Spark, May 2023 - Listening Beyond Words: How Do We Talk About God?

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Share your meeting’s news, announcements, and upcoming events with the rest of the yearly meeting by sending them to [email protected]. News items will appear in Spark, our printed newsletter, and our weekly email newsletter. Want to get Spark in the mail? Email [email protected], or call 212-673-5750. Want to receive the weekly update emails? Sign up at [email protected].

Welcome to Spark Online

The online edition of New York Yearly Meeting's print newsletter

This is the Online Edition of the May 2023 issue of Spark, which you can also as a pdf file.


Listening Beyond Words: How Do We Talk About God?



Articles on the Theme: Listening Beyond Words: How Do We Talk About God?

Other Articles from Friends


Around Our Yearly Meeting



Editor's Note

I apologize for the lateness of this issue. Summer Sessions is being held in a new location this year, and extra time is needed to work out all the details. I will be sad not to be at Silver Bay but I'm truly excited to see what we can do at Oakwood. Time to relax, play, worship, and create with each other will be plentiful. We will have a comfortable, air conditioned theater in which to worship and hold business — and also perhaps to watch movies and perform karaoke(!). There will be snacky treats in the evening, kids playing games on the lawn, and singing after dinner. Summer Sessions will be as deep as the energy that is brought to it. Many wonderful Friends have already committed their time and spirit to making this Sessions an incredible experience. I hope you will take a chance and join us.

Spark accepts article submissions of 400-600 words, artwork, poetry, shorter news items and announcements, and letters to the editor. Please share your gifts with the rest of NYYM. Email submissions to [email protected].

Upcoming Spark themes:

September 2023: Open Theme. Please share what you're thinking about now — how is your meeting? How is your spiritual condition? Consider responding to the Sessions theme, "Rebuilding Faith in Changing Times," or to your experience at Summer Sessions 2023. Submissions due August 15

Send in your meeting’s news so it can be shared in the next NYYM weekly email update or in Spark. If you'd like to join NYYM's weekly email list visit

To join the email list, visit To join the mailing list, email [email protected] or call 212-673-5750.

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Sarah Way, NYYM
Communications Director
[email protected]





  • Magdalena Rose, to Erica Jackofsky, member of Conscience Bay, and Rick Ruggiero, on March 20, 2023


  • Michael Black, member of Brooklyn, in March 10, 2023
  • Rose Lynn, member of New Brunswick, on March 31, 2023.
  • Valentine Titus, member of Westbury, on April 19, 2023.
  • Linda Weiser, member of Cornwall, on February 17, 2023.




Do You Receive the Weekly NYYM Email Update?

An email newsletter is sent to NYYM Friends each Friday. Past editions are available at To subscribe, fill out the brief form at If you've subscribed but haven't received any emails, please check your spam folder.



Task Group on Gun Violence Prevention

A Task Group on Gun Violence Prevention is being formed by the Witness Coordinating Committee of New York Yearly Meeting to support and expand the work of Peter Murchison, the Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator of the yearly meeting. The focus of the group will be to determine ways yearly meeting Friends can further make our witness regarding gun violence prevention visible and effective. Please email your interest and questions to Margery Cornwell at [email protected].


Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts

FQA is a national organization; an art ministry for Quakers. They publish a quarterly newsletter, Types and Shadows, and provide a Quaker Arts presence at the FGC Gathering and other Quaker events, offer small grants to support members' creative work and learning, and serve as a communications center for Quaker artists. Visit them at



Upcoming Events

Summer Sessions 2023

July 22-27 (Sat. to Thurs.), Hybrid: Online and at Oakwood Friends School

Summer Sessions 2023 will be at Oakwood Friends School (not at Silver Bay) and online from the morning of Sat., July 22, to lunchtime on Thurs., July 27. See pages 5-8 of this issue for more and visit for up-to-date information..


Powell House Workshops

Powell House is the retreat and conference center for NYYM. Visit to register or call 518-794-8811.

HOSPITALITY, the final session of the Testimonies to Mercy Series

June 2-4, 2023, in person

Our keynote speaker is Rhiannon Grant, who will be joining us online from the UK. Her remarks will be about moving, in our communal homes, beyond more chairs and a bigger table to a new menu: embracing deep hospitality and exploring our changing Quaker community as we welcome different forms of theological and social diversity. Susan Wilson will join Windy Cooler as the co-leader for this retreat, exploring this message in embodied, curious ways. Expect this to be a time of discernment and exploration. Visit

Opening to the Wisdom of Our Elders

June 16-18, 2023, in person

Who has been a spiritual mentor to you in your Quaker journey? Who nurtured, instructed, and encouraged you along the Way? During this retreat, we will gather in worship, naming those living and dead who have served as mentors to us, both personally and collectively. We will take time alone, in solitude, to imagine intimate conversations with them. In worship and in sharing, we will remember and give thanks, opening ourselves to their wisdom and guidance. To register, click on the event name at Facilitated by Linda Chidsey and Michael Wajda


Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering

The 2023 FGC Gathering, “Listen So That We May Live”, will be held at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR, from July 2-July 8, 2023. The Gathering is a week of Quaker worship, workshops, and community for all ages. About 1000 Quakers (mostly from the unprogrammed, liberal tradition) come together from across the US and Canada to deepen our connection to one another and the Spirit. Attenders range from newborns to elders in their 90s, and include both long-time Friends and those newer to Quakerism. In structure, it’s part conference and part family camp. In content, it provides an abundance of opportunities to learn about Quakerism and to foster your spiritual life— and to have fun together.

Workshops and financial assistance will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Beginning June 1, there is a late fee for all full-time and half-Gathering registrations. Visit


SAVE THE DATE for World Quaker Day

World Quaker Day — October 1, 2023 — will be an opportunity to learn, reflect, and act in preparation for Friends World Committee on Consultation's 2024 World Plenary Meeting in South Africa and online. The theme of the meeting is Living the Spirit of Ubuntu: Responding with Hope to God’s Call to Cherish Creation and one-another. For more on ubuntu and World Quaker Day, visit


For Young Adults

Children, Youth and Young Adult Community Director Beth Kelly maintains a list of upcoming YAF events at

Does it Nurture Myself?

A Young Adult Conference (older than high school age) at Powell House, June 9-11, 2023

Care for oneself can take on many forms. While one person may unwind with a bubble bath, another may prefer a wilderness hike. Others may find it difficult to make time for self-care at all. Join us as we discuss different ways to give ourselves care as well as challenges that can stand in the way of good self-care. We will play games and make art to help us navigate this tricky and important topic. Visit to register.

Continuing Revolution 2023: Nurturing Experiments in Spiritually Grounded Abolition

June 2-6, 2023, on-campus at Pendle Hill and online via Zoom

Continuing Revolution, Pendle Hill’s annual conference for young adults (ages 18-35), is a space of collective exploration and learning for the spiritually curious who are striving to live in ways that reflect their values. Join other young adult Friends and seekers exploring abolition of police and policing. Building on themes and feedback from 2022's Experiments in Spiritually Grounded Abolition, we will focus this year on the relationship between individual and structural transformation.

Powell House Youth Program Reunion for '19, '20, '21, '22

July 1, 8:00 a.m.- July 2, 4:00 p.m.

Folks who graduated in the range of 2019 to 2022 are invited to come to Powell House for a reunion! You can expect time to celebrate and enjoy being in community. We will have Cabaret, a hike to Dorson's, and plenty of time to swim in the pond. Register at


For Children & Teens

Powell House Youth Conferences

Visit to register or call 518-794-8811.

EARTHSONG 2023 for 7th-12th Grade

May 27-29, 2023

Join us for our annual celebration of our loving, strong community. 

Camping In The Maze for 6th-8th Grade

June 23-25, 2023

Let's get in touch with nature! This conference we will pitch tents and camp in the Powell House grounds. We will explore our maze-like trails, learn wilderness survival techniques, and roast marshmallows by the fire. We are happy to provide tents and sleeping bags; let us know what you might need.

Young Peacemakers Week
August 14-18 in Albany, NY

Young Peacemakers Week will again take place in 2023, from August 14-18, 1:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon, at the Albany Friends Meetinghouse. Our goal is to bear witness to the Quaker Peace Testimony, and all our activities and events are infused with that purpose. We welcome children going into grades 2 to grades 8. We are also actively looking for volunteers, paid interns, and paid teachers. Interns are generally high school age and assist the teachers, who are college age and up. For more information, please visit our website,, or contact Anita Stanley at 518-441-7722 or [email protected].


Online Worship

Many of the local meetings in New York Yearly Meeting are holding online or hybrid online-and-in-person meetings for worship every week. Visit for the most up-to-date information.




Apply to the Stevens Fund for Friends in Need by June 1

The Stevens Fund is a small fund held by NYYM Trustees to assist Friends who, through age or disability, may be in need. These Friends may be pastors, ministers, or other Friends who have been of service to our yearly meeting. 

The next list of distributions will be decided by the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee in mid-June. Decisions are based on need. Please note the income guidelines are $25,000 for a single individual, and $32,000 for couples. Applications can be accessed online at Please apply by June 1.

For additional information contact David Herendeen, 518-836-7209, [email protected].


Job Openings

These Quaker organizations often have job openings. Check their websites for current opportunities:

Friends General Conference:

American Friends Service Committee:

Friends Committee on National Legislation:

NYYM Grants for Earthcare and Climate Justice Projects

NYYM Friends and meetings are invited to apply for grants of $50 to $500 from NYYM’s Earthcare Fund to support their projects related to Earthcare and Climate Justice. 

Visit to find out more and to apply.


NYYM's Mentoring Program for 2023-24

The Mentoring Program is excited to announce its 2023-2024 program: Mentoring Reimagined: Exploring the Transformative Power of Quakerism. We envision a year of Friends growing together in community and seeking spiritual nurture with each other, with EVERYBODY'S GIFTS acknowledged and honored. The program will include small group discernment, retreats, worship, and opportunities to explore topics of interest. And, as always, you have the opportunity to go deep with a partner or consistent small group. To learn more, please see Registration is available at