Spark, January 2015


15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
New York Yearly Meeting News
Volume 46
Number 1
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) January 2015
Editor, Steven Davison    


Theme Features: We envision . . . Implementing the Yearly Meeting's Priorities

We envision a Yearly Meeting deeply grounded in the practice of our faith, made up of strong, vital monthly meetings gathered together into one body that nurtures our children, youth, and young adults, supports and amplifies our witness, and is accountable and transparent.

Background and Introduction

In our 2014 Summer Sessions, the gathered body of the Yearly Meeting approved a new set of Priorities for the Yearly Meeting (summarized above) based on the work of the Yearly Meeting's Priorities Working Group. The Working Group met with 78 monthly and regional meetings and worship groups over a period of several years, following up each visit with a written report back to the meeting or group to confirm the group's insights and concerns. The Priorities Working Group then further reflected back to all the regional meetings its understanding of the messages they had heard. They brought a synthesis of all this labor and discernment to Summer Sessions 2014 in a Statement of Leadings and Priorities, and a revised version of the Statement was approved. Now the Yearly Meeting begins the work of considering how we might implement these Priorities with concrete action. For this issue of Spark, we invited our readers to offer their written ministry regarding what these actions for implementation might be.


Around Our Yearly Meeting—Yearly Meeting news

Letter to the Editor


Invitation to Summer Sessions 2015


Around Our Yearly Meeting

• Meeting News •

Millions March
Friends joined others marching on December 13 in the MillionsMarch for justice for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and other unarmed people of color killed by police officers.

"I can't breathe"
With these words and "Hands up don't shoot" reverberating across the nation, Friends also joined a group of local residents in a silent vigil in Bridgehampton, New York, on eastern Long Island on Friday, December 12. The vigil was called to show that those who have been subjected to racial discrimination and injustice do not stand alone, and to help swell the number of Americans demanding change. Participants held placards with the name of a victim of this systemic brutality and were asked to commit a previously unfamiliar name to memory and to reflect on the unnecessary loss of human life.

The Quaker participants wanted to bear witness to the reality of lives destroyed by senseless and sanctioned violence, to humanize the victims of an unjust system and remind us of the reality behind statistics and news stories, to enable those who are subjected to racial discrimination a chance to stand with the wider community in solidarity, and to make it known that black lives matter. Peconic Bay Meeting was mentioned extensively in the regional paper The Star.


• Job Postings •

FGC Conference Coordinator
The Conference Coordinator is responsible for all program support and logistical aspects of the annual Friends General Conference Gathering of Friends, a week-long, residential event for 1,100 to 1,400 Friends of all ages. This position provides wonderful opportunities to work with Friends throughout the US and Canada and the satisfaction of providing a week of spiritual nurture and refreshment for more than 1,100 Friends each summer. Please use the following link to access the full job description:

To apply: send cover letter, resume, and three references to: Barry Crossno, General Secretary, [email protected]. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Preference will be given for applications received by February 6. Full-time. Full benefits. Based in the FGC Philadelphia office. FGC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Open positions at FCNL
Friends Committee on National Legislation, the national Quaker lobby, has several open positions and other opportunities. They seek or offer the following:
• a National Field Organizer to help develop, coach, and grow FCNL's network of grassroots advocates;
• a Young Fellows Program, an 11-month, paid, full-time program for recent college grads and others at the beginning of their careers;
• an Advocacy Corps for students, recent grads, and others ages 19--30 who want to lead grassroots campaigns on their campuses or in their communities.

FCNL also has two unpaid opportunities:
• Summer internships, primarily for students ages 18-23, though older participants will also be considered;
• Volunteers to work in the office answering phones, greeting visitors, responding to information requests, and contacting constituents.

Visit, or email a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Direct any questions to Lauren Bladen-White at [email protected].


• Notes•

Meeting for Discernment
March 7, Old Chatham Meetinghouse
Meeting for Discernment will be hosted by Old Chatham Meeting on March 7. Meetings for Discernment are comprised of two sessions, morning and afternoon, of extended worship, guided by queries. The queries for the March meetings are as follows:
What is happening in your monthly meeting that the rest of us need to hear?
What is happening in your monthly meeting that the rest of us might hold?

Youth Institute:
Meeting the Needs of Quaker Youth

March 27-29, 2015
The Youth Institute is the first in a series of such Institutes offered under the auspices of New York Yearly Meeting's Youth Committee. This is an opportunity for Friends to share what is working in your local and regional meetings, to explore ways of working through the difficulties of meeting our youths' spiritual and emotional needs, and to discuss ways to think about youth programming. The Institute will include hands-on training in various aspects of youth work, seeking to meet the interests of participants through a choice of mini-workshops. These areas might include:
* community-building activities, using games in spiritual work;
* activities for and leading service/learning programs;
* avenues for spiritual growth in youth;
* exploring sex and gender issues;
* learning about available curricula and curriculum design and modification;
* teens and Quakerism today; and
* art as a spiritual medium.
The Institute is open to anyone interested in making her or his meeting a multigenerational faith community.

Volunteer for Junior Yearly Meeting 2015
Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) is recruiting volunteers for Summer Sessions at Silver Bay, Sunday, July 19, to Saturday, July 25, 2015. We seek Friendly adults to work with young Friends from grades 1-12. Does someone in your meeting have a gift for working with children or teens who 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 part of their Silver Bay costs be covered by JYM. Contact Dawn Pozzi ([email protected]) or Rebecca Wolf ([email protected]), this year's JYM coordinators.

Quaker Voluntary Service
QVS is recruiting Volunteers for FOUR houses this year, in Atlanta, GA; Portland, OR; Philadelphia, PA; and Boston, MA. Built on four core values--Community, Service, Transformation, and the Quaker Way--QVS offers young adults the opportunity to discover their gifts, while helping to change the world. This is an experiment at the intersection of transformational spirituality and activism. It is a chance to live your life with compassion and justice, within a community of fellow social change agents, and in conversation with the various expressions of the Quaker Way. For more information, visit

Playing in the Light--Godly Play®/Faith & Play™ Training
Powell House,
March 27-29
This powerful way of being with children can transform your First Day School or Friends school classroom, and nurture your own spiritual life. Learn and practice skills to help children explore the existential limits of their lives through wonder, play, and core stories from the Bible and Quaker faith and practice. These stories are scripted and tested to work well with multi-age groups of children, as well as in multi-generational settings. A certified trainer will model stories, and you will have an opportunity to practice them with your peers. Discussions and teaching modules include:
* exploring the spirituality of children,
* supporting the circle of children and working with multi-age and diverse needs groups, and
* weaving Godly Play/Faith & Play stories into a First Day School program with other religious education and spiritual nurture resources available to Friends.
Workshop facilitator Melinda Wenner Bradley, a member of West Chester Friends Meeting (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting), is the clerk of the Faith & Play Working Group and an accredited Godly Play® trainer who works with Quaker meetings and Friends schools around the country.

Quaker Religious Thought
All back issues of QRT are now available online, thanks to the collaboration of QRT editor Howard R. Macy and the staff of George Fox University Libraries. They're available at QRT publishes papers presented at meetings of the Quaker Theological Discussion Group.


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Letter to the Editor

To the Editor of Spark

The exchange in Spark between Peter Phillips, a member of the Priorities Working Group, and Mary Foster Cadbury, former clerk of New York Yearly Meeting, presents conflicting impressions because the writers are responding to different moments in the 2014 session. [Editor: See the September and November issues of Spark, respectively, on] Both are correct: the "absence of kindness, trust, and attentiveness to the Spirit" was really there, and so were the uplift and inspiration--later. Neither writer mentions the thing that did not happen, which I experienced.

Friends failed to see how deeply the priorities would cut, if they were read carefully as the expressed will of the monthly meetings, as the Priorities Working Group restated it. In the light of the priorities, many of Friends' activities [at the Yearly Meeting level] would have to be abandoned, in conformity with the enabling minute, which called for discerning "which facets of this work are primary, which are secondary or even tertiary, and which may need to be laid down, at least for a while." Everyone knew that that kind of discernment can't be carried on during a Yearly Meeting session, but how many saw that the next regularly scheduled meeting of their [Yearly Meeting] committee would have to abandon its agenda to consider the meaning and effect of the priorities? How many saw the likelihood that their committee or project would have to be terminated? How many saw that Fall Sessions 2014 would have to set aside its habitual format and agenda? Instead, continuing the Priorities Working Group was a way of discounting its findings and turning it into a committee of oversight for the whole Yearly Meeting. For these reasons, I felt obliged to withdraw from the group.

Lee Haring, former clerk of Priorities Working Group


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New Members

    Alcimus Sidney Cargill, III – Brooklyn
    Loren Dunn – Fifteenth Street
    Jaden Grant – Brooklyn
    Lakisha Grant – Brooklyn
    Elijah Gwynn – Brooklyn
    Beth Kelly – Brooklyn
    Louis Kelly – Wilton
    Alice McMechen – Cornwall
    Edward Seliger – New Paltz
    Emily Frances Walsh – Brooklyn
    Terence Ward – New Paltz
    Amy Wiffen – Brooklyn



    Elizabeth, Alaena, Nicholas, & Cole Punzi, from Shrewsbury to Manasquan  
    Patricia Swan, to Chatham-Summit from Virginia Beach Meeting  



    Willa Dunn, on December 15, 2014 to Loren and Jenny Strassburg Dunn, Fifteenth Street  
    Isaac Heron Bailey Savory, on October 31, 2014, to Gabrielle Savory Bailey and Jonathan Bailey Savory, Chatham-Summit  



    Frances McLaughlin-Gill, member of Jericho, on October 23, 2014  
    Keith Chadwick Murdock, member of Rockland, on December 16, 2014  
    Dorothy Roberts, member of Flushing, on October 23, 2014  
    Louise Wolf, member of Fifteenth Street, on January 4, 2015  

Invitation to Summer Sessions 2015

Dear Friends,

What follows below is our heartfelt invitation to the entire New York Yearly Meeting to attend our Summer Sessions. The invite includes the theme for this year--a theme that was chosen with enthusiasm for the greater unity we are now experiencing, having considered and approved our priorities. We, as a faith community, have been faithfully seeking that of God in everyone since 1695 and that seeking continues. The diversity of Quakers within our Yearly Meeting blesses all of us and it is our work to be reconciled with one another in love. In 1955, two yearly meetings did not just unite but rather agreed to the process of uniting. That verb--uniting--urges us to actively look for the best in each other and blend our ideas and leadings, again always in the name of the One who is Love. As our website states, we are "A simple faith. A radical witness."--and our priority statements help us define our future. Together we can bring these statements alive through our daily work and actions.

We hope you will find a way to join us in faithfully seeking the paths that will lead us forward in this journey into our vision. We are, all of us, New York Yearly Meeting, and together we can do amazing things. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Sessions!

Roseann Press, Clerk of Sessions
Melanie-Claire Mallison, Clerk of Program Subcommittee


The Invitation

Dear friends:
This year is an auspicious year for us--2015 is the 320th anniversary of the creation of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. 2015 is also the 60th anniversary of our becoming a united yearly meeting, approved at Summer Sessions 1955. And finally, 2015 is the first calendar year during which we will consider and worship on our shared Leadings and Priorities, approved at the 2014 NYYM Summer Sessions. (Find the full text of the Leadings and Priorities online at

Given these three historic events, NYYM's Sessions Committee has chosen to work them together into a theme for the 2015 Summer Sessions, which will be held July 19-25, at Silver Bay Association. Along with our two anniversaries, the first two envision statements from our Leadings and Priorities are; "We Envision a Yearly Meeting Deeply Grounded in the Practice of Our Faith" and "We Envision a Yearly Meeting Made Up of Strong, Vital Monthly Meetings." And while we are all encouraged to consider the six envision statements as one piece, our theme will be:

320 Years, One Faith.
60 Years, One Meeting.
Today, One Vision.

We invite all f/Friends to consider this theme as a starting point for every level of their Quaker work and worship throughout the entire year. For instance, the NYYM Communications Committee has dedicated this January issue of Spark to these first two envision statements. The articles will surely provide "food for thought" and prayer and action. Perhaps your Meeting could host discussion groups to consider the envision statements and the articles in Spark. Perhaps your committee could consider its work with the envision statements in mind--how does our work further the practice of our faith and strengthen our meetings? Certainly, First Day Schools and youth groups need a strong foundation in understanding Quakerism and a strong meeting to support them as they discover their own faithful gifts.

We hope you will join us in celebrating New York Yearly Meeting, which is, after all, nothing without our faith and our meetings. We are 320 years strong because of you. Thank you.

NYYM Sessions Committee


Upcoming Spark Themes

March 2015 Friends and Other Faiths
May 2015 Spiritual Formation


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