Sunday, May 31, 2020

CANDLELIGHT PROTEST REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD AND RACIAL INJUSTICE SUNDAY, MAY 31st @ 7PM PASADENA CITY HALL

Dear Friends, Like you, I am outraged and saddened by what happened to George Floyd this week, but not surprised. This kind of racial violence by police is all too prevalent in our nation, and here in our city. Many of you have probably seen the shocking video of a young Black man named Christopher Ballew who was savagely beaten by Pasadena police and his leg broken, for a routine traffic stop. If you haven't, here's the link. Fair warning. It's very graphic and disturbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcNaAH5VSHw
Since moving to Northwest Pasadena nine years ago, I have become increasingly aware of the racial profiling that takes place in our city, and the way that racism impacts people of color. Jill and I have taken part in vigils for African Americans who have killed and beaten, and stood in solidarity with their families and friends. This is a time for prayer and reflection, and action.
Take a moment and remember people of color who who have been killed and beaten here in our city and around the nation. Hold their families and friends in your prayers. And say their names, beginning with:
Kendrec McDade, 19-year-old son of Anya Slaughter, killed in 2012 by Pasadena police for allegedly stealing a laptop.
Reginald Thomas, nicknamed “Daddy Daycare,” father of eight children (with another on the way), killed by Pasadena police in 2016.
Christopher Ballew, beaten by Pasadena police for a routine traffic stop in 2018.
As I write this, protests are taking place and violence erupting across our nation.
Tomorrow here in Pasadena, people of faith will be gathering at 7 pm across from City Hall for a candlelight protest. It will be peaceful but not silent. Please take part if you can. And if you can't make it, please light a candle and pray, or go outside and make some noise, for 8 minutes.
Let this be a time to rededicate ourselves to racial justice and equality for all. Please spread the word of this protest with your friends.
CANDLELIGHT PROTEST REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD AND RACIAL INJUSTICE
SUNDAY, MAY 31st @ 7PM
PASADENA CITY HALL (Meet near the Mack and Jackie Robinson statue)
Parking with validation is available at the Holly Street Parking Garage located directly behind First Baptist Church. We invite you to join us Sunday evening for a night of nonviolent action at Pasadena City Hall. We will be wearing masks and observing physical distancing because this action is about the protection of life as sacred. We invite you to bring a candle (real or electric) to light.
Part of this action will be eight minutes of sustained noise to represent the eight minutes officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on George Floyd's neck, lynching him while his cries were ignored. Please bring something (bells, noisemakers, pots to bang, your voice to wail) to fill the air with sound during that time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

What we can do to help get out the vote and defeat Trump

I received this in the mail. I plan to take part in this campaign to get out the vote and defeat Trump and invite you to do likewise. If you need some motivation, check out this documentary. It shows how Kemp stole the election from Stacy Abrams with voter suppression, and how this has become the Republican strategy for winning despite being a minority party. 

https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed


 Hi.  Here’s a question to consider:

      Do you ever feel frustrated that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell keep doing harmful things and you feel unable to stop them and their enablers?

      Well, there’s some potentially good news!   There’s a guy named Scott Forman, a Democrat who went to Harvard and then he worked for a software company, where he learned how to measure the impact of hand-written personalized letters in hand-written personalized envelopes to motivate difficult-to-motivate people on important issues.   He first utilized this letter-writing method with a power company energy-saving campaign that used personalized letters to help consumers be motivated not to waste power.    They found the personalized letters to individual customers caused far more behavior change than other methods.   

     Then Forman tried out the personalized letter method in the Alabama Senate race of 2017 where he scientifically measured and discovered that an additional 3.9% of the “Registered Democrats Who Rarely Vote” did in fact vote in 2017 because they received a personal letter reminding them to vote.

     Then Forman tested out the personal letter method again in swing districts in the 2018 Congressional elections and found it once again significantly boosted the actual number of “Registered Democrats Who Sometimes Don’t Vote” who in fact did remember to vote in 2018 in those House districts, many of which flipped from red to blue as a result of that mid-term election of 2018.  

    Forman reasoned that most voters today hate unsolicited phone calls and they don’t want some stranger coming to the door (especially during the Covid-19 this year).   Yes, people are on their phones and Facebook a lot where they get bombarded by election year calls that they tend to ignore, but when a personalized sensible letter with a hand-written envelope arrives in the US mail, it more likely gets opened, it gets read thoroughly, and it leads to the person being more likely to vote.   (See the article in The Atlantic, “A Throwback Way to Win a Pandemic Election” from April 30, 2020 for a description of the letter-writing method and its effectiveness).    

     Now here’s the potential good news:   Scott Forman has put together a non-profit called Vote Forward or VoteFwd.org where they are ready to have us volunteers write personalized letters to “Registered Democrats Who Rarely Vote” or “Registered Democrats Who Sometimes Vote” in numerous battleground states, including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and others.   

     Just getting an extra 2% or 4% of these voters in battleground states to vote for a Democrat for President and Senate would restore sanity and decency to our nation.   

     VoteFwd.org is ready with a pile of targeted mailing addresses for 10,000 or 100,000 volunteers to write 50 or 500 letters each that will reach 10 million or more Democratic voters in crucial swing states for November 2020.  They’re calling it “The Big Send” and they’ve partnered with Swing Left, Indivisible, Daily Kos, the Women’s March, and the League of Conservation Voters to urge volunteers to do this old-school, newly-relevant way of Getting Out the Vote.    

      All you need to do to be part of making a huge difference in 2020 is to sign up at VoteFwd.org with your email and create a password.  They will ask you a couple of security questions to make sure you aren’t a robot or a Putin.   Then they let you download the half-typed, half-handwritten letter and the voter mailing addresses that you personally send (with Vote Forward’s p.o. box as the return address from that particular state on the envelope) along with your hand-written envelopes and stamp.  I recommend using colorful paper, a colorful envelope,  or a fun color of ink on the envelope,  along with a stamp that is engaging (Mr. Rogers, Marvin Gaye, “Honoring First Responders,” Gwen Ifill of PBS, Cesar Chavez, National Parks, or gorgeous rivers that are endangered by the current administration).   

       You can start today and save your stamped, addressed envelopes in a box in your home until you mail them during the final week of October to the “Democrats Who Sometimes Don’t Vote” in these key battleground states.   VoteFwd.org has already gotten 1.25 million of these letters written and saved up (“stockpiled like face masks”) by volunteers like you and me.   That means they are already 1/8 the way toward their initial goal of reaching 10 million swing voters during October.   

Monday, May 25, 2020

Making Affordable Housing Happen on Excess Congregational Land

You are invited to a Monthly Housing Justice Educational Forum sponsored by Making Housing and  Community Happen (MHCH). Learn what MHCH is doing to help change the zoning in Pasadena so congregations feeling led to have affordable housing built on their land can do so.

When: Tues. May 26, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM  Pacific Time.

Presenters: Phil Burns, Andre White and Jill Shook.
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpd--rrTIsGdagYZL3zE8NYsRHgrRdHLWf
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
For more info contact Jill@makinghousinghappen.com



PRESENTERS
As the leader of The Arroyo Group, a 40-year-old planning and urban design firm, Philip Burns brings the firm’s resources to the Church Land Committee to analyze and write zoning, secure entitlements, build consensus with community leaders and neighbors, and facilitate dialogues within churches. Philip has prepared transit-oriented development plans, zoning ordinances and transportation plans for Metro and the cities of Pasadena and Inglewood, among others. Having served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, Philip is bilingual in English and Spanish, and he leads children and youth ministry at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. 
 Andre White serves as a development advisor/owner’s representative to local churches through the Church Land Committee. He has spent the last fourteen years working on the development of and investment in affordable and market-rate housing in California and four other states. In 2019 Andre started his firm, Mitchelville Real Estate Group, due to his realization that often non-profit and institutional organizations do not have a representative to advise and help them navigate through all of the nuances and particulars of a complicated real estate development and investment partnership.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Help us to address the housing crisis during this time of pandemic

Pasadena has become an epicenter of the Covid 19 outbreak, with over 50 fatalities–more than the city of Long Beach and more than Orange County! Hardest hit in our city has been
the North Fair Oaks area, where nursing homes have been so badly hit that National Guard medics were sent in. Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH) has a North Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative, comprised largely of African American pastors, who are reaching out to this stricken community and just gathered 250 face masks to give to these nursing homes. More importantly, we are planning ahead to address a housing crisis that will almost certainly worsen as a result of this pandemic and its economic fallout. We have 26 willing to offer their land for urgently needed affordable and homeless housing. Our Congregational Land Committee is helping to make this a reality. See: https://www.makinghousinghappen.org/church-land

During this Covid 19 crisis, our homeless neighbors need housing more than ever. Last
week we had 55 people join us for our event: "Addressing Homelessness in a Time of Pandemic: Immediate Needs and Longer Term Solutions." 

On Monday, May 11, the Pasadena City Council will consider two proposals for permanent supportive housing that could house up to 135 of our homeless neighbors. This week we are mobilizing churches and people of conscience to support these proposals. Please help us by writing to our city council. See https://laquaker.blogspot.com/2020/05/action-alert-may-11.html

People experiencing homelessness are the most at risk during this crisis because they can’t “shelter in place” and congregate shelters have become breeding grounds for infection. For this reason, we are supporting Project Room Key, the governor’s initiative that will house 15,000 homeless people in motels (many of which have less than 10% occupancy due to this crisis).

We are urging our city not only to house homeless people in motels through this program, but to partner with affordable housing developers to purchase motels for permanent supportive housing. This is a model will help our homeless neighbors in the short and long term.

The Covid 19 pandemic will have long-lasting effects on housing as well as other aspects of our lives. Making Housing and Community Happen  is working to make sure that everyone is safely housed. This is not only our mission and our vision, it is also God’s vision, according to the prophet Micah, who said:

“Everyone beneath their own vine and fig tree will live in peace and unafraid” (Micah 4:4).

Please contribute to our work so that we can work to ensure that everyone will be safely housed both during and after this Covid 19 pandemic.


 Pasadena has become an epicenter of the Covid 19 outbreak, with over 50 fatalities–more than the city of Long Beach and more than Orange County! Hardest hit in our city has been the North Fair Oaks area, where nursing homes have been so badly hit that National Guard medics were sent in. Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH) has a North Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative, comprised largely of African American pastors, who are reaching out to this stricken community and just gathered 250 face masks to give to these nursing homes. More importantly, we are planning ahead to address a housing crisis that will almost certainly worsen as a result of this pandemic and its economic fallout. We have 26 willing to offer their land for urgently needed affordable and homeless housing. Our Congregational Land Committee is helping to make this a reality. See: https://www.makinghousinghappen.org/church-land

During this Covid 19 crisis, our homeless neighbors need housing more than ever. Last week we had 55 people join us for our event: "Addressing Homelessness in a Time of Pandemic: Immediate Needs and Longer Term Solutions." 

On Monday, May 11, the Pasadena City Council will consider two proposals for permanent supportive housing that could house up to 135 of our homeless neighbors. This week we are mobilizing churches and people of conscience to support these proposals. Please help us by writing to our city council. See https://laquaker.blogspot.com/2020/05/action-alert-may-11.html

People experiencing homelessness are the most at risk during this crisis because they can’t “shelter in place” and congregate shelters have become breeding grounds for infection. For this reason, we are supporting Project Room Key, the governor’s initiative that will house 15,000 homeless people in motels (many of which have less than 10% occupancy due to this crisis).

We are urging our city not only to house homeless people in motels through this program, but to partner with affordable housing developers to purchase motels for permanent supportive housing. This is a model will help our homeless neighbors in the short and long term.

The Covid 19 pandemic will have long-lasting effects on housing as well as other aspects of our lives. Making Housing and Community Happen  is working to make sure that everyone is safely housed. This is not only our mission and our vision, it is also God’s vision, according to the prophet Micah, who said:

“Everyone beneath their own vine and fig tree will live in peace and unafraid” (Micah 4:4).

Please contribute to our work so that we can work to ensure that everyone will be safely housed both during and after this Covid 19 pandemic.

Click here to donate











Please donate to help us address the housing crisis



GPAHG Action Alert May 11



During this Covid 19 crisis we have an opportunity to help create more affordable and homeless housing and to prevent homelessness. This is both an immediate and long-term need that we want the Pasadena City Council to address during its May 4th session, which will begin at 2 pm on Monday afternoon. Please join us in supporting 69 units of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South and the Salvation Army "Hope Center" proposal for 65 units of permanent supportive housing.   Please email the Pasadena City Council at: 



We want the City council to give its final approval to the Heritage Square South project—69 units of homeless senior housing--on May 11th. Note that your letter must be 200 words long for it to be read during the City Council meeting. Below is a sample letter plus additional talking points. It is recommended that you briefly describe yourself, including what part of the city you live or work or worship in. If you have a moving personal story, please include it or use it instead of these talking points. If you have time to personalize your letter, it will be more effective. If not, please use the following template. Every letter submitted will be counted and will have an impact on our City Council members!

Dear Mayor and City Council members,
Dear Mayor and City Council members,
I thank you for your unanimous approval of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South in 2018. I also want to thank you for your 100% vote in support of the Salvation Army proposal to build permanent supportive housing. I urge you to give final approval for both these proposals. Pasadena's homeless population will undoubtedly increase as a result of the Covid 19 crisis and its economic fallout. The Salvation Army proposal meets an urgent need and has not met with much opposition from neighbors. Heritage Square South  has wide-spread community support from churches and neighbors in Northwest Pasadena. Both are ideal sites. Heritage Square and the Salvation Army site  are both close to amenities that this population needs: a pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants and public transportation. And, Heritage Square South it is next door to another senior facility that can provide supportive services. Using this site for affordable housing is appropriate since it was purchased with HUD funding for this use.  Both of these projects will not use the City's General Funds and will provide millions of dollars in economic benefits to our city because of the 20-20-20 rule. The need is urgent, and growing. The sooner we house our city’s homeless population, the better for our businesses and residents—but especially those without a home!


1.    There has been overwhelming public support for housing homeless seniors at this site from churches and neighbors. Over 1,000 letters and signatures were gathered to support this project. Hundreds of people have shown up in support during Council meetings. Opposition has been minimal. That’s why the Council unanimously approved mixed use (homeless senior housing and commercial) for this site in December 2018. The Council was so eager to house homeless seniors that it fast-tracked this project by quickly identifying an experienced developer to come up with a proposal and vet it with the community asap. That process has taken two years. It will take another two or three years to complete the project once it is approved.

2.    The Covid 19 crisis has shown us that homeless seniors are the most vulnerable population and therefore have the greatest need for housing. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, one third of those experiencing homelessness in Pasadena are 55 years old or older, and many are homeless because of rising rents. The sooner that this population is housed, the better.

3.    This is an ideal site for seniors. It’s near public transport, pharmacy, grocery store, and restaurants—everything that elderly people need. It’s also next door to another senior housing center (Heritage Square North) so resources can be shared.

4.    If the project is delayed, it could jeopardize funding. This land was purchased with HUD money for affordable housing 15 years ago and at some point the money will have to be returned if the site isn’t used for this purpose. Since this project doesn’t require money from the City’s General Fund, now is the time to act and let this much needed project move forward.  

Monday, April 27, 2020

GPAHG ACTION ALERT for May 4th



During this Covid 19 crisis we have an opportunity to help create more affordable and homeless housing and to prevent homelessness. This is both an immediate and long-term need that we want the Pasadena City Council to address during its May 4th session, which will begin at 2 pm on Monday afternoon. Please join us in supporting homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South and a strengthened Eviction Moratorium.  Please email the Pasadena City Council at: 



We want the City council to give its final approval to the Heritage Square South project—69 units of homeless senior housing--on May 4th. Note that your letter must be 200 words long for it to be read during the City Council meeting. Below is a sample letter plus additional talking points. It is recommended that you briefly describe yourself, including what part of the city you live or work or worship in. If you have a moving personal story, please include it or use it instead of these talking points. If you have time to personalize your letter, it will be more effective. If not, please use the following template. Every letter submitted will be counted and will have an impact on our City Council members!

Dear Mayor and City Council members,
[As a long-term resident of Northwest Pasadena who attends Orange Grove Quaker Meeting]. I thank you for your unanimous approval of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South in 2018. I urge you to give final approval for funding this project. At that time, you wisely urged the current developer to submit a proposal asap. Seniors are a growing segment of the City's homeless population and urgently need housing. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, one third of Pasadena’s homeless population is 55 years old or older. Many are on the street because of rising rents and a lack of affordable housing. Heritage Square South is an ideal site since it has wide-spread community support from churches and neighbors in Northwest Pasadena. It is close to a pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants and public transportation. It is next door to another senior facility that can provide supportive services. Using this site for affordable housing is appropriate since  it was purchased with HUD funding for this use.  It will not use the City's General Funds and may add tax revenue since the project also includes commercial use. The sooner we house our city’s elderly homeless population, the better!


1.    There has been overwhelming public support for housing homeless seniors at this site from churches and neighbors. Over 1,000 letters and signatures were gathered to support this project. Hundreds of people have shown up in support during Council meetings. Opposition has been minimal. That’s why the Council unanimously approved mixed use (homeless senior housing and commercial) for this site in December 2018. The Council was so eager to house homeless seniors that it fast-tracked this project by quickly identifying an experienced developer to come up with a proposal and vet it with the community asap. That process has taken two years. It will take another two or three years to complete the project once it is approved.

2.    The Covid 19 crisis has shown us that homeless seniors are the most vulnerable population and therefore have the greatest need for housing. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, one third of those experiencing homelessness in Pasadena are 55 years old or older, and many are homeless because of rising rents. The sooner that this population is housed, the better.

3.    This is an ideal site for seniors. It’s near public transport, pharmacy, grocery store, and restaurants—everything that elderly people need. It’s also next door to another senior housing center (Heritage Square North) so resources can be shared.

4.    If the project is delayed, it could jeopardize funding. This land was purchased with HUD money for affordable housing 15 years ago and at some point the money will have to be returned if the site isn’t used for this purpose. Since this project doesn’t require money from the City’s General Fund, now is the time to act and let this much needed project move forward.  


Strengthen Pasadena’s Eviction Moratorium.  

GPAHG is partnering with the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) to urge the Council to strengthen the Pasadena’s Eviction Moratorium ordinance and make it consistent with LA County’s Eviction Moratorium. Our Homeless Housing Subcommittee supports this as a homelessness prevention measure because 14% of those experiencing homelessness report that eviction was the cause (2019 Pasadena Homeless Count, p. 15). Pasadena recently passed an Eviction Moratorium that would delay eviction for three months and have a 6 month payback period. Tenants are required to supply landlords with proof of  loss of income related to Covid 19 crisis. This ordinance will probably not prevent, but only delay eviction since most tenants will not be able to repay their rent in such a short time frame and providing documentation could be onerous. 

Here are some of the provisions of the LA County's Eviction Moratorium that we would like Pasadena to adopt:
  • Renters will have 12 months after the moratorium ends to pay any back rent (Previously six months)
  • Landlords may not impose any new pass-throughs or charge interest or late fees for unpaid rent during the moratorium period;
  • Landlords may not attempt to collect interest and late fees incurred during the moratorium period after the Executive Order is terminated for renters covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Ordinance;
  • Payment plans that allow landlords to accept partial payments from tenants during the moratorium are encouraged;
  • Tenants may provide self-certification of their inability to pay rent, and landlords must accept this as sufficient notice;
  • Landlords may not harass or intimidate tenants who choose to exercise the protections under this moratorium
To learn more about how to write an effective letter to your city official, check out:

Saturday, April 25, 2020

An Interfaith Quaker Reflection on the Pandemic



I recently took part in a deeply meaningful discussion called "Revelation in a Time of Plague" that was organized by an interfaith group in Boston. Religious leaders from the Abrahamic faiths explored the questions listed below and came up with some profound responses that helped me to think about this crisis from a spiritual and religious perspective. 

This is a good time for thoughtful reflection as well as compassionate action. In this blog I respond to the following questions from my Quaker Christian perspective and encourage you to do likewise and share them with your friends and religious community. (FYI I have modified these questions so they are relevant to non-theistic faiths.)
  1. What do you see as the role of God/Truth/Buddha nature in this pandemic?
  2. What is the role of spirituality and religion?
  3. What is the role of people of faith?
  4. How can we connect more with our spiritual being and God/Truth so that we can help the world overcome this crisis?
  5. What do we tell our children when they ask why is God doing this and/or why this is happening?
  6. And many others
Here's the link in case you want to take part in this discussions during the next few weeks:


If you scroll down, you can read  statements from Quaker organizations as well as from the Parliament of the World's Religions related to this crisis. I have been involved with the Parliament for many years and it played a significant role in my spiritual development. What they say in this statement reflects some of the most enlightened religious thought on this planet. 




Here are some thoughts I plan to share with my monthly interfaith spiritual practice group, facilitated by my friend Jeff Utter:

Historically, especially in pre-scientific times, epidemics or plagues have been seen a a punishment from God or the gods. Priests have told their followers to appease the offended gods by making sacrifices. This kind of thinking still persists and there are those who see this pandemic as a sign of Divine Wrath and the “Last Days.”
The Hebrew Bible offers a somewhat different perspective. In the most famous plague, or series of plagues in the Bible, Pharaoh was commanded by God not to make sacrifices but to liberate an oppressed people from slavery and oppression. Whenever pestilences or disasters occur, Hebrew prophets often see the cause as a failure of the rich and powerful to act justly, especially towards the poor. For example, Habukuk describes a series of disasters that befell his people and then speaks truth to power:

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
 “Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
    and establishes a town by injustice!” (Habakuk 2)

Most modern religious leaders do not see plagues as a divine punishment even for injustices such as this, but rather as a time for moral reflection and action. We don’t know why God sent, or allowed, this lethal contagion. We do know that God calls us to “love mercy, act justly and walk humbly” (Micah 6:8). And that’s what many are doing: first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and yes, advocates for social justice. Many ordinary people are performing acts of extraordinary kindness. Our friends and neighbors have brought us groceries, cookies, flowers, even toilet paper for which we are deeply grateful.
I see God’s role during a pandemic as our collective conscience and comforter. And that’s also the role of God’s people. We can’t overcome this crisis by hunkering down in solitary confinement. We are called collectively to do what we can to alleviate suffering and to help find a cure not just for the disease but for the social attitudes that have made this disease worse than it should be. The most deadly social disease is selfishness, our American belief in rugged individualism. As people of faith, we are called to reject this false philosophy and lift up the importance of community.
Finally, here’s what would I tell children during this crisis. I would say that this disease is scary but we’ll get through this as we have gotten through bad times in the past. We don’t know why bad things like this happen, but when they do, we need to take care of ourselves and be kind and helpful to others. That’s what God calls us to do. We are better together.

Post Script: Twenty years ago, I was led to write a sci fi novel called "Relics of America" that predicted a pandemic that took place in 2020 and led to the fall of the American empire. So it is strange to see this novel unfold in real time. The American empire is crumbling before our eyes and a new world order will emerge from the rubble. I am confident that our Quaker and interfaith peace community will be part of the effort to create a sustainable and equitable society in the aftermath of this pandemic. An updated version of apocalyptic sci fi  novel is now available at https://www.amazon.com/Relics-America-Anthony-Manousos-ebook/dp/B074B53FR7 

Here's  a description of the novel: 

Science fiction novel set in 2061. War has been abolished, but this new age of peace and prosperity has come at a terrible cost. In the year 2020, a genetically engineered super-virus, created in an American laboratory, wiped out nearly half of the world's population. American scientists tried to cure this plague, but failed. Humanity was saved only through a miracle drug created by an Egyptian scientist named Dr Hathout who demanded that nations disband their armies before he would share his remedy. Most countries disarmed and received Mubarak's cure. Only America stubbornly refused. As a result, its population was decimated by plague. Threatened with extinction, the last Americans were finally given the cure and allowed to live, with their antiquated weapons, in what used to be called New England. The dream of a peaceful world is endangered when Hathout is abducted by terrorists. A band of intrepid Americans risk everything to restore democracy and freedom.

Quaker responses to the Pandemic:

When Quakers get together in small groups for a time of silent worship and reflection, we call it "worship sharing." During this time of deep listening, we ask each other "queries" or open-ended questions. Here are some queries from today's Quaker gathering of Southern California Friends:


How have you been able to act from your spiritual heart in these times? Are there ways your meeting could help?


How are you sustaining hope? What practices are you using that are working for you?


Are there people entrusted to your care? How are you helping with their-or your-experiences of loss, loneliness, lament and longing? What helps them – and you- connect with sources of light and love?



Is there something else on your heart that you feel led to share?



A Quaker Social Justice Response:

https://www.fcnl.org/updates/responding-to-the-coronavirus-2670



A Quaker Spiritual Response:

https://fwccamericas.org/_wp/covid-19-resources/


Dear God,

You know we are created for community, not confinement. 

 We are greatly challenged in this time of isolation. Help us find new ways to create community and to retain the love that gives us life.

Thank you for technology that helps us continue to accompany one another around the world in work and in relationship.  Help us be creative in ways we can bring joy to one another.  

Be with all the people who are suffering, both with health concerns and with economic worry.  It is affecting so many people around us, not the least of which were already suffering through dislocation and poverty. 

Let us hope that out of this crisis, we become stronger and more resourceful.  May we encounter new ways of seeing and being in this world that can help humanity prosper. 
Remind us that you are near.  As the hymn goes, “We need thee every hour, oh precious Lord.” Keep opening us to staying in relationship with your fresh and lively spirit. 

Help us make some sense of this loss, this fear.  Help us face our own humanity through your presence, you who never sleeps, you who never stops loving us, you who accompany us in the most difficult times. 

Help us.  Heal us.  Heal our suffering.  Heal our communities. Heal our world.  

Let us say, “Thank you, and thank you, and thank you.”

Amen. 



Shared by Gretchen Castle, General Secretary of FWCC worldwide




November 2018, over 8000 of us gathered in the Toronto convention center to participate in the eighth convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. We were shoulder-to-shoulder, face-to-face, hand-to-hand together to affirm “the promise of inclusion, the power of love: pursuing global understanding, reconciliation, and change.”
Now we are physically separated from one another in a time of a pandemic crisis, and now more than we knew at the time we must grow together even more closely to meet our current crises. The rapid global spread of COVID–19 forces us to recognize how interconnected we are in the physical world. It invokes in us the need to find new ways to bring comfort to one anotherto cooperate with one another, and to overcome the ravages of disease and death
We also acknowledge the heroism of those in the medical professions and all the workers in hospitals and other medical facilities directly fighting the disease. We are grateful to those who continue to provide essential services so that those in isolation can meet their basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter. We are humbled by their courage and dedication.
It is true that the current pandemic forces a physical separation in order to check the spread of a physical disease. But this should cause us to recommit ourselves to fostering generative soulful attachments to one another, and our ethical attachments to other parts of the earth.
We humbly ask you to keep three things in mind:
First, you are not alone. It is understandable that when we hear the words “global crisis” we focus on the word “crisis” rather than “global.” This pandemic is affecting all of us, irrespective of race or religion, and there are oceans of empathy available to us from every part of the world. We are all in this together.
Second, no one is expendable. Those who can avoid suffering by isolating themselves, yet choose not to, which includes unsafe gatherings of religious communities, are putting vulnerable populations at even greater risk.  Suffering in this time of peril is unavoidable, but it must not be borne by the most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the elderly, the essential low-wage workers, the medical personnel.All have irreplaceable worth.
Third, we must protect and care for one another. The mobilizing power of persons of faith and of faith communities is unmatched, and is needed now more than ever as hate speech and violent rhetoric spreads across virtual platforms against vulnerable communities. As all of our religious traditions teach us:“Be kind.”
The Parliament joins interfaith and interreligious organizations across the globe to utilize our diversity of beliefs and practices and remains committed to serving as a convener of the interfaith movement, virtually, to continue working together for a world-wide community that embraces love, compassion, justice, and peace.
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Stay connected to the global interfaith community by:
• Joining Our YouTube Community - Explore recordings of past Parliament convenings and programming, and for the next two months enjoy never before released full-length video programming. Released bi-monthly. 
• Joining the PoWR Partner Community on Facebook - Stay connected with members of the global interfaith community from around the world on our official Facebook group. 
• Joining Upcoming Virtual Climate Events - The current pandemic impacts virtually all dimensions of daily life, but also serves to remind us of the equally threatening interconnected crises that loom beyond our immediate consciousness: climate change, nuclear arms proliferation, and the scourge of inequality in all its forms, to name a few. This April, we are hosting two webinars and sharing special climate prayers from faith leaders from around the world in celebration of Earth Day.
• Visiting the Parliament Website - Explore the ForumsClimate HubInterfaith DirectoryMember Hub, and thousands of articles & blogs on the Parliament website.
• Volunteering with the Parliament - Remote volunteer opportunities are available year-round, connect with our team and support the work of our ongoing programs.
We remain in humble service with hope for humanity that stretches around the globe.