InfoShare, April 2010

N e w   Y o r k   Y e a r l y   M e e t i n g
R e l i g i o u s   S o c i e t y   o f   F r i e n d s
InfoShare
Volume 9 April 2010 Number 2
Editor: Paul Busby

Contents


Spring Sessions:

Letter from the Clerk

April 4, 2010

Cherished Friends,

What joy!

Friends from throughout our Yearly Meeting are preparing to gather this weekend for our Spring Sessions at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. Whether or not you can be there in person, you can help by holding our Yearly Meeting in prayer. Please pray for faithfulness, for deep listening, for giving over to what finds us, and for hearts open to being changed. Pray that our meeting will be “measurably owned by the overshadowing of Divine Goodness…” (NYYM epistle to Baltimore Yearly Meeting, 1809).

We will open and close with unprogrammed meeting for worship. Meetings for worship with attention to business are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you feel a nudge to sit in on a committee meeting on Saturday afternoon, follow that nudge to learn more about the ministry of our Yearly Meeting and your place in it.

We will experiment with something new at this gathering. In an effort to be accountable and transparent, and to close the loop of each story, we will hear brief status reports about actions that the meeting has directed committees or individuals to take, such as communicating with the monthly meetings or sending a letter to elected officials about a particular concern.

Following this letter, you will find the tentative order of worship for our business sessions. Please bear in mind that items and their order may continue to change. Our intention is to maintain the centered sense of worship throughout, and when necessary to wait for that sense before proceeding.

We will make use of the following consent agenda for business that seems straightforward in order to have more time for worshipful corporate discernment of more complicated items. Friends are invited to consider the consent agenda along with the relevant background information, to address any concerns as appropriate by Saturday evening, and to be prepared to approve the items without discussion during our Sunday morning session.

In loving and excited friendship,

Heather M. Cook (Chatham-Summit Monthly Meeting)
clerk, NYYM
clerk [at] nyym.org

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Spring Sessions

Schedule

Friday, 4/9/10
7:00–8:30 P.M. Meeting for worship with attention to holding our Yearly Meeting in prayer
8:45 Fellowship and singing (Friends are encouraged to bring songbooks)
 
Saturday, 4/10/10
7:30–8:30 A.M. Breakfast
8:30–9:00 Registration
9:00–9:45 Meeting for worship
10:00–noon Meeting for worship with a concern for YM business
12:15–1:30 P.M. Lunch
Sessions Committee meets
1:45–3:30 Committee meetings
3:45–5:15 Committee meetings
5:30–6:30 Dinner
7:00–9:00 Invited speaker
 
Sunday, 4/11/10
8:30 A.M. Meeting for worship
9:00–10:30 Meeting for worship with a concern for YM business
11:00–noon Meeting for worship
12:15 P.M. Lunch and farewells


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Spring Sessions 2010
Agenda

Meeting for worship
with attention to the affairs of the Yearly Meeting

Saturday, April 10   10 A.M.–noon                  
Welcome
Roll call by region
Travel minutes
General Services Coordinating Committee

  • Treasurer’s report
  • Financial Services: revised 2010 operating budget
  • Personnel Committee report
  • Nominating Committee: nominations of Friends outside the Yearly Meeting
  • Sessions Committee report: proposed Equalization Fund
  • General Secretary’s report

Sunday, April 11      9:00–10:30 A.M.                      
Consent agenda see Consent agenda and background material for full details

  • Nominating Committee slate
  • Changes to “Funding from Outside Sources” in General Services section of Handbook
  • Changes to Sessions Committee Handbook description
  • Recommendation from Advancement Committee for disbursement of funds from Lockport-Brinkerhoff Fund
  • Recommendation for transfer of balance of funds from Gospel Order Packets to Women’s Fund
  • Recommendation for transfer of $500 from FUM Triennial representatives travel budget line to FUM General Board representatives travel budget line

Liaison Committee report
Witness Coordinating Committee Reports
Carryover and new items

Written announcements may be given to the reading clerk before the beginning of each session to be read at the end of the session.

Minutes will be considered at the end of each section of business, rather than all together at the end of the session.

Friends are reminded to address comments to the Clerk.

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Consent Agenda Background Information

NYYM Spring Sessions
April 2010

1. Nominations
Advancement 2013: Sue Tannehill, Buffalo; John Edminster, Fifteenth Street
Worship at Yearly Meeting 2012: Ann Davidson, Farmington
Oakwood Friends School Board of Managers 2011: Ben Frisch, Brooklyn;
Mary Alexander, Brooklyn
Conscientious Objection to Paying for War 2012: Jens Braun, Old Chatham

2. Requests for Release from Service
Tracy Lee Maxwell, Shrewsbury, Advancement 2011
Joseph Rutledge, Chappaqua, Oakwood Friends School Board of Managers 2010
William Nichols, Ohio YM, Oakwood Friends School Board of Managers 2010
Lara Holliday, Brooklyn, Oakwood Friends School Board of Managers 2011

3. Proposed revision to “Funding from Outside Sources” in the General Service Coordinating Committee (GSCC) section of the New York Yearly Meeting Handbook.

Proposed change in Committee Guidelines, Section D “Financing,” subsection 2 “Funding from Outside Sources,” paragraph 6 (page 77) is in bold, approved by General Services Coordinating Committee on March 6, 2010, per the following minute:

We seek approval to add two words to the document “Funding for Grants” paragraph 6.

6. The proposal developed in accordance with the guidelines above shall be considered by the appropriate section coordinating committee. It shall be considered first on its merits, then for its relationship to other funding interests of committees in the section and for the appropriateness of seeking outside funding. If the coordinating committee approves, the proposal will be presented to the General Services Coordinating Committee and the NYYM Trustees for approval or further seasoning on issues including, but not limited to, insurance, payroll, liability, taxes, employment status, and other possible legal issues.

4. Proposed change of responsibility for behavior concerns at Summer Sessions to Sessions Committee from Ministry Coordinating Committee (MCC).
MCC, Sessions, and General Services (GSCC) have all approved this change in order to bring the Handbook into alignment with current practice.

  • Current NYYM Handbook (as revised, online), under MCC, Functions and Activities, #10c: to name an oversight committee to serve as liaison among Yearly Meeting, Junior Yearly Meeting, and the Silver Bay Association to deal with problems and stressful situations arising from behavior at summer sessions
  • Minute from MCC: 2009-11-04.  Friends agreed to relinquish to Sessions the responsibility for appointing the committee to deal with behavioral incidents that occur at Summer Session, as is the current practice. Jeffrey Aaron shall revise the Handbook page accordingly.
  • Minute from GSCC: 2010-03. Sessions Committee. The current New York Yearly Meeting Handbook assigns responsibility to Ministry Coordinating Committee for an oversight committee to deal with problems and stressful situations arising from behavior at summer sessions. Practice for many years has been that Sessions has taken this responsibility. Both MCC and Sessions have considered this process and recommend that this responsibility be transferred from MCC to Sessions in the Handbook. This change was approved by Sessions Committee.

We seek approval for these changes as recommended by MCC, GSCC, and Sessions Committee.

5. Recommendation for disbursement of money from Lockport-Brinkerhoff Fund
In response to requests from two meetings for funds to support maintaining their meetinghouse, Advancement Committee approved the following:


2010.3.14.03     Pursuant to our Minutes from Fall Sessions approving the disbursement of Lockport-Brinkerhoff funds to Housatonic Monthly Meeting, in the amount of $1,500, and to Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting in the amount of $2,221.02, we recommend that these items be brought to New York Yearly Meeting for approval.

From the committee’s minutes from Fall Sessions:

“In the absence of other requests and because the two requests exceeded the funds available it was approved that the fund be drawn down to zero. … Friends are reminded that this amount is only the annual interest on the principal of the fund.”

6. Recommendation for transfer of the balance of funds from Gospel Order Packets Fund to Women’s Fund
The Ministry Coordinating Committee recommends that NYYM approve the release and transfer of the current balance ($286.69 as of the November 30, 2009, treasurer’s report) held in the Gospel Order Packets Fund to the Women’s Fund, effective immediately.

Background: The Gospel Order Packets Fund was created by NYYM many years ago with a small deposit of “seed money” to finance the production and distribution of specified printed materials related to Friends’ education on the subject of Gospel Order. The Fund was replenished by meetings and individual Friends who purchased the materials at approximately the cost of producing and distributing them. Over the past several years, there has been essentially no activity in the Fund, and few if any requests for Gospel Order packets.

Since the money in the Fund was restricted to this use by New York Yearly Meeting, it cannot be used for other purposes without the express approval of NYYM. The Yearly Meeting can, however, redirect its use.

The Women’s Fund is one of a small number of funds managed by the NYYM Advancement Committee, and is used primarily to help support attendance at NYYM Sessions by women who might not otherwise be able to participate for financial reasons. If this money is released for use as part of the Women’s Fund, it will most likely be used in this fashion during the current year. Given the sharp decrease this year in the budgeted funds available to the Advancement Committee, these additional dollars will be especially significant in sustaining this program. 

7. Recommendation for release of $500 from FUM Triennial travel budget line to FUM General Board representatives travel budget line

From Nurture Coordinating Committee’s minutes:

4-11/2009. The Nurture Coordinating Committee asks the Yearly Meeting to approve the release of up to $500 during the calendar year 2010 from the fund designated to support participation in FUM triennial sessions, and to allow its expenditure toward support of one or more of the Yearly Meeting’s named FUM General Board representatives to attend a special joint FUM General Board meeting in Kenya in July 2010.

Background: The operating budget line for FUM General Board Representatives has generally been based on the expectation that it would be sufficient to cover the major portion, but not all the costs connected with our three representatives each attending three board meetings in the United States during the course of a year. The cost of a single representative attending  the July 2010 General Board meeting in Kenya is projected to cost nearly as much as the amount in the full year budget line. If only the regular budget line were available to support this, it would become necessary to choose between support for one representative traveling to Kenya and support for any of the three representatives to attend the remaining two sessions in the US. By allowing some support for travel to Kenya to come from the fund that has been designated to support attendance at the 2011 FUM triennial (in Wilmington, Ohio), additional time will be made available to find other support for Friends wishing to attend that event.


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Consent Agenda for New York Yearly Meeting

Spring Sessions, April 9–11, 2010

The items below are for Friends’ consideration in preparation for the meeting for worship with attention to business on Sunday morning, April 11, at the Chautauqua Institution. At that time Friends will be asked whether we can act on the items without discussion. Prior to that time, Friends are asked to familiarize themselves with the Consent Agenda, to read the written material pertaining to each item, and to contact named Friends with any questions, comments, or concerns. If discussion with the contact person does not resolve concerns about an item or nomination, those issues are brought to the Clerk directly and immediately by either the concerned Friend or the contact person. That item or proposed appointment will be removed from the consent agenda. The Clerk then discerns whether to return the item to its originating committee, or to bring it to the Meeting for discussion. All contact information is available in the Yearly Meeting Yearbook, which should be available at all meetings.

Decision Concerning Information Available Friends Available for Consultation Actions Proposed (to be recorded as YM minutes)
1. Nominations for service On page 1, Background Jill McLellan and Deb Dickinson, coclerks, Nominating Committee
 
Friends are being asked to approve nominations to Yearly Meeting committees and as representatives to other bodies as listed for review.
2. Requests for release from service On page 1, Background Jill McLellan and Deb Dickinson, coclerks, Nominating Committee Friends are being asked to accept requests for release from Yearly Meeting service as listed for review.
3. Proposed revision to “Funding from Outside Sources” in the Yearly Meeting
Handbook.
On page 1, Background Jeffrey Aaron, clerk, General Services Coordinating Committee Friends are being asked to approve a change to the Handbook General Services section, Committee Guidelines, Section D “Financing,” item #6: “Funding from Outside Sources” to include the words “approve or.”
4. Proposed change of responsibility for behavior concerns at Summer Sessions to Sessions Cmttee from Ministry Coordinating Cmttee On page 1-2, Background John Cooley, clerk, Sessions Committee;
Jeffrey Aaron, clerk, General Services Coordinating Committee
Friends are being asked to approve changing responsibility to Sessions Committee from Ministry Coordinating Committee for behavior concerns at Summer Sessions in order to bring the Handbook up to date with current practice: to name an oversight committee to serve as liaison among Yearly Meeting, Junior Yearly Meeting, and the Silver Bay Association to deal with problems and stressful situations arising from behavior at summer sessions.
5. Recommendation for disbursement of money from Lockport-Brinkerhoff Fund. On page 2, Background Don Badgley, clerk, Advancement Committee Friends are being asked to approve Advancement Committee’s recommendation for the following disbursements from the Lockport-Brinkerhoff Fund in response to requests: $1,500 to Housatonic Monthly Meeting, and $2,221.02 to Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting
6. Recommendation for transfer of balance of funds from Gospel Order Packets Fund to Women’s Fund. On page 2-3, Background Steve Ross, ass’t clerk, Ministry Coordinating Committee (732-571-2614); Elaine Learnard, recording clerk, MCC Friends are being asked to approve the release and transfer of the current balance ($286.69 as of the November 30, 2009 treasurer's report) held in the Gospel Order Packets Fund to the Women's Fund, effective immediately.
7. Recommendation for release of $500 from FUM Triennial representatives travel budget line to FUM General Board representatives travel budget line On page 3, Background Cheshire Frager, clerk, Nurture Coordinating Committee Friends are being asked to approve transfer of $500 from the “FUM reps to Triennial” budget line to the “FUM—reps to board” budget line to support one or more of those representatives to attend a special joint FUM General Board meeting in Kenya in July 2010.

 

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FGC Seeks General Secretary

Friends General Conference (FGC) has begun the search for a new general secretary. Bruce Birchard has announced that he will retire in July of 2011. Go to www.fgcquaker.org for further information about FGC’s programs and staff. FGC also has hundreds of volunteers helping with its work.

FGC seeks a general secretary who will be a servant leader and who:

  • is an active member of the Religious Society of Friends
  • is supportive of and enthusiastic about FGC’s mission and goals, including an active commitment to promoting diversity in its many dimensions
  • is familiar with Friends’ organizations in the United States and Canada
  • has a college degree or equivalent education
  • has management experience, at a mid to senior level position

More details and a complete job description can be found at www.fgcquaker.org/jobs.

The position will begin June or July of 2011. The search committee is now accepting applications. We will consider applications until finalists are chosen for interviews, which are planned for November or early December, 2010.

We expect to announce the name of the new general secretary in early winter 2011.

If interested please send your résumé with a covering letter to Rich Van Dellen at fgcsearch [at] charter.net. We prefer electronic submissions.

If you have questions please contact: Rich Van Dellen, Gen. Sec Search Comm. Clerk, 600 4th St. SW #306, Rochester MN 55902, richvd15 [at] charter.net or Deborah Fisch, FGC staff, 1080 45th St., Des Moines IA 50311, deborahf [at] fgcquaker.org

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What was the purpose of the Meeting for Discernment?

What will be done with what was shared?
What comes next?

1. Was the purpose of the day for worship and sharing among those present?
Yes, although it was not only an event in and unto itself (see below!), the purpose of the day was to listen, see, and hear to how the Spirit/God/Christ/Light is moving among us in NYYM. Many Friends have expressed feeling powerfully moved by the practice of listening worshipfully, for an extended period of time, to both the vocal ministry of others and the silent words of the Spirit. Some have found that the experience has given them a greater sense of what worship can be. No report or recounting can convey the fullness of the experience.

2. Will it be attenders that carry back the information and fruits of their experience to their meetings?
Yes. One of the benefits of the Meetings for Discernment has been a strengthening of connections among Friends in the various monthly meetings within NYYM. Many appointees have reported back to their meetings about what they heard and what they shared. Some have found that listening to the experiences of other meetings has given them a sense of commonality and connection. Friends have learned of new resources and brought home new ideas for their meetings to try, as well as cautionary tales of things to avoid. Some meetings have adopted the use of elders, individuals who are present with the intention of grounding and holding the body, and found this to be a great benefit. A full-day of messages is a lot to carry home! To help share a sense of the day as widely as possible, an account of the latest Meeting for Discernment will shortly be available on the NYYM Web site. Please contact the NYYM office if you would like to receive a paper copy of this account.

3. Will a Yearly Meeting committee follow up with what was shared?
Yes. We are still growing into this new way of listening to how the Spirit is moving among us and then acting on what we hear. The Meetings for Discernment have the potential to strengthen connections between what is going on in the monthly meetings and the work being done by the Yearly Meeting committees. About half the Friends present at the February 20 Meeting for Discernment serve on one or more of the Yearly Meeting committees and task groups listed below. The Steering Committee will be following up with representatives from the coordinating committees for each of the four sections of the Yearly Meeting to learn how they perceived the day. We will also be in contact with clerks of those Yearly Meeting committees whose work was particularly addressed.

4. What comes next?
The Meetings for Discernment were approved for a trial period in July 2007. In the coming weeks, the Steering Committee will be contacting monthly meeting clerks and appointees to learn of their experiences of the Meetings for Discernment so far and their thoughts for the future. We will bring a recommendation to Summer Sessions. Meanwhile, if you have questions or comments, please contact Janet Hough at janet.hough [at] verizon.net or 914-769-6885.

The next Meeting for Discernment will be held at Silver Bay in the morning and afternoon of Tuesday, July 20.

Present at the February Meeting for Discernment were individuals serving on these NYYM committees & task groups, as well as these NYYM officers and staff.

Ministry Section: the Ministry Coordinating Committee and Advancement, Conflict Transformation, Ministry & Pastoral Care, Worship at Yearly Meeting Sessions, State of Society, Spiritual Nurture Working Group, Task Group on Racism

Nurture Section: the Nurture Coordinating Committee and Aging Concerns, Epistle, FGC Central Committee, FUM General Board, Junior Yearly Meeting, Oakwood Friends School Board, Powell House

Witness Section: the Witness Coordinating Committee and Alternatives to Violence Project, Black Concerns, Committee on Conscientious Objection to Paying for War, Friends Peace Teams, NY State Council of Churches, Peace Concerns coordinator, Prisons, Quaker Earthcare Witness, Right Sharing of World Resources, World Ministries

General Services Section: the General Services Coordinating Committee and Communications, Financial Services, General Secretary’s Supervisory Task Group, Mosher Fund, Nominating, Personnel, Sessions, Trustees (of NYYM)

NYYM officers and staff: NYYM clerk, NYYM assistant clerk, NYYM recording clerk, NYYM general secretary, ARCH coordinator (Aging Resources Consultation and Help)

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Family Friendly Meetings

Kathie Scanlon, BullsHead-Oswego MM

Although the weather outside was blustery enough to fell tree limbs on the property of our beloved Powell House, the atmosphere inside the Family Friendly Meeting Conference was warm. Friends from through the NY Yearly Meeting were led by Christie Duncan-Tessmer from Philadelphia YM. Christie brought enthusiasm and a can-do spirit to those gathered to share the concern of building community in their monthly meetings.

We discussed the difference between accommodation and integration and between intergenerational and multigenerational. Christy defines multigenerational this way: “A multigenerational community is about asking its members to recognize the power, gifts, the fun and potential of all its members, regardless of their age. It asks us to be accountable to and respectful of each other even if we wiggle a lot or talk a long time.” Sometimes we want and need to be intergenerational—tweens and teens may want to have some time separate from adults—engaging in our own activities concurrently. Too often I see two communities, an adult and a youth, each carrying on work uninformed and uninfluenced by the other.

Christy gave good leads for how to introduce our desire for a multigenerational community into our meetings.

  • Put it on the agenda at meeting for business.
  • Involve M& C in the concern of nurturing all and calling on our gifts.
  • Model it—be multigenerational in your committees, in meeting for worship, at social hour, at Friendly bunches. Interact with Friends in the manner of Friends.
  • Run a trial project—plan an event with multigenerational participation. Welcome all into a committee to work together in a way that accesses everyone’s talents and interests.
  • Consider the physical space of your meeting. Is there seating in meeting for worship that fits everyone’s different physical needs? Are the bathrooms child/family friendly? Are supplies stored with the safety and accessibility of all in mind?
  • Ask each committee to consider how it nurtures youth. Are their gifts being recognized and called out? Are we teaching our children Quaker process?
  • Look for those in your meeting who share your concern for a multigenerational community and enlist their supportive and active participation in multigenerational actions.

Some successful ideas or stepping stones to becoming multigenerational were shared: plant a garden, cook a meal together for the meeting or to share with those in need, make sure it is an activity that is of interest to all the Friends involved—just as adults follow a leading and use their already developed skills to contribute, we can have no different expectation of youth. “ I can’t balance my checkbook. No one would ask me to be treasurer”; don’t ask a child to sit through two hours of talking.

WiFFLeS is a handy acronym to remember the opportunities for community within our meetings.

W = Meeting for worship. How do we gather to worship together? Is there time for all Friends to experience the gatheredness of meeting? What does our structuring of worship time communicate to Friends?
F = Meeting for fellowship. Do we gather as a community to learn about each other’s joys and concerns, our lives outside of meeting? Do we socialize as Friends, looking for the Light in each? Or do we socialize in a “worldly” manner assigning importance by age, occupation, common interest?
F = Meeting for fun. Can we have fun together, can we allow ourselves to play? And if not can we sit and enjoy ourselves through those who can play?
L = Meeting for learning. What opportunities do we have in our meeting to learn together? Is there religious education for children only? Do adults believe that children can be teachers, and do the adults allow themselves to learn?
S = Meeting for service. This means community service as well as meeting for business and committee meetings. All of these are the translation of love into action. When this work is not Spirit led, we are responsible to speak.

And last, make it your priority to know the names of the Friends in your meeting and one important thing about them. Ask yourself if you know only the adults or only the children or only those who share your own socially designated grouping. Perhaps a way to begin is to share this article with someone; ask a young Friend to share her insights. Perhaps your reward for taking this risk will be the occasion to see that of God in another and so discover a little more of your own Light.

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Report: Truth Commission on Conscience in War

Quaker commissioners Fred Dettmer and Naomi Paz Greenberg

The Truth Commission on Conscience in War met at Riverside Church in New York City in public session on Sunday, March 21, 2010, and in a work session for the speakers and “commissioners” (named representatives of the participating organizations) on Monday, March 22. The Truth Commission was sponsored by over 60 churches, seminaries, faith groups, faith-based organizations, peace organizations, veterans’ groups, and organizations advocating for the rights of conscientious objectors, including New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). NYYM named Ernestine Buscemi, Frederick Dettmer, and Naomi Paz Greenberg to serve as commissioners, and the New York Metropolitan Regional Office of AFSC named Oskar Castro, Jack Patterson, and Dan Seeger.

Sunday’s session was given over to a screening of excerpts from the documentary film Soldiers of Conscience and then testimonial presentations by conscientious objector veterans, representatives of faith groups, J. E. McNeil, executive director of the Center on Conscience and War, and the journalist Christopher Hedges. The proceedings were recorded and will shortly be available online through the Truth Commission’s Web site at www.conscienceinwar.org.

Soldiers of Conscience powerfully captures the testimony of soldiers whose conscience brought them to the realization that they could not continue to participate in warmaking. (See www.socfilm.com.) Many of the soldiers in the documentary, including Camilo Mejia, Joshua Casteel, and Dr. Camillo "Mac" Bica, were speakers at the public session of the Truth Commission, as was as Celeste Zappala, mother of the first Pennsylvania national guard soldier killed in Iraq. Their moving accounts of their experience of the reality of warfare, of the horror of killing another human being, or in the case of Celeste Zappala of losing a son to a pointless war, gave a vivid intimacy to their stories of their journeys of conscience.

During the working session on Monday, the commissioners and the testifiers focused on next steps in gaining recognition for rights of conscience. Much of the attention was on selective conscientious objection, particularly by soldiers. Whether the working session will turn out to have been worthwhile will depend on whether participants and the sponsoring organizations truly follow up on the many actions identified during the day as necessary to bring general recognition to, and respect for, rights of conscience in all forms.

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FLGBTQC Midwinter Gathering

Robert Renwick for the Midwinter Gathering Planning Committee

The 2010 annual Midwinter Gathering of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) was held on the Presidents' Day long weekend at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center near Garrison, N.Y. The core of the planning committee was a group of NYYM Friends. Over 100 of us from as far away as California weathered heavy February storms to attend. For a number from NYYM, this was their first FLGBTQC event.

Our theme for the Gathering was “Stitching our Quilts—Waving our Banners.” Part of the charge of the Gathering was to facilitate movement in understanding where we've come from as a community, who we are now, and, as Spirit continues to mold and shape us, our witness to the larger Quaker body and beyond. Our queries were:

  • We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Who has given you inspiration and strength?
  • What are you carrying on of what has been given you?
  • What of yourself do you want to hold up to the Light for transformation and healing?

 

The full program offered opportunities for worship, worship sharing in small groups, a plenary address, a panel, business, and workshops. Vonn New, one of our planning committee, brought her band, Hemingway's Cat, to provide the Saturday night entertainment.

We did some stitching on our quilts. We celebrated the banners we've marched under and are set to wave those banners ever more proudly. The blessings we enjoyed at this Midwinter are reverberating through our lives. We anticipate our gatherings to come, inspired to carry forward our work and witness. The committee is most grateful for this opportunity for service entrusted to us by our community.

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Report on FWCC Annual Meeting

Judith Inskeep, clerk, FWCC Committee

You’re here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.…You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.…
Matt 5:13, 14 (The Message)

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Section of the Americas held its annual meeting March 18–21, 2010. The theme was based on John 13:34–35, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.…”

Keynoter Deborah Suess, pastoral minister of First Friends Meeting of Greensboro, N.C., spoke about this theme, which, she said, reminded the apostles of what they already possessed—they were a family. The “little children” in verse 33 will have to care for each other, since the parent is gone. Love is the sign of God dwelling in us—Emmanuel.

At one of the morning worship sessions led by Friends of various traditions, Linnette Garcia of Jamaica Yearly Meeting pointed out that Jesus is often referred to as the “light,” yet he tells us that we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14).

FWCC Gathering
Nancy Irving, FWCC general secretary (left), and Emma Condori of Bolivia

Another session was led by the Friends from Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, and Cuba. A team of interpreters rendered all the proceedings into the other language. Nancy Irving of the World Office in London described the trip she and Louise Salinas of the FWCC section office in Philadelphia made to Bolivia, where Jesús Huarachi assembled Friends from six of the Bolivian yearly meetings. Three of them are isolated and in desperate need of connection. Nancy asked, can we invite our yearly meetings to reach out to them? We heard about the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage that will take place in the northwest U.S. In July, and the Historic Peace Churches Conference in May 2011 in Jamaica. A somewhat more local event will be the Northeast Regional Gathering May 21–24, 2010 (not Memorial Day weekend), on the theme “The World Turned Right-Side Up” at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada. Geoffrey Garver will be one of the presenters (www.fwccamericas.org).

We were hosted in Maryland by Baltimore Yearly Meeting at a Jewish conference center with kosher dining—a learning experience for many of us. Baltimore Friends entertained us Saturday evening, and we did a lot of singing in both English and Spanish. As always, it was a great pleasure to work and converse with Friends from other yearly meetings. Next year we’ll have a different format—a two-day annual meeting in Philadelphia.

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Christopher Sammond’s Travel Calendar

April 1–May 31, 2010

April    
6   Farewell Dinner for Mary Ellen McNish, AFSC General Secretary, Philadelphia, PA
8   Meet with NYYM clerk, Ithaca, NY
9–11   NYYM Spring Sessions, Chautauqua, NY
19–22   NYYM/NEYM Pastors and Elders Retreat, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY
23–25   Nightingales Singing Weekend, Mohawk Valley MM, Clinton, NY
     
May    
14–16   Lead retreat for New Paltz MM, “Deepening the Spiritual Life of the Meeting”
21–23   Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering, Long Point Camp, Penn Yan, NY

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From ARCH: Medicare Information

Anita Paul, co-coordinator, Aging Resources Consultation and Help

About to turn 65 and baffled by the Medicare mailings you are getting? I’m not surprised, so here’s a primer:

Medicare Part A is free and for everyone who is eligible for Social Security. It starts at 65 whether you are working or not. If you are working your employer probably wants you to sign up for Medicare because it can save the employer money on their health insurance. Part A covers hospital costs.

Medicare Part B is not free and this year costs about $110 a month per person. If you are still working more than 20 hours a week and are covered by health insurance through your employer you do not need Part B. If you have stopped working sign up for Part B at the same time you sign up for Part A, about 2 months before your birthday. If you do not sign up at 65, or when you stop working, and decide you’ve made a mistake, (which you have), Medicare will make you wait before you can sign up and charge you extra every month forever. Part B covers doctor visits, lab work, and the other things that keep you healthy, like flu shots.

If you can not afford the $110 premium for Part B see the Office for the Aging in your county or your local Social Security office. There are a couple of ways the government can cover that cost for income-eligible people. Not being able to afford it is not a good reason not to get it.

Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage Plans, designed by the government as an experiment to see if they saved money. They don’t, and the new healthcare legislation will do away with them. These plans are through a local HMO (health maintenance organization) and cover all aspects of your care. If you want to consider one of these plans you must read the fine print and understand what they won’t do as well as you understand what they will do.

Medicare Part D is the drug benefit. Again, if you don’t enroll when you are first eligible you will pay a penalty. And, yes, this is the part with the famous doughnut hole, which means that the plan covers meds for the first few thousand dollars, then doesn’t for the next few thousan, then does again.

Medicare Supplement Plans are additional medical insurance purchased from private companies that helps with the co-pays and other things Medicare does not cover. Most people will need one of these in addition to Medicare.

If you’re not confused you’re not paying attention, but the same government who brought you Medicare (thank you, Lyndon Johnson) has also brought you help by funding local Offices for the Aging to provide trained people to help you identify and sort out the Medicare Supplement Plans and the Medicare Part D plans available in your county, a free service. There are 67 plans in my county!

Oh, and if you are one of those people who say, “Medicare, Medicaid, I can’t tell the difference”: Medicare is for seniors; Medicaid is for the medically indigent of any age and you apply for it through your local Department of Social Services.

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An Invitation to Facilitate Worship Sharing at Silver Bay

Claire Simon & Vonn New, Worship Sharing coordinators

As is traditional, we are planning for worship sharing during Summer Sessions at Silver Bay, July 18–24, 2010. We would like you to consider facilitating a worship-sharing group this summer.

Worship-sharing groups meet Monday through Friday, July 19–23, from 9:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. On Saturday morning, Friends will be encouraged to participate in the final meeting for worship.

General worship sharing will be offered as in the past. In addition, there will be a number of special groups: Men's or Women's; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender; Adults with young children; 12-Step; Racial Healing; Earthcare.

Worship sharing provides an opportunity to worship together near the beginning of the day, setting the tone for other activities as the day unfolds. Sharing insights, experiences, and prayer together refreshes the spirit. Your contribution, opening participants to be a channel for the Holy Spirit, would be invaluable.

We would like to have two leaders for some worship groups. This helps share the responsibility for planning and conducting the sessions. If you are an experienced leader, you may be willing to mentor someone who is less seasoned. If you have not had the opportunity to lead others in worship in this way, working with someone may help you feel more comfortable in the role. Suggestions for someone you would like to work with would be welcome. If you prefer to work alone, that is fine as well. Also, if you know someone who might be interested, please let us know.

All leaders are scheduled to meet on Sunday, July 18, at 5:00 P.M. to receive group lists and locations, ask any questions, and share concerns. We are working to make locations appropriate for special needs.

Please reply as soon as possible via e-mail to Claire Simon, quakerartist [at] verizon.net, and to Vonn New, vonnnew [at] gmail.com. We hope you will feel led to contribute to Yearly Meeting in this way. If you let us know that you would like to be a leader, we will send suggestions about the format and topics in advance.


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Witness Activity Fund Grants: An Invitation

Fred Dettmer, clerk, Witness Coordinating Committee

As in years past, the Witness Coordinating Committee (WCC) invites monthly meetings and Friends under the care of their meeting to apply for Witness Activity Fund grants. Witness grants put Sharing Fund dollars to work for monthly meetings. These grants have helped fund a children’s peace camp, a trauma-healing workshop, AVP workshops in the Republic of Georgia, and educational supplies for incarcerated teenagers, and many other projects.

To apply for a grant, please send a description of the project to office [at] nyym.org or by mail to New York Yearly Meeting, 15 Rutherford Pl., New York, NY 10003. Staff will forward your request to the clerk and financial clerk of the Witness Coordinating Committee.

Be sure to include as much of the following information as possible in your request:

  • details about your plan or project including purpose, means, and time frame
  • a dollar amount of your request
  • minute of support from your monthly meeting
  • the monthly meeting address where the funds will be sent if approved
  • a person to whose attention the funds need to be sent (example—treasurer)

 

If the request for grant support is approved, the funds will be sent through the endorsing meeting. The monthly meeting will then use the grant to help fund the project as needed.

Witness Coordinating Committee looks forward to supporting monthly meetings and individual Quaker witness activities! Please apply soon and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions: fdettmer [at] aol.com; 914-738-8782.

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AVP in Latin America: Speakers Available

Deb Wood, clerk of the Margaret Lechner Oversight Committee

Margaret Lechner, member of Purchase Meeting, is completing three months in Central America, where she has been facilitating Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops with Val Liveoak under the auspices of Friends Peace Teams. Margaret and Val have conducted a number of Basic and Advanced workshops in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They have trained new AVP facilitators, and provided them with opportunities to try out their new skills. This has helped AVP become firmly established in these countries. Local facilitators will now be able to bring the program to many more people in the coming months and years.

In early July, a Guatemalan facilitator will be joining Margaret here in New York. They will be looking for opportunities to speak to retirement communities, and Quaker and community groups. They expect to finish their speaking tour at Summer Sessions. If your meeting would be interested in having them share their experiences with you or if you know of other places where they might speak, please be in touch with Deb Wood (dnbwood [at] aol.com; 914-922-1553) with possible dates. Margaret has become more fluent in Spanish. Her Guatemalan friend speaks little English and would need a translator for presentations.

In the meantime, Margaret will be back and ready to share in mid-April. Between now and the end of the school year would be a good time for her to meet with students, introducing them to AVP and talking about conditions in the countries where she has been working. Of course, meeting and other visits could be scheduled soon as well.

We hope that you will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Shelter Island Meeting Has a New Meetinghouse!

Manhanset Chapel
Manhanset Chapel, new home
of Shelter Island MM
Photo from Wikipedia, used under the Wikipedia/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The Shelter Island Historical Society has passed a resolution to designate the Manhanset Chapel as the Shelter Island Friends Meetinghouse. The resolution was passed at the Society’s Board of Trustees meeting on March 11, 2010.

The Board of Trustees approved a sign to be erected, to read as follows:

MANSHANSET CHAPEL    SHELTER ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

SHELTER ISLAND FRIENDS MEETINGHOUSE     QUAKERS

This action reflects the already existing relationship between Friends and the Society, the long-standing role that Quakers have played in the history of Shelter Island, and the tradition of Shelter Island Friends’ having met at the Manhanset Chapel for several years during the 1980s.

Shelter Island Friends are eagerly pursuing the opportunities that this significant development opens.

The building needs repairs, and Shelter Island Friends expect to begin worshiping in their new meetinghouse in winter 2011–2012.

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Quaker Youth Book Coming Soon!

Lincoln Alpern, L. Callid Keefe-Perry, Heather C. Meehan, and Anna Obermayer

Spirit Rising book cover

Spirit Rising: Young Quakers Speak, the forthcoming Quaker youth book, includes over 210 pieces of writing and visual art by more than 150 teenage and young adult Friends from 16 countries. All major contemporary theological branches of the Religious Society of Friends are represented. The book is truly an unprecedented accomplishment among Friends and a profound gift of the Spirit.

Four NYYM Friends—Lincoln Alpern, L. Callid Keefe-Perry, Heather C. Meehan, and Anna Obermayer—are among the contributors.

Spirit Rising will be published in English and Spanish by QuakerPress of Friends General Conference, and available for purchase from www.QuakerBooks.org and other Quaker booksellers. The English edition will be released in May 2010, and the fully translated Spanish edition will be available later in 2010.


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Biography of Óscar Romero Published

Paul Busby, NYYM Latin American Concerns resource person

Brothers…I beseech you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: “Stop the repression!”

These are the words of Óscar Romero, archbishop of El Salvador, to the Salvadoran military. The following day, as he lifted the chalice during a celebration of the mass, he was killed by a bullet through the heart. It is believed that the killing was ordered by a graduate of the School of the Americas.

Óscar Romero remains an iconic figure in Liberation Theology, and many in Latin America and elsewhere consider him a saint.

Orbis Books has just published Oscar Romero and the Communion of the Saints. Written by Scott Wright, with photos by Octavio Duran, the book chronicles Óscar Romero’s life, ministry, and death.  It tells of his journey from a relatively conservative bishop and friend of the Salvadoran oligarchy, to a vocal champion of the poor and oppressed, speaking truth to power, with a love that extended even to his murderers.

This biography features many photographs, along with excerpts from many of Óscar Romero’s homilies, providing an authoritative, very readable, and moving account of a life of service.

Oscar Romero and the Communion of Saints, published by Orbis Books, paper, 162 pp.

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How Quakers can “Support the Troops”

This is based on excerpts from the Friends Journal article “How Quakers Can ‘Support the Troops’” (February 2010), used with permission. Friends are encouraged to read the entire article at www.friendsjournal.org/how-quakers-can-support-troops.

Web Sites, Activists, and Hotlines
Center on Conscience & War (“Stopping war one soldier at a time”), 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009-5706;  www.centeronconscience.org.

GI Rights Hotline, 877-447-4487. The hotline is toll free. “GI Rights Hotline, staffed by a network of volunteers from nonprofit, nongovernmental military counseling agencies.” http://girightshotline.org.

Recruiter Abuse Hotline at 877-688-6881 (See AFSC below).

Quaker House (“Real support for the troops. Bring them home.”) Director: Chuck Fager. Quaker House maintains its own GI Rights Hotline and serves the southeastern states. 223 Hillside Ave., Fayetteville, NC 28301; 877-447-4487 or 919-663-7122; www.quakerhouse.org.

Soldiers Say No (“This website is dedicated to those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airpersons who refuse to fight in illegal wars or to commit war crimes.…They need and deserve our support, and we need them. When even more soldiers say no, the wars will be over.”) www.soldiersayno.blogspot.com.

Iraq Veterans against the War (1,700-plus members, 61 chapters in 48 states. “You are not alone. If you are a service member or veteran opposed to the war in Iraq, join the IVAW.”) Contact Clarissa Rogers at clarissa [at] ivaw.org or 267-519-5289 with requests for speakers, media, merchandise questions. PO Box 8296, Philadelphia, PA 19101; 215-241-7123; fax: 267-519-4593; www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier/blog.

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) (“Supports conscientious objectors and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war. We seek to provide full and accurate information about military life and war to individuals affected by military service, conscription, and recruitment.…”) 405 14th Street #205, Oakland, CA 94612; ccco [at] objector.org; www.objector.org.

Other resources:
Body of War is a DVD that includes a “take action” section with links to resistance Web sites. www.bodyofwar.com.

Breaking Ranks is a film by the Canadian National Film Board that documents four U.S. GIs who have taken refuge in Canada. www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/collection/film/?id=53833.

Soldiers of Conscience is a new film from PBS on Conscientious Objectors. www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/soldiersofconscience.

Counter-Recruitment Training Manual, available from American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102; 215-241-7000; www.afsc.org/Youth&Militarism/ht/d/ContentDetails/i/19187.

800-NO-JROTC (665-7682); see www.objector.org.
National Lawyers Guild, www.nlg.org.

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Upcoming Powell House Retreats/Workshops

Intergenerational Women’s Weekend, April 23–25 2010
These weekends have traditionally been a time to connect deeply with one another across generations. This year Vonn New will work with Chris DeRoller to create a space in which to connect through movement, sound, collective creative works, and personal reflections. We will have the chance to open our senses to the world around us and to become aware of how our artistic experiences inspire us to deeper relations with one another and with the Divine. Games, good food, real conversations, and new friends will also be a part of our time together. Sunday we will have a chance to experience Meeting for Listening. a form of unprogrammed worship that invites ministry in the form of improvised music, movement, and other forms of creative expression in addition to vocal ministry.

The Facilitators:
Vonn New is a member of Bulls Head-Oswego Meeting. She is a convinced Friend who first came to meeting life while looking for support and meaning after a series of spiritual experiences during political street actions and artistic endeavors. Vonn is a composer, performer, and improviser of electro-acoustic ambient music. She has also been a parent, political organizer, network engineer, botanist, and nursing home resident. For more information, please visit www.vonnnew.com.

On her way to a B.A. in geology, Chris DeRoller studied facilitation, community building,    and outdoor education. She’s a convinced Friend, currently codirecting the PoHo Youth Program with Mike Clark. She has facilitated over 100 conferences involving personal transformation, group affirmations, spiritual exercises and some really silly moments too.

Children’s Program and Childcare with three weeks’ notice

Living a Life of Prayer, April 30 thru May 2, 2010, with Mary Kay Glazer

Living in prayer is profoundly countercultural, but it is not necessarily somber or boring. The more we live in prayer, the more boldly the Spirit moves in and through us, leading us into surprising places. So, rather than give in to the temptation to act first and pray if there is time, we will explore how a life of prayer keeps us in touch with the Source who leads us—and keeps our good works grounded in God’s transforming call and invitation, fulfilling in them God’s promise of faith, hope, and love springing forth from the Living Water.

The facilitator, Mary Kay Glazer, lives in Ticonderoga, N.Y. A member of Rochester Meeting, she attends Middlebury, Vt., Monthly Meeting. She and her family also attend and care for the Ticonderoga Worship Group. Mary is a spiritual director and is a graduate of the School of the Spirit’s On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program.

Other Upcoming Events...
Apr 30–May 2 AVP Training for Facilitators
May 7–9 Powell House Committee Weekend
May 7–9 Morningside Meeting Retreat
May 28–30 EarthSong Both Buildings
June 2–4 Friends Seminary 12th Grade Retreat
June 4–6 Toward an Inclusive Community, with Vanessa Julye and Donna McDaniel
June 10–13 Doula Certification
June 13 Flying Deer Sacred Fire Gathering (a community group)
June 18–21 Contemplative Retreat, with Linda Chidsey and Carolyn Moon
June 25–27 Commencement, Conversion, and the Kingdom: Quakers and Money, with Jennie Isbell

You may register online at www.powellhouse.org. For more information, write to Powell House, 524 Pitt Hall Rd., Old Chatham NY 12136-3410; 518-794-8811; info [at] powellhouse.org.

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News from Pendle Hill

Summer Interns Sought
Pendle Hill, the Quaker conference center in Wallingford, Penn., wants to hire interns for the summer.

The Garden/Hospitality Intern works with the Pendle Hill full-time staff to provide for the registration and hospitality services of Pendle Hill’s programs and help to maintain our organic gardens.

The Organic Gardening/Cook Intern works with Pendle Hill’s full-time staff to develop and maintain the organic garden that provides produce for this retreat center and residential community. This intern also prepares meals for groups ranging in size from 30 to 100 persons, together with other cooks.

For a copy of the Pendle Hill food philosophy, please visit pendlehill.org/community/food-and-garden/96-food-philosophy.

To apply, please submit a current résumé, contact information for two references, and a cover letter describing your interest to Sandra Horne at Pendle Hill, 338 Plush Mill Rd., Wallingford PA 19086 or shorne [at] pendlehill.org.

The positions start June 1, 2010, and continue until August 31, 2010, possibly until September 30, 2010.

Young Adult Leadership Development Program
An Internship for Young Adults ages 18–24 will be held at Pendle Hill June 19–August 8, 2010. The Young Adult Leadership Development Program (YALD) is designed for young people serious about serving as leaders in their communities, developing the tools for social transformation, and living a life grounded in God's Spirit.

The YALD program consists of three major parts:

  • community-based service, both inside and outside Pendle Hill
  • spiritual formation and religious education
  • diverse community living experience practicing sustainable living
Kids

YALD participants will be a part of the residential community of Pendle Hill for seven weeks, a community dedicated to serving, learning, and growing. The program focuses on identifying and exploring what it means to be a leader, what it means to serve in a spiritual context, and what it means to live sustainably. Ultimately, the program considers the query What does it mean to live a radical life? We ask participants to explore core issues of faith, theology, ideology, and purpose—inviting all to consider how they are called to serve in the world.

Each participant will be paired with a local service organization and work two days a week as a volunteer. Participants will take classes in Quakerism, creative expression, and sustainable community. Courses will engage themes of personal and spiritual formation, religious tradition, nonviolent communication and sustainable living. The program is fully supported by Pendle Hill, and all program costs, plus room and board expenses, are covered. A small stipend is also provided.

Applications are due March 20, 2010. Applications received after March 20 are still welcome and will be considered on a rolling-admission basis.

Contact: Walter Sullivan, wsullivan [at] pendlehill.org.

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News from William Penn House

Programs for our Times: Nurturing Civility

At William Penn House, our programs are increasingly being developed to nurture civility as a source for social justice. Civility, as we are learning, is not just being kind. It includes listening, appreciating, reconciling, forgiving, and doubting ourselves (not being righteous). It means serving in such a way that the benefit of our service is for the greater good, not just for ourselves or the people we serve. It is taking leaps of faith, knowing that the power of love can see us through.

Potlucks (Sundays starting at 6:30 P.M.; presentations at 7:30)
April 11: "Pacifica Radio and Freedom of Speech" Pacifica Radio is one of the few remaining voices for social justice in the world of big media. Grigsby Hubbard, former William Penn House board member, will talk about his work, especially commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

May 2: The Friends Women Association (FWA) in Kamenge, Burundi, is an organization led by women that focuses on HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, and post-genocide trauma. Program manager and former FCNL employee Alexandra Douglas will be talking about this program.

May 16: Quakers and Web 2.0. Young Adult Friend Mary Crauderueff will explore the new media and how Friends, both personally and institutionally, are using Facebook, blogs, and other new media to create spiritual homes and dialogues. Baltimore Yearly Meeting is helping to coordinate this potluck.

June 6: Steve Coleman will join us to talk about Washington, D.C., Parks and People.

Summer/Fall Programs

  • Eco-Workcamp, June 22–27
  • Seminar/Workcamp, July 26–August 15, in Pine Ridge, S.D., and Washington, D.C., exploring the history, present, and future the Peaceable Kingdom envisioned by William Penn.
  • Young Friends Workcamp at William Penn House, October 8–11.
  • Gap Year Program starting this fall. Are you getting ready to graduate from high school and not sure what to do next? While taking time out between high school and college, you can take time in one of our most unique and vibrant cities—Washington, D.C. William Penn House’s Gap Year Programis an opportunity for you to get experience living and working with other interested, curious young people, while exploring and developing your own passions. It combines social service and nonprofit work with hands-on experience developing programs and day-to-day operations of running an organization.

For information contact Wm. Penn House, 515 E. Capitol St. SE,  Washington D.C. 20003; 202-543-5560; info [at] williampennhouse.org; www.williampennhouse.org.

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YFIR High School Retreat

Greetings from the Young Friends in Residence (YFIR) program! We are pleased to announce the first of our regular high school retreats, the weekend of April 16–18. Unlike our previous retreats, this weekend will be for grades 9–12 (ages 14–18). We want to make the same kind of nurturing community that we’re building with middle schoolers available to high schoolers, as well as providing them with the tools they’ll need if they choose to continue coming to the middle school retreats as junior counselors. Please pass this information along to any high schoolers you know who might be interested.

YFIR!? Because… April 16–18
Calling all high schoolers: We need your help! We are building a program of retreats for 6th–9th graders that would greatly benefit from your gifts and experience. We also want to have a few retreats a year for 9th–12th graders (those 9th graders get to have all the fun). As the first of these high school retreats, this weekend will focus on the YFIR program—how it came about, where it’s going, and what role this age group can play in it. The weekend will include some junior counselor training, so that those who are interested can help us facilitate other retreats, but there will also be lots of games, discussions, and free time to enjoy each other’s company and to explore our new home at the Perry City meetinghouse.

For further information and registration forms (and health forms for first-time attenders), contact us by e-mail at yfirinterns [at] gmail.com, by postal mail at 599 Trumbulls Corners Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, or by phone at 607-564-9291.

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Toward a Higher Learning:

Spirituality in Education

Brooklyn Friends School’s Parent Teacher Association presents Toward a Higher Learning: Spirituality in Education, Tuesday, April 18, 2010, at 7:00 P.M. in the “meetinghouse” room at the school, 375 Pearl Street, Brooklyn.

Join in conversation with a distinguished panel of educators and thinkers on the theory, practice, and dividends of education infused with ethical values. This conversation will offer our community a framework for understanding the spiritual and intellectual nexus that gives Brooklyn Friends its special character: how academic rigor and spirituality work in tandem for deeper learning; how nurturing emotional literacy benefits teachers and students; and how mindfulness and contemplative practice are being integrated into educational practice across the country.

Panel members are:

  • Yolanda Pierce, professor of African American Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Irene McHenry, executive director, Friends Council on Education
  • Peter Nelson, director, N.Y. office, Facing History and Ourselves
  • George Prochnik, Author, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise
  • Laura Parker Roerden, educator specializing in children’s social and emotional development

Childcare will be provided. Please join us!

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AVP Workshop to Be Held in Westchester

The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) will hold a Basic-level workshop April 23–25, 2010, at the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, White Plains, N.Y. AVP is based on Transforming Power—a power that can work through any one of us to change us for the better. AVP offers experiential workshops that aim to empower individuals to liberate themselves and others from the burden of violence in all its forms and manifestations. Workshops take place in prisons, schools, and communities.

For information on this workshop contact Fred Feucht, 914-769-1720; fredfeucht [at] optimum.net.


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Get Rid of Nuclear Weapons

March with Quakers on May 2 in NYC

Heloise Rathbone, Brooklyn Meeting

Two hundred peace organizations will sponsor an International Conference in New York City on the eve of the review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Every five years, a report is delivered to the UN, not only reviewing the compliance of nations with the treaty's provisions but also recommending additional steps toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. There will be breakout sessions on: peace issues; nuclear weapons abolition; economic justice; human needs; environmental sustainability; and health.

Speakers at the International NPT Conference, which will be held at Riverside Church, April 30 to May 1, include: Tadatoshi Akiba, mayor of Hiroshima and president of Mayors for Peace; Helen Clark, UN Development Program and former prime minister of New Zealand; and Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations.

On Sunday, May 2 there will be an interfaith convocation and rally near Times Square, a march to the UN, followed by a peace and music festival. People are coming from all over the world to participate. A few weeks ago we heard that Japan is sending 2,000 people and France, Germany, and Denmark are each sending a few hundred.

Let us get as many Quakers as possible from New York Yearly Meeting to march together with our Quaker banners. The march will begin at 2 P.M. at Times Square and march over to the UN, where there will be a Peace Festival in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. We will start gathering at 1 P.M. at the corner of 38th Street and 6th Avenue. This is about equidistant from Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the Port Authority bus terminal. At 1:40 we will move toward Times Square.

For all information regarding these events visit peaceandjusticenow.org.

The cost for the conference at Riverside Church is $30 for adults and $20 for students.

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Building Vital, Vibrant Regional Meetings

May 8, 2010
Oakwood Friends School
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Heather Cook, clerk, NYYM

Do you carry a concern about the vitality of our regional, quarterly, and half-yearly meetings? What do we have to share and learn about each other’s regional structure and distinctive character? Do you wonder if other regions are more vital, or want to see why another does and doesn’t do some things? How do the monthly meetings relate to and support each other with or without the benefit of much regional organization? What do you want more of in your region? How does your region serve monthly meetings and worship groups in useful ways?

If any of these queries speak to you, you are invited to gather along with the clerks of the regional, quarterly, and half-yearly meetings worshipfully to consider these and other questions on Saturday, May 8, in the Upper Library of Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

We will start at 9:30 A.M. with fellowship and continental breakfast, settling into worship at 10 o’clock. Lunch will be available in the school dining room for $5 (please bring cash or check), or you are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch to enjoy in the dining room. We will finish by 5 P.M. Overnight hospitality (in a nearby home with cat and dogs) will be available with advance notice.

Please e-mail the Yearly Meeting clerk at clerk [at] nyym.org with any questions. Also e-mail me your intention to participate by May 1 if possible, to help with planning. Please include whether you would like the following:

  • a school lunch
  • to be picked up at or taken to the train station (please include the time of the train’s arrival or departure)
  • a bed on Friday and/or Saturday night.

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Next Stop Outreach: Sharing Our Journeys

Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering
May 21–23, 2010
Long Point Camp, Seneca Lake
Penn Yan, N.Y.

Farmington-Scipio Region’s Spring Gathering 2010 holds the promise of new openings and understandings; of time to play together and of times to grow together as we move to the Next Stop Outreach and Share Our Journeys.

Jon Watts has agreed to be our plenary speaker. Jon is a young and incredibly dynamic Friend. He is a Quaker rapper and spoken-word poet who tours the country with his guitar and bicycle sharing his understanding of his Quaker faith and sharing how he lives into it. In a word, he shares his journey. (See www.jonwatts.com.)

We hope to make this weekend one with just the right mix of centered inner work and community play times so that we can truly feel the joy as we open to sharing. This year, many things may take on a slightly different shape and flavor. But never fear, all of your favorite elements (Dancing on Saturday night, Bible study, food, workshops, etc.) will still be there but may look just a bit different. We hope that you’re as excited as we are and look forward to sharing Spring Gathering with you!

For the registration form and the sponsor form, see www.quakerwny.com/?q=node/84.

For further information contact Astuti Bijlefeld, 4424 Skyline Dr., Bluff Point, NY 14478; 315-536-7206.

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National Gathering of Young Adult Friends

From Friday, May 28, to Monday, May 31, 2010, Young Adult Friends (aged 18–35) from across North America will come together in Wichita, Kansas, for a gathering entitled “Bearing Witness to the Word Among Us—Witness, Testimony, and Transformation.”

This event will bring Young Adult Friends together from all the Quaker branches, representing Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting, Evangelical Friends Church International, Conservative, & Independent yearly meetings.

For further information visit http://yaf2010.wordpress.com or contact Faith Kelley, c/o William Penn House, 515 East Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003; 202-543-5560.

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Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology

May 28–31, 2010
Lebanon Valley College
Annville, Penn.

The Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology is one of the oldest conferences in the U.S. dedicated to individual spiritual exploration with a focus on in-depth psychology, specifically Jungian psychology. The Conference is now held in beautiful central Pennsylvania on the campus of Lebanon Valley College.

As part of a spiritual community that meets annually, we seek

  • to discover our own deepest process and nourish it.
  • to uncover the ways in which our new insights can help us return to the everyday world more focused and grounded in our spiritual reality.
  • to explore the dynamics of Quaker principles in group life and to apply them to our daily living.

We warmly welcome new members whether they come for one Conference or choose to become part of our ever-evolving community and network.

On-line registration now open at http://fcrp.quaker.org/index.html. We will not be mailing a printed brochure this year. A PDF file for downloading will be available soon.

For further information e-mail fcrp [at] quaker.org.

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ARCH Visitor Training Scheduled for June

Anita L. Paul & Barbara Spring, ARCH coordinators

Aging Resources Consultation and Help (ARCH) will conduct training for volunteers to become ARCH Visitors June 11–13 at Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie. The free training is designed to enable Friends to support seniors, families, and meetings to meet the needs of our aging and disabled members and attenders and their families. ARCH has a goal to eventually have a Visitor within an hour of everyone in NYYM. Volunteers do not need any specialized skills or experience; everyone will be trained to listen effectively and to know of resources in their area.

A typical visit to a senior might include hearing them out on whether they should move, helping them weigh their options, making sure they know of all the various senior housing options in their area, and what services are available to enable them to stay in their home, whom to call, and what the eligibility requirements are. These consultations will be within an hour of the Visitor’s home, and last one to two hours.

ARCH Visitors will be supported in their work by the ARCH coordinators, Barbara Spring and Anita Paul, and paid $.15 per mile* for travel expenses. For further information or to sign up for training, please contact Barbara Spring, 518-772-2290 or 406-554-9476 (cell), or barbarakspring4 [at] msn.com.

This training will be held from 5:00 P.M. Friday, June 11, to 2:30 P.M. Sunday, June 13. Pickups will be made at the Poughkeepsie station for enrollees from NYC and New Jersey. Housing will be provided. Apply now—the group is filling up!

September training: The fall training will be held September 10–12 at the Cooley/Cook Home in Dundee, N.Y. Enrollment will be limited, so put in your application now.

*Note: In accordance with IRS regulations, travel expenses for ARCH Visitors are $.15 per mile, rather than the $.50 per mile reported in the printed edition of March Spark.

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FGC Gathering of Friends

The Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering of Friends will be held July 4–10, 2010, at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, with the theme “Accepting Gifts of the Spirit.” Online registration is now open.

Information is available at www.fgcquaker.org or from FGC, 1216 Arch St. #2B, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-561-1700.

In addition, FGC is holding a design contest for the front of the new perpetual Junior Gathering staff T-shirts. The contest is open to young Friends ages 0–8th grade.

For further information see fgcquaker.org/gathering/2010/t-shirt-contest or write to Junior Gathering T-shirt, Attn Travis, 1216 Arch St. #2B, Philadelphia PA 19107.

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Quaker Conference on Torture

The Third National Quaker Conference on Torture & Accountability will be held September 24–26, 2010, at the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, Cal.

Two internationally known anti-torture activists will headline Conference. Human-rights attorney and investigator Scott Horton will be the keynote speaker. Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, will also bring his unique perspective on the work.

Scott Horton has been one of the most tenacious investigators and reporters on issues of torture and accountability. Earlier this year, he broke the stunning story about three Guantánamo prisoners whose deaths there had previously been reported as suicides. Horton’s investigations showed they more likely died during torture by U.S. secret units.

Roy Bourgeois, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former missionary to Bolivia, founded SOA (School of the Americas) Watch in 1990 and has been active in the effort to abolish the “School of Assassins” ever since. He has also been active in the struggle for women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.

Friend John Calvi, coordinator of QUIT, The Quaker Initiative to End Torture, has been working on the concern for torture and accountability for several years.

Accountability today is the way to prevent torture in the future. The road to accountability will be long and difficult. This 2010 Quaker conference (which is open to other interested persons as well) will be one strong step down that long path. Watch for more details soon about the program. Fees will be kept as modest as possible, and registration will be limited. More information at the QUIT Web site: www.quit-torture-now.org.

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