InfoShare Summer 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 Summer 2011 Number 4
Editor: Paul Busby


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.

Wobbling Home: A Spiritual Walk with Parkinson’s
Jim Atwell’s New Book

Jim Atwell is a member of Butternuts Meeting and a NYYM recorded minister. In his Spark article “As Some Lights Dim, Others Brighten,” he told of how his ministry must change with the onset of Parkinson’s disease. “It’s obvious that my ministry is to be a different one,” he wrote, “and I must now discern it. For just as life and capacities for service came to me from the Father’s hands, so has Parkinsonism. It is a gift, just as surely—a redirection that will lead me to different prayer, different service. It is a different path but still leads home.” You are invited to read the article, from March 2009 Spark, at

Now Jim is publishing Wobbling Home: A Spiritual Walk with Parkinson’s, a collection from his weekly columns in the Cooperstown Crier. The book is about more than Parkinson’s. It brings us along on a continuing journey of faith and spirituality. The book will be released later in August by Square Circle Press.

For a “lighter” look at Jim’s writing, see “Lighten Up, Friends” in the September 2010 issue of Spark,

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Worship about Finances:

Sandra Beer, Financial Services Committee

Budget Saturday will be held September 24, 2011, at Purchase Meeting. Every year, Friends who serve as treasurers for monthly, quarterly, regional, and half-yearly meetings are convened by the Financial Services Committee at Budget Saturday. This year, Budget Saturday will take place at Purchase Meeting on September 24. All Friends are welcome to join in the worship. We will meet at 9:00 a.m. for hospitality and settle into worship at 9:30. We expect to adjourn no later than 4:00 p.m.

At Budget Saturday, Friends share ministry on the proposed programs and activities of New York Yearly Meeting, and on the ability and clarity of the monthly meetings to support that work. In worship, our leadings are held in the Light and tested against our sense of the priorities, and our abilities to execute this work .

In anticipation of Budget Saturday, each monthly meeting clerk and treasurer will receive a draft expense budget during August, with a request that, at their September meetings for worship with a concern for business, each meeting indicate its likely level of covenant donation in support of the proposed work. Each quarter is asked to attend Budget Saturday with an estimate of the expected level of support.

Budget Saturday is an opportunity to share deeply felt ministry, discern the priorities for our work, and to renew our unity of vision as a Yearly Meeting. The Financial Services Committee hopes that many Friends are led to attend and participate in our worship that day.

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New York Yearly Meeting Offices to Move November 1

Jeffrey Aaron, clerk, GSCC

An unexpected opportunity arose in recent weeks for the Yearly Meeting office to relocate from the basement to the third floor of 15 Rutherford Place, New York City. The vacancy will be created this fall when the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) will reduce the space it uses on the third floor. A preliminary analysis of the costs and benefits of the move were presented to the General Services Coordinating Committee (GSCC) during Summer Sessions 2011. The committee authorized its clerk to proceed with negotiations and to make final arrangements if he determined that the plan is workable and beneficial to the staff and the Yearly Meeting. The decision was made final shortly after Summer Sessions in negotiations with New York Quarterly Meeting, the building’s owner and landlord, and reported to GSCC and staff.

The space in question is smaller but better laid out and much more suitable and attractive than the current basement facilities. The net annual total rent and utilities expense is expected to remain approximately the same.

There will inevitably be substantial disruption of the offices during October, when remodeling and packing and final relocation preparations will take place. Friends are asked to bear in mind the additional pressures on staff throughout the upcoming months, in particular during October and November. The new lease will be in effect November 1, when the move from the basement should be complete. It is hoped that much of the preparation and the move itself will be accomplished by volunteers. Friends who would like to volunteer in any way may contact Helen Garay Toppins, office [at]

This move is distinct from ongoing consideration of a possible move to a different geographic location within the Yearly Meeting. In ongoing studies of this possibility, it has become clear that there are so many interlocking variables, and so many variant opinions and perspectives, that no clear path forward has yet emerged. This concern will remain open for input as long as we have Friends who wish to pursue it. The clerk of GSCC, Jeffrey Aaron, will accept comments at any time from any Friend who has a question or suggestion to offer concerning the geographic location of the YM offices. To date, no suggestion or proposal has been discerned to be appropriate, financially or in terms of the disruption of the offices and relocation of the present staff, nor has there been a sense by any Yearly Meeting body that any prior proposal has been the right thing for the Yearly Meeting to do.

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New Home for Schenectady Friends

Ruth M. Olmsted, coclerk, Schenectady Meeting

After a lengthy and prayerful search following the news that our hosts would be vacating the house/headquarters we were meeting in, Schenectady Friends feel very fortunate. We have landed in a place that feels very right. It’s the former rectory of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church at 427 Franklin St., right in downtown Schenectady. The church property is now the home of the Schenectady Light Opera Company, an amateur musical-theater group entering its 85th season. They’re looking for other community groups to use their space, and it’s proving very comfortable so far. At our very first meeting for worship, we discovered a need to move the meeting time back one hour: in the warmer months, the Schenectady Greenmarket farmers market is only half a block away, and their live music starts at 10 a.m. So from May through October, we will worship at 9 a.m. We are planning an open house on the 25th of September, and hoping to draw visitors from the Greenmarket.

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Christopher Sammond’s Travel Calendar

August and September 2011

23–31        vacation

2–5           Colead Christ Centered Friends retreat, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY
9–11         Support Nightingales Singing Weekend, Genoa, NY
24             Attend Budget Saturday, Purchase, NY
25–26        Attend Friends Fiduciary- “Quaker Fundraising,” Lancaster, PA
26–28        Colead Superintendents and Secretaries retreat, Buckeystown, Maryland

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Come Sing!

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, and more devotedly than ever before.
—Leonard Bernstein

The Nightingales, Friends who love to sing, and some who sing to live, are gathering again September 9–11 at and around Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting. All are most welcome. Getting together and singing as the Nightingales do is about singing from the heart. It is not about being a great singer. It is about being in a community singing with love. If you 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.

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, physical need, or inclination, get the few that are available. We charge a small fee for breakfast staples, but otherwise we do everything ourselves, so the cost is negligible. If this sounds like fun to you, please come, and bring those you love with you.

Shuttle service from the Syracuse Amtrak station is a possibility. Children are most welcome, though those not wanting to participate in the singing are the responsibility of their parents.

Dates: September 9–11

Place: Hannah and Andreas Richter’s house, and Poplar Ridge Meeting

Suggested fee: $10

For information: Christopher Sammond, 917-613-6314, or nyym.gensec [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!

Powell House 50th Anniversary

Elizabeth Powers, clerk, Powell House Committee

Powell House committee and staff invite all Friends to help us celebrate Powell House’s 50th anniversary! Join us for a big bash of fellowship, music, and Spirit. The celebration begins Thursday, August 25, 2011, at 6:00 p.m. and ends Sunday, August 28, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Significant scholarship assistance is available. We’re offering this long weekend at 1961, 1981, or 2001 prices, depending on how long you stay. Our tentative schedule will feature one “craft, game, and song” of the decade each session: tie-dyeing, ultimate Frisbee, swimming in the pond, classic PoHo games, and more. For more details and to register, Please see or call 518-794-8811 x 10.

Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan

Sandra Beer, Spee Braun, Emilie Michaud

Want to take a big step toward deepening your spiritual life and lowering your carbon footprint? At the Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan near Powell House, we’re increasingly growing our own food, using solar power, driving veggie-oil-powered cars, and constructing buildings with natural local materials. We currently have openings for new members. Find out more by visiting or by e-mailing Spee Braun at speebraun [at]

Quaker Earthcare Witness

The next gathering, October 20–22, 2011, will be at the Cenacle Centre in Chicago. The focus of the gathering will be food and biodiversity. Come and get involved. Find out about earthcare actions and resources and take the information back to your meetings. Grants are available to young Friends. Details can be found at, or contact Anne Mitchell at anne [at]

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A Silent Retreat in the Manner of Friends

September 30–October 3, 2011
St. Raphaela Retreat Center, Haverford, PA
Led by Linda Chidsey and Carolyn Moon

Come and simply be with God and attend to the divine stirrings of the soul.
Early-bird registration discount ends August 31, 2011.
For more information: St. Raphaela Center, 616 Coopertown Rd., Haverford PA 19041; 610-642-5715;


FWCC Seeks General Secretary

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) is looking for a Friend to serve as general secretary in the World Office in London, beginning on an agreed-upon date in 2012.

The four primary areas of work are connections and communications among Friends, Quaker United Nations work, ecumenical work through Christian world communions, and office administration. The position entails extensive international travel, speaking to Friends’ groups of all sizes, networking, and a great deal of written communication.

Applications are due October 31, 2011. For further information see

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Quaker House Seeks Director

Please help to identify possible applicants for the next Quaker House director. Quaker House is a 42-year-old peace witness in Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, NC. Details of the position are at, or contact Betsy Brinson, search clerk, at betsybrinson [at] Please share this opening with your meeting and community groups. Applicants need not be Quaker but should be appreciative of Quaker faith and practice. Applications are being accepted throughout August 2011, or until the position is filled.

Friends Meeting at Cambridge, MA, Seeks Office Manager

The Office Manager (OM) position requires general computer proficiency, specifically with MS Word 2007 and Excel, good accounting skills using QuickBooks, and database experience. Strong organizational skills are needed. As the OM is often the first person of contact for callers or visitors, a professional and congenial presence is essential. In addition, the OM needs to work in close collegial collaboration with other staff. The job is 25 hours per week, five days a week, with prorated benefits (vacation and sick days; retirement, health, and disability insurance). Inquiries should be addressed to office.manager.9.2011 [at] (Please do not call the office at FMC.)

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FGC Seeks Quaker Quest Intern for Communications

Quaker Quest, an exciting project of Friends General Conference (FGC), has an opening for a one-year paid internship. This position requires someone with a strong grasp of effective online communications, including writing for the Web, using social media, online storytelling, and developing interactive Web sites.
The intern will work closely with the Quaker Quest coordinator, other Nurturing Ministries, and Quaker Quest staff. The intern will develop, implement, and monitor the Quaker Quest portion of FGC’s Web site and online interactive communications with meetings and Quaker Quest volunteers, and will develop online support services for the new QQNext project. The intern will also do limited, specific, communications work for other programs of the Committee for Nurturing Ministries. To see the full job description, go to
Expected start date September 15.
To apply, e-mail elainec [at] describing your interest in the job, along with a current résumé and three references, by August 29, 2011. E-mails that describe your motivation or leading to apply for this position will be considered seriously. Please no phone calls.


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