Spark, March 2017

Welcome to Spark Online

The online edition of New York Yearly Meeting's print newsletter.

Summer Sessions


July 23–29, 2017
Silver Bay YMCA    Silver Bay, NY

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Share your meeting’s news, announcements, and upcoming events with the rest of the Yearly Meeting through InfoShare, our digital newsletter. The deadline for the April issue is March 24. Send your items to Don’t get InfoShare? Contact the Yearly Meeting office to get yourself on our email mailing list.

Download a pdf file of the May 2017 Spark



The Powerful Practice of Discernment.

Other Articles

Around Our Yearly Meeting


Around Our Yearly Meeting

Editor's Note

Hello! Everyone is encouraged to write for Spark. Articles in Spark are a form of written ministry. Pieces should be spirit-led, and reflect your personal experience, Quaker history, or present faith and practice on the subject.

Upcoming Themes:

September: Bridging the Divide—a topic inspired by the energy and movement sparked by last year's White Privelege Conference and by the recent divisive election and aftermath.

November: Welcoming, as the first step of Outreach—to be guest-edited by the Outreach Working Group

Please send your submissions for the next issue of Spark to by August 1st.

Meetings and committee clerks: please share your info—news, upcoming events, etc.— so it can be shared via InfoShare, our digital newsletter. The next issue is in June; send your items ASAP to

Check out our lively Facebook Page:

An you can find short news updates, links to articles, and the occasional Instagram image on Twitter:

—Sarah Way

Meeting News

War Tax Resistance in Farmington Scipio

On March 21st in Ithaca, and in Rochester on the 26th, Farmington Scipio Regional Meeting co-sponsored a workshop on war tax witnessing and resistance. Sam Koplinka-Loehr from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, and Perry City Quaker Tom Joyce facilitated the workshops. The workshops included historical information about the practice of war tax witness and resistance and provided participants with methods for using these tactics in contemporary times. Plus they included information on the growing effort to redirect tax dollars to resistance efforts that are led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous organizers.

John Edminster Awarded Full-Tuition ESR Scholarship

John Edminster has been chosen to receive a full-tuition scholarship as a residential Cooper Scholar in his last year of work toward an M.Div. degree at the Earlham School of Religion, or ESR. Criteria for recipients of this scholarship include clarity of ministerial identity, self-awareness of their own spiritual formation process, and potential for continued leadership and/or service through their gifts of ministry. John is active in the ESR community and often preaches locally. “Overall, I can see that I’ve been growing more tender toward others and more trusting of God since I first came to ESR,” John stated in his scholarship application. “It’s grown much clearer to me that Christ is living in me, and I in Christ, and I’m less shy about saying so to people who I think can hear it.”

Friends Peace Teams Lead AVP Workshop in Indonesia

Friends from The Friends Peace Teams in Asia West Pacific held an Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) basic workshop on the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra, Indonesia, on February 24 to March 3, 2017. The people in Mentawai face many challenges and are making efforts to establish a framework for human rights, food security, education, and better access to health care, among other concerns. 27 people, primarily preschool teachers, travelled from many districts on the island to participate in the workshop each day. After the first day participants shared, “I am so grateful for this and see that my whole life can change; I’m safer at home and at school; I am finding calmness in myself.” For the entire report, visit

Art and Culture Program at Manhasset Quaker Meeting House

We are in the process of developing an art and cultural exhibition program at the Manhasset Quaker Meeting House. The mission of this program is to both open ourselves and others to the spiritual world that surrounds us by opening our doors to the Long Island-based community of artists and crafts persons, providing them a sheltered space in which they can exhibit their work for the benefit of our community. Participants to be considered include artists, photographers, musicians, and crafts persons: quilt-makers, potters, and weavers. Special consideration will be given to seniors, children, and the physically and mentally challenged. Our first exhibition will be presented on September 23 and 24, 2017. Individuals, schools, and art organizations that are interested in participating are asked to contact Dick Lopez, 718-343-6797,

Rally for Faith Over Fear

Quakers from New York City and Maine rallied and marched in support of Faith Over Fear in Washington Square Park, NYC, on March 16 (see photo). The rally was a brisk but invigorating event with people of faith from all over the city, working together to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant/anti-refugee agenda. Friends enjoyed sunset glow and inspiring words from many! The event was organized by Faith in New York; visit for more info.

Deepening Quaker Faith and Practice Workshop at Albany Friends Meeting

The experience we had together was spiritually rich. The workshop, held March 18-19 and led by Anne Liske with help from Sue Clark, Judith Fetterley, and Maud Easter, was attended by 19 people. By sharing early experiences of encountering the sacred we deepened connections with one another. We explored experiences of the sacred in Meeting for Worship, with particular attention to discernment around vocal ministry. We looked at Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, and the difference between consensus and Sense of the Meeting. We hope further conversations will be possible, particularly around Sense of the Meeting and the challenges presented by our way of doing business.


Upcoming Events

Love Thy Friend: Providing Pastoral Care in All Kinds of Weather
A Powell House Conference
Facilitated by Bruce Heckman

Prepare to better serve your meeting community as a pastoral caregiver. We will consider care for Friends who are home bound, hospitalized, terminally ill, newly bereaved or grieving. And we’ll explore approaches to helping troubled or disruptive members, or those with mental health problems. This workshop will provide skill-building and experience-sharing opportunities, guidelines, and other resources. Participants may expect to leave the workshop feeling empowered and better prepared to minister to individual Friends, and thereby support the spiritual health of their meeting communities. Visit to register.

Date: May 12-14, 2017
Location: Powell House, 524 Pitt Hall Rd, Old Chatham, NY 12136

Farmington Scipio Spring Gathering

Spring Gathering 2017 approaches, and it is time to register! We will meet May 17-19 at Watson Homestead in Painted Post. This year’s theme is Sanctuary Everywhere, and it looks to be an exciting spiritually deep gathering! More information, workshop description, schedule, and registration can be found at

Singing a la Nightingales

Nightingales is a Northern Yearly Meeting a cappella singing group that Friends in NYYM have enjoyed for the last eight years, hosted by various Friends across our broad geography. Getting together and singing as the Nightingales do is about singing from the heart. It is not about being a great singer. It is about being in a community singing with love. If you can talk, you can sing. We sing from Rise Up Singing and Worship in Song, but we often bring songs or rounds we have encountered to teach each other. We go around in a circle, and every person present, even the very youngest, gets to name a song they want sung. Sometimes we break into song without books and without structure, our hearts leading us from one song to another.
These weekends are also about fellowship and food. We all bring food to share, and have pot-luck meals that we take turns organizing and cleaning up after. And we tell about our lives, through words and in the songs we initiate, for there is little more revealing than the song in your heart.
Those that can camp, do so, or sleep in sleeping bags on the floor. Those that need a bed, due to age or physical need, can ask for one with local Friends. We charge a small fee for breakfast staples, but otherwise we do everything ourselves, so the cost is negligible. If this sounds like fun to you, please come, and bring those you love with you.
Shuttle service from Syracuse Amtrak station is a possibility.
Children are most welcome, though those not wanting to participate in the singing are the responsibility of their parents.
Dates: June 9-11
Place: Ithaca Monthly Meeting
Suggested fee: $10
Please register so we can plan ahead! Online registration form:
To register via email or regular mail, contact Bronwyn Mohlke: (607) 220- 3219;
For more information, contact Bronwyn or Melissa Blake: (607) 379- 4297;

Old Chatham Quaker Meeting presents “The Last Minute Jazz Ensemble”

Saturday, May 27, 2017 from 7:30-9:30pm at the Old Chatham Quaker Meetinghouse, 539 County Route 13, Old Chatham, NY, across from Pitt Hall Rd and Powell House.
“The Last Minute Jazz Ensemble” has played together for eleven years and is comprised of Richard Green, guitar; Steve Dieterman, bass; Chris Ferrone, sax; Peter Skaller, piano; Peter Coombs, drums; and delights in playing jazz: standards, latin, bebop and blues. Admission: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Advance tickets available at these Chatham businesses: The Chatham Bookstore, 27 Main Street, Chatham Wine and Liquor, 53 Main Street and The Chatham Real Food Coop, 15 Church St.
There will be a bake sale during the intermission. This is a benefit concert for our Meetinghouse. Questions: 518-766-2992

FGC Gathering in NYYM!

2017's Annual FGC Gathering, Ripples Start Where Spirit Moves, is July 2-8 in Niagara, NY. Registration is now open:
Go to: information and registration


Job Opportunities

Young Adult Field Secretary of New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

The New York Yearly Meeting Young Adult Field Secretary works with young adult Friends in the NYYM area in the following ways: serving as a locus and a catalyst for networking; disseminating information; assisting in multi-generational community development; doing mentoring, pastoral care, coordinating, and outreach; and helping young adult Friends to develop their gifts and to find a home in the Religious Society of Friends. In addition, the position will support young adult Friends' retreats and activities and opportunities for religious education and will serve as a support and focal point for college outreach efforts. This is a half-time position that requires ongoing ministry and considerable travel, including many weekend commitments, around the NYYM area. Applicants should be a member of the Religious Society of Friends (or a committed and active participant in Friends' activities) with a strong understanding of Quaker ministry, testimonies, structures, history, and practice; have strong verbal and written communication skills; be skilled at recognizing and supporting the gifts of others; be skilled in relationship building; and have experience with social media.

Click the following for a link to the job description.

Deadline for applications: June 15, 2017. The position starts July 15
Contact: Please send your resume to



New Members

Jean Carmalt — Chatham-Summit
Marianne Corbino — Scarsdale
Samantha DeBellis — Purchase
Yohannes Johnson — Bulls Head-Oswego
Victoria Lewis — Catskill
Justin Murphy — Rochester
Bryan Oettel — Morningside
Amy Schutt — Hamilton
Rob Schutt — Hamilton


Carol Holmes — to Scarsdale from Brooklyn
Elizabeth and William Sharp — to Syracuse from Abingdon (PYM)


Kenton Allen, member of New Brunswick, on December 21, 2016.
Evelyn Bird, member of Buffalo, on November 19, 2016
Vincent Buscemi, member of Morningside, on March 11, 2017. A Memorial Meeting will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, May 27th, at the 15th Street Meetinghouse, 15 Rutherford Place, NYC
Frances May Bruno, member of Manasquan, on January 27, 2017.
Curt Fey, member of Rochester, on March 13, 2017.
Susan Hesse, member of Binghamton, on March 10, 2017.
Jean Hubbard, member of Bethpage, on April 26, 2017.
Nancy Willard Lindbloom, member of Poughkeepsie, on February 19, 2017.
Charles S. Thompson, member of Hudson, on April 16, 2017.
Phebe Washburn, member of Chappaqua, on March 17, 2017.
Faith Woolson, member of Fredonia, on April 1, 2017.