Spark, November 2014
15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
|New York Yearly Meeting News|
|The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)||November 2014|
|Editor, Steven Davison|
Theme Features: Climate Change, Social Change
- Online only: The Spiritual Dimension of Earth's Polar Ice Caps, by Jerry Leaphart
- Those Pesky Little Water Bugs, by Michael Meade
- Connecting to the Earth, by Margery Coffey
- Lunch Is Free!, by Jens Braun
- The Blessings of Fossil Fuels, by Karen Tibbals
- Organic Farming in the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Reflections on the Climate Crisis, by John Edminster
- Four Articles on Hearing Loss, by Susan Wolf
Around Our Yearly Meeting—Yearly Meeting news
Letter to the Editor
Around Our Yearly Meeting
15th St Meeting seeks video editor
Fifteenth Street Meeting's Arts Committee is looking for a volunteer to edit the raw footage of three unedited videos into three finished videos. Your only remuneration would be credit on the video. You can use the Arts Committee's equipment and program in Fifteenth Street's committee room. Please contact [email protected].
Friends Fiduciary Green Fund
In January 2014, the trustees of New York Quarterly Meeting approved moving $2 million in assets into a new Green Fund created by Friends Fiduciary that follows the guidelines established by 350.org for a fossil free fund. 350.org is the most significant organization building a global climate movement. The Quarterly Meeting is discussing investing additional assets now that the fund has a track record and can be compared to its benchmark index (which it has outperformed year to date) and to the consolidated fund. To download a fact sheet on the fund, go to ;www.friendsfiduciary.org/files/QGF-Fact-Sheet-9-30-14.pdf.
JYM seeks volunteers
As we look ahead to Summer Sessions at Silver Bay, Sunday, July 19 to Saturday, July 25, 2015, we are looking for volunteers to work with the Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM). Friendly adults are sought to work with young Friends from Grades 1-12. Perhaps there is someone in your meeting who has the gift of working with children or teens and would welcome this opportunity. It is a wonderful way to get to know the Yearly Meeting. We ask that meetings consider providing financial assistance to JYM volunteers from their community so that they may serve the Yearly Meeting in this way. Volunteers may also request that JYM cover part of their Silver Bay costs. Friends who are not led to give the entire week to JYM may have gifts to share for an hour or so during the week. Please contact Dawn Pozzi or Rebecca Wolf, this year's JYM coordinators (both are in the Yearbook).
William Penn Quaker Workcamps
William Penn Quaker Workcamps (formerly Washington Quaker Workcamps) are a program of William Penn House in Washington DC. The Workcamps flow from three principles that look at injustice and social change from the inside out, with an emphasis on community and equality. The three principles are that participants experience enhanced mindfulness, that participants experience and understand the importance of connectedness to place, and that the Workcamps have a positive impact in their work. William Penn House invites Friends to share information about the Workcamps with others, to be part of a Workcamp yourself, and to explore with them ways to support your own peace and service efforts by leading a Workcamp. You can download a flyer by visiting nyym.org/WmPennHouse.
Young Adult Friends
FCNL opportunities for young adults
FCNL is thrilled to announce new, expanded opportunities for young adults to advocate with us. They have open applications for three programs that are part of a year-long experience for students, recent grads, and others at the beginning of their careers:
- The Internship Program is now called the Young Fellows Program. Participants in the program become paid members of FCNL's staff in Washington, DC full-time for 11 months. Applications due February 16, 2015.
- The brand-new Advocacy Corps offers a paid way for young people to organize in their own campuses and communities across the U.S. for action on a different issue each year. In 2015-2016, the focus will be on climate and social change. Applications due April 1, 2015.
- The Summer Internship introduces young adults to public policy and nonprofits. Applications due March 1, 2015.
We also continue to grow and expand Spring Lobby Weekend, the signature lobby day for young adults that last year brought almost 200 student advocates to Washington, DC. This year's event focuses on climate change.
Want more information? Get all the details about these positions at futureadvocate.org.
Continuing Revolution—Pendle Hill conference, June 5-10, 2015
All young adult Friends (18-35) are invited to be part of Pendle Hill's annual intensive six-day social justice conference for those with a passion and a hunger for peace and justice. This year, we will be focusing on equality in its most expansive sense as a way to explore the need for justice, the power of Truth and love, our own growing edges as individuals and as a community, and what it means to create the Beloved Kin-dom here and now.
The Continuing Revolution conference series, launched in 2012, has been a powerful and significant annual opportunity for young adult Quakers to come together for a spiritual and educational thematic program dedicated to joyful fellowship, deep worship, and practical trainings designed to challenge and transform as we strive to live in Spirit-led relationship with ourselves, our communities, and the earth. Specific speakers and workshop leaders are currently being identified. Please check www.pendlehill.org/yafcon for updates.
FGC publishes book for youth on Bayard Rustin
QuakerPress's Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist introduces one of the most important—and least known—civil rights activists and a member of Fifteenth Street Meeting to readers ages ten and older. New York Yearly Meeting Administrative Associate Walter Naegle is a coauthor of Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist.
Brooklyn Meeting: Transgender Day of Remembrance
Brooklyn Meeting held its Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, November 20th with a silent vigil in front of the Supreme Court Building to draw attention to the legislative actions needed to protect the human rights of all persons of transgender expressions. Then the Meeting held a memorial meeting for worship for all those who have died because of their transgendered expressions since last year's day of remembrance.
Queens Interfaith Unity Walk
People of all faiths participated in the 2014 Queens Interfaith Unity Walk on October 19 in the Flushing neighborhood of New York. The Unity Walk arose in response to post-9/11 challenges and developed from a model in Brooklyn called "Children of Abraham Peace Walk," which has been bringing churches, mosques, and synagogues together for more than a decade. The Queens event includes non-Abrahamic religious groups as well.
The Unity Walk started at the historic Friends Meeting House, located at 137-16 Northern Blvd, then proceeded to Flushing Town Hall, where we attended an Arabic calligraphy workshop, the St. Paul Chung Ha Sang Roman Catholic Church on Parsons Boulevard, the Han Ma Um Zen Center of New York at 32 Avenue, and the Masjid Hazrati Abu Bakr Siddique Islamic Center at 33rd Avenue.
The Unity Walk is sponsored by the Flushing Interfaith Council, which includes a large number of religious communities, including Flushing Meeting and Morningside Meeting.
For more information about the Flushing Interfaith Council, please call (646) 926-7844, email [email protected], or visit us at flushinginterfaithcouncil.wordpress.com.
Opportunities at Quaker Intentional Village—Canaan: 14 years along!
Quaker Intentional Village—Canaan (QIVC) got going in 2000 with a core of interested people from New York Yearly Meeting, a retreat at Powell House, and then the purchase of 135 acres of forest and pasture in the town of Canaan, a few miles from Powell House. We are now a community of 30 people striving to live spirit- focused lives that are simple, sustainable, and joyful, benefiting from and enjoying our close connections with each other and with the land. We welcome diversity of all sorts, and don't all need to identify as Quaker.
We have said goodbye to a departing member family this past summer and have a house for sale to new members. We also have one building site available for a future member household that wants to build. QIVC membership is determined by a clearness process that takes place during a getting-to-know-you period of about a year. If you're interested in living in a rural community and you share our intentions, we invite you to come find out more about QIVC—visit in person or explore our web site at www.qivc.org. Find out more about our housing opportunities at www.qivc.org/joinus.
Morningside Meeting observes Human Rights Day
On Sunday, December 14, Morningside Meeting will write to and for prisoners of conscience and hold a worship sharing in observance of Human Rights Day, as is their annual practice. All are invited.
Fifteenth Street Meeting holds Meetings for Healing Prayer
All are welcome to a series of five meetings: 12/15, 1/12, 1/26, 2/9, and 2/23.
Letter to the Editor
I want to offer a different view from that expressed by Peter Phillips (September 2014 Spark) of the experience Friends had at business sessions of New York Yearly Meeting July 2014. I left that week uplifted and inspired. I was deeply grateful for what I felt was our being led by God, led by the Spirit out of anger, misery, misunderstanding, loss of centeredness, and into Light.
In the several business sessions, and to a lesser extent in the small group sessions for questions and comments on the Statement of Leadings and Priorities that the Yearly Meeting's Priorities Working Group had recommended, there was serious and disturbing controversy. People spoke in anger and frustration. The best practices of Friends business meetings were ignored. People in all corners of the gathering were in distress. Thursday afternoon came and the end of the week was almost upon us. There seemed no way forward. The meeting closed, but there was no sense of the meeting. An extra session was scheduled for the next day, our last day for business. How would we be able to proceed was the question on everyone's mind.
I am reminded of Barrow Cadbury's cry at a session of the Friends World Conference in England in 1952. "Dear God, we're in a fix!" That session went immediately into worship and eventually found a way forward. No one said that at New York Yearly Meeting, but during the rest of that day and evening, groups and individuals sought guidance.
We convened the next morning, perhaps warily, perhaps with a sense of dread. The clerk began by apologizing for any sense he may have given of seeming to advocate approval. The Priorities Working Group read a revised and shortened proposal, thereby making it clear that people had been heard. In the pause after it was read Friends began to speak in appreciation, almost wonder. The clerk proceeded cautiously, suggesting that perhaps we could approve part and leave the rest until November Fall Sessions.
But like Barrow Cadbury in 1952, a Friend down front had the right words. She spoke directly to the clerk. "Don't be afraid! Propose approval now for the whole thing." The clerk with appreciative relief asked if there was approval, and there was. As we closed the session in worship and as we made our way out, Friends wept in joy, hugged one another, and marveled at God's grace. It had to be the workings of the Spirit. How else explain the transformation of the terrible impasse to a workable way forward?
I see that experience as a working of God among us. We had reached depths of disorder and were led to judge the worst of one another. The Holy Spirit somehow touched our hearts and allowed us to love one another again. Our worship Saturday morning was deep and pure. Again tears and hugs, a sense of miracle among us poor feeble Quakers. We hated to leave one another.
I know many others felt the whole experience in this way. We do often fall short, and on this occasion we did so in a big way. But we can overcome our falls and rise up as angels. It was one of the times of miracle I have known among Friends.
In gratitude for God's blessings.
Mary Foster Cadbury, Bulls Head-Oswego Meeting
Rose Ganster – Quaker Street
Sheila O'Hara – Brooklyn
Ryan Perry – Manasquan
Pamela Tripsas – Ridgewood