InfoShare - April 2008

InfoShare
Volume 7 April 2008 Number 2
Editor: Paul Busby, paul [at] nyym [dot] org


Christopher Sammond’s Travel Calendar

April 1– May 31, 2008

April
4–6 Attend Spring Sessions, Oakwood School, Poughkeepsie, NY
15–17 Attend NYYM/NEYM Annual Pastors' Retreat, Madison, CT
19 Facilitate Long Island Quarter Retreat, Matinecock MM, Locust Valley, NY
20 Visit Manhasset MM, Manhasset, NY [Tentative]
25–26 Colead Singing Weekend, Clinton, NY
27 Visit Mohawk Valley MM, Clinton, NY
 
May
9–11 Facilitate Retreat: Opening to Deeper Worship, Powell House
16 Attend "Responsible Adult Presence" Workshop, Long Point Camp, Geneva, NY
16–18 Attend Farmington Scipio Spring Gathering, Long Point Camp, Geneva, NY
30–31 Participate in Demolition Team in Anna Curtis Renovation, Powell House

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Memorial for Dean Freiday

Dean Freiday, a long-time member of Manasquan Monthly Meeting, died March 4, 2008, at 92.

His Barclay’s Apology in Modern English, first published in 1957, continues to be a standard work on Quaker theology. He published more than a dozen articles in Quaker journals and served a term as editor of Quaker Religious Thought.

A memorial service will be held on April 12, 2008, at 11:00 A.M. at Manasquan Meeting, 2257 Meetinghouse Road, Manasquan, N.J. 08736.

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Witness to History

The exhibit “Witness to History,” a series of posters on the aftermath of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is available for monthly or regional meetings to display in their communities. It is a profound statement against nuclear weapons. The first showing was held in Ossining, N.Y., sponsored jointly by Scarsdale Meeting and Pax Christi Maryknoll. A second is planned for April 13 and 14 at Fordham University in the Bronx; and a third is planned for April 20 to May 31 in Rutland, Vt. After that, it is available, and we hope that it will be shown in several locations in upstate New York. Thumbnails of the posters can be seen at www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/images_e/poster/poster_e.html. For more information, please e-mail to Mary Eagleson, mleagleson [at] aol.com.

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Shrewsbury/Plainfield Half-Yearly Meeting

Shrewsbury & Plainfield Half-Yearly Meeting will be held at the New Brunswick Friends meetinghouse, 109 Nichol Ave., New Brunswick, N.J., Saturday, April 19, 2008, from 9:30 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Lunch will be at 12:30 P.M., and Rev. Lisanne Finston, executive director of Elijah’s Promise, will speak at 1:30 about the work done by her organization, which provides meals, social services, and health screening for people in central N.J.

All Friends and attenders are welcome.

Parking across Nichol Ave. in a Rutgers lot behind the Little Theater. For more information call Jennie Fischer at 732-846-6610.

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Me, My Partner, and the Divine

Me, My Partner, and the Divine: Our Spiritual Path and Our Relationship As a Couple is a Couple Enrichment Retreat to be held at Rochester Friends Meeting April 18 and 19, 2008.

Sharing your spiritual life is a way to grow as a couple and deepen your intimacy. But sometimes, it may seem as if there is a lot of mystery and uncertainty surrounding spirituality. It can be hard to talk about it, and even hard to hear about your partner’s spiritual journey. What do you know about your spiritual journey? About your partner’s journey? This weekend will give couples time to explore issues around their spiritual lives, such as:

  • How does the language we use affect our conversations about spirituality?
  • How do we support each other in our growing spirituality?
  • How do we connect spiritually when we are in different places on the path?
  • How do we discern where God is leading us as a couple?
  • What do we do if we feel led in different directions?
  • Is our life together in harmony with our core spiritual beliefs?
  • How do we understand our relationship in the context of our spiritual journey?

Couples will use the couple enrichment model to listen deeply to each other and to the Divine Presence in their relationship. This retreat is for couples in a healthy, committed relationship, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Limited to ten couples.

Cost: $40 per couple - includes a simple lunch
To register, please contact: Kenn Harper
Registration deadline: Sunday, April 13
For more information about the retreat:
Mary Kay Glazer and Mark Moss, 518-585-7949, mkglazer [at] verizon.net

Mary Kay Glazer and Mark Moss live in Ticonderoga, N.Y. They are members of Rochester Monthly Meeting and attend Middlebury, Vt., Monthly Meeting and the Ticonderoga Worship Group. Rochester Monthly Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting support their ministry as released Friends.

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Light Impressions

Amawalk Monthly Meeting invites you to a Simple Lunch* and Light Impressions: A Photo Exhibit, Sunday, April 20, 2008. Proceeds from this Simple Lunch will benefit The Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children (OGCDC) in Vietnam

Lunch begins at Noon. The Exhibit is open until 5 P.M.

Join your neighbors for a simple meal of soup, bread, fruit, and beverage to help support children in Vietnam who suffer from congenital diseases and disabilities and who are helped by the only nonprofit that specializes in such work in Vietnam.

After lunch, travel with Amawalk’s own photographer, Nick Burlakoff, as he shares his sojourns and visions of the worlds of sacred spaces, work, nature, seasons, flowers, critters, and humor & whimsy. Exhibit photos will be available for purchase and will help defray the cost of a pilgrimage to Vietnam.

A donation of $6.00 per person is requested.

* Simple Meals is a program developed by Right Sharing of World Resources (www.rswr.org) to promote mindfulness of our abundance, and as a reminder to share our bounty with those who hunger. Previous beneficiaries of Amawalk’s Simple Meals include Alternatives to Violence Project, Heifer International, and Right Sharing of World Resources.

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Singing à la Nightingales

Friends will gather for a celebration of song April 25–27, 2008, at Mohawk Valley Meeting and the home of a Friend.

Mary Jacobs and Christopher Sammond have enjoyed singing with the Nightingales, a Northern Yearly Meeting a cappella singing group, and want to share the experience with Friends here. Getting together and singing as the Nightingales do it 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 were told by your kindergarten teacher to “just mouth the words,” because “you can’t sing,” you can sing. If you can talk, you can sing. We sing from Rise Up Singing and Worship in Song, but we often bring songs or rounds to teach each other. Every person present, even the very youngest, gets to name a song they want sung, and if the person wants, they set the pitch for it too. There are also times when we break into song without books and without structure, our hearts leading us from one song to another, one genre to another, sacred, silly, schmaltzy, rounds, hymns, show tunes—we wander into some amazing bayous of song.

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. We do that in words, and in the songs we initiate, for there is little more revealing than the song in your heart. Sometimes we sing our way into the truth of who we are, and receive that from the singing.

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, get the few that are available. 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 Utica Amtrak station is a possibility. Children are most welcome, though those not wanting to participate in the singing are the responsibility of their parents.

Suggested fee: $10

For more information contact Christopher Sammond, 845-876-0802, c1sammond [at] aol.com, or Mary Jacobs, 585-547-3313, mjacobs61 [at] mac.com.

Registration: Contact NYYM office at 212-673-5750, office [at] nym.org. We need to know how many to plan for and what food you plan to share.

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RAP—Responsible Adult Presence

A Workshop on Adult Presences at Quaker Youth Gatherings will be held at Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering, Friday May 16, 2008, 9:30 A.M.–4:00 P.M. at  Long Point Camp, Penn Yan, N.Y.

For registration, e-mail office [at] nyym.org and a registration form will be sent to you.

The workshop is for:

  • anyone who leads or organizes youth gatherings in New York Yearly meeting
  • adults who plan to be an adult presence at youth gatherings
  • anyone responsible for oversight of youth gatherings
  • high school–age youth who would like to be a Friendly Youthful Presence at this workshop!

The goals of this workshop are

  • to clarify what it means to be a well-functioning adult presence
  • to take home a process for selecting, orienting and guiding other adults who will come to youth gatherings as adult presences.

We will play, talk, listen, and reflect. We will ask how an “adult presence” in a youth gathering can help the participants to experience Friends’ testimonies. While the content will be adapted to the actual participants, you can anticipate topics to include: special considerations for men, setting boundaries for adults and youth, selecting (or saying “no” to) adult volunteers, creating a process and place to help ensure the physical and emotional safety of all, and what to do when an adult presence is not working out.

If you are attending this workshop, please consider staying for the Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering. You can register for the Gathering at www.nyym.org/rochester/futureevents.htm.

For those needing overnight accommodations Thursday night in order to attend Friday morning, John Cooley has volunteered the use of his house.

Mike Clark is a codirector of the Powell House Youth Program and will facilitate this retreat. Christopher Sammond serves NYYM as its general secretary and will help with logistics.

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A Quaker Book of Nature

Gale Swiontkowski, a new member of Amawalk Monthly Meeting, is working on a pamphlet, tentatively titled A Quaker Book of Nature.  This pamphlet explores the medieval concept of the Book of Nature, in which Nature is compared to a book, through which we might come closer to God. Gale argues that the Quaker interests in ongoing revelation and deep listening are an extension of that concept—a concept that Gale argues would be of great value for modern people to revisit. Gale is a professor of English at Fordham University but is resigning this summer to pursue her own writings on the relations between literature and spirituality. 

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Satyagraha

Satyagraha: Gandhi’s “Truth Force” in the Age of Climate Change is a free public forum to be presented at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine April 13, 2008, at 7:00 P.M. The cathedral is at 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan.

The Cathedral event features Rajmohan Gandhi, Gandhi’s biographer and grandson; Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest; performances by Philip Glass; Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, founder of Sri Lanka’s Sarvodaya movement; Sulak Sivaraksa, founder of the Thailand Spirit in Education Movement; and other distinguished participants.

Gandhi’s example inspired the 20th century’s most effective social-change movements. Can it now inspire us to confront and transform climate change?

This event is sponsored by the Garrison institute. For further information visit www.garrisoninstitute.org and click on the photo of Gandhi.

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Eco-spirituality & Action:
Accelerate Your Earthcare Ministry

The course that led to the Eco-spirituality & Action Minute of New York Yearly Meeting is being offered at Powell House in a special weekend format, April 11–13, 2008. Friends and non-Friends are welcome.

This is the second weekend in the Powell House Earthcare Series that was launched in March with Marshall Massey’s workshop “Earth in the Headlines: How are We Called to Respond?” in which we were challenged to reclaim the Quaker traditions of conviction and corporate witness. We laid a foundation for Friends to be a truly powerful witness for the Earth. We came away with the certainty that now is the time for Friends to turn their passion and concern for our beautiful Earth into united action.

In Eco-spirituality & Action, we will continue to build the momentum that was created and move toward corporate action. We will explore tools and worldviews within and outside Quaker tradition to empower and accelerate Friends’ individual and corporate witness for the Earth. We will identify the principles and practices of an emerging new awareness concerning our place and role in the unfolding of creation. We will “dream big dreams.” Finally, we will begin to name, claim, and find ways to nurture Earthcare ministries that are emerging among us.

Workshop facilitator Angela Manno is a member of Friends in Unity with Nature in Manhattan and the NYYM Earthcare Working Group. She studied earth literacy at Genesis Farm and has spent the past 20 years exploring the creativity that permeates the spiritual, human, and natural worlds. She is working on a book, Planetary Perspectives.

A core group of “Earthcare ministers” is forming, and this a time like no other to join with like-minded souls in this crucial common work. Powell House is offering a “special” to monthly meetings making it more affordable when more than one person attends from one meeting.

For more information go to www.powellhouse.org. To register, please write or call Powell House, 524 Pitt Hall Rd., Old Chatham NY 12136, 518-794-8811; info [at] powellhouse.org.

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Updates from Committee on CCOPW

The Committee on Conscientious Objection to Paying for War (CCOPW) reports:
In October the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Dan Jenkins’s case, Jenkins v. Commissioner of IRS. He is now considering appeal in an international venue.

Derek Brett of Conscience and Peace Tax International will be in the United States and Canada March 22 to April 6, and Dan has been active in arranging this visit. In mid-May, John Randall, Fred Dettmer, and Dan will attend the first meeting of the CPTI legal committee in Brussels.

We also call your attention to the March 2008 issue of Friends Journal, which contains five articles on the theme Praying for Peace, Paying for War prepared by members of the Committee. We also arranged for a book review in that edition of the Friends Journal.

We have received a request from Chatham-Summit Meeting to facilitate a workshop on statements of conscience May 10, 2008, and are  eager to respond to other requests. Rochester, Brooklyn, and Saratoga Springs have already held workshops.

The Committee plans to bring the Wall of Conscience to Silver Bay again, and is considering how to display this at Friends General Conference as well.

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They Did It! AVP in Indonesia

The Indonesians did their first full successful Alternatives to Violence workshop on their own without any facilitators from the outside!

Not only that but the team was made up of people from both sides of the conflict in Aceh and they did it in with people from Peureulak, East Aceh, the “heart of the war,” who have a very “hard” culture and are very suspicious and hateful of others.

This was the first time we have brought perpetrators and victims to participate together. One of the facilitators told a story about experiencing Transforming Power on a night he was certain he would be killed. It turned out that the perpetrator was in the workshop! He says it was really powerful, and the reflection at the end of the workshop was amazing.

This brought tears to my eyes and touched me on so many levels. They felt so successful, not just as facilitators and as a team, but in bringing together people who may not have otherwise touched each other’s hearts for generations if ever again. I’m so grateful that we could be part of this, that we could be part of bringing this about in the world, that we could give back to a people that we so brutally treated as objects in the coup of 1965.

What redemption for us and for them. Thank you to everyone who has so graciously supported our work over the last few years!

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Receptive Listening Seminars Attenders?

Forty years ago I participated in a series of six monthly weekend seminars at Powell House called Receptive Listening Seminars. I can’t remember many of the folks who attended this series with me, and Powell House now has no records of it. I wonder if anyone else is still around from those days who might have a record of those folks and would be interested in helping me organize a 40th anniversary reunion of that group at Powell House for later this year

If so, please contact me, Ken Maher, Rochester Meeting, ken_maher [at] urmc.rochester.edu, 383 Wellington Ave., Rochester NY 14619.

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New Brunswick Meeting’s Minute on Inclusion

On February 17, 2008, New Brunswick Monthly Meeting approved the following minute.

The New Brunswick Friends Meeting warmly welcomes everyone and their gifts into our fellowship and does not discriminate on the basis of color, sexual orientation, or other worldly attribute. Everyone is welcome to participate fully.

The minute is being made into a poster, to be placed at the entrances to the meetinghouse in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian (large population in New Brunswick), Japanese, and Chinese.

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Courageously Faithful:
FGC Gathering 2008

Courageously Faithful: That is the theme of this year’s Friends General Conference (FGC) gathering, June 28–July 5, 2008, in Johnstown, Penn.

Early registration is available till April 6, 2008.

In observance of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s 1958 address to FGC, plenary presentations include:

  • James Lawson: noted nonviolence theorist and practitioner
  • Rex Ellis: storyteller and African-American historian
  • Tribe1 ensemble: featuring creative musicians known to many Friends (Niyonu Spann, Jonathan Snipes, Ingrid Lakey, Deborra Sines Pancoe, Cedric Miller, and Foluke Bennett)
  • Peterson Toscano: a well-loved FGC attender, performer, and activist
  • Freshwater Faithfulness: becoming advocates for fresh water on this earth

You will also find at the Gathering:

  • 63 intimate week-long workshops
  • Junior Gathering groups for infants through current grade 8
  • A fantastic High School program
  • Programming by and for young adults
  • Singing, dancing, interest groups, presentations
  • And more!

An Invitation to Join the Junior Gathering Staff: Consider spending your mornings or evenings with Junior Gathering. Working with small groups of Quaker kids and with other adults who love to serve our children is a great way to feed your soul and renew your sense of curiosity and play.

For further information visit www.fgcquaker.org.

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FGC Youth E-Newsletter

The Friends General Conference (FGC) Youth e-newsletter is back in action. The March issue is an exciting issue with information about opportunities to connect with Friends from across the branches of Quakerism!

There is online registration information about the upcoming conference for young adult Friends as well as other Quaker events, a new YouTube video from AFSC, a wonderful blog entry about traveling among Evangelical Friends in Oregon, and an invitation to submit your experiences of being with Friends from other branches than your own.

A prayer request: We are asking Friends to please hold the organizers, Friends who attend, and all those involved with the YAF conference in the Light. We hope we can all be present to Spirit as it flows through and among us.

For more information, contact Emily Stewart, Youth Ministries coordinator, FGC, emilys [at] fgcquaker.org.

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