An Update on Camas Friends Church Gatherings

Camas Friends Church continues to meet for worship via Zoom. Please join us at 10:45am on Sundays, using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/481596095

As spiritual communities in our region are considering when and how to resume face-to-face gatherings, the people of Camas Friends Church will seek to act in ways consistent with our deepest values. We have not yet had formal conversations about re-opening our doors. These conversations will likely happen soon.

But to be clear: we are not in a hurry. We are not waiting for it to become legal to meet. We are not waiting for our pastor to decide for us. We are waiting until we as a congregation discern—as we listen to God, conscience, and the guidance of relevant experts—that it is responsible and safe to gather. Safe for those who participate in our worship gatherings, and safe for those our participants would then encounter outside of our gatherings.

While we do not yet have an official plan for re-opening our literal doors, we will likely be slow to resume our in-person gatherings, erring on the side of caution. However, our doors, figuratively speaking, do continue to be open.

We continue to create a space each Sunday (online) for people to encounter God. To support and comfort one another. To celebrate with each other. To nurture the “seed of God” in each other. To find clarity about the practical ways we can best love our neighbors. To be still and silent.

We continue to check in on each other throughout the week, ensuring each of us are getting the groceries, prayers, and social connection we each need. We are continuing in our ministries to the wider community, from laundry and food ministries to advocating for policy change.

We continue to look to the example of Jesus, who lived a life of self-emptying and self-giving. Who prioritized the needs of others—particularly those with less social privilege than him, such as women, persons with disabilities, the poor, and people from social groups toward whom his peers held ingrained (and often hidden) prejudices.

We continue to recognize the importance of every individual. Our affirmation that everyone has something like a dynamic and sacred “piece of God” in them has many implications for our life together. In particular, this belief motivates us to protect and advocate for each other’s well-being. Nobody is expendable.

We continue, as people being “trained” in the Quaker tradition, to sustain our tradition’s “testimonies” or “lived commitments.” For example, our Quaker commitment to “simplicity” encourages us to be content with less and thus also creative with what we do have. We are not as much asking “how quickly can we end this quarantine and get back to how things were?” as we are asking “how can we be a supportive, flexible, and life-giving community in this difficult season, however long it lasts?”

Because of our belief that Christ is present in every person, we recognize that we can worship anywhere, anytime. While meeting together in a building is nice, it is not essential, especially right now. What is most essential to us is being a community that continually makes space for people to give and receive Love. In one sense, the pandemic has changed very little about how we go about being “the Church.”

We miss each other. Some of our members cry at the end of our Zoom meetings, missing the intimacy of face-to-face gatherings. We know this is difficult. When we, as a congregation, sense that it is once again safe to have in-person gatherings, we will do so. In the meantime, we will continue to be “the Church” in ways that transcend a building. We will keep loving each other. Nothing is more important than that.

-Matt Boswell, Pastor of Camas Friends Church, 5/23/2020