InfoShare, December 2013

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 12 December 2013 Number 6
Editor: Steven Davison


Save the date! Spring Sessions 2014—April 4–5

     Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, NY

Download a pdf file of InfoShare, December 2013



Upcoming Events

Earlham College student singers performing in Greenwhich Village, NYC
Saturday, January 11, 2014, 7:30 pm
St Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson St, NYC

This January, Earlham College, the Midwest's premier liberal arts Quaker institution, will be taking its choirs on tour to the East Coast, with performances of spiritually uplifting songs in three cities. With four ensembles on tour, they will be performing a diverse repertoire, including many time-honored sacred pieces. The Women's Chorus will present some exceedingly fine selections for women's voices, most notably the Holst Ave Maria in 8-part harmony, as well as selections by American composers Joan Szymko and Gwyneth Walker. The program also features their Madrigal Singers singing motets, such as Poulenc's Videntes Stellam and Palestrina's Surge Illuminare. Their Gentlemen's Quartet will sing Thomas Tallis's If Ye Love Me, and their Concert Choir will debut Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds's pieces Long Road and Northern Lights, in which tuned glasses and handbells serve to accompany this ethereal work. Together, all four ensembles will perform pieces from around the world, highlighting the music of New Zealand and Kenya accompanied by rousing percussion. Ending with the timeless Quaker hymn, How Can I Keep from Singing?, the evening will be a wonderful way to ring in the new year. They hope you'll hear some old favorites and be delighted by some of their newer works. 

You are invited to their performance in Greenwich Village on Saturday, January 11th, 2014, at 7:30 PM at St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson St., New York, New York. For information, contact the tour coordinator, David Schutt. The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets required; donations accepted.

Meeting for Discernment
March 1, 2014, Purchase Meetinghouse

Hosted by Purchase Quarterly Meeting

The next gathering of the Meetings for Discernment is scheduled for the Purchase Meetinghouse on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., hosted by Purchase Quarterly Meeting. Friends are invited to arrive between 8:15 and 8:45 (coffee, tea, and bagels will be provided), with the Meeting for Discernment to begin at 9:00.

Meetings for Discernment are a time when the Yearly Meeting gathers for extended worship without the weight of an agenda for business. Because Meetings for Discernment offer an occasion for the Yearly Meeting community to hear what is rising up among us, monthly meetings and worship groups are asked to appoint at least one person to participate. Appointees are not asked to bring prepared messages, but rather to speak to the queries as moved in the moment by God, by the Inward Light of Christ, by Spirit. By meeting this way, we may hear that which might not be heard in the midst of committees and attending to business.

Everything, all beauty and rightness, seems to turn upon a right subordination of the outward to the inward, the transient to the permanent, in our lives and thoughts. Yet this right subordination cannot be achieved in a hurry. If we are to learn to assign to the weightiest matters their true place and predominance, we must allow ourselves, or rather we must steadily resolve to secure for ourselves, quietness enough not only to know our own minds, but to listen to the still small voice of conscience, or of God, speaking in our own hearts.

~ Caroline Stephen, 1834-1909

This Meeting for Discernment will focus on the following queries. As preparation, we invite Friends to consider the queries in light of the life of your monthly meeting or worship group.

Life is movement. What tools do we each have for finding our center and for linking it with others? What happens when we make that connection? What are the markers on our spiritual compass?
How do we cope with pain when we find it in meeting? In our community? In the world? Is there a gift in the pain?

Your timely registration will facilitate our planning. To register for day attendance, possible pick-up from the train station in White Plains, and for hospitality and/or childcare, please complete the registration form, which you can download from the New York Yearly Meeting website ( or in Spark. Please then mail the form to Brian Doherty, 109 N. Broadway, Apt. S-2, White Plains, NY 10603, to arrive no later than February 15. Do not mail it to the Yearly Meeting office. If you prefer, you can scan the form to Brian’s email address: A registration fee of $10 per person, to be paid on-site, will help defray the cost of childcare, a simple lunch, and other necessities.

The Purchase meetinghouse is at the corner of Purchase and Lake Streets in Purchase, NY (4455 Purchase Street). For directions, go to Winter weather advisory: If the weather seems questionable, please check your email on Friday, February 28 (if you have provided us with your email address).

Schedule of Upcoming Regional Meetings

Meeting Date Location
All Friends January 26, 2014 Ridgewood
  April 27, 2014 Rockland
Farmington-Scipio January 18, 2014 Rochester
  May 16–18 Watson Homestead, Painted Post, NY
  September 20, 2014 Ithaca
Long Island April 26, 2014 Westbury
New York January 26, 2014 Brooklyn
  April 20, 2014 Fifteenth Street
Nine Partners February 2, 2014 Poughkeepsie
  May 4, 2014 Bulls Head-Oswego
  August 3, 2014 TBD
Northeastern May 4, 2014 Adirondack
Purchase February 2, 2014 Purchase
  May 4, 2014 TBA
  August 3, 2014 TBA
Shrewsbury & Plainfield March 29, 2014 New Brunswick

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Notes & Announcements

NYYM Resource Library looking for help and a home

Nurture Coordinating Committee (NCC) is looking for assistance in making the Resource Library accessible to Friends who are looking for materials for adult and children’s religious education. Florence McAllister, who has carefully shepherded these materials for many years, is no longer able to handle this responsibility.

Bulls Head Meeting has offered to be a temporary space to house the materials, and one of their Friends has offered to make a list of the materials that are there. NCC will be looking for a permanent home for this collection.

Over time, new materials will need to be added. We will be looking for Friends who could review the materials and write a short paragraph describing the content and how it could be used. Having the information on the NCC page of the NYYM website would make the Resource Library a real resource for Friends and meetings.

If you have suggestions as to where the library could be permanently located or if you are interested in helping to make the materials accessible, please contact Deb Wood,, or by phone: 914-922-1553.

School of the Spirit seeks two Core Teachers

Upon the retirement of Core Teachers Patty Levering and Mike Green, the School of the Spirit Ministry is seeking two teachers to join Beckey Phipps (Fresh Pond, NEYM) as the Core Teaching Team for its program On Being a Spiritual Nurturer.

On Being a Spiritual Nurturer is an established two-year program that includes eight three- to five-day residencies. The 2015-2017 class will be the tenth, with residencies to be held at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, PA, near Philadelphia.

We ask that the new Core Teachers be members of the Religious Society of Friends and have an active prayer life and a deep grounding in our faith and practice. We expect that the Core Teachers have a call to teaching and to the nurture of the spiritual life of individuals, meetings, and the Religious Society of Friends.

For additional information, please visit the School of the Spirit website. The review of applications will begin February 1, 2014. Our discernment process and follow-up interviews will take place during the spring. The start date for this position is July 1, 2014 and the minimal commitment is through June 30, 2017.

If you have questions, please call Linda Chidsey at (860) 567-4063 or email her. If you know of others who might be interested in or called to this type of ministry, please, with our gratitude, forward this information to them or direct them to the teacher search webpage.

A Ministry under the care of Philaldelphia Yearly Meeting.

Volunteers needed for the NYYM website

The Yearly Meeting is looking for volunteers who would be willing to help manage content on the NYYM website. This includes publishing each issue of Spark on the website (five times a year), the Yearbook (once a year), and other projects. You don't have to commit to regular service: just let us know as each project comes along whether you can help with that publication—every little bit will make a difference. You don't have to be a web geek to help, either, though a little knowledge of HTML and a little experience with Content Management Systems would be a real asset; but we can teach what you need to know, if you're interested. If you are interested, please contact Steven Davison,, Yearly Meeting communications director.

Upcoming Spark Themes

We invite Friends to submit articles on the themes of upcoming issues of Spark. The deadline for submissions is normally the first of the month of the month preceding publication, but we have adjusted the deadline for the January issue. Here are the themes:

  • January 2014: Leadership.    Deadline: January 8.
  • March 2014: Centering Down.    Deadline: February 1.
  • May 2014: Outreach/Advancement.    Deadline: April 1.

Grants available for the Study and Practice of Mysticism

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) offers small grants annually from the Elizabeth Ann Bogert Memorial Fund for the Study and Practice of Christian Mysticism. They invite proposals by the deadline of March 1, 2014 for grants in the current year. As a general guideline, the Bogert Fund understands the mystical element in Christianity to be that aspect of its belief and practices that relates to an immediate and direct sense of the presence of the Divine. They encourage both experiential and scholarly exploration of this theme. The Fund provides grants up to $1,000 to individuals, groups, or institutions, without denominational, cultural, racial, or national preference or age restriction. Awards are announced by July 1. Send proposals or further inquirires to Kenneth Woodrow Henke, Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place, Princeton, NJ 08540, or by email to

Onondaga Nation submits comments on Draft Liquified Natural Gas Regulations in New York State

The Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee has submitted detailed comments on proposed regulations for Liquified Natural Gas facilities in New York State. The comments oppose some aspects of the regulations and the process for developing the regs, and offers recommendations for inclusions and changes. You can read their comments on our website.

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Meeting News

Scarsdale Meeting supports AVP for youth in White Plains

Scarsdale Meeting is supporting an effort to introduce AVP to children in White Plains. We have learned that for some children in White Plains fighting is an exciting and socially acceptable activity. The school district has initiated an anti-bullying program, but these programs have their limitations.

A coalition of community service organizations that includes churches has warmly received the idea and we have connected with a community center in White Plains near the White Plains housing projects. The Slater Center's director is very interested in hosting a basic workshop and we have acquired the funding necessary for a basic workshop. (The Scarsdale meetinghouse is not available to us on Saturdays during the school year because we rent the meetinghouse to a Jewish congregation.)

Our goal is to make AVP available to people who are not and never have been in prison, but who can make good use of the skills it teaches. We'd be thrilled to introduce it in the schools, but for that to happen, we suspect it will be necessary to build a community of AVP graduates who value it enough to ask for it in the schools.


Flushing religious leaders sign Second Flushing Remonstrance—Quaker connection

To call for New York Police Department (NYPD) policy changes in observance of Human Rights Day, people from many traditions and walks of life gathered on December 7, 2013, to sign a Second Flushing Remonstrance at historic St George’s Church. This event was sponsored by Flushing Interfaith Council, Friends Committee for Black Concerns of New York Yearly Meeting, Morningside Quaker Meeting, and other partners.

More than 350 years ago, English citizens of Flushing in New Netherland wrote and signed the Flushing Remonstrance in defense of Quakers who were being persecuted for gathering in worship. Many people believe that this document established an important legal precedent guaranteeing religious freedom in the United States of America.

Following in this tradition, and to help safeguard religious and personal freedom in Flushing, in New York, and in the world, local leaders and concerned residents gathered again to sign a Second Flushing Remonstrance in protest of city policies that have marginalized and alienated some fellow New Yorkers. Just as the founding settlers of Flushing rallied to support Quakers, local religious leaders gathered to express support for local Muslims and people of color impacted by profiling and discriminatory policies.

Written in nine languages, the new Remonstrance has been updated to criticize Stop and Frisk, an NYPD program that has routinely violated the rights of young males of color and Latinos on a massive scale, as well as warrantless and wholesale surveillance of New York City mosques and other Muslim American institutions.

According to John Choe, Director of One Flushing, “Inspired by history to assert our values as diverse New Yorkers, we hope the Second Remonstrance will help set a more open and inclusive tone in the next administration at City Hall. We expect to see much better protections for the rights of all New Yorkers under our next mayor, Bill de Blasio.”

“I congratulate Flushing Interfaith Council for spearheading this effort and wish this important event success,” added Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “Religious freedom, without discrimination of caste, creed or color being a basic human right should be ensured and upheld and any effort to undermine this should be strongly resisted.”

Birthplace of American religious freedom, Flushing is one of the most diverse areas of the United States and of the world. St George’s Church has served Flushing since 1702, with many illustrious members, including Francis Lewis, signer of the Declaration of Independence serving as vestryman of the church. Further details regarding elected officials, local speakers, and performances will be announced.

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Yearly Meeting News

NYYM clerk interviewed by AllBlackRadio about the Apology to Afro-Descendants

Yearly Meeting clerk Jeffrey L. Hitchcock was interviewed on December 9 by Pearl Phillip of AllBlackRadio, an outlet of an African-American-owned media consortium that includes both radio and print media. You can listen to an .mp3 file of the interview by clicking here. The interview will also be published in CARE: Concerned Americans for Racial Equality, one of the consortium's print outlets. Click here to learn more about the Apology to Afro-Descendants.



Job Opportunities

Friends School of Portland seeks Director of Studies

Friends School of Portland seeks a seasoned educator with experience at a Friends school or an affinity with Quakerism. Visit the School's website for a description of the position. The deadline for application is January 17, 2014.

Pendle Hill seeks Guest Services Manager

To download a full description of this position, click here or visit the Pendle Hill website.

The Guest Services Manager has the responsibility of efficient hands-on management of the hospitality services and staff in order to meet guests’ needs while on campus. This position also supervises cleaning personnel and housekeeping functions. Responsibilities include daily supervision of staff, assignment of tasks and schedules in order to ensure prompt provision of a welcoming, clean, healthy, and safe environment for all students and guests in all areas. Purchasing, within budget and according to the “triple bottom line” philosophy, is also a part of this work.

This position works strategically with the Events Planning Team to define, quantify and maintain standards as well as to improve procedures and systems for the delivery of excellent customer service in dining rooms, guest rooms, and meeting rooms. Responding to customer complaints and to their recommendations and compliments will be an important factor ensuring continuous improvement in this department.

Submit a current resume, contact information for three references, and a cover letter describing your qualifications (including how you heard about the position) to Sandy Horne at Pendle Hill, 338 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086 or



Powell House's Annual New Year's Celebration
Cherish Family & Friends
December 30, 2013–January 1, 2014

This multigenerational conference is one of our most popular. We can only house 90 people, so register right away! Many of you already have—so check with your family and friends and get registered now if you aren't.

We have activities for all ages including making snow people, ice-skating, yoga, Pilates, cookie making, origami, sharing, and storytelling. Did we mention dancing in the kitchen while washing pots and pans? This year we'll be doing lots of celebrating!

Don't forget Cabaret right after dinner on the 31st. Bring your instruments, your favorite song or story or poem, or a skit to share. Jacki will have a midnight feast for us. The celebration will conclude with brunch on January 1st. Come be a part of this intergenerational celebration!

Register now! $400/Families; $200/individual adults; $100/youth 13-22 and commuters; $50/infants-12.

See you at Powell House soon!

Corporate Discernment in Meeting for Business
January 17–19, 2014, Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA

Nancy and David Haines lead this workshop exploring how all members can help the meeting faithfully consider its business in a centered and worshipful manner. Click here to download a pdf file of the conference's flyer. Contact:,

Awakening the Dreamer/Transition Town training
April 11–13, 2014, Powell House

NYYM Earthcare Witness and the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub are co-sponsoring a workshop at Powell House on April 11-13, 2014: Transitioning – A Workshop for Change Agents. The purpose is to first reaffirm the spiritual call that God’s Creation is making to humanity for reconnection and active stewardship. Then, to equip participants to become agents of change, by using the Transition Town model to develop methods and practices for resiliency and sustainability specific to the strengths and needs of their local area. The weekend will combine the inspiration of the Pachamama Alliance‘s Awakening the Dreamer Symposium with the training module of the international Transition Town movement. The program is designed for people sixteen and older. The workshop will be led by Reb MacKenzie (NEYM), Fred Doneit (Poughkeepsie Meeting), and Pamela Boyce Simms (Hudson Meeting). All are trained Awakening the Dreamer facilitators, and Pamela is a lead trainer for the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub.

There is a premium charge for the TT training, which raises the weekend fee by $108. This is a special discounted fee for training that normally costs $150. For those who request financial assistance, however, the Earthcare Working Group will provide matching grants of up to $75 to Quaker registrants who are assisted by their home meetings. Each meeting should have several resource people who can become the agents of change in their communities. Please look for the Powell House flyer for registration information.

Register by March 25th: $328/adults; $218 ages 13-22 and commuters; $55 infants-12. After March 25th: $348/$228/$60.


Staff Travel Schedules

Travel Calendar: Christopher Sammond
General Secretary
January to March, 2014


10 Visit Attica Prison Worship Group, Attica, NY
12 Visit Buffalo Meeting, Buffalo, NY
17–19 Facilitate Retreat on Vocal Ministry, Chatham-Summit Meeting, Chatham, NJ
24–25 Attend Coordinating Committee Weekend, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY
25–26 Attend Program Subcommittee meeting, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY
26 Join Old Chatham Meeting for worship
27 NYYM staff retreat, Quaker House, New York, NY
31 Attend Priorities Working Group meeting, Purchase Meetinghouse, Purchase, NY


1 Attend Priorities Working Group meeting, Purchase Meetinghouse, Purchase, NY
2 Visit Brooktondale Worship Group, Carolyn Center, NY
28 Participate in Meeting for Discernment, Purchase Meetinghouse, Purchase, NY


1 Participate in Meeting for Discernment, Purchase Meetinghouse, Purchase, NY
7–9 Facilitate retreat on Deepening Worship for Saranac Lake Meeting, St. Lawrence Valley Friends Meeting, Ticonderoga Worship Group, and North Country Worship Group, Saranac Lake, NY
24–27 Support NYYM/NEYM Pastors Retreat, Powell House, Old Chatham, NY

Travel Calendar: Helen Garay Toppins,
Associate Secretary
Winter, 2013–2014

December 22 Manhattan Meeting & 15th Street Meeting
January 19 Woodbourne Prison Quaker Worship Group
January 24–25 Coordinating Committee Weekend, Powell House
January 27 NYYM staff retreat, Quaker House, New York, NY
January 26 Sessions Committee meeting, Powell House

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