Friends Corner

“Friends Corner” page is devoted to South Berkshire Friends and their recent activities.


»»» Anne Chamberlain, an early member of our meeting, lives in Cornwall Heights, CT, but spends time each year in Hanoi, Viet Nam teaching music. She helps talented young individuals, guiding them to scholarships all over the world, and she enjoys the symphony orchestra and bringing music from our culture and that of Europe to Hanoi.  She also performs concerts, either alone or with another musician, in Fisher Hall at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA every year. 

We invite you to read her emails describing her recent experiences in Hanoi.

July 13, 2010

July 21, 2010

Sept 27, 2010
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»»» South Berkshire Friends Meeting member, Rosemary Masters, has worked for many years as a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of psychological trauma. Currently she is director of the Trauma Studies Center in New York City, a division of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.  Beginning in 2008, the Trauma Studies Center formed a partnership with Pilgrim-Africa, an indigenous Christian N.G.O. that seeks to restore community and hope in the war-ravaged Teso District of northern Uganda. This June, for the third time in three years, Rosemary and five colleagues journeyed to the town of Soroti, the administrative center of the area, where they provided training in basic counseling skills to human service workers—pastors, teachers, health care workers, even prison guards—non-therapists with no mental health training or counseling skills to whom the counseling role has fallen by default.

Rosemary observes, “The incidence of post traumatic stress disorder and other trauma related symptoms in Teso is huge. Almost everyone who lived through the incursions of the Lord’s Resistance Army experienced some degree of terror and horror. There are simply not enough mental health specialists in Uganda to treat everyone who needs it. But even without the benefit of extensive psychotherapy , simple interventions can go a long way to reduce an individual’s symptoms and sense of isolation. What is crucial to the success of the training we offer is that we keep coming back. The more we go back, the more people begin to trust that we are committed to their learning and the more they too become committed to learning. The human services workers in the Teso region are immensely talented and dedicated. We are immensely privileged to be working with them.”


Team from Pilgrim and the Trauma Studies Center in Uganda (Rosemary Masters is the third person from the right)




     On October 15, 2010, Walter Wink, receiving Union Theological Seminary’s Distinguished Alumni/ae Unitas Award, was honored as a transformational theologian and “a peace and justice activist.” Walter received both Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from Union, which had, in Walter’s words, “opened the floodgates to a more expansive way of thinking.”  Professor Thomas W. Porter, who introduced Walter, noted that, in workshops around the world, Walter often taught with his wife, June Keener Wink.  “We can’t,” he said, “underestimate the importance of June to Walter in the development of an embodied, transformational theology.”

     Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones read and presented Walter’s award:

2010 Unitas Award

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York Proudly honors distinguished alumnus

Walter Wink ’59,’63

Beloved professor, award-winning author, pastor, risk-taker and visionary;

for naming, unmasking and engaging the powers which threaten peace,

social justice and human thriving worldwide; for his unwavering commitment

to the ministry of reconciliation and advocacy for non-violence;

and for his innovative, transformative and interdisciplinary methods of

biblical studies dedicated to the partnership of mind, body and spirit.


     Since June shared in the honors of the evening, it seemed especially appropriate that varied arts were featured.  President Jones, surrounded by paintings hung in the auditorium earlier in the week for a seminar on art and religion, observed at the opening of the award ceremony that it was appropriate at the end of the week to turn to the crowning achievement of the arts, the art of a life well lived, a life exemplified by Walter’s.  In the same vein, President Katherine Henderson of Auburn Theological Seminary made a special presentation to Walter and June, who had served together on the Auburn faculty as they conducted workshops together worldwide:

“Walter and June, Auburn is privileged to join Union in honoring you this evening.  For some thirty years you served as Auburn’s professor of biblical interpretations—and together you crisscrossed this nation and the world, artfully weaving together a life of brilliant scholarship, and activism for peace and justice.  You have said: ‘When God wants to initiate a new movement in history, God does not intervene directly, but sends us dreams and visions that can, if attended to, initiate the process.’  So, tonight we are presenting you with art, a weaving, called ‘The Tree of Life Holds a Place for Peace.’  The artist, Laurie Gross, says of this piece, ‘While I feel a sense of despair about the recurring tragedies, there is something in me that won’t give up hope.  I am looking for something to hold onto, some thread that will remind me that peace still has a chance.’  In this piece, a red thread appears intertwined in the roots of the tree, and there is a golden nest set in one of the branches of the tree.  The nest sits, awaiting the dove of peace. May we see that dove come to rest as a reality in our world and in our lifetime.

“Walter and June, we present this work to you with admiration, love and thanks for nurturing the vision and hope for a peaceful and just world in all of us through a lifetime of creative ministry.”

     Thomas Porter opened his review of Walter’s major writings by saying, “I know of no New Testament scholar who has made a greater impact on the church, the academy and society on a local and/or global level.  In my reading, no New Testament scholar is cited more than Walter.”  Porter noted the broad influence of several of Walter’s books:

“In…The Bible in Human Transformation (1973) and Transforming Bible Study: A Leader’s Guide (1980), Walter helped us see beyond objectivism and demystification to see how the engagement of the text speaks to our current context and can lead to personal and social transformation.  He brought psychological insights to the text, understanding the archetypal power of biblical imagery…

“In…Jesus’ Third Way: The Relevance of Non-Violence in South Africa Today (1988), and Jesus and Non-Violence: A Third Way (2003), he showed us how Jesus developed a way that was different from violence or pacifism, the way of non-violent resistance, a way of fighting what we hate without becoming what we hate.”  Porter added that in travels in South Africa he “found Jesus’ Third Way on everyone’s shelf, having been smuggled into South Africa, and heard about its importance in the ultimately non-violent revolution in South Africa.”

“In the trilogy on the Powers, Naming the Powers (1984), Unmasking the Powers (1986), and Engaging the Powers (1992), summarized in The Powers That Be (1998), he gave us insight into the very nature of reality, the “Domination System”, and Jesus’ vision of a domination-free order…

“In…The Human Being (2002), he helped us understand the humanity of Jesus, the humanity of God, and God’s destiny for humanity, ‘to become human as God is Human.’”

Walter and June stood together at the lectern as June read Walter’s acceptance speech.  Walter wrote of teaching at Union “students, who in turn often taught me, as we explored Biblical texts together” while studying with “renowned professors who provided a rich and solid academic and theological foundation (even if they didn’t always share my point of view).”  It was at Union, he wrote, where he began life-long friendships and where “our children played and grew in the midst of marches and rallies.”  His subsequent tenure at Auburn Seminary allowed him “the freedom to travel, to write, to work with my wife-partner, June, for thirty years, and to gather the experiences without which the work of the Powers could not have been accomplished.  My sabbatical in Chile gave me a taste of life under a military dictatorship.  It was there that I first identified the Domination System and began my exploration of the Powers.  While moving in and out of South Africa under Apartheid, where the country was on the edge of a violent solution, I could see that there was a third way. This led to a commitment to non-violence, and to my little book, Jesus’ Third Way.

Walter’s acceptance speech concluded with mention of his struggle with dementia, which has made writing slower and more difficult, though “it remains gratifying and exciting.”  Books worked on in recent years, including an autobiography that includes some early papers, are now being edited for publication.  Walter concluded, “The disease has taken its toll, but the work goes on, and for that I am grateful.  It is with great joy and peace of heart that I receive this award.  Thank you!”

Thanks were returned as those in the auditorium rose as one to applaud in a standing ovation.  As those present observed, the response conveyed more than admiration; the room overflowed with love of Walter Wink and June Keener Wink