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Bill Denham's avatar

Bill Denham

Reedwood Friends

"Try to live the rest of our lives conscious of our environment and contribute in any way we are able to a more sustainable life for the future."

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Bill's Actions


Watch A Water Documentary

I will watch a documentary about water and the environment.

One-Time Action


Online Energy Audit

I will complete an online energy audit of my dorm room or home and identify my next steps for saving energy.

One-Time Action

Create Your Own Action


Take a nap when I'm tired.



  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/30/2017 6:23 PM
    I was sorry to miss the last class, though i did write my vision of where Reedwood would be in 2050 and shared it with Cherice. Here's what I said:

    Reedwood 2050
    At our Wednesday evening class, Cherice asked us to imagine Reedwood of 2050. During the discussion that followed our small groups, Dea Cox asked if the ecological crisis was going to force us to change our understanding of the role of our church. I do not recall his exact words but I think that was the import of his question. My memory is that Cherice answered, “Yes.”
    I would like to share my initial vision for that new role.
    I see Reedwood of 2050 as the embodiment of the gospel for the 21st century and beyond—the current sanctuary and educational wings being used fully, daily with a combination of worship, community service, education and celebration. It would primarily be a resource for the surrounding community. Banks of solar panels on the roof would power the building. The rainwater would be stored in ground level cisterns and pumped up to a water tank by a windmill. The terrain surrounding the building, which is now primarily parking lot, with the decreased use of automobiles, would be transformed into small house living spaces and garden spaces where the residents could grow their own food. The landscaping, layout and design would be provided by BAM Architects, Auryn White, June’s grandson and Mildred and Brian White, June’s daughter and son-in-law. The houses would be powered by the solar panels and they would get their water from the rain water collection system. The water would also be used for growing the residents’ food.
    The residents of these small houses would be people who, for whatever reason, find themselves in need of a permanent and stable living situation. They would be a part of the church community and participate in worship and educational opportunities provided in the building. There would be daily morning worship and singing as well as the traditional Sunday worship. Sundays would be a day of rest. 
    The main building would provide office space for local Quaker Voluntary Service and for several non-profits, which provide services for the most vulnerable people in our larger community. Part of the educational experience would involve training in watershed care—watershed discipleship and focus on our very own Crystal Spring watershed. The program would involve participation of the George Fox Seminary and Reed College and Portland city government and Eco Trust. There will be other training in sustainable agriculture, growing healthy, organic produce in the local gardens and in conjunction with OSU, Reed College, PSU, George Fox would offer degrees in watershed discipleship and organic sustainable agriculture. There would be healthy eating, foodservice and culinary training provided in the kitchen. There would be opportunities to participate in spiritual practice—in meditation or silent worship, in Bible study—to encourage us all to live our faith, daily, in every way. There would be evening concerts, singing, fellowship—a place for the larger Reed Neighborhood residents to come together and enjoy the music and socialize, and thereby form an ever-larger community of faith. 
    In this way Reedwood will become the Penndel Hill of watershed discipleship and set a replicable standard of how each church can to do this in their own local watershed—to whatever degree they are able. And in this way we will be working toward living in harmony with God’s creation, creating conscious communities and realizing the Kingdom of God on this earth.
    It is doable. It requires faith, a lack of fear, dedication to a vision and lots of hard work.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/30/2017 6:20 PM
    I have just returned from my annual Redwood Men's Center Conference. This is the 18th consecutive conference I have attended. I consider it to be my spiritual home. It has been the source all my spiritual growth in the last two decades. At one point during the weekend, I shared Cherice's "Hope" slide that she had shared with us in our class and it was very well received and provided a point of reference throughout the weekend and I was asked to share it with the whole group on our  email listserv, our Yahoo Group, after the conference. During our discussion of this process of growth, Barry Spector suggested that "forgiveness" needed to be added to it. Here's how I shared it with our group:

    We must begin by accepting reality, then we must grieve, and commit to turning around (repent). We need to forgive, ourselves and others. Then we must begin to imagine what it looks like to turn around and begin to plan how we might realize our imaginings. Then we need to take a step and another with someone else, with another person or with a group of people. Then we need to celebrate with each other and take another step. Throughout all this we need to practice trust and gratitude

    I am hopeful that we might be able to employ this process at Reedwood but the problem we have to solve, is how do we arrive at a common definition of the reality of Reedwood? That is not something we have been able to do to this point.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/24/2017 6:20 PM
    I am loving the readings this week. This prophetic vision seems ideally suited for Reedwood . . . but I fear that it may be a hard sell? We'll see.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/13/2017 7:58 PM
    I have just finished making a California Redwood Little Library that we have mounted on our street corner. We will be able to share books free with each other now in our community. This summer we will do a street party for a "Grand Opening" for our little library. I have also joined the Board of Directors for the Reed College Neighborhood Association, thinking about the future and what part Reedwood Friends Church might be able to play in the community as cars become fewer and as neighborhoods become more important--perhaps a community garden or perhaps some low income housing or perhaps building a swale to catch the water from our parking lot.

    • Cherice Bock's avatar
      Cherice Bock 5/15/2017 2:12 PM
      I love this, Bill! Where did you get the stained glass? So beautiful! I love all your ideas for how Reedwood might get involved in the local neighborhood, too. In the next two weeks, we'll be working more on putting together plans for going forward, and how people at Reedwood might want to put all these ideas into practice by starting to take some small steps in the direction of sustainability and environmental awareness, and its connection to faith. Will you bring these photos to show around on Wednesday, please?

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/07/2017 8:48 PM
    I understand your connection to the land around Newberg. You are raising the fourth generation of Oregonians. But I am newly arrived (three years) and I live in Portland in the Reed College Neighborhood. So I do not feel a super deep generational connection to the area. I do observe the beauty . . . as I have observed the beauty of the earth at every place I have lived . . . West Virginia, North Carolina, Hawaii, California, Iowa, even Chicago, Illinois . . . but I don't know how to create community in our individualistic society. I experience the goodness of folks at Reedwood but I don't know how to connect in a deeply personal way that seems necessary to form a real community . . . which I believe is an essential ingredient to our survival. Any ideas?

    • Cherice Bock's avatar
      Cherice Bock 5/08/2017 8:38 AM
      Bill, this is a great question, and one that the church is definitely struggling with right now. Some people are talking about creating more of a parish model of church, so you're part of a church in your neighborhood rather than driving a long ways. If you live in the Reed area, you probably already do this, which is great! Check out the work of the Parish Collective for more on this.

      A church I know of in north Portland, Salt & Light Lutheran, did a series of community gatherings in people's homes, etc., to find out the needs of the community and how the church could partner with them to meet those needs, and is basically a hub for a local economy and social network for entrepreneurial endeavors, many of which are "green" and/or coming out of the lower strata of the economic ladder. For stuff you can do personally, you can try to do a block party or something of the sort in your neighborhood, and start getting to know who lives nearby and how you can be supportive of one another.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 5/04/2017 10:00 AM
    We are sorry to have missed both Sunday and Wednesday's sessions. Sunday my first cousins, whom I had not seen for more than 60 years and her husband, Jane and Warren, were in town to visit us, so we had lunch with them at TOAST. Last night, our Dance for Parkinson's teacher, Virginia Dare, who is a costume maker for the Portland Opera, had given us free tickets to view the dress rehearsal of La Boheme. Virginia had made the costume for Mimi, the female lead. I am reading Surviving the Future by David Flemming which is base on the premise that our current system is unsustainable and we need to think in sustainable ways--a very radical approach to out future that address the question I posed at the first class about how do we think about a new "non-capitalist" future.

    • Cherice Bock's avatar
      Cherice Bock 5/05/2017 8:42 AM
      Sounds like a great book! Sorry you weren't able to be there for the last couple sessions, but that's wonderful you got to see your cousins. See you soon, I hope.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 4/30/2017 7:31 PM
    Well, I'm having a really hard time doing this. I spoke with Charisse about it and she suggested that I plan a rest challenge, which I haven't done. I tried to read the homework assignments and finally gave up because, it was not telling me anything I didn't already know about the world we live in and I simply was not interested in the scriptural basis of caring for creation. It seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm sure some people are interested but just not me. We watched a PBS show on oceans and aqua farming which was informative, as well as scary. The most reassuring part was the kelp farming which puts nothing into and takes nothing out of the environment while growing this nutritious food source. I also read an amazing interview with a man who lives with animals for years at a time and forms incredible relationships with wild turkeys, mule deer and big horn sheep and confirms the complexity of their beings which is equal to our own . . . just make me sad to be living in such a spaced out period of history.

    • Cherice Bock's avatar
      Cherice Bock 5/01/2017 2:25 PM
      Thanks for sharing, Bill! We'll get to hope--and how to maintain it--next week. Hang in there! I think rest is a huge part of maintaining hope, so keep giving yourself permission to rest, even if you don't post about it here.

  • Bill Denham's avatar
    Bill Denham 4/24/2017 2:37 PM
    We watched a documentary on bottled water that was entirely disturbing. What was most disturbing was the primacy of greed in the three corporate players--Nestle, Coke and Pepsi and their total lack of any sense of community responsibility for the communities they invaded and ripped off. Equally disturbing was the lack of FDA regulation, insured by the corporate decisions to only sell the water within the state where it was extracted. A further shocking disturbance was the chemicals found in the separate analyses of the water, many of which were being leached from the bottles. And finally the presence of the ocean grave yards for the plastic and the human cost of living in the neighborhood of the oil refineries that create the root products that are turned into the clear plastic bottles.