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Tom Fox Memorial Service at The Westbury Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Dear Virginia Greens,

Hello. I wanted to share some of the experience Ian and I had when we attended the memorial service for Tom Fox set up by the Quakers here in Long Island.

The service was today, Sunday, March 26th at the Meeting House in Westbury. It was in a beautiful sanctuary, with old, wooden pews and old, heavy glass, clear windows filled with beautiful trees.

There were 30 or 40 people in attendance. A woman from the meeting said that they were pleased that people came from various places. There were Unitarians and people from other churches.

Ian and I arrived late. We were told that the service opened with words from the man who had told us about the meeting in his speech at another event. The man is a leader in an interfaith group. He spoke about Tom Fox's life and death and read some of Tom Fox's

There were handouts available. One tells about Tom Fox's life and gives an address to send condolences to his family. It also has words from his web-log. Another handout has words about a vigil held for the captives at the Westbury Friends meeting on Dec 7th, 2005. Folders were available with even more printouts of Tom's web-logs.

One of the handouts tells that the opening quotation on Tom's website was from George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends:

"Be patterns, be examples in every country, place, or nation that you visit…"

The meeting was full of profound silences, as Quaker meetings are. Many people spoke up about Tom Fox and his life and mission. Tom was compared to Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and Abraham Lincoln. People discussed the inspiration that Tom provides for moving
past our safe, comfortable lives, to follow our truth and make change.

Some people noted that the fact that the three other members of the team were rescued alive, shortly after Tom Fox's death, was a kind of miracle. And, that Tom's faith may have played a part in that.

Part of the speaking touched on a fact I did not
realize: That, Tom Fox had decided to stay and had to join the Christian Peacemaking Team, because the American Friends Service Committee decided it was not safe for their members. There was some reflection on if he made the correct decision. Though, everyone ultimately had a deep respect for his choice and his committment.

At the end of the meeting, during the social hour, I told some people that Tom Fox was a green, and that I am a green. I passed along thanks from the Virginia Greens that the service was being held. A woman said she would mention to the Virginia Meeting House that many people from different churches and organizations

During the service, I did not feel inclined to mention our political party. Though, I noted that I was in an organization Tom was in, and that while I did not know him, I knew some of his colleagues in Virginia. Also, I said that I felt an interesting sense of wholeness in having found out about the service and having been
able to attend. And, that the resonances and
connections gave me a deep sense that the choices Tom made were correct.

There was a reporter and a photographer there from the New York Times. It appears there will be a story. Ian and I arrived late, so we did not get to speak to the reporter, and the New York Times may never know Tom Fox was a Green. Though, it is wonderful that Tom Fox's story will be shared. And, the Quakers were very happy that they could be connected to Tom's memory in that way.

The address to send condolences to Tom Fox's family is:
Family of Tom Fox
c/o Christian Peacemakers Teams
PO Box 6508
Chicago, IL 60680-6508

Kimberly Wilder
Green Party of New York State

One Response

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