atheist, I have long had an interest in myths and religions from around the world and studied some of them academically. I have also had a fascination with science, especially quantum physics, astrophysics, and chaos theory. The synthesis of these ideas led me to my first Quaker meeting after I had a mystical experience alone in 2004. Meeting for worship touched me deeply, but I didn’t go back. Still, it planted a seed in my mind. 

Since 2010, I have been carrying a concern regarding the intersectional crises of energy, economy, and environment. In 2012, this concern led me back to the Religious Society of Friends as a group that might be engaging holistically with the spiritual and practical changes this situation demands. Since 2014, I have traveled widely among Friends, seeking to deepen my own faithfulness and that of others. Indeed, as the crises intensify, we will need ever greater resilience and interdependence, both of which require hope and faith. 

I am passionate about the message of oneness with Spirit that Quakers have to offer and the potential of that message to change the world. I am hoping to witness and testify to this Truth with other Friends. I believe a prerequisite to do this rightly is to live ever more into Divine Love within ourselves and each other. I believe each individual’s inner healing can lead to more effective outward healing of the myriad ills of our time. This will be a lifelong process with much struggle. I feel led to do work to support this journey with individuals and communities amongst Friends and beyond. It is my hope that restoring our knowledge of one another’s inherent holiness will bring Light and Love more fully into the world. 

Barbara Fischer

 

I’m still reeling from the past year. One of my dearest friends died on 1/04/24 of ALS. My brother died of melanoma in October, and my younger sister from brain cancer on 2/02/23. Also this past year, I celebrated 10 years of remission from multiple myeloma, my son’s first child was born, and my other son got married. It’s been a lot. Back to the topic.

A birthright Quaker of at least 7 generations, I was born the middlest of 5 children to a Quaker mother and a Hungarian father. Dad had survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emigrated to this country in 1948. My Quaker grandparents were saints/heroes and my Hungarian grandparents were geniuses/heroes.

I grew up in New Jersey, then attended Swarthmore College, where I double majored in psychology and music. After 2 years spent living with my older sister in Philadelphia, I moved to New York City to obtain master’s degrees in special education and neuroscience and education. I worked in New York City for some years, living with my younger sister for one of those years. When my car was broken into for the 9th time, I knew it was time to go. At that point, I moved to Cincinnati where I had family, with my then boyfriend, Stanley. We have been married for 32 years and have 3 children, all of whom we adopted and who live in the area, as do my two nieces.

After surviving breast cancer and associated treatment in 1999, we moved to Madison, WI in 2000 to raise our children together with my younger sister’s kids. All 5 children had a fine time growing up together, and I had a fine time accompanying them on that journey, although many, many challenges emerged.

In 2004 I went back to work at the Madison VA as a psychometrist, and then returned to school in 2006 to obtain a doctorate in psychology.  Commuting down to Chicago 1 -2 days a week for 4 years while my kids were young was not easy for any of us. Moreover, we had to move to Cleveland for a year for my internship, packing up our house in Madison and putting it all in storage. Returning to Madison for post-doc was a relief. I then took a position as a neuropsychologist in Green Bay which lasted 6 years, until obtaining my dream job of assistant professor at UW Madison in 2021. Now I’m trying to decide when to retire. We moved my parents to a retirement community in Madison in 2019, as my father’s health had precipitously declined. He died in 2020. My mother is doing well at 92 but losing her memory. She broke her wrist yesterday.

I grew up in the New Brunswick New Jersey Monthly Meeting and have been actively involved in local Meetings throughout my life; as a child, we also frequently attended FGC. Soon after moving to Madison, I joined the Madison Monthly Meeting and have been an active participant in the meeting community since then, teaching first day school and serving on various committees. After taking one of Christopher Sammond’s workshops at FGC in 2017 or 2018, I started a spiritual deepening group in our Meeting, which is still going strong. As I approach retirement and within the context of losing 2 siblings in the past year, I am seeking to live my life as intentionally as I can.

Katie Green

 

I was the first child born to my parents: Anna Melle DeVault Waddell and J. Addison Waddell III. Mother was the fifth child of eight. We moved several times because Dad worked as a mechanical engineer – starting up electrical power plants and trouble shooting others.

My little sister, Jo Ann, was born when I was 3 years old. She died of leukemia when she was four year, 3 months old, and I was seven

We lived comfortably.  When we moved to Massachusetts in 1954, we joined the Holden Congregational Church.  In junior high and high school, I was active in the church youth group, and sang in the church choir in high school. Academics were not difficult for me. I played sports and joined the theater group.

I went to College in Ohio – Wittenburg College. I was not happy there. Managed to get myself pregnant in my junior year and flunked out.

I had three children from that marriage, and divorced him when the youngest, Tyler, was 9 months old. I then finished undergraduate school at Case Western Reserve University, and got my Masters in speech and language pathology. Upon graduating from CWRU, I moved back to Holden MA.

I worked in a teaching hospital. My mother died from colon cancer.  I changed jobs to work in a school setting in order to have more time with my children.

I became concerned about environmental issues, and met my husband, Phil Stone. We worked together to stop the second Seabrook nuke from being built. Phil and I spent many hours organizing and attending peace rallies and protests. I was a non-violence trainer for people considering civil disobedience. We lived together for 12 years before we married in 1991. 

By that time, my older son had fathered a child, but neither he nor the child’s mother were parental material. Following several years of litigious hard-ship, Phil and I ended up taking in our grand-daughter when she was almost 7 years old.

I came to the Religious Society of Friends through a concern for social issues. My daughter, Whitney, graduated from the Meeting School in New Hampshire

Phil and I moved to Dunedin Florida in 2016, after being “snowbirds” for a couple of years and deciding that no one needs 2 houses. I am a member of the Clearwater Friends Meeting. I dearly miss seasoned Friends of NEYM. In March 2023, I created the Dunedin Interfaith Story Circle. It has been quite successful.

Katy Hawkins

 

I’m Katy Hawkins, a lifelong Quaker and a member of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting in Philadelphia. I say “Quaker” rather than “Friend,” as part of the ministry of Embodied Quakerism I’m seeking to nurture in this program. I’d love to reappropriate the term  from its pejorative roots, to invite us back into some of the passionate, wild, whole-self-trembling that got us the name in the first place! If Quakerism’s most radical, free, gorgeous premise is that we can create the conditions that facilitate an unmediated, pure, direct experience of the divine, doesn’t that connection show up most intensely in corporeal events like birth, death, love, loss, illness, or ecstasy? I’m grateful to Ayesha Imani for articulating how early Quaker forms of connection with and celebration of God have been tamed over the years, as middle-class white masculinist culture shapes our worship (and our formal processes) into rigid, cerebral, codified forms.

For some, the strictures of our worship form can restrict and sometimes prevent an authentic experience of how God is really moving through us. As the presumptions of dominant culture come under question, what if this faith can only survive by cracking open new experiments for facilitating that communion? This is what I’ve been trying to do for the last ten years or so, by teaching the integration of body, mind, and spirit in Quaker spaces (retreats at Pendle Hill, workshops at FGC and area Friends schools, classes in my Meetinghouse). And/but I’m 50, and a single-ish mom of two, and 30 years of teaching are not leading to sustainable work. I’m feeling burned out on trying to inspire (maybe resuscitate? Maybe that’s too generous a view of 17th-century English dissenters) new practices among Quakers that approach and revere the body as a doorway to the sacred. I need this. I need you. I’m so grateful for this container, and although I have no idea what’s on the other side of the next twelve months, I’m very, very excited to have the chance to grow and move among you.

Laurel Ladd

 

I will try to explain the inner thoughts, workings, and meanings that seem to be my theme over sixty-one years. The outward part is that I have lived in Maine for almost thirty years. I grew up in Massachusetts with a single mother and my sister. I am college educated and have worked in the accounting field. I have been deeply committed to a man for thirty-five years that I met in college. We have three grown children aged twenty to thirty. I truly love nature and being outside. I find my daily walks with my dogs’ paramount to my day. I am not affiliated with a church/religion. Early in my life I visited Buddhist temples in Japan. I learned about meditation and the power of place. Later with our children, we went to the UU Church. I felt the teachings held a universal opening to world religions from which we all could learn. I also have respect for the Quaker tradition, as it holds the importance of spirit in silence and community.

In the inward part over the past seven years, has been discovering more about my own spirituality, as well as the world’s. I am truly jazzed by the journey. I took a two-year program at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME), an interfaith program. It triggered my inner quest and was the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.”  I wanted to study authors, mystics and religions more deeply. I worked with a group virtually for a year where I studied Hildegarde, Ghandi and Chittester.  It became clear to me that I didn’t fit a certain type of religion or box. They all spoke to me in a deeply experiential way. I decided to create my own program. My morning practice revolves around reading, “daily” meditations and meditation. I have had fun creating small book groups with a spiritual mentor from ChIME or a friend. I have also worked with a spiritual director for two years. He is a retired minister and has the religious background to fill in my gaps.

 I am in the second half of my life. It’s not about the “doing” anymore, it’s about the “being.” I want to learn to be present to the “now” and to those around me. Being able to let go, become aware and surrender to the moment. I believe it’s creating space for spirit and changing my old patterns. I have had moments of being in a higher vibration, of synchronicity and deep inner knowing. I know I can trust my intuition. I do feel blessed. However, the part that leaves me in awe are the people that have come into my life and the places that have immense beauty. It’s the indescribable that happens in the moment between me and a person or a place or an animal. And when those connections happen, I know that spirit is present. It’s what I want to bring into the world and it’s what gives my life meaning. I look forward to working with the group and creating daily personal accountability.

Alice McMechen

 

Born 12/14/1944, third of four siblings, girl boy, girl boy. Raised in Nassau County, Long Island  – small suburban house on what had been Rottkamp’s farm.  A tree-climbing, bike-riding childhood with a lot of interaction among neighbors.

Diverse ethnicities and religions, but no black or hispanic families.  We attended St. John’s Methodist Church (my father only for baptisms, confirmations, and weddings).  I am now a Quaker as were my ancestors back to 1670.  I started attending Cornwall MM in 1985, have been active in NYYM with the Earthcare Working Group, did a year’s residency at Pendle Hill in 1995-96, and finally actually became a member in 2013.

Father’s work: machinist and shop steward. Mother’s work: housewife, mainly.  She fostered babies awaiting adoption.  She was church secretary until some members of the congregation challenged the pastor for giving her the job non-competitively.  But the job she loved best was part-time in the Doubleday Bookstore, surrounded by books.

Neither of my parents graduated from high school.  My mother got her GED in her forties.  My father was certified in a number of trade areas.  His favorite was in piloting boats.  He was an active Power Squadron member.  He had us out on beaches and boats and camping as often as his work allowed.  Both parents valued life in the outdoors and valued education.  My father was determined all four of his children would attend college.  Which we did.

I have a BA in Humanities/English major; an AA in Nursing; and an MA in Professional Studies.  My career has been diverse using my nursing and humanities degrees across healthcare planning and provision in a number of settings.  My last position before retiring in 2011 was facilitating a network of families, providers, and educators to enhance the provision of children’s behavioral health services.  My very first jobs, however, were as librarian and editorial assistant for a movement newspaper in NYC and as a caseworker for the NYC Department of Social Services.  My activism began during my freshman year in college in 1963 with SDS, anti-Vietnam War, union organizing…

I have lived in Warwick, NY, in the lower Hudson Valley, since 1980, where we moved from NYC when our two children, Sean and Kate, were 10 and five years old respectively.  My husband and I divorced in 1985.  I am grandmother to Sean’s three children, ages 21, 19, and 14.   They live 1 ½ hours away.  I am grandmother to Kate’s son, age six.  They live 30 hours away AU.

What do I love?  Music.  I have been singing with Warwick Valley Chorale for 40 years.  It fills me with joy.  I feel connected to a higher power.  Boating.  Gliding across a lake in my lightweight, quiet canoe-kayak is magical.  Hiking.  Increasing age is encroaching on my ability to engage with these loves in the way I have in the past.  Qi Gong is invaluable in this transition.  I am giving up the boat for starters.

Greta Kirk Mickey


It all began in the sleepy little village of Highland, New York in the year of our Lord, 1950.  I was baptized into the Episcopal Church and remained an Episcopalian into my thirties.  My childhood was challenging, having been conceived by my mother to be the glue for my parent’s marriage.  Mother didn’t love me or want me. Papa, from the “old country”, believed it was the mother’s job to raise children and so was absent from the parenting role until we could converse as adults.  From my perspective today, this beginning gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life.  God filled that hole and became my lifelong secret pal and confidant.

For thirty some years, I was a devout Episcopalian, called to the work of ministry.  I sang in the choir, was head acolyte, lay reader, eucharistic minister, nun, and candidate for the priesthood.  I also became a Priest’s wife.

Circumstances around my divorce from my priest husband helped me realize that I as deeply uncomfortable in a hierarchical faith and that I would need to pursue corporate worship and ministry elsewhere.  After some searching, I came to the Religious Society of Friends.  As a Friend in New York Yearly Meeting I clerked committees, Monthly Meetings, and a Regional Meeting. I served the Yearly Meeting as Clerk of the Peace Concerns Committee which morphed into serving as Peace Concerns Coordinator. In that role I worked with Meetings to find way through conflict and created program to lift up our Peace Testimony and its relationship to all of our testimonies.  I am an Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator and trainer who has worked in the U.S. and abroad.  I carry a leading to work for world peace with the understanding that the work begins within each one of us.

I am now a member at Gunpowder Friends Meeting in Sparks, Maryland (Baltimore Yearly Meeting).  I serve as a co-clerk of Ministry and Counsel and the Working Group for Stewarding our Vision. I am now Assistant Clerk of the Meeting, scheduled to rise to Clerk in July 2024.

I am greatly blessed to have birthed three daughters: Jessica, Kristen and Rebecca.  I also have three grandchildren: A twenty-three-year-old grandson, Jordan, six-year-old Vera, and two and a half year old Brady.  I am blessed to babysit for Brady four days a week.

Several years ago I found myself in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  I was alone and just swinging down the street as music pumped out of each doorway.  As I reached the end of the Quarter I came upon a young man sitting on the side walk busking as he played his sax.  He asked me why I was so happy.  My response was “Life is good”.  We had a conversation.  We were both smiling broadly when he thanked me and I walked on.  Yes, Life is good! 

Kasper Ronning

 

I’m Kasper; 30 years old, a lifelong resident of Central Florida, and a member of the Religious Society of Friends AKA Quakers since 2019. I am a second-generation Norwegian immigrant on my father’s side and my mother is adopted so I consider myself blessed to be able to spend my time amongst f/Friends, for my family is quite small.

Although raised quite secularly and from ages 10 to 28ish was an ardent atheist, today I am a Christo-centric Friend: a Quaker deeply moved and enthralled by the narrative of Christ. This relatively newfound spirituality is a joy and a way for me to connect with others, sharing my generalized love toward this world of ours.

Before finding Quakers I loved taking long walks (16,000 steps on average daily) but within the first couple of years attending my meeting I went from completely able-bodied to relying on a cane to walk when I leave the home. My meeting warmly embraced me through this terrifying change. Quickly some folks even somehow intuited my initial discomfort at the label of “disabled” and would gently tiptoe around such language. Naturally, since then, I have- in true Kasper fashion!- veered the other way embracing my medically inflicted identity as a cripple.

On a lighter note, my hobbies include gardening, cooking, and sharing what can best be described as food “horror”/comedy memes on social media. I have been married eight and a half years and I light-heartedly refer to my wife and I as a “trans power couple” as we both transitioned after our wedding- me immediately afterward and she a handful of years later. My wife had come to the US with dreams of pursuing a career performing, ideally, in musical theater, and from her, I have learned to adore the genre. Her wedding vows to me ended with her singing the male part in Married from Cabaret- one of our shared top five favorite shows. Other favorite musicals of mine include The Last Five Years, Come From Away, In The Heights, and Company. I quite enjoy playing house husband, filling my time with Quaker shenanigans, social media doomscrolling, and a full social life over phone and video calls. I am eager to include all of y’all in my life and become a small but hopefully pleasant part of yours.

Rebecca ruhlen

 

Rebecca Ruhlen (age 55) is an anthropologist and lactation consultant in North Carolina. She grew up in rural Kansas as a mostly motherless faculty brat and preacher’s kid. Raised Methodist, she found Quakerism during her college years in Texas, joined Beacon Hill Friends Meeting in Boston during graduate school, and eventually settled in Davidson, North Carolina, where she is now a long-time member of Davidson Friends Meeting.

In twenty years with Davidson Friends, a small unprogrammed meeting in North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), Rebecca has served on just about every committee but Finance, has clerked Ministry and Counsel, has been recording clerk, and currently serves as clerk of the Meeting. She has often been led to share vocal ministry during Meeting for Worship.

Rebecca taught college courses as adjunct faculty at UNC-Charlotte and Davidson College for about 15 years, during which time she also had a busy volunteer life in breastfeeding advocacy and support. She got certified as a lactation consultant (IBCLC) in 2010, opened a small private practice doing home visits in 2017, and now works three days a week in a hospital maternity unit in Charlotte. Rebecca has sporadically attended her yearly meeting and FGC’s Gathering since young adulthood.

Rebecca found her spiritual home in Quakerism primarily thanks to the unprogrammed tradition’s emphasis on queries over dogma, its practice of waiting worship, and its historical record of leadership on peace and social justice work. Through Davidson Friends’s membership in NCYM(C), she has further developed her childhood grounding in Christianity in the direction of mystical and community practice.

After a quarter-century raising children (one stepson and one son), Rebecca and her husband empty-nested mid-pandemic. That rocky midlife transition, laid onto the disillusionment of being a progressive white pacifist under Trumpism and the grief of the covid era, shook Rebecca’s worldview and spirituality at their foundation. Her decision to join the Participating in God’s Power program is in large part an attempt to build a new one.

Regarding her other interests, to name a few, Rebecca likes to go places with her dog, a cuddly and ferociously anti-squirrel pittie mix named Greta (after Greta Thunberg), read or listen to fiction (mostly sci-fi and fantasy), watch TV (mostly Star Trek and YouTube cooking channels) with her husband, go car camping (more hammocks than hiking), and do local voter rights protection and elections work. She keeps intending to take up knitting again.

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