Friday, February 11, 2011

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting Fundraising Letter

Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting
1515 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
January 5, 2011
Dear Friends,
I write for your financial contributions to the Ministry of Vanessa Julye once again. Many of you have given generously in past years, and it is deeply appreciated. Your gifts have helped sustain the work of this ministry and will ensure its continuation. We want you to know that Vanessa's work continues to be fruitful and Spirit-lead, the results tangible and vibrant.
Ten years ago Vanessa Julye received a call to minister with a concern for helping the Religious Society of Friends become a more welcoming community for people of Color. The overall vision of the ministry to which she has been called by the Spirit is to help humanity remember its wholeness.
We celebrated the publication of "Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship; Quakers, African Americans and the Myth of Racial Justice" in 2009. Vanessa and her co-author, Donna McDaniel labored for seven years on this expression of their leadings. The publication of the book has opened new avenues for ministry on racial healing.
This year we are trying to raise $2,000 for Vanessa's ministry so that she can participate in Quakers Uniting in Publications Conference in England this spring where she continues to feel led to share her leadings with fellow Quaker writers. She is also planning on attending FWCC's international conference the following year.
Please be generous with your contributions. Share this letter with your monthly meetings. Her ministry truly speaks to a need in our religious society. While it remains important to celebrate our differences and our common humanity, healing from the hurts of racism and removing the barriers that unrecognized privilege constructs are essential to the wholeness of our beloved Religious Society of Friends. Your prayers, your participation, and your financial contributions are all needed and most welcome.
All contributions should be sent and made out to Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. Please write "Ministry on racism" in the memo section of your check. The Meeting's address is above.
Yours in the Light,
Yoko Koike Barnes
Clerk for Vanessa Julye's Ministry Committee

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hawai'i stole my heart!

Tonight is our final night on the Big Island. As I sit in our hotel room listening to the ocean waves break on the rock and feeling the warm ocean breeze cover my body I feel sad and happy. Sad that we have to leave this fabulous island tomorrow and return to cold, depressing winter. I am so happy we came. Hawaii feels like home. It has the ocean, the sun, warm air, warm ocean water, exotic fish and animals, nice people and good food.
Today Barry and I spent time in the ocean. We went to Kahalu'u Beach in Keauhou. The beach was mostly rock with a little sand. I brought my water shoes so it was easier for me to walk over the rocks into the ocean. Barry forgot his so his feet were bare. Despite his cautious walking he still slipped and cut his toes and leg. They are minor cuts but I wouldn't recommend swimming there without shoes. It is a popular beach for snorkeling. There were many people snorkeling. They were looking at the coral and tropical fish. We did not rent snorkel equipment. I did not need it. I could see the tropical fish with my eyes in the water because the water was so clear and the fish so bright. They were yellow, orange, black & orange, brilliant blue, bright green and tiger fish to mention a few. It was wonderful to swim with them in the ocean where we both were free and not confined in a tank.

Since the beach was close to our hotel we were able to return to our room for a quick lunch then headed south to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. On our way we stopped at the Donkey Ball Chocolate Factory so I could buy some Donkey Balls. I purchased a few items, but couldn't resist asking if their chocolate was fair trade. I knew the answer, but was planting a seed. The cashier had to go to the back and ask. When she returned she said they did not know. I told her that if it were fair trade she would know. I explained to her why fairly traded chocolate was important to me. I was glad that they had white chocolate (which I cannot eat), but bought as gifts for family.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge) was such a rich experience. The park contains ancient temples, royal grounds and a place of refuge (sanctuary.) We spent hours walking around feeling the sacredness of this site. The park provided refuge to Hawai'ians who were able to get there. Non royalty who broke Kapu (strict ancient Hawai'ian social system) were killed because Hawai'ians felt breaking Kapu angered the Gods who would send tidal waves, earthquakes, famine and volcanic eruptions. Kapu breakers had to swim through violent and shark filled ocean to reach Pu'uhonua.

The park encompasses royal grounds as well. Kona ali'i (chief, royalty) lived there with their warriors. One of the temples there was built around 1650 and contains the bones of 23 chiefs. There is also a stone wall that was built in 1550 which is 10 feet high and more than 1000 feet long. Also several ki'i (statues) carved out of Ohia trees. One actually stands on the rocks in the ocean. It was a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

Barry and I have been here for a week and there are still so many places and things I want to do here on the Big Island. Barry keeps telling me that it gives us a reason to return. I DON"T WANT TO LEAVE!!!!!! I will miss the call of the ocean. She calls me through all of me senses. My eyes see her beautiful inviting shades of blue, my ears hear the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks reminding my body of the times she has rocked me. When I smell, taste salt, sweat or cry I am reminded of her gentle saltiness.

Hawai'i, especially the Big Island is a place I highly recommend visiting at least once in your life. They even have snow way up on the mountain for those who want that experience. The Island has something for everyone. You can visit a ranch. Ride horses on a ranch or beach. There are magnificent waterfalls and tropical gardens, which we did not get to see, in the mountains. We only had time to explore half of the volcano. Don't forget the green, black, beige (white) and multi-colored sand beaches. If you decide to come to Hawai'i we found the Lonely Planet's The Big Island travel guide to be an excellent resource. We had both the 2002 and 2008 editions thanks to two wonderful friends who loaned us their copies. We used them frequently.

I love you Big Island. You have stolen my heart. I will miss you tremendously when I am back in the cold and barren wilderness of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Change in Plans!!

Yesterday we spent the morning rearranging our travel plans. After talking with family in Philadelphia we took advantage of USAirways travel advisory, relaxed change fees, and rebooked our flight home from Monday night to Thursday night. Then we needed to find accomodations since the condo we were staying in was expecting us to check out the next day, February 1st. We also had to make arrangements for the rental car.

It was a very windy day which meant that the sky over the mountains were clearer making it easier to see and photograph the mountain ranges. Incase you are wondering, yes there is snow here in Hawaii. I even took a picture of it. Later in the afternoon Barry and I drove to Waimea. On our way there we were treated with seeing two rainbows. We saw the first one as we drove to the town. The second rainbow appeared as we were leaving the town. It was brighter and gave Barry a good laugh because it appeared to end at the Burger King. He said Burger King was definitely someone's gold at the end of the rainbow. Upon our return to the condo we once again went to the pool where both of us got into the spa pool. It was so nice and warm. I floated on my back for a while and looked at the stars. If only I could take the hot pool home with me.

This morning we checked out of Kings Land and drove to Kapa'au to visit Kamehameha's statue. The statue was originally lost at sea and recovered. It was repaired, repainted and place on the Big Island in 1880.

As life would have it we are having a second vacation in a new hotel in a different area, Kailua Kona. We returned the rental car and got one from a different agency. So it was like starting over because we had to return to the airport to exchange cars which meant unpacking the old one and packing the new one. Then we drove to our new home.

Our new hotel is closer to the ocean, but the beach is rocky not sandy. The surfers and buggie boarders like this area. It was nice to watch the sun set over the ocean from our hotel room. I just wish I felt safe getting in the water here. We began walking to a beach that the hotel clerk was better for swimming, but turned back when the liquid sunshine showered down on us.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Our visit to Ka Lae

Yesterday Barry and I went to South Point (Ka Lae,) which is the farthest south you can get in USA. There were rocky cliffs along the coast which created some beautiful spray. There were people jumping off of the cliffs into the ocean to swim and snorkel. I know you are wondering how they got out. There was a very long rope ladder attached to a wooden platforms on the edge of the cliff. South Point was the site of one of the earliest Hawaiian settlements.
We drove by a windmill farm on the road to South Point. Actually there were two an old non functioning one and a new very active one.
After our time at South Point we decided to visit Green Beach. It turned out to be more than we could do. There was a 2.5 mile hike one way from the parking area to the beach on very rocky and pebblely terrain. We got about half way there and decided to turn around. It was a beautiful walk along the ocean. The I was disappointed, but we decided it would give us something to do when we returned. However, next time we will do what most people did is drive there in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. We drove north, back to Waikoloa. When we got back to Kings Land I really needed to get into some water so we walked over to the pool where Barry went swimming and I got into the heavenly warm spa pool. It was fabulous!!!