Spark, January 2018 - The Meaning of Membership

Welcome to SparkOnline

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

Share Your Info!

Share your meeting’s news, announcements, and upcoming events with the rest of the Yearly Meeting through InfoShare, our digital newsletter. The deadline for the February issue is February 5th. Send your items to [email protected]. Don’t get InfoShare? Contact the Yearly Meeting office to get yourself on our email mailing list.

Download a pdf file of the January 2018 Spark


The Meaning of Membership

Other Articles

Around Our Yearly Meeting

Around Our Yearly Meeting

Editor's Note

You, dear reader, are invited to write for Spark. Articles should be spirit-led and are considered a form of ministry. Your voice adds to the richness and depth of the conversation. Articles are subject to light editing.

Upcoming Spark themes:

  • March: Earthcare Now
    • Where is the life and energy in earthcare right now? Guest edited by Pamela Boyce Simms!
  • May: Learning from First Day School


Please send your submissions for upcoming issues of Spark to [email protected] by the 10th of the month prior to the month of publication.

In between issues of Spark we distribute InfoShare, NYYM’s e-newsletter. Share your meeting’s news and events by sending them to [email protected]. They will appear in InfoShare or Spark, whichever is more timely.

Keep up to date with NYYM by checking

Follow us on Twitter at

And you can manage your NYYM email list settings at NYYM Connect! Go here:

  —Sarah Way

Meeting News

Farmington-Scipio Youth Gathering

Farmington-Scipio Region held an all-day youth gathering in October at Rochester Meeting House. Nine youth participated from Buffalo, Ithaca, Genesee Valley, and Rochester meetings. The youth were spread in ages from 5th grade to 12th grade. Mike Clark and Chris DeRoller (Powell House Youth Program) planned and facilitated the gathering, along with Fenna Mandalong (Buffalo) and Nick Dosch (Genesee Valley).
The objectives of the day were:

  • Practice listening and responding to other people’s perspectives in a Quakerly manner.
  • Give a process for the youth to express themselves on what activities, structure, and issues they would like in future regional gatherings and inter-visiting.

At the end of the day, the youth drew big posters of what they would like to do in the future. They expressed the desire for more chances for youth to get together like this as well as to visit other meetings. No one time of the year was seen to be best to avoid conflicts with other activities. Their suggestions included: cooking together, camping, art, making and creating with slime, how to explain what a Quaker is, and a sleepover with s’mores (and obviously a fire)
One exercise was to brainstorm their perceptions of “What are Quakers like?” Their answers were:
accepting • thoughtful • welcoming • kind • loving • considerate • simply dressed • intergenerational • alive • genuine • active, taking actions • forgiving • funny • quiet • helpful
When asked how to listen better, they said:
Concentrate on what is being said. • Do not start thinking about your response. • Leave time for their conclusion before responding. Let them finish. • Think about what they said before you speak. • Be considerate.
When asked to expand those thoughts to how to listen to someone you don’t agree with, they said:
Don’t assume everything they say is wrong. • Listen to why they think that way. • Don’t argue and put them on the defensive • Don’t assume you will disagree on everything. • Believe that what they say is true for them. • Be respectful. Don’t be condescending. • Ask them “why” they think that way without being accusing. • Ask them what their experience has been. • Share hospitality, food, tea. • Share some activities or experience together.
Another question posed by one of the youth was “What do young Quakers need to know?” The things they felt they should know more about were:

  • Membership—what it means; why be a member; what is the process (varies by meeting).
  • How to explain what a Quaker is.
  • Who is doing what (witness/ social justice/ etc.)

We shared insights, fun, laughter, some rolling on the floor, more insights and discussions, food, and a walk to a local park where even more games ensued. Youth and adults alike were very glad we persisted in getting together.


Consider Endorsing the Baltimore YM North Korea Minute

In solidarity with all the peace workers we work with in Korea, and all of humanity, we call on all Friends everywhere to consider endorsing the minute from Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) calling for diplomacy with North Korea. Read it online: here.
Diane Keefe
NYYM Peace Working Group


Upcoming Events

Coordinating Committee Weekend

January 26-28, 2018, at Powell House. For more, see here

Meeting for Discernment

February 16-17, 2018, at Fifteenth Street Meeting. For more, see here

Workshops from the Center for the Study of White American Culture (CSWAC)

Learn how to act against racism from a position of unearned (and unwanted) racial privilege at these upcoming workshops.
What White People Can Do About Racism, Fundamentals 2 9:30am–3:30pm on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Titusville, NJ. This workshop will provide white people with some basic knowledge about racial structure, building connections and cross-racial alliances, finding direction on your journey as an effective change agent, and organizing with others against racism. You DO NOT have to have completed Fundamentals 1. $90 (sliding scale) includes lunch.
Raising Anti-racist White Children 9:00am-3:30pm on Saturday, March 24, in Titusville, NJ. This workshop will help empower participants to be effective anti-racists who model and teach anti-racism; learn about children’s grasp of race & racism; counter the present culture of colorblindness with more effective strategies; and acquire preliminary tools to raise white children who have an aware and healthy racial identity. $95 (sliding scale) includes lunch.

All of our workshops are appropriate for white people who are learning what to do about racism, and for people of color who support white people in taking action against racism. For more details and to register, visit
—Robin Mallison Alpern, Director of Training

Playing in the Light: Godly Play/Faith & Play Training for Quakers

April 20–22, 2018 at Powell House
Great for multi-generational groups, family worship, or a First Day School class, this Montessori-inspired storytelling method is open-ended and sets the stage for genuine wondering about the story! Join trainer Melinda Wenner Bradley for a rich weekend of storytelling and nurturing teachers. We’ll explore Bible and Quaker stories and practice learning and telling stories to the group. The tone and warmth of the weekend gives it the feeling of a spiritual retreat. The weekend serves as both a training and a time of spiritual retreat and nourishment for teachers. Go to

Save the Date! August 17-19!

The 5th Annual Quaker Religious Education Collaborative gathering—this time at Powell House! Connect! Recharge! Renew! Join Friends from across the U.S. and Latin America to gather with our religious education community of practice for a weekend of sharing, learning, worship, fellowship, and play! More information at


Job Opportunities

JYM Volunteers Needed

As we look ahead to NYYM Summer Sessions at Silver Bay, Sunday, July 22 to Saturday, July 28, 2018, we are looking for volunteers to work with the Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM). Friendly adults are sought to work with young Friends from age 3 years through high school. Perhaps you, or someone in your meeting, 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 give consideration to 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. 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 Sylke Jackson ([email protected]) or Dawn Pozzi ([email protected]), this year’s JYM coordinators.

Seeking Director for Albany Peace Week

The Peace Week Committee of Albany Meeting is currently looking for a warm and energetic director for their Peace Week event, to be held from August 13-17, 2018. Peace Week will be based at the Albany Friends Meetinghouse, 727 Madison Ave., Albany, NY, and will run from 8:30 to 3:30. It will involve approximately 30 children, entering grades two through eight, split into three groups, each with a teacher, an intern, and a support pre-intern. Peace Week will offer children the opportunity to explore peace and peace-making by engaging in a community that practices listening, communication, caring, cooperation and conflict resolution. Expected qualifications of the director include support for the Quaker peace testimony, experience working with children, practical knowledge and experience with supervision, and a comfort level working with families from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. The director’s first responsibility would be to develop a curriculum focused on peaceful conflict resolution, non-competitive and cooperative games and activities, appreciation of diversity, spiritual growth, and care for the environment. He or she will have full access to the curricula and records of the previous Peace Camp, held from 2000-2009. The director would be expected to be involved in steering committee meetings as needed; participation in the hiring process of the staff is encouraged. The director would be responsible for training the teachers, plus the interns and pre-interns, in the curriculum, and supervising staff during Peace Week. The director will need to solve issues as needed during the day, and be a resource for and liaison with parents. All other responsibilities, such as enrollment, volunteer efforts, financial tasks, and care for the meetinghouse, will be the responsibility of the steering committee. The salary is $2500. We invite interested persons to apply as soon as possible, with a view toward being involved in the planning process. Please contact Anita Stanley at 518-441-7722, or [email protected], for an application or for more information.



New Members

Sheldon Butler — Unadilla
Susan Butler — Unadilla
Roman Gavrila — Chatham-Summit
Robin Grube — Poplar Ridge


Jane Alexandre — to Morningside MM from Chappaqua MM


Florence McAllister, member of New Paltz, on November 30, 2017.
Miyake Nakamoto, member of Manhasset, on December 9, 2017.
Lucy Sikes, member of Brooklyn, on December 2, 2017. See also here.