InfoShare, April 2011

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 10 April 2011 Number 2
Editor: Paul Busby, paul [at] nyym [dot] org


Summer Sessions and May Spark

Helen Garay Toppins, office [at]

Summer Sessions will be held at Silver Bay YMCA of the Adirondacks on the shores of Lake George from July 17–23. The theme is “Peace with Earth: Transforming Our Communities.” Anne Mitchell, general secretary of Quaker Earthcare Witness, will be the keynote speaker. There will be worship sharing, a special symposium; an inter-generational Council of All  Beings, and fellowship. Details about these events and registration forms for Silver Bay will be in the May Spark. If you are not on the Spark mailing list and would like to be added please contact walter [at] or write to the New York Yearly Meeting office at 15 Rutherford Place, New York NY 10003.

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Location of Fall Sessions

We now have confirmation on the location for Fall Sessions 2011. Fall Sessions will be held at the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, NY, November 11–13.

Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering

Farmington-Scipio Spring Gathering will be May 20–22, 2011, at Long Point Camp on Seneca Lake. The theme this year is “Listening in the Spirit.” Please come join us!

Guest Editor for June InfoShare

For the June issue of InfoShare, Helen Garay Toppins will be the editor. Please submit news of your committee or meeting for this issue to office [at]

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Christopher Sammond’s Travel Calendar

April 1–May 31, 2011

1–3 Attend NYYM Spring Sessions, Oakwood School, Poughkeepsie, NY
11–14 Support NYYM/NEYM Pastors Retreat, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY
15–17 Support Nightingales Singing Weekend, Mohawk Valley Meeting, Clinton, NY
27 Meet with Chaplain and Quaker students, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
7 Communications Committee Meeting, New York, NY
8 Visit Morningside MM, New York, NY
14 Facilitate retreat, Butternuts Quarterly Meeting, Unadilla MM meetinghouse, Rodgers Hollow, NY
20–21 Attend Farmington Scipio Spring Gathering, facilitate workshop, Long Point Camp, Geneva, NY

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Friends Peace Teams Indonesia

Nadine Hoover (Alfred Meeting) reports that the Friends Peace Teams (FPT) Indonesia Initiative continues to conduct and develop Alternatives to Violence Project, Trauma Healing, and Developmental Play programs, among other Friends’ work.

For more information on this inspiring work, visit their new Web site,

Interview with New FGC General Secretary Is Online

In February InfoShare we shared the news that Barry Crossno of Dallas Friends Meeting would be the new general secretary of Friends General Conference. Friends are invited to read an interview with Barry on FGC’s Web site at

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New Executive Secretary for FWCC

Robin Mohr

Robin Mohr has been named executive secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). Robin is a member of San Francisco Monthly Meeting of Pacific Yearly Meeting. She has worked professionally in organizational fundraising since 1999 and has been the director of development of the California Resource and Referral Network since 2008. She graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor of science in Foreign Service and a concentration in Regional Studies in Latin America. She has lived in Mexico and Colombia and speaks fluent Spanish.

She will start in the FWCC office on June 16.

Robin is a leader in Convergent Friends, which facilitates communication among Friends across boundaries of geography, theology, age, and language. To learn more about Robin, visit her blog at

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Friends Foundation for the Aging Has New Executive Director

FFA logo

Deborah Frazer has been appointed as the second executive director of Friends Foundation for the Aging (FFA).

Deborah is a clinical psychologist and gerontologist with more than 30 years’ experience as clinician, administrator, project manager, and consultant. She is a member of Germantown Friends Meeting in Philadelphia which she served as clerk between 2002 and 2006. She is currently serving, on a consultant basis, as the leader of Chandler Hall’s Behavioral Health Project, cofunded by FFA and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation.

FFA is an independent grant-making body that carries forward the mission of McCutchen Friends Home in North Plainfield, NJ, which closed in 2007. In New York Yearly Meeting it funds the ARCH program and cofunds (with the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation) the Senior Resource Project, a joint undertaking of New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings.

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Friendly Master Cellist
To Follow Leading through Music On May 22

With the assistance, support, and grants from Croton Valley Meeting, Purchase Quarterly Peace and Social Concerns Committee, and NYYM Witness Coordinating Committee, Cellist Stephen Ballou, member of Croton Valley Meeting who has played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1987, will perform J. S. Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello at the Julie Harris Theater of the Clear View School in Briarcliff Manor, Westchester County.

Stephen Ballou

The concert, to be held May 22, 2011, at 7:00 p.m., will benefit the tsunami and earthquake relief efforts of the Japan Society.

For additional information on the concert or for advance tickets: 914-218-8735 or finleytroup [at] To learn more about the Japan Society, go to, and for information about the Japan Society’s fund recipients, visit

The Julie Harris Theater at the Clear View School is on Route 9 in Briarcliff Manor, 1.4 miles north of Route 117, and one-half mile south of Scarborough Road.

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Peacebuilding en las Américas
Coordinator Available to Speak

Val Liveoak, coordinator of Peacebuilding en las Américas, Friends Peace Teams, writes:

I will be in the Northeast, free on May 1–6 and May 8–11 for presentations or small group meetings if given hospitality. I plan to attend a quarterly meeting in Pennsylvania April 30–May 1, a workshop at Pendle Hill May 6–8, and Friends Peace Teams meeting in New Jersey May 11–14.

I can speak about Friends Peace Teams’ work in general, peace work in Latin America, Peacebuilding en las Américas, the community-based trauma healing workshops, or discerning and following a leading.

Please contact me at valliveoak [at] if you would like me to visit a meeting or a small or large group.

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AGLI Coordinator David Zarembka Available to Speak

David Zarembka, coordinator of Friends Peace Teams’ African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI), will be in New Brunswick, NJ, for the Friends Peace Teams Annual Meeting on May 12–15. He will also be the keynote speaker at the Farmington-Scipio Regional Gathering in Penn Yan, NY,  May 20–22.

Between May 15 and 19 meetings between New York City and western New York are invited to arrange a talk for David.

David’s speaking topics include:

  • His new book: A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region
  • Peacemaking after Deadly Conflict: Healing and Reconciliation in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya
  • Friends’ Response to the 2008 Postelection Violence in Kenya
  • The Sham of Elections in the Great Lakes Region

David prefers that meetings be open to the general public, as an outreach tool for the sponsoring meeting. David and his wife, Gladys, would want home hospitality, but there would be no need for any other expenses.

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Quaker House Seeks New Director

Quaker House, since 1969 an active peace witness in Fayetteville, NC, near Fort Bragg, seeks a director to begin summer/fall 2012, succeeding Chuck Fager, who will retire in November 2012. Quaker House is a full-time peace project and a member organization of the GI Rights Hotline.

Qualifications: alignment with Quakerism and its peace testimony; proven leadership, fundraising, writing, management skills; comfortable in a military-oriented environment. Appropriate salary and benefits, including housing/utilities in recently renovated historic house for director and small family.

Details at

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Minister Wanted

Smith Neck Friends Meeting ( in South Dartmouth, MA (New England YM), seeks a minister for our programmed Quaker meeting.

Smith Neck Meeting has a 300-year history of Quaker tradition and nurtures its values. Located in a rural seaside setting, with excellent schools, our meeting is also within commuting distance of Boston, Cape Cod, and Providence colleges.

Applicants should understand and be able to connect Quaker Faith and Practice with current events and spiritual accountability.  Willingness to inspire by creating innovative youth programs and community outreach activities is key. A parsonage may be provided as part of the contract package, depending upon needs.

Please send résumés to: Betsy Ann Szel, Box N232, Westport MA 02790 or by e-mail to baszel [at]

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NCYM Seeks Superintendent

North Carolina Yearly Meeting (FUM) with its office in Greensboro, NC, is accepting applications for the position of superintendent. The successful applicant will be one who is well qualified by maturity, experience, and executive ability to exercise supervisory care over all work in the yearly meeting.

The salary range for the position is $65,000 to $72,000. The position is full-time and includes vacation; health, life, and disability insurance; and retirement benefits. The starting date is January 1, 2012.

NCYM has 74 member meetings or churches that are virtually all pastoral, with a total membership of approximately 7,400.

Interested persons should consult the following documents for more information about North Carolina Yearly Meeting and its superintendent position:

  • The Job description, which contains an explanation of qualifications and responsibilities.
  • North Carolina Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice. This is the document that outlines our governance, doctrines, queries, and witness through action.

These documents can be found on the yearly meeting Web site at

Priority consideration will be given to applications received by June 1, 2011. Applicants are encouraged to send a letter of interest, résumé, and list of references by e-mail to: search [at] or by mail to: Superintendent Search, NCYM, 4811 Hilltop Rd., Greensboro NC 27407.

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Pendle Hill Seeks Director of Advancement

Pendle Hill is seeking a director for advancement to works with the executive director, senior staff members, and members of the Pendle Hill Board to expand and sustain a collaborative, organization-wide development and marketing effort.

For responsibilities and qualifications, visit and click on the “Employment” link near the bottom at the left.


  • Salary and benefits including medical and dental insurance, retirement, 20 paid vacation days and 10 holidays, and meals while on campus (on-campus residency is not available for this position)
  • Opportunity to take Pendle Hill courses for free or at a significantly discounted rate
  • Opportunity to obtain a Swarthmore College ID card to access the Swarthmore library and recreational facilities
  • 20 percent discount at the Pendle Hill Bookstore

Pendle Hill will conduct a background check for all positions.

If interested, submit a current résumé, contact information for three references, and a cover letter describing your interest to Sandy Horne at Pendle Hill, 338 Plush Mill Rd., Wallingford PA 19086 or shorne [at]

Review of applicants will begin on April 15, 2011, and continue until the position is filled.

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Organic Gardening/Hospitality Summer Intern for Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill will hire a garden/hospitality intern to work 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. You will learn and participate in the work of our Hospitality Event’s Planning Team with the director of operations, the conference sales coordinator, the guest services manager, the registrar and the chef/dining services manager, and have the practical opportunity to learn about organic gardening.

For qualifications, duties, and responsibilities, visit and click on the “Employment” link at the bottom left.

Garden/hospitality interns work a 35-hour week—30 hours assigned to the primary responsibilities and 5 hours allocated for daily/weekly community work, which supports the household at Pendle Hill. This work requires weekend and holiday duty and irregular hours, with two days off each week.

Interns receive a monthly stipend of $550. Pendle Hill will provide a single room on campus and three meals a day. Residence on campus is required.

The position will be held open until filled. The position starts June 6, 2011, and continues through August and possibly through September.

If interested, 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]

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AFSC Cross-Program Fellowship for Summer 2011

American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Conflict Resolution and Healing Justice programs are offering one cross program fellowship this summer entitled The Intersection of Intolerance, Youth, and “Hate Crimes.”

The fellowship will explore the intolerance that often results in acts of violence classified as “hate crimes” and the consequences associated with being charged under “hate crime” legislation. The fellow will identify the social and economic contexts, uncertainties and fears out of which “hate crimes” emerge with a focus on the experiences of constituents, particularly for youth of three AFSC programs in the New York City metropolitan area.

This New York City–based fellowship is best suited for an upper level undergraduate or graduate student of, but not limited to, sociology, psychology, law, or criminal justice who has particular interests in conflict resolution, juvenile justice and education. The fellow will explore and address the relationship between youth and “hate crimes” with particular focus on violence prevention and the impact of “hate crime” legislation.

The position will run from June 6 through August 12, 2011, for approximately 10 weeks/350 hours, with a stipend of $6,000.

To apply for this position please download and complete the application at and e-mail it with a letter of interest, résumé, and two references (names and contact info only) to nymrorecruit [at] The deadline for applications is April 29, 2011.

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Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Storytelling Workshop
William Penn House
April 30–May 1, 2011

Effective storytelling is a beautiful art that cuts across age and cultural barriers. Knowing the basics of effective storytelling can help strengthen the story, making it memorable long after the oration is over.

On April 30 and May 1, 2011, we will hold a storytelling workshop at William Penn House. The workshop will be facilitated by Laura Zam, an award-winning writer, speaker, and performer. This two-day workshop will culminate in a “story-slam” as our monthly potluck on Sunday, May 1, giving workshop participants an opportunity to display their new skills.

The cost of this two-day workshop is $160. We are also offering discounted lodging for participants ($30 for the night). If you are interested in this workshop, please contact Brad Ogilvie, brad [at]; 515 E. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003; 202-543-5560.

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Quaker Spring Comes to New England

For the past four summers, Friends from more than 20 yearly meetings representing all the branches have gathered together in Barnesville, Ohio, for Quaker Spring—an exploration of radically Spirit-led Quakerism via a week left largely unplanned and open to God’s leading. This year Quaker Spring meets June 17–22 at the Meeting School in Rindge, NH. All are invited. It's an opportunity to drink from the spring of Living Water, rest at the feet of the Inward Teacher, and connect with other Friends who long to deepen their spiritual life and to listen to ways the winds of the Spirit are blowing. Go to for more info.

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Friends General Conference Gathering

“Meeting at the Center”
July 3–9, 2011
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa

The 2011 Gathering will be from July 3–9 at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. The theme will be “Meeting at the Center.” The Gathering features Spirit-led programming for children, a dynamic high school program, and opportunities for Friends with common interests to gather. Choose from a wide variety of small, week-long workshops such as Quilting, Racism, Lobbying, Truth, Clerking, Bible, Eldership, and Dancing in the Light.

The housing options include campus dorms (with and without air conditioning), on-campus camping in a central location, or nearby hotels. Scholarships and volunteer work grants are available. Registration by April 1 gives priority consideration for financial assistance.

Further information is available at or from FGC, 1216 Arch St. #2B, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-561-1700.

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Friends United Meeting Triennial

July 27–31, 2011
Wilmington College campus
Wilmington, Ohio

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:2)

“Transforming Lives” is the theme for the FUM Triennial to be held July 27–31 on the Wilmington College campus, Wilmington, Ohio.

A link to the Triennial registration form is available online at Register by May 15 to receive an early bird discount. If you do not wish to register online, or you have any questions or concerns, call Kim Schull at 765-962-7573, ext. 205 or contact Friends United Meeting, 101 Quaker Hill Dr., Richmond IN 47374;; info [at]

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Founder of Crossroads Springs Dies

Meshack Isiaho, the founder of Crossroads Springs, died on February 10, 2011. Crossroads Springs is a childcare center and school for AIDS orphans in Kenya. Their motto is “Serve the child, save the nation.” Orchard Park Monthly Meeting and NYYM are partners with the center and school.

Founded in 2003, Crossroads Springs has grown to 340 children, with 60 children in residence. The 26 students who graduated from 8th grade have all been placed in secondary schools on scholarships. Meshack lived to see his first graduates enter secondary school this year.

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Holy Hospitality

Judith Inskeep, Gwynned Meeting, PYM

“Holy hospitality” played a prominent part in the talk given by Linda and David Kusse-Wolfe, Friends pastors from University Friends Meeting in Wichita, KS, at the Salt and Light event on March 19 at Friends Center in Philadelphia. This day, following the abbreviated annual meeting of Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas, was designed to bring some of the flavor of next year’s World Conference in Kenya to local Friends.

The Kusse-Wolfes lived in Iran for a year and a half in 2007–08. They were the only public Christians in the city of Qom. While the Kusse-Wolfes were in Iran it looked at one point as though the US would bomb the country. An acquaintance told them, “If there is bombing, you will come to our house. You will stay with us and eat at our table, you will be our family, and no Muslim will dare challenge you.” That’s how strong the tradition of hospitality is. There is a belief that God, the Divine, appears in the guest. When we give hospitality, we share the holiest thing we have—our time and presence. Hospitality makes a space for the Spirit to move, and the richest hospitality is with the person most unlike ourselves. Can we move from xenophobia to xenophilia? (I thought of undocumented migrants in our western desert.…)

In the discussion one liberal unprogrammed Friend commented that she had been given hospitality by evangelical Friends, and it was a life-changing experience. The line between good and evil runs through every human heart. Choose love; it is a choice.

A Salt and Light event can be scheduled in your area; a local arrangements committee is needed. FWCC supplies the speakers. Read more at

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Midwinter Gathering 2011

To All Friends Everywhere,

We send you love from Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns Midwinter Gathering, held from February 18–21, 2011, in Browns Summit, North Carolina.

There was a time when we could not say our name. We dared not say our name—even in the Religious Society of Friends. We were the Committee of Concern. This community has grown up around the concept of “radical inclusion”—the willingness to welcome new and different kinds of people into our community even when we had not expected them, recognizing the expansion of our understanding of who we are as a form of continuing revelation. Some of those who helped form this community continue to actively be a part of our community, for which we are blessed. Others have moved on. Still others have passed on. Yet all these Friends are still very much with us, standing in their own integrity, and calling us into our own.

We came together once again to witness to the power of radical love and radical inclusion to transform and sustain us spiritually—both individually and as a community and to discern how we are called to deepen our commitment to that call. Framed by our theme, “Reclaiming our Past; Proclaiming our Future,” we heard stories of what happens when we do this well. When we are faithful, we recognize that love is a practice, that in relationship we reveal and discover our true selves. We share the stories and truth emerging from our lives; when needed, we say to one another, “You’re standing on my foot! Please get off!” And then we talk about it. We experience the gifts of receiving and giving love that is shaped by the quirks and flavors of each of our individual essences; in so doing, we invite each other into wholeness, greater integrity, a fuller understanding of who we are as a community, and even greater integrity, and thus the cycle begins again.

As we shared our truths with one another in worship, Spirit revealed to and through us how wholeness, community, love, and integrity are intimately intertwined with each other. As one Friend said, “With Quakers, I cannot lie about who I am.” He spoke about how Friends from this community “kicked me out of the closet”—not through violence, but through holding him to a higher standard of integrity and by loving him for exactly who he is. Another Friend gazed into the eyes of each speaker on a panel of our elders, expressing how she could feel the flavor of each life moving through her, transforming her. A third urged that in an unsafe and sometimes hostile world, we must nevertheless go cheerfully where we are led, understanding that only as we bring our full selves forward can we make the world safer for those who will follow. A fourth speaker, an attender for whom this gathering was hir* first experience of Quakerism, spoke powerfully at the end of the gathering of how way had opened for hir* to be here, and a sense of how “I am supposed to be where I am right now. Life is overwhelming but I can do it.” Young and young adult Friends spoke deeply of the condition of a continuum of sexual and gender identities and the urgent necessity of a place of full and unconditional love and acceptance to call forth one’s true self. They spoke of the blessing of a safe space where they could be fully known, of the feeling that FLGBTQC was a place where there was no “card check,” where all were welcome, warts and all, where they could bring their whole selves forward.

We also know our own stories of the pain it inflicts when radical love and inclusion are absent—experienced within this community and others. We know that we have work to do to more faithfully practice radical love and inclusion with people of color and Young Adult Friends and Young Friends, and those who may yearn for but not be aware of or have access to our community.

We ask for the prayers of all Friends everywhere as we do our work, and we ask you, as way opens, to support us and join with us in our struggle. We offer you our unfolding witness and testimony to the power of radical love and inclusion in this community and an invitation to join in this experience at gatherings in the future. Coclerks can be reached via telephone at flgbtqc [at] Our Web site is

On behalf of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns,

Deborah Fisch, coclerk; Kody Hersh, coclerk

* Many people who identify as neither men nor women prefer to be referred to by nongendered pronouns, and this attender is among those people. The word "hir" in this case is grammatically equivalent to "her" as the possessive ("this is hir [item]") and object form ("I gave it to hir") but carries no connotation of a female or male gender.

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Report on Meeting for Discernment

February 26, 2011, Plainfield Meetinghouse

Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee:Heather Cook (Chatham-Summit, NYYM clerk); Ann Davidson (Farmington); Roger Dreisbach-Williams (Rahway/Plainfield); Elizabeth Edminster (15th Street); Carolyn Emerson (Conscience Bay); Lu Harper (Rochester); Janet Hough (clerk, Chappaqua); Christopher Sammond (Bulls Head-Oswego/Poplar Ridge, NYYM general secretary)

We met around the query, sent to Meetings in advance: “What concrete things have you been doing to help realize that which God is calling forth?” We heard responses from more than two dozen meetings. We joined in gathered worship, and at the end of the day we can say:

The work of building community continues—it never ends. We have been commissioned to seek deeper faithfulness, purer love, and greater joy. We have also experienced worship that can readily be described as grounded in love or as Christ present—suffusing us with Spirit, lighting us on fire, sending each of us into the silence to find that part of the work that is ours to do. Some will be truth-tellers, others will be truth-listeners; some will build meetings, others will maintain them, some will welcome new Friends in while others will go out into the world.

Friends spoke of meetings that are growing, physically, spiritually, in participation, outreach, and witness. There are meetings on the edge of something new that want to hear from others about their experiences.

The time of lamenting the diminished size of our meetings seems to be passing. We heard from Friends who are getting out and doing the work of making their meetings vital places within large communities, places that Friends want to tell others about and invite them to share the experience. It is time to be joyful and enthusiastic about being a Friend, time to laugh and praise God with genuine gratitude.

A Friend spoke to the condition of many present: In listening to tape recordings made by the founders of his meeting, he learned that they had the same challenges and concerns that the meeting faces today—building community, becoming more faithful, and leading lives of integrity. He sees this as a cause for comfort rather than discouragement. “The work we are about today is what Friends have always been about. Those we remember as eminent Friends dealt with them just as we are doing today. Our doubts and concerns were theirs as well. And we are just as capable of being faithful as they were.”

Some Friends spoke of feeling thatthey had beheld the burning bush that is not consumed; shared the bread of heaven; been offered the light of faith and hope that overcomes all doubt and despair. We experienced God’s love and truth. We’ve been shown that we no longer have to accept the status quo as being OK. We’ve been asked to leave this room transformed, carrying forth whatever part of today’s message is ours. The challenges are great, but together we can meet them with confidence and joy.

The next Meeting for Discernment will be on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, during the week of NYYM Summer Sessions. We hope you will join us.

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