Spark, March 2013

15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
New York Yearly Meeting News
Volume 44
Number 2
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) March 2013
Editor, Steven Davison    



Introduction to New York Yearly Meeting's
Experiment with a Blog

Beginning with the March issue of Spark, we will experiment with publishing our theme articles on Volunteering Among Friends as blog entries. This will allow Friends to comment on the articles and we hope that it will foster a lively conversation within the Yearly Meeting on themes that are important to the life of the Meeting. Our authors have agreed to participate, so they will be able to respond to your comments, as well.

Thus the links in the table of contents above do not lead to articles farther down on this web page, as in the past (except for the entries for Quaker Resources on Volunteering and the two items on Quaker Volunteers from the Past, featuring Bayard Rustin and Alice Paul). Instead, they will take you to the blog entry for that article.

Here's how you add your comment (note that every article has a link to these instructions at the bottom):

  1. When the blog entry for the article opens, you can enter your comment in the box labeled "Comment," which appears below the article. You can ignore the field labeled "Subject."
  2. When you are done writing your comment, click on the Preview button that appears below the Comment box at the bottom of the page.
  3. This opens a new window that shows you how the comment will look and displays the Comment box again, where you can make new changes to your comment. Once you are satisfied that your comment reads the way you want it to, you can
    • click on the Preview button below the Comment box to Preview the comment again, or
    • click on the Save button below the Comment box, which closes the window and returns you to the article.
  4. You will see a little notice below the article's title that says: "Your comment has been queued for moderation by site administrators and will be published after approval." The system notifies the moderator that someone has posted a comment and the comment gets published when the moderator approves it.

Because the moderator does not work on Fridays and has other tasks, it may take a little while for a comment to get published. We will aim for 24 hours, when possible. Thanks for your patience in this.

Let us emphasize that this is an experiment. We've never done it before, so we can expect to have some things to iron out in the beginning. If you have problems or questions, email the moderator, Steven Davison, at [email protected] We are eager to try this out and we look forward to your comments on the articles and your comments on this innovation in our communications.

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Quaker Resources on Volunteering

Volunteer Work Camps: A Psychological Evaluation, by Henry Reicken; $12 used. A study of the domestic Work Camp program of AFSC and the author’s evaluation of such social action programs.

Gentlemen Volunteers: The Story of the American Ambulance Drivers in the First World War, by Arlen Hansen; $5.50. The story of the men and women who formed the first ambulance corps, who included Ernest Hemingway, e. e. cummings, Malcolm Cowley, and Walt Disney.

Checkpoints and Changes: Eyewitness Accounts from an Observer in Israel-Palestine, by Katherine Maycock, Britain YM; $10. The author was a volunteer international observer based in Bethlehem for Quaker Peace and Social Witness from 2002 to 2004.

Rebecca Janney Timbres Clark: Turned in the Hand of God, by Lyndon Back, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #393; $6.50. The story of Rebecca’s year as a volunteer for the AFSC in Poland at the end of WWI.

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Quaker Volunteers in the Past

Bayard Rustin

A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.

Today, the United States is still struggling with many of the issues Bayard Rustin sought to change during his long, illustrious career. His focus on civil and economic rights and his belief in peace, human rights, and the dignity of all people remain as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 60s.

In February 1956, when Bayard Rustin arrived in Montgomery to assist with the nascent bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. had not personally embraced nonviolence. In fact, there were guns inside King’s house, and armed guards posted at his doors. Rustin persuaded boycott leaders to adopt complete nonviolence, teaching them Gandhian nonviolent direct protest.

Rustin’s biography is particularly important for lesbian and gay Americans, highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending official segregation in America. Rustin stands at the confluence of the great struggles for civil, legal, and human rights by African-Americans and lesbian and gay Americans. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against homosexuals, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor. His eloquent voice is needed today.

Apart from his career as an activist, Rustin the man was also fun-loving, mischievous, artistic, gifted with a fine singing voice, and known as an art collector who sometimes found museum-quality pieces in New York City trash. Historian John D’Emilio calls Rustin the “lost prophet” of the civil rights movement.

Text quoted from

Some Quotes by Bayard Rustin:
    To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.
    When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.
    [Bigotry's] birthplace is the sinister back room of the mind where plots and schemes are hatched for the persecution and oppression of other human beings.

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Alice Paul

American suffragist and activist Alice Paul helped lead a successful campaign for women's suffrage that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920.

Alice Paul graduated from Swarthmore College and then earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a LL.B from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1922, then an LL.M. in 1927 and a Doctorate in Civil Laws from American University in 1928.

After graduating from UPenn, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and was appointed Chairwoman of their Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C. They organized a parade in Washington the day before President Wilson's inauguration, which was a success. After months of fundraising and raising awareness for the cause, membership numbers went up in 1913. They then lobbied for a constitutional amendment to secure women's right to vote and Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Paul also was the original author of a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution in 1923. The ERA finally was approved by the U.S. Senate in 1972, but it failed to pass approval by the required 38 states.

Alice Paul died at 92 on July 9, 1977 at the Quaker Greenleaf Extension Home in Moorestown Township, New Jersey, near her family home of Paulsdale.

Some quotes by Alice Paul
    We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million women are denied the right to vote.
    There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.
    When you put your hand to the plow, you can't put it down until you get to the end of the row.
    I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.

Text excerpted and adapted from Wikipedia.

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Around Our Yearly Meeting

Meeting Notes

A Growing Greater Canandaigua Meeting

Greater Canandaigua Midweek Meeting is exactly one year old. It began as an experiment to see if there were Friends in the greater Canandaigua area interested in unprogrammed worship during the week. Average attendance is 10-12 with a high of 17. We meet twice a month in members' homes for a potluck dinner followed by an hour of silent worship. One Friend finds our midweek meeting to be “a very peaceful and restorative time in the middle of our busy weeks.” The sharing of food, much of it homegrown, contributes to the sense of community. The presence of children (three at this point) makes the potluck and worship time particularly joyful. We come from a number of different monthly meetings or no meeting at all, and it has been interesting to share experiences and insights from our monthly meetings, such as the selection process of a new pastor at Farmington Friends. A number of participants in our meeting attend a programmed meeting and have expressed a desire for more time in silent worship.

During our potluck time, we share much of our personal lives as well as discuss many political, economic, and ecological issues. We find ourselves networking for used home materials, prison witness, and ecological farming practices. Many of us find this time particularly enriching and a prelude to deeper worship. For one Friend, this feels very different from her other interactions in her daily life at work and church. We have remained flexible about the children among us, welcoming them into worship, but if they are feeling active, one or more of us engages them elsewhere. We look forward to another year of worship and sharing food as our midweek meeting community continues to enrich us.

Farmington Friends Honor Their Elders

by Callie Janoff

I am a new Quaker. I’ve only been coming to meeting for about three years. I have a lot to learn. As the new ARCH (Aging Resources Consultation and Help) coordinator, I’m thrilled to have even more to learn.

On our recent trip to Rochester for Farmington-Scipio’s Winter Gathering, my fellow ARCH coordinator Barbara Spring and I were invited to attend a celebration of recognition for some of Farmington Friends Church’s oldest and most beloved members: Bea Kimball, Doris Sheldon, Marjorie Harnish, Nance Simkin, and Floyd Sheldon.

The event was a little like stepping back in time to the way Friends have worshiped together for hundreds of years in this historic rural community. Dinner was classic: hearty beef stew slowly simmered, with classic coleslaw, dinner rolls, hot tea with honey, and brownies. But the real time travel was listening to the stories and seeing the photos of those recognized. The theological education of Bea Kimball, a long-time pastor’s wife, the hay rides and hijinks of Doris Sheldon and her husband, the double weddings of Doris, her sister, and the two Sheldon brothers. Marjorie Harnish helped create the first Farmington Friend Newsletter for their boys in time of war, who were separated from their community for the first time. Nance Simkin was one of the first women to referee and judge boxing matches. At one point someone asked for a show of hands: how many had received notes from Nance? Every single person in the room raised their hand.

The Farmington Friends committee for Peace and Social Concerns had organized the evening as a way to honor and recognize the contributions of these Friends to the life of their meeting. But the event did much more than offer recognition. This event was a way for the entire community to come together for fellowship with the eldest of them at the center, not on the periphery, or as an auxiliary, or as Friends who needed help. The honorees were like the sticky glue that drew everyone into stories and laughter and memories—just the ingredients necessary to continue to strengthen their community.

The oldest among us offer us unique gifts in the work of building our community. They are the keepers of our history and our collective memory, embodied and living with us every day. They are also bearers of the wisdom that can only come from age and experience. Their experience of living through times that I can only imagine is miraculous to me: worshiping in the original 1816 Farmington Meeting House, coming to meeting in a horse-drawn buggy, using the three-seater ladies latrine (it’s no wonder they never needed a newsletter until the war!), and serving turkey dinners to upwards of 800 guests for at least the last 40 years at the annual Harvest Festival. Just being in the room with so much LIVING history made me realize how much I really do have to learn.

Friends have beautiful buildings, historical treasures and journals, a legacy of literally tons of minutes on everything from how far from the road should the meeting house be built, to splits and reconciliations, to testimonies of peace, to planning the next potluck. But I learned more in two and a half hours with these Friends than I could from any book or building, any archive or photograph. These treasured Friends are the living spark of Spirit breathing life into the next generation of Friends, and the next, and the next.

Afterword: Marjorie Harnish, one of the honorees, died just ten days after the event took place. I'm so grateful to have met her and to have had the opportunity to see her meeting honor her so joyfully in life.

Powell House Offers Free Sojourn or Weekend to New Members

Powell House is now offering a free sojourn or weekend to every new member in your monthly meeting. Email [email protected] to reserve your time and space. Friends are welcome to attend a scheduled program, workshop, or spend some quiet time at Powell House, pending availability, any time during 2013.

Powell House Discounts Available for Multiple Registrations from a Meeting

If several members of your meeting would like to come to a Powell House program, Powell House is offering a discount to individuals when more than one from a meeting register for the same regular-priced event scheduled for January-May, 2013:
1 person: $220 ea.
4 persons: $190 ea.
2 persons: $210 ea.
5 persons: $180 ea.
3 persons: $200 ea.
6 persons: $170 ea.

You can still register online and pay the $50 deposit. Be sure to note your meeting as well as the names of others who you know will register also. The final balance will depend on the number from your meeting that actually attend.

Questions? Call Sharon at 518-794-8811 ext. 10.

Junior Yearly Meeting Volunteers

As we look ahead to NYYM Summer Sessions at Silver Bay, Sunday, July 21, 2013 to Saturday, July 27, 2013, we are busily recruiting volunteers to work for the Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM). We seek Friendly adults to work with young Friends from Grades 1–12. Perhaps 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 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 costs at Summer Sessions be covered by JYM. Contact this year’s JYM coordinators, Dawn Pozzi ([email protected]) or Melanie-Claire Mallison ([email protected]).

News from the Chwele Task Group

The Chwele Task Group was formed by Nurture Coordinating Committee at Summer Sessions 2012 to propose the next steps in exploring a NYYM partnership with Chwele Yearly Meeting of Kenya. While the body of NYYM lives with the question of a formal partnership, we are beginning the planning for some exploratory exchanges. In this way, we get to see what partnering with Chwele could look like while we work on something meaningful together.

One of our mutual hopes for this relationship is to learn from each other about peacemaking, AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project), HROC (Healing and Reconciliation in Our Communities), and trauma healing. It is from this that our first plan emerges: we will be working to send one or two Friends with experience in AVP and trauma healing to visit Chwele to learn first hand about similar Kenyan programs from Chwele Friends. Conversely, we hope to host some Chwele Friends experienced in HROC (or similar programs) to take part in our AVP work in the summer of 2014 (in order to coincide with the Friends United Meeting Triennial in Indiana, when travel will be occurring already) and to have them visit our Summer Sessions.

We also are developing an exchange about Quaker education—comparing and learning about each other’s Friends schools within the auspices of our two Yearly Meetings. We hope this will occur in 2014. In the meantime, the task group is available to visit monthly, quarterly, and regional meetings in order to share the experiences the FWCC delegates had in Chwele in spring 2012 and to discuss the possibilities of an ongoing relationship with Chwele at the Yearly Meeting level, and how partnering might also occur between our respective and interested monthly, quarterly, and regional meetings.

NYYM Chwele Task Group includes: Ben Frisch, Diane Keefe, Joyce Ketterer, Margaret Lew, Margaret Mulindi, Christopher Sammond, and Gloria Thompson.

Spring Nightingales—Imagine . . .

The Nightingales tradition continues this spring with beloved songs, beloved Friends (old and new), and a brand new, never-seen-before spring in the Old Order Amish country of Western New York State. Everyone is most welcome, regardless of singing ability.

On the weekend of May 3-5 the spring session of Nightingales will be held at the home of Ron Peterson in Cattaraugus, NY. The cost will continue to be $10 and a dish to pass, and our food will also include fresh spinach, parsnips, and leeks.

We can provide bed space indoors for about a dozen people. There is plenty of room for tents, and a camp just up the road could provide bunk space for another handful of Friends. Additional hospitality will be available with local Friends, who will also be helping with registration, transportation, and coordination. Fredonia Monthly Meeting will join us on First Day for meeting for worship.

Friends who wish to come from the eastern regions of NYYM will be able to take Amtrak to Buffalo or Fredonia and will be picked up at the train station. Friends may also consider carpooling, which has the advantage of additional opportunities to sing.

Register by contacting Mary Pancoast at 716-358-6406, or by email at [email protected]. Kathy Slattery will be serving as food coordinator and can be contacted at 716-988-5157 or by email at [email protected]. Ron Peterson is serving as host and can be contacted at 716-358-6419 or by email at [email protected]. We recommend registering by April 15, 2013 to assure the best accommodations and travel arrangements.

Introduction to Conflict Transformation

The Committee on Conflict Transformation will present a one-hour program at Shrewsbury & Plainfield Half-Yearly Meeting on Saturday March 23, 2013. The interactive presentation will describe some of the work of the Committee and the principles of conflict transformation. The Committee's charge now includes service to committees of the Yearly Meeting, as well as to monthly, quarterly, and regional meetings.

New Hydrofracking Listserv

A new listserv on hydrofracking concerns for New York Yearly Meeting has been developed following a recent day of discernment on the subject at the Ithaca meetinghouse on January 26. If you are interested in signing up for this, please send an inquiry with your name, the meeting you attend, and your email address to Paddy Lane at [email protected].


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ARCH logo


News of ARCH—Aging Resources Consultation and Help

Callie Janoff's ARCH FAQs:

Q: So what is it you do?
A: It’s a mouthful, but I work for New York Yearly Meeting’s ARCH Program.

Q: And what does ARCH stand for again?
A: Aging, Resources, Consultation, and Help.

Q: So, right, what is it you do? I’m still not clear . . .
A: I’m the newest member of the ARCH Coordinator team. Barbara Spring and Anita Paul started the program one afternoon at NYYM Summer Sessions a few years ago in response to a session with folks from the Friends Foundation for the Aging. So they were the first coordinators. I’m joining them in their work.

Q: Um hm. And that work is . . . ?
A: The coordinators carry a concern for aging issues as they travel around the Yearly Meeting visiting monthly meetings. They facilitate informative workshops, offer individual consultations, and connect people who are experiencing the joys and challenges of aging with folks who have experienced the ARCH Visitor Training.

Q: Wait, so who are ARCH Visitors?
A: ARCH Visitors are people from all over the Yearly Meeting who for one reason or another also carry a concern for issues of aging and disability. They have come to one of our weekend training retreats that usually happen about twice a year at different places around the Yearly Meeting. One of our roles as coordinators is to serve our Visitor Volunteers as they serve their communities in a wide variety of ways.

Q: So what do you mean by “Visitor”?
A: An ARCH Visitor can mean many things. A person comfortable with his/her own aging. A spokesperson for aging issues within the family. An advocate for age-related programs within the monthly meeting. A helping-hand coordinator: creating Care Teams. A listening ear—who may prepare Life Stories. A ‘go-to’ person who knows where to find resources. A person doing what he/she can, when able, for persons over 60 and those with a disability. One who visits. This role is still evolving and growing, and those who participate are as diverse in how they see themselves as any group of Quakers!

Q: So, you’ve talked a lot about what Barbara and Anita have done. But I still don’t know what you’re doing.
A: I’m doing a lot of learning and listening and trying to keep up with these ladies! I’m helping out with things like using communications tools, keeping things organized, and those sorts of practical technological things. I’m also working on some visioning about what ARCH is becoming and how it will continue to evolve and respond to our growing needs as a community. We are all aging. A lot of my work is to listen to what this all feels like and respond in a spirit-led way to the needs of our community as they arise. I think that part of my job is to broaden the way we celebrate our aging and the wisdom and insights that come with the years. There is a spiritual dimension to growing older that I want to inspire and nurture in our meetings.

Q: Okay, I think I get it now. So what’s next for you and ARCH?
A: Well, by the time you read this we will have just had another Visitor Training Weekend in Syracuse, but don’t worry, we’ll have another one in the fall, location TBD. Interested? Email Barbara: [email protected].

Want to learn more? Contact us!
Anita Paul – [email protected]
Barbara Spring – [email protected]
Callie Janoff – [email protected]


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New Members

Aloysius Barnes – Brooklyn
Diana Barnes – Brooklyn
Matilda Barnes – Brooklyn
Callie Janoff – Brooklyn
Dorothy Savage – Morningside
Gina Lobue Smith – Wilton


Augustus James Powell, on December 5, 2012, to Angela B. Campbell, member of Jericho, and Ethan A. Powell
Emily Rose Whitely, on November 12,2012, to Christopher Whitely, member of Chatham-Summit, and Kara Richardson Whitely


Lucy Wilbur Booth, member of Easton, on January 17, 2013
Marianne Longstreet, member of Rahway-Plainfield, on December 23, 2012
Noel Palmer, member of Westbury, on January 28, 2013
Jean Sterrett, member of Brooklyn, on August 12, 2012
Marjorie Harnish, member of Farmington, on January 29, 2013

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