Spark, January 2016


Welcome to SparkOnline

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

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Share your meeting’s news, announcements, and upcoming events with the rest of the Yearly Meeting through InfoShare, our digital newsletter. We publish InfoShare between issues of Spark, in February, April, June, August, October, and December. Send your items to [email protected]. Don’t get InfoShare? Contact the Yearly Meeting office to get yourself on our email mailing list.

Meeting for Discernment

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Westbury Meeting, 550 Post Rd. Westbury, NY 11590

9:00: coffee and signing in • 9:30: worship begins

Meeting for discernment is a chance for extended worship among New York Yearly Meeting Friends. The meeting is a full day, with lunch provided in between. The snow date is Saturday, March 5.

Save the date!

Download a pdf file of the January Spark



Around Our Yearly Meeting


Around Our Yearly Meeting

Meeting News

Greater Canandaigua Midweek Meeting organ-izes refugee health kits

In December, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the meeting made health kits for refugees through the International Orthodox Christian Charities. Young Friends gathered with adults to assemble the kits, and then sent them to the Brethren Service Center in Maryland for shipment. The kits included one hand towel, one washcloth, one comb, one metal nail file or nail clipper, one wrapped bar of soap, one toothbrush, and six Band-Aids.

Queens Community Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at Flushing Meeting

On January 10, Flushing Meeting hosted an interfaith prayer breakfast that they had co-organized with the Queens Baha’i Faith Community. The breakfast was co-sponsored by the Flushing Interfaith Council, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens, the Flushing Jewish Community Council, the Hindu Temple Society, and the Sikh Center of New York.

News & Announcements

FWCC World Gathering in Peru

A number of Friends from New York Yearly Meeting attended Friends World Committee for Consultation’s World Plenary this year in Peru. The gathering took place January 19–27 in the village of Pisac near Cusco, Peru. Attendees from NYYM included Isabella Aguirre, Melinda Wenner Bradley, Sylke Jackson, Emily Provance, Jillian Kiana Smith, and Gloria Thompson. You can see their running commentary at

Meeting for Discernment

Saturday, February 27, 2016 • 9–4 • Westbury Meeting

Meeting for Discernment is a chance for extended worship among NYYM Friends, to experience what is rising in our meetings and in our selves. It is a way to bring our meetings together and to get to know each other better. The meeting is a full day, with lunch provided in between.
    The query for the meeting is, “What is alive, engaging, exciting in your meeting? What is alive in you?”
    The snow date is Saturday, March 5. The address is 550 Post Rd., Westbury, NY 11590. To register, visit

Creating One Spiritual Community: Integrating Children into the Spiritual Life of the Meeting—A retreat for all ages

Sunday, March 12, 2016 • Brooklyn Meetinghouse • 9–4

How can our meetings better integrate our children into the spiritual life of our meetings? How can we give them a voice in their experience of Quakerism and an awareness of Quaker process? Participants will leave with new energy, new ideas, and new tools to implement these ideas.
    Sessions will explore both the worship and the community aspects of Quakerism, including:

  • Children in the circle of meeting life—joys and challenges.
  • Supporting children’s spiritual development.
  • Hands-on approach to teaching children Quaker process.

    Some parts of the day will be multigenerational and childcare will also be provided.
    Who should attend? Religious Education Committee members, Ministry & Counsel Committee members, parents, families, and anyone with a concern for the spiritual life of our children. It is recommended that meetings send two or more participants to the session. There is no cost to attend.



Mary Harpster has served on Ministry & Counsel and Religious Education Committees. A First Day School teacher, she develops programming that gives the students input into meeting life.

Melinda Wenner Bradley leads religious education workshops for yearly meetings, FGC, Pendle Hill, and Friends schools. She serves on the NYYM Youth Committee and is the former clerk of the Children’s Spiritual Life Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

Learn about solitary confinement

Friday, February 19 & Saturday, Feb 20, 2016 • Montclair Meeting

Montclair Meeting is hosting an event with Five Mualimm-ak to learn about solitary confinement.
    Friday night, the youth will join Five in building a replica of a solitary cell inside Montclair meetinghouse. Saturday’s morning session will focus on the experience and effects of being confined in solitary and an afternoon session will focus on what can be done to end the use of solitary confinement as punishment.
    Mr Five Mualimm-ak is a formerly incarcerated person who has been directly affected by solitary confinement. He is now Founder and CEO of Incarcerated Nation Corp and is engaged in activism to prevent the torture of prolonged isolation in our prisons.
    For more information, contact Mary Pugh Clark: marypughc[at], 973-338-4393.

An Invitation to Spring Sessions youth program

April 2, 2016 • First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ

Please join us for Saturday’s youth and children program provided by the Pachamama Alliance, an international network standing with indigenous partners to protect the earth while working to shift the dominant worldview toward a just, sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling life for all.

Youth Program (ages 13 – 18)

The Pachamama Alliance’s youth program, called “The WakeUp,” is an interactive, multimedia workshop about the challenges and opportunities of our time. Through music, powerful videos, dynamic group processes, and from-the-heart conversations, participants explore ways to embrace commitments to individual and collective change. Thousands of young people around the world have found The WakeUp to be a profoundly moving, sometimes life-changing experience. This is a large claim, but it is grounded in integrity. Don’t let your teens miss this uniquely inspiring and empowering day!

Children’s Program (ages 6 –12)

Using a variety of age-appropriate creative methods, children in this program are immersed in the beauty and grandeur of the earth’s landscapes, oceans, animals, and all living things. Brought together in a spirit of joyful play and community, children will revel in the opportunity to express their unique skills and personalities as well as to bond deeply with one another. They will end the day feeling a strong sense of connection to our magnificent planet and to one another.

Witness Activities Fund grant applications

Download application form.

Each year, the Witness Coordinating Committee sets aside a portion of the Sharing Fund to use in supporting the leadings of individuals and monthly or regional meetings to work on peace, environmental, and social justice issues. This line in our budget is known as the Witness Activities Fund (WAF). Individuals who apply for support of their leadings are asked to obtain the support of their local meetings for their projects; it is hoped that when a local meeting takes an individual’s work under its care, the project will become something in which that meeting is invested. Contact the yearly meeting office (office[at] for an application form.

Quakers in Business Gathering

May 2016 • New York City

What did integrity mean to early Quaker business people? Join us at a special gathering in New York City in May where Quaker business person Karen Tibbals will share her Quaker Studies thesis findings that might surprise you. (Hint: It’s not on price retailing.) If you wish to be notified of the time and date of the gathering, please contact the yearly meeting office. Those who are involved in or interested in business are encouraged to attend. For more information, email the office at office[at] with the subject line Quakers in Business.

Job Opportunities

NYYM Children & Youth Field Secretary

Application deadline: February 5th, 2016.
Job description: Download the full job description here.

In another indication of new life rising in New York Yearly Meeting, the yearly meeting seeks a gifted and energetic Friend to serve in our new Children and Youth Field Secretary position.
    The Children and Youth Field Secretary’s major responsibilities are to work with families with children (ages 0-18), their meetings and Religious Education Committees, serving as a locus and a catalyst for networking and community building; doing mentoring, coordinating, outreach, and helping meetings to develop and sustain First Day School programs or other programs that nurture the spiritual life of children. This work will necessitate considerable travel, meeting face to face with young families where they live and worship. This is a .7 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) position, including many weekend commitments.
     The Children and Youth Field Secretary shall be a member of the Religions Society of Friends (or a committed and active participant in a Friends meeting) with a strong understanding of Quaker testimonies and practice. This Friend must have strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking. He/she should also be skilled at supporting and investing the gifts and energies of others, be personable, and have a firm grasp of current electronic communication technologies and social media.
    Resumes and cover letters can be sent to menzelbarbara014[at] For more information, contact NYYM General Secretary Christopher Sammond at nyym.gensec[at]

Peacebuilding en las Americas Coordinator—Mexico

Application deadline: March 30.
Job description: Click to email for more information and the job description.

Peacebuilding en las Américas (a Friends Peace Teams initiative) is seeking a Coordinator with administrative and fundraising skills, fluency in English and Spanish, and experience with AVP.


New Members

J. Robert Frick — Bulls Head-Oswego
Karen Taborn – Morningside
Robert Baird Kendall – Manasquan
Vicki Lynn LaBella – Manasquan

Marriages/Covenant Relationships

Beth Gill & Mark Harper, members of Chatham-Summit, on October 10, 2015, under the care of Chatham-Summit


Esther Darlington, member of Ithaca, on July 10, 2015
Ellen Flanders, member of Albany, on September 23, 2015
Laurence Jaeger, member of Brooklyn, on July 29, 2015
Elspeth Rhodin, member of Ithaca, on August 20, 2015
Ian White, member of Fredonia, on May 22, 2015