Thursday, December 24, 2015

THE EVE OF CHRISTMAS

William Blake
Illustrations to Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
'The Descent of Peace'

In this illustration for Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, we notice in the foreground a female figure lying in the snow. Blake was calling to our minds Vala as an image of the natural world where the seed contains the potential for development. In the center of the picture is an enclosed space in which the holy family rejoices in the arrival of new life. The enclosure is the womb in which the new man is nurtured until he is born of the spirit. The winged being in the arc of a rainbow partakes of the Dove of the Spirit which has been released from the egg of mortality.


May the Peace of Christ Descend on Us Today  


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CIRCLE OF LOVE


This drawing of the breaking of Silence at a Quaker Meeting appeared on the website of the Miami Meeting. I was curious about who had created the image and wondered it it was drawn by the artist Bobby Buskirk who had formerly been a member of Miami Meeting. Bobby's daughter Sally Gillespie who was my friend in the Friends Meeting of Ocala for many years was able to confirm that the picture was done by her mother.
 
Bobby and Phil Buskirk were married in Miami after Phil moved there in 1974. It was a second marriage for both of them. Bobby's first husband Robert Slane had died in 1972. Phil was divorced from Frances Hamer Kanzler to whom he was married from 1942 until the early seventies. Phil and Bobby were distant cousins and knew each other as children in Palisades, Michigan. Bobby was born August 18, 1916 and named Rosamond Mack Clark. She and Robert Slane parented four children, Mack, Robert, Sally and Susanna. Phil and Frances were also the parents of four, Charles, Philip, James, and Martha.

 
Phil Buskirk had been a powerful spokesperson for peace, justice and reconciliation as he worked for AFSC for many years. He held the position of Field Director for AFSC in Israel from 1959 to 1961. Bobby became a Quaker and joined the Miami Meeting after her marriage to Phil. She was always interested in art. She drew pastel portraits of people and animals.  She designed wood block prints, and she painted in oil and acrylic paints. Her love of art was passed on to her daughter Sally who became an art teacher in public schools.

 
Later Phil and Bobby moved south from Miami to the town of Florida City very near Homestead and the Everglades National Park. In 1994 extreme south Florida was in the path of Hurricane Andrew which became the costliest storm to hit the US up to that time. The home of Bobby and Phil was destroyed along with 25,000 other homes in Miami-Dade County. Instead of rebuilding in south Florida Bobby and Phil moved to higher ground in central Florida. They settled in the small town of McIntosh 18 miles south of Gainesville. Although they became a part of the Gainesville Friends Meeting their time in central Florida was short. Phil died in 1995 and Bobby's death followed the next year.


Sally said of her mother, "She loved Quaker Meeting.  She enjoyed getting to know the people.  She loved making up poems about people and playing word games and family games.  She liked to laugh and she loved to read." One daughter followed her mother into art, the other became a college librarian.
   

Thursday, August 13, 2015

QUAKER MAPS

A valuable resource for locating Quaker Meeting is the website QuakerMaps.com. Although the data may not be complete at present, the webmaster responds to emails and updates his site in short order. We are grateful to him for updating the data for the Friends Meeting of Ocala. 

A wealth of information is available on Quaker Maps. Visit soon and often to keep up with Friends Meetings throughout the United States

Although we are an unofficial meeting of Quakers, the Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM) has included us in their directory and invites us to participate in their activities.
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GEORGE NEWKIRK


George Newkirk was a prominent member of the Friends Meeting of Ocala. He was committed to keeping a Quaker presence in Ocala. He worked to support the Quaker movement from the time he moved to Ocala in the 1960's until his death in 2008. 

Before he retired to Ocala he had been a member of the Langley Hill Friends Meeting in McLean Virginia outside of Washington DC. He and his first wife Emma had located the church in McLean which became the meeting house for the Langley Hill Friends. I love the story of how the Quakers were able to purchase the building in McLean because the original deed stipulated that it could only be used for religious purposes. The property would have attracted many buyers on the open market and sold for a handsome price. The Quakers removed the stained glass windows to let the light in, eliminated the pulpit, and arranged the pews so that the the participants were in a circle.

More detail about George's life can be read in this Obituary from the Ocala Star Banner.