Getting to know our story

Along with participation at Quakers in Publishing meetings in Indiana, I've also spent time this last week reading through some Barclay Press history. It was 1948, when Ray Carter and Ralph Fletcher invested in offset printing equipment,  equipment that was later purchased by the yearly meeting and renamed Barclay Press. Carter and Fletcher's vision was for the cost-effective and quality production of publications like Northwest Friend. Today copies of Northwest Friend (as well as Friendly Endeavor and Evangelical Friend) can be found online through the Digital Commons, an institutional repository for the George Fox University Archives.

So I've been reading about a vision to plant new churches in Washington (Fred Baker), the importance of cooperation in the work to which God has called us (Jack Willcutts), the miracle of forgiveness (Dean Gregory), a meditation on illness (Phyllis Cammack), hope for Korea (Kwan Kyu Kim), stewardship, temperance, youth clubs, Pennington Hall, a Saturday supper at a new place called Friendsview, quarterly meeting reports.

And much of what I'm reading is old news.

But there is also a sense in which it might yet be new.

Baker's vision for church plants in Washington has only been partially realized. Willcutts' noticing that ministry to others "does interrupt our own living until we see where our first interests should be" still holds true. Gregory is just as right today as ever to claim that the grace of forgiveness - of Jesus' redemptive love - is the only thing that can make a difference in "the present hysteria surrounding international relations and the gathering storm of religious power politics." And even though Cammack suggests that she wouldn't mind being "disgustingly healthy," she notes how her time in bed with a virus has been "time to pray, time to catch up with [her] soul."

If you have any extra time, I encourage you to take a tour of the Digital Commons. There is much there that is good - good as a reminder of where we've been and where we're going, good as a view into how God has used us and how God might still work through our combined efforts, good for getting to know our story.

Eric Muhr