The Mayflower, Indians, Holes in the Ground and Quakers
Over the past couple of months I have been reading “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick. The New York Times named this book one of the ten best books of the year (2006) and it became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. Rarely have I enjoyed a history book about this period more than this one. Tidbits of information about the Pilgrims and their journey to the New World came fast and furious. One particular piece of information fascinated me.
Edward Winslow (1595 - 1655) was one of the original 102 passengers on the Mayflower and a leader of the English Pilgrims who landed on the shores of America on November 11, 1620. Winslow would serve as the governor of Plymouth Colony in 1633, 1636 and then again in 1644. In 1624, not yet four years after the Pilgrims came to America, Winslow wrote an account of the early years.
By that year Winslow had become a close friend of Chief Massasoit and his Pokanet Indian tribe, the people most historians credit with helping to save the Pilgrims from starvation during that first cold winter of 1620/1621. Winslow recounts taking a long walk on an Indian trail with a Pokanet Indian and learning for the first time how Pokanets preserved their history for posterity through memory holes. Winslow wrote:
“Instead of records and chronicles, they take this course, where any remarkable act is done, in memory of it, either in the place, or by some pathway near adjoining, they make a round hole in the ground about a foot deep, and as much over, which when others passing by behold, they inquire the cause and occasion of the same, which being once known, they are careful to acquaint all men, as occasion serveth therewith. And least such holes should be filled, or grown up by any accident, as men pass by they will oft renew the same: by which means many things of great antiquity are fresh in memory. So that as a man travelleth, if he can understand his guide, his journey will be the less tedious, by reason of the many historical discourses will be related unto him.”
Using these memory holes the Pokanets shared important events in their history with their children and grandchildren as they walked, telling tribal stories and passing down their heritage as they paused to keep the memory holes clean from overgrown brush. The Pokanet Indians seemed to have understood the importance of preserving past in order to maintain the cultural understanding and intellectual unity of their people.
We could probably learn a few things from the Pokanets. In many ways we Quakers have failed to keep clear and clean the memory holes of our past as a church. We fail often to accurately describe and teach about the Friends Church, its faith and practice and its place in history. Not only our history but also our nation’s history. The same Puritans who sailed the Mayflower and survived the first brutal winters are the same ones who hanged professing Quakers in the town square because they didn’t agree with their understanding of Christianity. We rarely teach that history to our congregations today.
The toughest question may be, “are we raising our children and are we living lives that would be the equal of those members of the Society of Friends who gave their lives because of their religious convictions.” As a denomination, or movement, Quakers have never been a large group, but we have been loud and influential. The abolition of slavery, the reform of a prison system focused on punishment into one intent on rehabilitation; none of these things would have happened without the Society of Friends.
Today, I worry that we may be losing our identity as Friends in the hopes that we may be more appealing to the crowds. To some the idea of becoming a community church is appealing. The problem is community churches are a dime a dozen and they are dying in small towns everywhere. Let’s instead celebrate the history of our denomination and continue to teach our members exactly what it means to be a Quaker. At its heart Quakerism is about worshiping fully and humbly the God who has changed our lives and redeemed us for the purpose of sharing His love and grace with the world. There is no greater. -Matt Bishop, Pastor
Deep Sea Discovery
Vacation Bible School at BLFC
July 17th – July 22nd
Each evening, 6:15 – 8:30 pm
Pre K (3 years) – completed 5th grade
For more info, contact
Dani Juncker at 641-750-2502
Josie Evertsen at 573-999-9437
VBS Closing Program on Friday, July 22nd
at 6:15 pm, followed by a picnic for all.
DEEPER Continues thru the Summer
We are continuing with our summer program of DEEPER on Wednesday evenings. Meals are offered at 6:15 pm followed by one adult class taught by Pastor Matt Bishop, and activities for the children and youth beginning at 7 pm. A nursery is provided. Each Wednesday a different topic for the adults is shared so it won’t matter if you missed the week before or not - a great opportunity for discussion and digging into how we apply the Bible to the world we live in today. Have a free Wed. evening? We’d love to have you join us for a great time of food and fellowship!
Capital Improvement Fund
A new line item for the church budget was approved at the April Monthly Meeting. Several improvements such as floor coverings, plaster, painting and some others are necessary for our church building. Several thousand dollars are needed for these repairs and upgrades. The sanctuary project is mostly finished except for final painting and putting back the woodwork that was removed earlier. We’ll also be searching for some lighting fixtures. Additional work on our building will be done as funds are received. Stewardship and Trustees would gratefully accept any donations to the Capital Improvement Fund in order to complete these recommended improvements. Any checks should be made out to the church with “Capital Improvement Fund” on the memo line.
Remember In Prayer
~Mac & Berny McDonald, Co-Directors of Mesquakie Friends Church at Tama, IA
~BLFC Vacation Bible School, July 17-21, 2016 –
Invite friends & children from your community to join us.
~Youth Mission Trip, July 24-29, 2016, to South Dakota
~Planning for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of our church building, October 1, 2016
July Mission Project
Our July mission offering will help pay for solar panels for the Friends Theological College in Africa. The electric grid in Kenya is unreliable. The electricity goes off multiple times a day and is off for days or weeks at a time. The solar systems will provide 24/7 electricity making it easier to train students on library computers. Jim Hoeksema from Grinnell Friends has taken a sabbatical leave from William Penn to install this system at an estimated cost of $80,000.
It’s time to STUFF THE BUS!
The House of Compassion is getting kids ready for school with a backpack of supplies. We can help by bringing items or financial donations. (Make checks to BLFC for HOC School.) Supplies will be combined with others and placed in backpacks to hand out August 6th and 8th. Pocket folders are most needed. Other items requested include: colored pencils, composition notebooks, pointed scissors, 3 ring binders, spiral notebooks, erasable pens and notebook paper. This is one of our VBS mission projects so children will also be asked to bring supplies during VBS July 17-22. Our little school bus will be in the entryway awaiting your donations. Bring items or funds by Sunday, July 31.
Youth Mission Trip - July 24-29, 2016
Hello, Friends, as the time rolls by the youth here at BLFC are getting excited about our upcoming mission trip. The kids put in a lot of hard work to help raise funds to be able to take this trip, from serving meals to raking leaves, and many tasks in between. We have a group of 10 heading to Martin, South Dakota on July 24th. We will spend the week in Martin serving an area with a deep Native American heritage. We will serve through painting, cleaning, yard work or other work projects. We will have the opportunity to plan and lead kids’ programming for children in the community, including Bible lessons, games, crafts, and reading. I know we are all looking forward to see how this trip blesses all involved. We truly are grateful for all of you who donated, prayed, and helped make this trip a possibility. We look forward to sharing our experiences when we return. Chris Evertsen
You’re Invited - Friends United Meeting
Friends United Meeting is hosting a series of small group gatherings across North America. In July, Colin Saxton, FUM General Secretary will be in Iowa and they would love to have us join them. Friends from across Iowa will be gathering to discuss the good work we all participate in through FUM. We will also explore how to better partner together and support our shared efforts here in North America. Part of the evening will focus on Energize, Equip and Connect: The FUM Campaign. FUM is in the midst of a three-year $3,000,000 effort to strengthen FUM’s sustainability and enable them to launch several new initiatives, including many aimed at revitalizing our work and witness in North America. There are presently 3 locations scheduled in Iowa and the closest meeting for BLFC is at Marshalltown Friends Church, 2409 South 6th St, on Thursday, July 14th from 7:00-8:30 pm. There will be refreshments and great fellowship for all. Peace & joy to you! Colin Saxton
Iowa Friend Newsletter Subscriptions
are now due. The price for group renewals is $9.50 per subscription. If you want to know what is happening in Iowa Yearly Meeting the Iowa Friend is a great resource for that. Please let Diane T know by July 15th if you wish to subscribe or renew your subscription.
Ministry Conference of IAYM-“Revivify”
This year’s Ministry Conference will be held at William Penn University, July 27-July 30 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Our Yearly Meeting Conference is designed to give attendees the vision, challenge, and tools to return to their own setting with a revived heart for Jesus Christ and a renewed dream to impact their communities. Registration forms are available at the church, with each day’s emphasis/schedule and costs/fees included. There are activities, events for all ages. Registrations are due to the YM office by July 17th. Questions?? Call the Yearly Meeting office @ 641-673-9717.
From Bangor Cemetery Association
Each year approximately $6,000 is spent to maintain the Bangor Friends Cemetery. The cemetery is privately owned and funded from donors. At this time the association is asking for help. Any form of contribution to their endowment fund would be welcome. If you would like to help with the upkeep, mowing and repairs at the cemetery, please mail your gift to Bangor Liberty Friends Church, 1260 Hopkins Ave, Union IA 50258 with a notation on the envelope, Attn: Cemetery.
*Our Monthly Potluck after Worship will be held on Sunday, July 10th. Committee #2 will host. The social committees will be reorganized soon.
Your Recipes Needed
as soon as possible!!!
Bangor Liberty Friends Church
Building through 2016 and Beyond
Please submit through e-mail or give (hand delivered or placed in church box) written/typed copies of several of your best home-cooked recipes for the 2016 Edition of the Bangor Liberty Friends Church Cookbook to:
Karen Hammers, Leah Higgins or Mollee Patten
*Appetizers & Beverages
*Breads & Breakfast
*Candies & Snacks
*Cookies & Bars
*Desserts & Pies
*Meats & Meat Casseroles
*Soups, Salads, & Dressings
*Vegetables & Side Dishes
It Depends on How You Look At It
A man pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of town. As he filled his tank, he remarked to the attendant, “I’ve just accepted a job in town. I’ve never been to this part of the country. What are people like here?”
“What are the people like where you came from?” the attendant asked.
“Not so nice.” the man replied. “In fact, they can be quite rude.”
The attendant shook his head. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find the people in this town to be the same way.”
Just then another car pulled into the station. “Excuse me,” the driver called out, “I’m just moving to this area. Is it nice here?”
“Was it nice where you came from?” the attendant inquired.
“Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly, and I hated to leave.”
“Well, you’ll find the same to be true of this town.”
“Thanks!” yelled the driver as he pulled away.
“So what is this town really like asked the first man, now irritated with the attendant’s conflicting reports.
The attendant just shrugged his shoulders. “It’s all a matter of perception. You’ll find things to be just the way you think they are.”
-Adapted from the Positive Christianity Web site
-To the world you are just one person, but to one person you may be the world.
-No matter who is president, Jesus is King.