By Abbey Pratt-Harrington
The weekend of February 5-6 I (along with a few others) went to visit the Quakers in Whittier, California. I think it’s safe to say that we all had a lovely time (and not only because we got a short reprieve from the winter weather). We spent most of our time visiting with people (mostly over meals) and enjoying our surroundings.
One of the most interesting conversations I had while there was with a man of Hispanic descent. He approached me after I led the adult education and we talked about his journey to Quakerism, which he had recently found. What made his story stand out to me was that I had never heard a story like it before. Most convinced Friends seem to come to Quakerism for peace issues. This man had found Quakers while studying languages. In Spanish there still is a formal and informal way to address people and (from my limited understanding) it has to do with social class. This gentleman did not like this distinction and wondered why it existed, so he started to study languages/the history of languages.
Somehow, he ran across the story of the Quakers who refused to follow this distinction in English. This got him interested in who the Quakers were and eventually brought him to this community in Whittier. I found this whole experience interesting because, while I love the story of Friends addressing everyone with thee and thou, I never thought about that principle still being applicable in today’s world. I suppose this just goes to show you that you can learn something new every day.
Abbey Pratt-Harrington is a member of Athens Friends Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting. She is a graduate of Wilmington College and is currently a residential student in Earlham School of Religion’s Master of Divinity program.