InfoShare - June 2009

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
Volume 8 June 2009 Number 3
Editors for this issue: Helen Garay Toppins, office [at]; Walter Naegle, walter [at]

Boat on lake

Consider Facilitating a Worship Sharing Group
at Silver Bay

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

Worship sharing groups meet Monday through Friday, July 20–24, from 9:00 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. The special groups are: Adults with Young Children; Earthcare; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered; Men; Racial Healing; Women; 12-Step.

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 July 19, Sunday afternoon, at 5:00 P.M. to receive group lists and locations, ask any questions and share concerns.

If you are interested please email Claire Simon: quakerartist [at], and Vonn New: [at] ASAP. 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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Planning to Camp at Summer Sessions?

Here are some helpful resources for you

Most campers choose to camp at Rogers Rock, a NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation campground 8 miles north of Silver Bay on Lake George.

To reserve a campsite, find out about cost, amenities, and rules, visit their Web site.

Friends may wish to coordinate the locations of their campsites, share rides to Silver Bay, eat breakfast together, or even share campsites. To share information, ask questions, or suggest some sort of sharing, we’ve set up an email group on Google. Anyone can join by clicking

In addition to the hot showers and restroom facilities available at Roger’s Rock, campers may also use the shower & changing facilities in the gym at Silver Bay. A tent will be set up near the gym, where water is readily available, for Friends who wish to bring camp stoves and prepare their own food. Friends may also choose to purchase any or all meals from Silver Bay and eat in the cafeteria. Please check Spark or NYYM’s Web site for info on meal prices and Silver Bay day use fees.

During the week, look for a small area of the message board in the Silver Bay Inn labeled CAMPERS, which we can use to further share information.

If you have questions, please contact the off-campus coordinator, Vonn New— [at] or 845-633-0819.

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Making Summer Sessions Affordable

A Friend recently wrote, ”...The prices at Silver Bay are putting the Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions out of my reach, and those of many others. This year, with regret, I will have to cut my usual week-long stay in half, adding an extra day so that I can be there for Thursday’s Meeting for Business. But if fees continue to go up, next year I will probably not be able to afford to come at all.”

Help Available Now

Yearly Meeting clerk Ernie Buscemi, who received the above comment and several similar ones, reminds us that some financial assistance is available from New York Yearly Meeting’s Advancement Committee (applications due June 26). Ernie says, “We ask that you seek funds from your monthly meeting and/or region first, as the monies available from Advancement are a third of the lowest room cost. We recognize that our future plans of where our Summer Sessions will be held do not help us in these economic times as we make hard decisions for the use of our money. As a faith community we stand together in this most difficult place not of separation but of awareness. Let’s help one another, with Divine guidance.”

Looking ahead

Ernie’s mention of future plans refers to an effort that Sessions Committee is starting: to look at the function of our Summer Sessions and the challenges of cost and location. One obvious task for the committee is to compare as nearly as possible our present arrangement at Silver Bay with other available sites—what would be different at other sites and how much would it cost attendees directly and the whole Yearly Meeting through the operating budget? To do a proper job of this assessment we will have to name the different aspects of our Silver Bay experience as objectively as possible.

An equally important task is to name the different functions we see our Summer Sessions serving—plenary business, worship sharing, interest groups, talks, Bible study, youth program, fellowship, recreation, committee work, and so forth. Some of this work can be done quantitatively—for example, how many hours of plenary business, committee sessions, etc.? And this listing might encourage us to do some evaluative thinking —do we need and want more or less of a particular function? Why? How much? Is there something that we want to delete entirely or something we wish we could include but haven’t been able to? Some of this exercise might prompt us to look at our present or intended use of the Fall and Spring Sessions, Powell House retreats, FGC, and other events.

Describing our present functions should be done simply and carefully, in a way that is different from listing all the good and bad things about Silver Bay and then comparing them to all the good and bad things about other conference centers or college campuses. We can view this as an opportunity to examine our values as a Yearly Meeting and to be sure we can gather at a site that is in harmony with them.

Our assessment is not likely to affect 2010 plans, but we expect at least to have a report to help look at options and compare costs by then.

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NYYM pastors

Bible Study at Silver Bay

This year, our leaders for Bible study will be pastoral ministers from our own Yearly Meeting. In each of our presentations Ruth Ann Bradley, Regina Baird Haag, Ruth Kinsey, and Janice Ninan will focus on the theme Equality: Living into the Testimony.

From Left, Ruth Ann Bradley, Regina Baird Haag, Ruth Kinsey, Janice Ninan  

General Secretary’s Job Description

This summer at our Silver Bay sessions we will be asked to consider a minute from the Personnel Committee proposing a change to the job description of the general secretary. Details are posted in HTML here and in PDF here. Questions or comments may be directed to either Heloise Rathbone at 718-636-8253 or hcrathbone [at] or Jeffrey Aaron at 732-247-9430 or jephreyaaron [at]

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Tagless Tag Sale again at NYYM

Sale raises needed funds for Friends work. Four years ago our White Elephant table at Silver Bay raised about $300. Last summer we raised over $1,300 to be divided between the NYYM Sharing Fund and Powell House.

Take items for the sale. If you plan to attend the NYYM Summer Sessions gathered at Silver Bay this July, please think about what you could take with you for the Tagless Tag Sale to be held on Wednesday afternoon. Treasures that you are ready to pass on sell well as do small electronics, household items, and things for children. Can you take a folding table to Silver Bay for use during the sale? If so, please label it well.

Look for a note in the first Minute about where to put items for the Tag Sale.

Volunteers needed for posting signs, setting up, selling, and packing up the sale. And a new task is ours this year. We need to see that the leftover goods are taken to the church in Ticonderoga where they can again be offered for sale. Please contact Cynthia Cornelius, b.podiatry [at], with offers to volunteer with any aspect of this growing project.

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Quakers to Participate in
Gay Pride Parade June 28

Gay pride flag

For NYC Quakers it is a 40 year tradition—the only religious group that has been there from the time of the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Join NYC Quakers on June 28, 2009.

This year’s parade commemorates the June 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn when over 2,000 individuals expressed their outrage at the New York City Police Department’s attempts to raid the Greenwich Village establishment.

Since the Stonewall Uprising, the LGBT rights community, along with their families and friends, have continued to fight for justice and equality for all. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the uprising.

The 2009 national theme is What’s Past is Prologue: Honoring Our Past, Forging Our Future. For more info e-mail mpagurel [at] and visit Heritage of Pride’s Web site at

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Bedford Stuyvesant Worship Group to Meet June 21

The Bedford Stuyvesant Worship Group will meet at Redemption Center on Sunday June 21 at 2 P.M. Worship will be followed by a fellowship potluck. Please bring something to share. Randy Jenkins will be our worship group leader.

The worship group’s Care Committee would also like to invite you to the Redemption Center’s July 5 birthday party–noon until 4 P.M. Redemption will be two years old! It will be a potluck. If you or your meeting can provide something for the party please let one of us know. Members of the committee are Vince Buscemi, vincebuscemi [at]; Mark Graham, mgraham [at]; Helen Toppins, office [at]; and Jason McGill jasonmcgill [at]

On Labor Day Redemption Center will hold an open house. We will send out details over the summer.

Save the date: Bedford Stuyvesant Worship Group, September 20, 2009.

The Redemption Center is at 1186 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn NY 11233. Map and driving directions available at MapQuest. Subway and bus information available at MTA NYC Transit—718-330-1234 or at

Redemption Center needs cleaning supplies, twin sheets, pillowcases, towels, and personal hygiene items for men. Please let Mark Graham know if you can help in any way.

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Prison Ministry Request

The Prisons Committee is looking for volunteers who are willing to visit incarcerated men who are ill with life-threatening medical conditions. These visits may entail visiting someone in a prison hospital, on a prison ward in a civilian hospital, or in a prison or civilian hospice. If you are called to this urgent ministry please contact Jolene Festa, coclerk of the NYYM Prisons Committee, JoNatureGirl [at]

Quakerism 101 at Westbury

Westbury Monthly Meeting is completing a course of Quakerism 101, with an updated set of readings. While Friends for 300 years, Brinton, remains the core text, we have added “The Divine Source of Vocal Ministry,” Benjamin Lloyd, Friends Journal, 12/2004, to the Worship session. For Basic Concepts, we added “No Creed is not the Same as No Theology,” by Robert Griswold, Friends Journal, Aug 2001. The unit “Universalism” we have renamed “Diversity among Friends,” and replaced the suggested readings with “Discovering the Center of Quakerism,” Marty Walton , “Paradoxical Quaker Extremes,” Bill Taber, and “Paradoxical Understandings to Hold in Creative Tension,” Frances Irene Taber. These are from Friends Journal, July 1992. The Meeting for Business unit used Sheeran and focused on a role play of a homeless family requesting housing in the Meeting. Quaker Witness will combine Brinton, ch. 7, and Rex Ambler, The End of Words.The more contemporary readings have enlivened the sessions, which include both seasoned and new members, and several regular attenders.

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Meeting for Discernment at Summer Sessions

On Tuesday, July 21, our Yearly Meeting will hold our fourth Meeting for Discernment in three parts: 10:00 A.M. to noon, 3:30–5:30 P.M., and 7:00–9:00 P.M. We will gather in the Auditorium at the Silver Bay YMCA during Summer Sessions.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The Steering Committee for Meetings for Discernment urges Friends to participate in all three sessions, since they build on each other. You are also encouraged to bring whatever you need to be more comfortable on the wooden seats, and to sit toward the front of the room, so we can feel physically together, and hear each other better.

Many Friends have reported experiencing the Meetings for Discernment as powerful in their personal spiritual journey, as well as vital to our growth as a gathered body as we encourage and support each other.

Any questions or concerns can be addressed to Heather Cook (Chatham-Summit), clerk of the Steering Committee for Meetings for Discernment, at burritolass [at]

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Torture Awareness Month

June is Torture Awareness Month. Please visit the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) Web site,, and check our the Quaker Initiate to End Torture's “Actions that a Meeting Might Take As a Group,” written by John Humphries from New England Yearly Meeting. John works at the NRCAT headquarters in Washington. We hope all NYYM meetings will do something in your meetings and communities to raise awareness about torture.

Trauma & Healing Workshop

An Advanced Level Alternatives to Violence Project Trauma Healing Workshop will be held June 19–21, 2009, at Rochester Friends Meeting, 84 Scio Street, Rochester, The facilitators will be Nadine Hoover, Pamela Hawkins, Sarah Mandolang, and Nick Dosch. Registration $50 (sliding scale from $10 to $100). To register or for more information contact Karen Reixach, kreixach [at], Rochester Friends Meeting, 84 Scio St., Rochester NY 14604, with a check made out to Rochester Friends Meeting; be sure to put AVP in the memo line.

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A Request from Fredonia Monthly Meeting

We gathered at the rise of Meeting for Worship for a called Meeting for Business on May 24, 2009, to consider a request from the parents of Tristan Anderson, a young man who was shot by a high-velocity tear gas canister during a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. The parents are members of the Grass Valley Meeting in California. We are asked to consider writing a letter of request to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking Israel to accept full responsibility for the shooting of Tristan Anderson. We are also asked to consider reaching out with this request to other meetings.

Minute #1 on Tristan Anderson
Tristan Anderson, a United States citizen, was shot in the head with a new type of high-velocity tear gas canister, by the Israeli Defense Forces, on March 13, 2009, while non-violently demonstrating in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. Tristan has undergone, to date, three brain surgeries, a tracheostomy and is awaiting further brain surgery. Tristan was raised in a Friends community–Grass Valley Friends Meeting—and has been involved in many social-justice projects during his life.

In unity with Friends’ testimony on non-violence, Fredonia Friends Meeting is asking the government of Israel to publicly take full responsibility, including paying for Tristan Anderson’s medical costs, having an independent investigation and an apology for his shooting by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Members of Fredonia Friends Meeting have visited with Tristan Anderson’s parents—Mike and Nancy Anderson—who have been part of Grass Valley Friends Meeting in Nevada City, California for nearly thirty years. The visit took place at the end of April, at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, where Tristan was still in the ICU and in isolation due to a life-threatening systemic infection. Friends are grieved by the suffering and offer our prayers in hope for the future.

Minute #2 Action on Behalf of Tristan Anderson
Fredonia Friends Meeting will send a letter to the US Ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging them to pressure the Israeli government to publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of Tristan Anderson.

Friends approved the minute of action on behalf of Tristan Anderson.

Fredonia Friends meeting encourages the meetings within Farmington Scipio region and within NYYM to be under the weight of this concern and consider joining us in sending a letter of support on behalf of Tristan Anderson to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Friends approved the minute.

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“Spring Fling” for Powell House

Purchase Meeting held a “Spring Fling” dinner-dance on May 2. Members of the Meeting prepared a southern-themed dinner and Fred Dettmer spun the music. Almost $3,000 was raised for the Powell House Boiler Fund. The Meeting is considering other fundraising events to keep our treasured Powell House in operation.

Singing à la Nightingales

Nightingales is a Northern Yearly Meeting a cappella singing group that Mary Jacobs, Melody Johnson, and Christopher Sammond have enjoyed, and want to share 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 we have encountered to teach each other. We go around in a circle, and every person present, even the very youngest, gets to name a song they want sung, 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 potluck 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. Coming for part of the weekend is just fine, too.

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.

Dates: September 25–27
Place: Mohawk Valley Meeting and Liseli Haines’s house
Suggested fee: $10

For more information: Contact Christopher Sammond, 845-876-0802, c1sammond [at]

Registration: Contact NYYM office at 212-673-5750, walter [at] We need to know how many to plan for, who needs a bed, and what food you plan to share.

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Indian Affairs: What’s Going On in Your Area?

Bowl. This photo has nothing to do with the text.

The Committee on Indian Affairs needs input from you! Are you in contact with any Native Americans in your monthly meeting’s geographical area? How can individuals begin or strengthen these connections? By reaching out and meeting with people on an individual level, perhaps a dialogue can be started? We wish to hear from Friends who would like to share their ideas on what is working or not working for their meeting, so we can encourage and learn from each other. What are Friends’ concerns today related to Native American affairs? We are especially interested in supporting members and attenders who are not involved in Yearly Meeting activities. If you feel led to this type of work, which touches on all of our testimonies, please ensure your meeting completes our recently emailed brief questionnaire and emails it back to Sue Wolf, quakerwolf [at] We welcome any thoughts and questions! Please contact Sybil Perry, Clerk of Indian Affairs, sybilmperry6 [at] or 860-672-1434.

Worship and Visit Genesee Country Village

Mark your calendars! Quaker Worship at the Historic Wheatland Meeting House in the Genesee Country Village will take place Sunday, July 12, 2009, from 11 A.M. to noon. Friends are asked to meet at 10:30 at the front gate. Potluck lunch will follow meeting for worship so please bring a dish to pass. Admission to the Genesee Country Village and Museum is at a discounted rate for our group: $8 for adults ages 18 and up, $5 for youth ages 13-17, and free for children under 12. This admission rate includes entry to the Genesee Country Village and Museum for worship and for the rest of the day. For general information about GCVM, visit their Web site at Please contact Suzanne
Blackburn if you have any questions about the worship: 585-468-5274 or kandsblackburn [at] If you would like to attend, please send a list of those attending (with each age range: Adult/Youth/Child) with payment by July 1 to Suzanne Blackburn, 9609 Riley Lane, Nunda, NY 14517. Make checks payable to Suzanne Blackburn.

If you are the e-mail distribution person for your monthly meeting or worship group, please forward this announcement to your distribution list and to Friends who organize your meeting calendar, newsletter, Web site, or weekly announcements. Thank you!

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Christopher Sammond’s Travel Calendar

June 1–July 31, 2009

11–13 Attend FUM Board Meetings, Richmond, IN
17–22 Comp Time
18–25 Support NYYM Summer Sessions, Silver Bay, NY

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ARCH Workshops

Aging Resources Consultation and Help (ARCH) is offering Advance Directives workshops to monthly and regional meetings. Advance Directives are needed by everyone over 18 and include a Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order. An optional Vial of Life and Personal Plan will also be available to participants. When Friends gather to learn about and complete these, forms, they have an opportunity to share their values and decisionmaking with like-minded people in a comfortable setting. This workshop can be as short as two hours or an all-day retreat considering Quaker Testimonies that provide guidance in making these decisions. To schedule a free workshop or to get more information, please contact Anita Paul, anitalouisepaul [at]

Quaker Lesbian Conference

To Everything There Is a Season: A Time to Gather

Friday, August 21, thru Sunday, August 23
Brinton House, Pendle Hill, Wallingford, PA 19086-6023

The Quaker Lesbian Conference exists to be a loving time and space in which self-defined women (including those who are transgendered) who are Quaker or familiar with Quakerism, and who are lesbian, bisexual, or moving toward those identities, can connect with Spirit and with each other. We envision a community in which each woman shares worship, spiritual exploration and loving relationships in an environment that embraces diversity, individual leadings, struggle, and play.

For information: QLConf [at] and

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Powell House Weekends

The Powell House Conference and Retreat Center is beautiful in the summer with lots of trails to explore, lawn to play Frisbee on, and Lea pond to jump into. There’s work-in-the-garden time and giant outdoor games and, every once in a while, homemade ice cream.

For fees and further information visit

June 19–21: Bubbling Up8th & 9th Grades. Bubbles. Magical. Whimsical. Fleeting. Soapy on the tongue. Ticklish to the nose! Sometimes we live in bubbles. Sometimes we collide with them. Sometimes things just bubble up inside of us. This weekend we’ll enjoy bubbles in all their forms. We’ll get creative and reflective and see where bubbles and the idea of bubbles take us.
Will Tesdell will be cofacilitating with Chris.

Dandelion seeds

June 19–22: Living from the DivineCenter: A Contemplative Retreat. Led by Linda Chidsey, with Carolyn Moon

June 26–28: Games are Good— 6th & 7th Grades.Why do we need to play? What happens when we don’t? What makes games good? Are there games people play that we wish they didn’t. This weekend we’ll look at the ins and outs of games both bad and good. We’ll play a bunch of old favorites and learn some new
ones. We’re sure to have fun and learn something too.
July 9–12: Unwinding 2009—10th–12th Grades. A long weekend for unwinding ending with an all-night movie festival, munchies and Frisbee at sunrise. Beginning Thursday, bask in the warmth of PoHo friendships and spirit. There will be workshops plus time to reflect, to play, and to converse. Participation will be limited to 25. Priority will be given to those who’ve attended one or more conferences during the year. What movies would you suggest? Send in your movie recommendations with your registration.

July 18— Celebration ofAnnaCurtisCenter renovation!Swimming, games, family activities, tours, & evening bonfire. To sign up contact Christine Koster at: Christine.koster [at] or 518-862-1895.

July 31–August 2: AVP Basic Training—Level I—Basic Intergenerational

August 7–9: AVP Advanced Training—Level II–Advanced Intergenerational

August 14–16: Camping Retreat Weekend Celebration!

August 21—23: HeartSong—6th to 9th Grades. Come sing through the Powell House Song Book. Reunite with some friends who’ve moved on. Make lots of new friends. This is a kickback, relax-in-the sun-or-the-shade, sing-your-heart-out around-the-campfire-and-have-really good-conversations-about-matters-of-the-heart weekend. Good food and good games included.

August 21–23: Healing the Earth, Nourishing Ourselves: Growing, Eating & Preparing Food Locally,with Andrew Faust

August 28—30: Camping in the Maze—4th & 5th Graders w/ adult sponsor.
Reunite an adult friend or parent with the natural world. Invite them to come participate in this camping trip in the PoHo Maze. We’ll pitch our tents, cook our food, and play large and small group games surrounded by leaves and birds and crawly things. There will be time to swim in Lea Pond and hike up to the bluffs known as Dorson’s Rock. We’ll finish our days with stories around the campfire. The weekend will start after lunch on Friday and end after
lunch on Sunday. Space is limited. Register early.

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FGC Gathering
Further Information available at: