A moral debt has accrued between our foothills community and the Fellowship of Friends (FOF). This present discourse is voiced by a minority of past members and “life people”, and certainly felt by many who remain voiceless.
We are glad the FOF has decided to join in community affairs. What cannot be ignored, though, is the long shadow cast by the FOF behavior for the past 44 years. There were three large lawsuits documenting the reprehensible behavior perpetrated by Robert Earl Burton, the Fellowship of Friends teacher, which is public knowledge that cannot be disputed or denied. The people of this community have a right to sit across from the FOF and discuss what we feel to be a dark aspect of the FOF’s church. It is not enough for the FOF president to pass out sums of money to our poor community groups and believe “all has been forgiven” now.
T.S. Eliot wrote, “The last temptation is the greatest treason – to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”
For the FOF to have acted religiously superior toward “life people” in this community for 44 years, and now wanting to inject their commerce among us for their economic benefit without a mention of their past ill treatment, displays one tenet FOF holds near and dear – intentional insincerity.
There are many of us past members living in and around the foothills community. We are neither fearful nor distrustful; rather, we are well informed and stalwart in the face of the FOF president’s self-serving and patronizing editorial position. It is true that for most of the “town’s people’', the FOF has been a very poor community member; and 44 years is enough time to wait for healing. We all, on both sides, have hurt long enough with denial as our guide.
We call upon the FOF to heal this rift by sharing a town hall meeting of discussion, within the bounds of mediation/reconciliation. If the FOF feels unjustly “judged”, come forth and communicate with community members. We beseech thee to be brave, be courageous in knowing: “We heal a system by connecting more of it to itself"; that we all do not have to like each other, but our Christian mandate says we MUST forgive each other. We are all mature enough now to accept responsibility for the past; that’s the process. Let’s be more than the past was able to squeeze from us.
Bless us, Everyone,
Ms. Lew Neal
71 years of age; ex-FOF member;Years With The Fellowship of Friends:
1976 to 1984; retired court reporter of 34 years; et al.
"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion> blog, July 14, 2014:
Ms. Lew Neal [responding to above],
Welcome to the blog. Greg Holman may be ignoring your open letter, but he’s suddenly eager to speak about “community” (at least the Fellowship’s concept of community.) You probably saw this in the (Marysville-Yuba City) Appeal-Democrat:
Grape expectations: North Yuba County is attracting notice for its burgeoning wine industryThe Fellowship welcomes the public’s dollars but is not so comfortable with the inevitable exposure (unless a message can be carefully controlled, as through a compliant reporter like the Appeal-Democrat’s Eric Vodden.)
…Greg Holman, president of both Renaissance and winery owner Fellowship of Friends, said the actual goal is to “be a really nice regional winery” that can serve as the hub for area agri-tourism.
“We just want to be part of the community,” said Holman. “We want to be part of that. We are part of the history.”
Since the 70s, there has been this dynamic at work in Oregon House. The Fellowship relies on mutually-beneficial relations with locals and visitors, while simultaneously seeking insulation from those they characterize as unsophisticated “life people” and “sleeping machines,” those people who are wasting their time on earth (except, of course, when they are purchasing Fellowship products.)
With the “Dambeck-Holman-Vodden triad” in place, we will certainly see more from the Fellowship P.R. campaign.[ed. - In a Letter to the Editor, Steven Dambeck chimes in, praising the Appeal-Democrat's reporting.]