Spark, March 2015


15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
New York Yearly Meeting News
Volume 45
Number 2
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) March 2014
Editor, Steven Davison    


Spring Sessions, April 4-6, 2014, Rochester, NY, Save the Date!

Link to Spring Sessions 2014 page and registration  

Theme Features: Centering Down

Yearly Meeting News

  • Quaker Resources

  • Themes for Upcoming Sparks

    Upcoming themes

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    Around Our Yearly Meeting

    Upcoming Events

    Prison Issues in NYC and NY State
    March 16, 2014 – Fifteenth Street Meeting
    Lewis Webb of AFSC NYC
    The plight and huge number of incarcerated persons are ongoing abuses and also traditional areas of Quaker concern. Lewis Webb, Program Coordinator of AFSC-NYC's Healing and Transformative Justice program, will speak with us about AFSC-NYC's initiatives regarding incarceration issues in NYC & NYS. This will be a wonderful opportunity to increase awareness of prison issues and to learn of avenues of activism and support. Lewis is an attorney, activist, and life-long Brooklynite.

    This talk follows Meeting for Worship (11 am) and coffee hour (12 pm); all three are open to the public.

    For more info or to help, contact Chris Japely ([email protected]).
    (Event sponsored by M&W & organized by DPAbolition Committee of 15th St MM).

    April 4-6, 2014, Spring Sessions 2014
    Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting looks forward to hosting NYYM Spring Sessions on April 4-6, 2014 (bad weather makeup date is April 12). Friday evening and Sunday morning will be at the Rochester Meetinghouse, and Saturday will be at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Nearby Friends will offer hospitality and there are hotels in the area. Bronwyn Mohlke is the registrar and Rima Segal is coordinating home hospitality. For more information, contact [email protected] and look for details in the March Spark. Remember: There will be a youth program!

    Stand by Me: Acts of Conscience
    April 17, 2014 6:30-9:00 — Fifteenth Street Meetinghouse
    This Music, Poetry, and Panel-discussion event aims to inspire a dialogue about our creative leadings, civic responsibility, and capacity for moral courage, and to remember and honor acts of conscience past and present. How can we meet the challenges to our communities, like stopping war and increasing peace, discerning just and humane approaches to immigration, and protecting the environment that sustains us?

    Co-sponsored by AFSC. To volunteer, please call Robert Baldridge, 646-554-4700, or email [email protected].


    ARCH report to Friends Foundation for the Aging
    As a grantee of Friends Foundation for the Aging, the Aging Resources, Consultation, and Help program reports on its activities periodically. The ARCH report for July through December 2013 is now available on the Yearly Meeting website at The url is case sensitive. Here are some highlights:
    Lots of new visitors trained, for a total of 93.
    Frequent communications with Friends through a range of media.
    Five workshops and retreats.
    Dozens of consultations.
    New prison outreach with plans for more.
    Outreach beyond the Yearly Meeting.

    ARCH Visitors talk about their work
    ARCH also has made available on the website the responses of its Visitors to a set of queries about their work in the last half of 2013. Visit This is inspiring and informative reading.

    Conflict Transformation Film on our website
    Conflict Transformation Committee has made a film of their workshop, Conflict in Quaker Meetings: Crisis or Opportunity? We have published both the full-length video and separate videos of each of the workshop's sessions at (this url is case sensitive).

    Quaker photojournalist appears on NPR
    Michael Forster-Rothbart, appeared on the NPR program Living On Earth January 17, 2014. To read a transcript or hear streaming audio, visit and search for Forster-Rothbart. Michael is a photojournalist with work on the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. He occasionally attends Butternuts Meeting, but is a member elsewhere.


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    ARCH Ways

    I’ve been one of your ARCH Coordinators for just over a year now. One of my very first assignments was to develop some kind of tool/list/database/document to assist us as we consider where we are going to live as we grow older: the questions of senior housing.

    I spent much of the year pondering how to teach myself to create an online wiki, gathering information about websites that reviewed nursing homes and other facilities, visiting local options, and talking with Friends about their own housing concerns. By the end of the year I was no closer to completing my assignment than I was when I began, and I was frustrated and embarrassed that I had spent so much time and had nothing to show for it. I was just as overwhelmed as the people I wanted to help with my senior housing tool.

    So I stopped. I stopped worrying. I stopped feeling overwhelmed. I stopped trying to do anything. I tried to just sit with these ideas and listen. I tried to center down. I called an ARCH visitor to meet with me and talk about her own journey of considering where we will grow older. This helped me begin to see what I had been doing wrong. I had started with the idea that I had an assignment to do something. Instead I needed to start with the goal: to help people navigate their senior housing options. She suggested to me that we are so busy looking for answers to our persistent questions, that we forget that there might not be an answer, and that might be just fine. I began to think: what if we were able to consider these questions about where we will grow older in the spirit of worship: that is to hold our questions tenderly and to center down and allow spirit to speak? Would that be the help that people really need?

    These questions are so emotional, so urgent, so contentious and difficult sometimes. They touch on our most basic humanity: who am I, and who am I in community with? Where we live at every age is a huge part of how we experience ourselves in the world, and no less so when we are older.

    This is a matter for spiritual discernment. I understand this to mean a process of personal reflection in the spirit of worship on a particular issue where the goal is not not necessarily to make the best decision for the benefit of yourself alone, but to align your life and the decisions you make with “God’s call” for your life. It is a practice of careful listening and deep humility, and one I undertake with only modest resolve myself. But I have resolved to undertake this journey of discernment with you all as a community.

    So I invite you to join me and the rest of the ARCH staff, the Committee on Aging Concerns, and the ARCH Visitors in worshipful discernment as we begin to consider as a community and personally “Where Will We Live As We Grow Older?” at the next NYYM Spring Sessions in Rochester in early April of 2014. I hope this will be the beginning of a conversation that will continue in many ways.

    In Friendship,
    Callie Janoff


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    New Members

    • Juliette Louise Forrester — Brooklyn
      August Guy — Brooklyn
      Ramsey Guy — Brooklyn
      William Guy — Brooklyn
      Cali Lovett— Rochester
      Clark Lovett— Rochester
      Frances Lovett— Rochester
      Andrea Magiera-Guy— Brooklyn
      Laura Schwartzberg— Old Chatham


    • Adria Gulizia, to Chatham-Summit from St. Louis Friends Meeting (IYM)


    • Miriam Brush, (PhYM) formerly of NYYM, on Febrary 12, 2014
         Memorial Meeting: Sunday, March 16, at 2 pm, Medford Leas, One Medford Leas Way, Medford, New Jersey, 08055
      Newton Garver, member of Buffalo Meeting, on February 8, 2014
         Memorial Service: May 3, 11 am,Orchard Park Meetinghouse, 6924 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park, NY.
      Frances Salent, member of Wilton Meeting, on January 17, 2014
      Lucinda Sangree, member of Rochester Meeting, on November 29, 2013

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Quaker Resources

Quaker Resources on Centering

Living from the Center: Mindfulness Meditation and Centering for Friends, Valerie Brown; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407; $6.50.

Celebration of Discipline: The Path of Spiritual Growth, Richard Foster; $23.95.

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Cynthia Bourgeault; $16.95.

Journeying the Heartlands: Exploring Spiritual Practices of Quaker Worship, The Kindlers, Alec Davison & Elizabeth Brown, eds.; $10.

Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition, Michael Birkel; $18.

The Mindful Quaker: A Brief Introduction to Buddhist Wisdom for Friends, Valerie Brown; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #386; $6.50.

A Guide to Walking Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh; $8.00.

The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh; $14.00.

Sadhana: A Way to God—Christian Exercises in Eastern Form, Anthony de Mello; $11.95.

Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer, Richard Foster; $16.00.

Meditating with Children: The Art of Concentration and Centering—A Workbook on New Educational Methods Using Meditation, Deborah Rozman; $17.95.

From the Center Out—A Curriculum On: Centering & Listening for the Call; Hearing the Call & Deciding What to Do; Responding to the Call & Leading (8th grade), Martha Smith, ed; $9:00.


Themes for Upcoming Sparks:

May, 2014            Meeting Outreach and Advancement
September 2014   First Day School / Religious Education


Deadlines are April 1 and August 7.
We welcome your submissions

Spark Forum: We publish articles on our themes on the NYYM website in a format that allows readers to comment. Click on the website's Forums tab to join the conversation!


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