Sounding Board, New Bedford Quaker Meeting, New Bedford, MA. September, 2017

Years ago, for about a year, I was my Quaker meeting’s First Day School Coordinator, i.e., the principal of a pre-K—12 school open one hour a week and taught by volunteers. Dimly, very dimly, I understood that, for example, when I met with newcomer parents, I spoke for not only my meeting but, in a sense, the entire Quaker world: its history, its faith, its practice. (Yikes.) So, silly as it sounds, now, when a peach-colored scarf mysteriously appeared on my coat rack one day, I decided that I’d use that scarf to, ahem, ordain myself. If called upon to, indeed, be A QUAKER, that castoff scarf became my stole or vestment. Praying for guidance, praying for the right words, praying to listen with love, praying to be open to Spirit, I ceremoniously draped that scarf—which, luckily, went with everything I wore—around my neck. (Writing this, I still feel its soft cotton warmth against my skin.)

More recently, when my Quaker meeting offered training to become a “pastoral caregiver” I was, at first, not interested. “Why do I need training to do what I am already doing?” I thought. (and, yes, frankly, am doing pretty well!) But, again, dimly, I intuited that this seventeen-hour training, created by The Community of Hope International, was exactly what I was supposed to do.

How right I was. For not only do I get to explore delicious—and challenging— subjects like pastoral care and Benedictine spirituality and humility and healing (and lots, lots more) with others from my faith community but when, girded and guided by this training, I do pastoral care, every month I will have the opportunity to talk with others about “God in the Hard Places.”



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  1. Dear Patricia,

    Well, hi, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you and FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, my sistah, WOW, what an absolutely BEAUTIFUL, brilliantly BEAUTIFUL and very aptly composed blog post article here by absolutely AWESOME YOU, Patricia, with such great depth and profoundly blessed spirituality while being very interesting, fascinating, and informative! What a great title to this very fine and excellent writing by absolutely FANTASTIC YOU here, Patricia, which is very fitting and applicable to the superb themes and topics of your very salient blog post article. The picture which you've very graciously and generously featured and included with this very succinct and cogent article here is just perfect, just amazingly picture perfect, and along with the accompanying link about the sounding board perfectly displays what the sounding boards can look like, sisterfriend. In fact, I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate all of the marvelous links which you've as usual as always very graciously and generously featured and included with this engaging blog post article here just so chock full of such fun-filled information full of great food for thought being so fun to read and benefit from with such keen learning here, sister! Sistahfriendd, I've seen sounding boards in previous churches which I belonged to and was a member of and didn't realize what they were and what they were for, Patricia. See, as usual as always I find out and learn such vastly interesting and fascinating information from YOU, Patricia, and your super links and such blessed resources, materials, articles, and videos, Patricia! 🙂 <3 Sister, I so, so very much loved, liked, enjoyed, and appreciated learning about your deeply spiritual activities years ago with your Meeting's First Day School Coordinator! WOW, I just know somehow that you were such an empowering spiritual teacher and leader here, Patricia! I so enjoy and appreciate how you share and declare here that you understood your role in meeting with newcomer parents that you were a visual, in-person representation of not only your Meeting but also for the Quaker world in all of its so blessedly pure in heart and so beauteous entirety in spirit and in Spirit:the Quaker history, faith and practice. Sisterfriend, I've For Always all of my life had such a deep love, caring, admiration, and appreciation for so, so very precious and dearest and darling Quakers, Patricia!!!!! 🙂 <3 I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, my dear, dearest Patricia, just as I so, so very much love and cherish other special Quaker folks!!!!! 🙂 <3 It just means the world to me as a black woman who has very many ancestors who were slaves just how very many so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful Quaker folks back in the day were anti-slavery and helped the escaping slaves in their dire life-and-death emergency need with the Underground Railroad, and also how very many Quaker persons were abolitionists and worked in such a diligently conscientious and fervent manner in the Abolitionist Movement. Each and every one of you as such wonderful Quakers and this history of your deeply heartfelt and caring love for us as your black sisters and brothers and with this abiding and enduring legacy of undaunted allyship for us all in all just mean the very world to me, my so, so very dearest and darling sister and friend, Patricia, and each and every one of you as such fine Quakers with hearts of gold and unwavering integrity in the past back in the day and also currently at the present!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, I so love, enjoy, like, and appreciate your remarkable story about finding the pretty peach-colored scarf on your coat rack, and how this lovely scarf perfectly matching your outfit for that day by Divine Coincidence became for you your stole or vestment to ordain yourself by Spirit's Plan, Patricia! Sister, you're such a good woman of faith, a good woman of such spirit and Spirit, Patricia! I just know somehow that you helped and blessed very many of the kids, their parents and families, and other folks. WOW, Patricia, I'm so, so very glad, thrilled, overjoyed, and happy that you did decide on second thought to become a pastoral caregiver as you've actually been such a blessing and a joy doing so already. When you very honestly with such so, so very right on and on point self-appraisal say to yourself that you are doing pretty well with this I, too, say a resounding, "Amen!," to that and, "Praise be, sister!" I know that YOU, Patrica, are such an abiding and enduring blessing and asset for this because you have such a loving and a good, warmly embracing heart and spirit with such keen spiritual attunement and discernment!!!!!! 🙂 < 3 How fulfilling, interesting, and fun this will be for you, Patricia, and for the others as you sagaciously intuit with the seventeen-hour training developed by The Community of Hope International(and what a stupendous link here about this)is just the right direction for you to take along your journey of learning, healing, and growing as you are going to embolden, encourage, and inspire very many folks, sistahfriend! My friend, WOW, I love the as you very aptly say delicious-and challenging subjects such as pastoral care and Benedictine spirituality, humility, and healing sound like these courses are just so chock full of great learning regarding our Spirit and Spirit's Bountiful Love and Care fore each and every one of us and will greatly help you to reach out heart to heart and spirit to spirit to our astounding sisters and brothers, Patricia! My friend, you'll as you say learn even more and more with the rest of your classes, Patricia! Sisterfriend, YOU are just the perfect person for this and this suits you just fine, Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, what a immensely blessed joy to revisit here your outstanding blog post article, Love Is A Verb, at this very fitting and applicable link here, Patricia! Patricia, I would just so, so very much love to be an ordained minister if only I didn't have such bad, permanent and chronic, multiple physical disabilities and pain. If only I didn't have the chronic fatigue syndrome so that I'd have more endurance to have the stamina to go get even more education to become an ordained minister and if only I had the energy to do the work of a minister, sistahfriend! I would so love to one day to have "Reverend" in front of my name, sistah! Who knows what the future would bring and maybe somehow I can find the way someday to make all of this happen, Patricia! Patricia, I try to be a minister every day in how I live my very life from day to day just so, so very much loving and cherishing YOU, my friend, Patricia, and other marvelous persons as my sisters and brothers and our Sweet Spirit's children just reaching out to you and to other folks. I'm a prayer warrior praying without ceasing in such deeply loving and sensitively caring and heartfelt, intercessory prayers for you, my friend, and others, sending to you and to others such great positive energy chock full of blessings upon blessings!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I think of myself as an ordained by God minister but an unofficial minister because I haven't been officially ordained as a minister yet but in Spirit's eyes I know that I'm a minister deep down inside, Patricia!!!!! Wow, what an empowering link with, "God in the Hard Places." Wow, what a powerful quote from brilliant Quaker theologian, Hugh Barbour, Patricia, as you learned from him, sisterfriend! Sister, I thank-YOU again for your loving reaction to my post on Facebook on the wondrously wonderful day of my twenty-seventh anniversary relocating to my beloved Iowa City, Iowa back on Wednesday, September 19, 1990 at about 2:30A.M. or 2:45A.M., and I posted this and you with your so dear and precious heart left your awesome reaction to my post on that anniversary day which is also the very same day that you posted this masterful composition in the written word here, Patricia!!!!! WOW, you helped me so, so much to have a splendid anniversary day, Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    My friend, I'm just even more cheerful feeling even brighter very joyfully reading this endearing blog post article here regarding your grandly great opportunity and blessing here and just all in all in its great entirety with this fantastically fun-filled blog post article! Writing my very heartfelt, thorough, and detailed response to you and your awesome blog with my thoughts, ideas, and comments is such a joy and blessing, and also such great fun for me!!!!! I'm even more re-energized, renewed, reinvigorated, and rejuvenated in my very ,very heart, and in my very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit from this so sweetly cool in spirit and Spirit blog post article, my so, so very dearest and darling friend, Patricia!!!!! I thank-YOU For Always, Patricia, and each and every one of you for deeply praying for and thinking of me the way you all do-I can for certain feel all of your steadfast love, prayers, and thoughts for me which are for sure helping me very much indeed keeping me keeping on and keeping my very faith and hope alive with my sweetly enduring positive optimism!!!!!!! I definitely do for certain need all of your lovingly heartfelt and sensitively caring thoughts and prayers and each and every one of you just keep me going!!!!! I'm so grateful for all of you and appreciate each and every one of you as my precious sisters and brothers and our Good God's children!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I thank-YOU all each and every one of you straight from the very bottom of my heart from the deepest depths of my heart with all that I have with all of my very being!!!!! 🙂 <3 I just so, so very much A WHOLE BUNCH love and cherish you all!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Patricia, I For Always daily and very frequently pray for and think of YOU, sister of mine, for your beloved husband, for your dearest Loved One in the long term care facility, for your sweet children, for your sparkling full of such joy and blessing grandchildren, for your dear siblings, for all of the rest of your blessed family, for your very holy and blessedly pure in heart friendsfamily at your Friends Meeting at Cambridge, for your dedicated yoga friends, and, in fact, for all of your cool in heart and spirit friends!!!!!!I It's my very joy, honor, blessing, and pleasure to daily and very often think of and pray for each and every one of you as well as for other persons praying without ceasing!!!!! 🙂 <3 And it's such fun for me, too!!!!! 🙂 <3 My friend, I thank-YOU and Spirit continually FOR YOU and for YOUR very presence in my life, Patricia!!!!!! YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!! YAY for all you do with such a loving and indomitable heart, mind, soul, and spirit in such a diligently conscientious fashion doing your absolutely very best like with all of your brilliantly crafted blog post articles, other writings, and books, and in all you do as usual as always as a so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful YOU, Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YAY for our very sisterhood and friendship For Always, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!!!!! Sisterfriend, you're For Always my life and eternal blessing just as I know somehow that you're as well for very many other people!!!!!! I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, Patricia, A WHOLE BUNCH, as I just know somehow that many other people just so love and cherish YOU, too, just as your bless us with your love and grace as you love us all so much and dearly and deeply, too!!!!! 🙂 <3 Patricia, please have such a fantastically fun-filled Friday, a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!! YOU, Patricia, are just the very greatest and the best, and such the very, very epitome of such overall awesomeness!!!!!!!!! God just so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU, sisterfriend, our God as a Verb, and so do I A WHOLE BUNCH, my friend!!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always awesomely precious and dearly special soul sisterfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you're For Always, so, so very much, Patricia, sister of mine, and with My and God's Very Peace and Love For YOU For Always, friend of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Very Even More Blessings For YOU For Always, sisterfriend of mine,

    Yours For Always soul sisterfriend Christian black woman and For Always in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

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