Spark, March 2022 - Quakers Looking into the Future

Start Spreading The News!

Share your meeting’s news, announcements, and upcoming events with the rest of the yearly meeting by sending them to [email protected]. News items will appear in Spark, our printed newsletter, and our weekly email newsletter. Don’t get Spark or our Weekly Updates? Email [email protected] or call 212-673-5750 to get yourself added to our mailing list.

Welcome to Spark Online

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

Download a pdf file of the March 2022 Spark


Quakers Looking into the Future



Articles on the Theme: Quakers Looking into the Future


Around Our Yearly Meeting



Around Our Yearly Meeting


Editor's Note

As we go to press missiles are falling on the people of Ukraine. As Quakers we pray for peace. The NYYM Weekly Update email includes international worship opportunities, relief efforts for refugees, and our communications with Ukrainian Quakers. Read them at

Click on "NYYM Friends Respond to Invasion of Ukraine" to read the messages of support that NYYM sent to Friends in Russia and Ukraine.

This issue of Spark features articles on the future of Quakerism and the people who hope to create it. It also includes a section on Summer Sessions 2022, which we plan to hold in person for the first time since 2019. I hope we get to return to Silver Bay and I hope to see you there too. 


Upcoming Spark themes:

May: Open Issue. There's a lot going on in the world. The conflict in Ukraine may spread. Warnings about climate change are growing more dire. Progress in police, immigration, and prison reform is slow. Yet we are moving toward meeting together in person again. There is struggle and there is hope. What are you thinking about? What would you like to share?

Spark accepts article submissions of 400-600 words, shorter news items and announcements, and photographs and artwork. Please share your thoughts and talents with the rest of NYYM! Deadline for the May issue is April 1. Email submissions to [email protected].

Please send in your meeting’s news so it can to be shared in the next NYYM weekly email update or in Spark. If you'd like to join NYYM's weekly email list, email [email protected].

NYYM is on Facebook (NewYorkYearlyMeeting), Twitter (NYYMTweets), and Insta (newyorkyearlymeeting).

Sarah Way, NYYM
Communications Director
[email protected]






  • Walter Altenburg, member of Brooklyn, on January 18, 2022.
  • Alice Houghtaling, member of Schenectady, on January 27, 2022.
  • Richard Perera, member of Purchase, on December 3, 2021.




Differently Abled Friends and Allies

According to the CDC 1 in 4 adults in the US are differently abled. So, if you are not differently abled, chances are you know someone who is. Yet, 67% of adults in a Scope Research study said that they were uncomfortable talking to someone who is differently abled, and 85% of differently abled adults reported that they are lonely. It does not have to be this way. The Differently Abled Friends and Allies (DAFA) would like to start having a regular weekly Zoom meeting to create a safe and supportive space for people to share and learn from each other's experiences, to grow in community, and to spread awareness. If you would like to know more, please email your name and contact information to [email protected] with DAFA as the subject line, and Nichole Nettleton will get back to you with more details.


NYYM Anti-Racism Statement

A draft NYYM Statement on Becoming an Anti-Racist Faith Community, written by a multi-racial and multi-generational task group, was presented at Summer Sessions 2021 for Friends' reflection and the initiation of an extended period of discernment. Over the coming year, you and your meeting are invited to focus on how you can truly become an anti-racist faith community, and discern what that will mean for you and your meeting. The task group is sharing queries and resources that you may find helpful. You can find these resources at, or by requesting a copy from the office at 212-673-5750.

Over the next few months NYYM will arrange some anti-racism workshops especially for our yearly meeting. Please let the planning team know of your interest in attending one of these trainings by filling out the Antiracism Training Expression of Interest form, linked to here:


Do You Receive the Weekly NYYM Email Update?

Each Friday an email newsletter from NYYM is sent out to over 1600 people. Past editions are available at To subscribe, email your name and email address to [email protected]. If you think you're on the list but haven't received any emails, please check your spam folder.



Upcoming Events

Spring Sessions

Online, April 1-3, 2022.

Please see for details


Summer Sessions

Online and in-person July 24-30, 2022.

Please see for details


Powell House Workshops

Powell House is the retreat and conference center for NYYM. Visit to see the full list of upcoming events and to register.

Second Thirds: Connections for Friends Ages 35-59ish

a partnership between Powell House and NYYM’s ARCH program

This season of Second Thirds will combine social opportunities with content specifically designed for those of us in the second third of our lifetimes. Register once and attend as many (or as few) parts of the series as work for you. Most events will take place online but the series includes a culminating in-person gathering at Powell House, May 20-22.


The 2022 Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering

"...and follow me." The 2022 FGC Gathering will be held in-person at Radford University from July 3-9, 2022. Visit


Quaker Institute for the Future’s 2022 Summer Research Seminar

The Quaker Institute for the Future’s 2022 Summer Research Seminar will take place by Zoom from August 8-12. QIF Summer Research Seminars create a venue for spirit-led research using Quaker methods of discernment and reflection. Research presentations include time for questions, clarification, and discussion, framed by times of collaborative discernment conducted as “Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Research.” Time is also reserved for theme-based discussions, worship sharing, artistic and other creative sharing, and informal interactions among participants. More information about summer research seminars is available at, including videos of past presentations. There is no registration fee though participants are encouraged to make a donation to QIF that is within their means. 

QIF is offering $300 stipends to applicants aged 18 to 35 years old to make a presentation on research that resonates with the QIF mission of advancing a global future of inclusion, social justice, and ecological integrity through Spirit-led participatory research and discernment. The SRS organizing committee will hold one or more orientation sessions for stipend recipients and will be generally available to help stipend holders to prepare for the SRS. For further details and to register for the SRS or apply for a stipend contact Gray Cox at [email protected] or 207-460-1163.


For Children & Teens

Powell House Youth Conference:

OUTER SPACE, INNER SPACE for 4th-5th Grade

April 22-April 24, 2022

The night sky is like a beautiful work of art with the moon and stars projecting light from a deep, dark canvas. You are like a work of art, too! Creative and joyful light shines through the mysterious depth you hold within you. At this conference, we will explore our inner light and notice how we are like the wondrous world around us. Expect games and laughter at this interesting and exciting conference. Register by clicking on the conference name at or call 518-794-8811.


Albany Friends Young Peacemakers Week

Albany Friends Meeting is again planning to have our annual Young Peacemakers Week, from August 22-26, 2022, at the AFM Meetinghouse. We welcome children in grades 2-8, from 1:30-5:30, followed by a simple meal shared with our families. Our daily activities will reflect our witness to the Quaker Peace Testimony, i.e., a commitment to nonviolence and reconciliation in all spheres of life. The theme will be addressed in typical camp activities such as arts and crafts, music, drama, non-competitive games, and nature-centered projects. There is no specific charge; instead we ask that people contribute whatever they feel is fair. We are looking for volunteers and paid staff, and welcome any applicants! For more information please contact Anita Stanley. 


Online Worship

Many of the local meetings in New York Yearly Meeting are holding online or hybrid online-and-in-person meetings for worship every week. Visit for the most up-to-date information.




Powell House seeks Bookkeeper

More details at Send your letter of inquiry and resume to [email protected] or call 518-794-8811


Many Quaker organizations have multiple job openings

Visit these websites for current listings:


More NYYM News

A Meeting's Anti-Racism Journey

Kathy Czekaj
Manasquan Meeting

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous­—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe . . . " Psalm 139: 13-16


What color "me" did you see in the womb? We were all wonderfully and marvelously made, no matter what the color of our skin or of our ethnic origin. If only we could all see each other through the eyes of our loving God, how beautiful all of creation would be!


Led by the clerk of our Ministry and Counsel committee, members and attendees of the Manasquan, NJ, meeting have been faithfully participating in racial awareness activities since July of 2020. Our initial "toe in the water," as they say, was attendance at "Waking Up to Racial Awareness" gatherings that were well received by the meeting. Sessions were held weekly via Zoom on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Since then, we have also attended seminars by the "One Spirit" organization and Quaker sponsored programs of the American Friends Service Committee.


At one point, our facilitator began to solicit volunteers from among our group to author content for subsequent gatherings. Forums focused on racism in many areas of life—racism in organized sports; policing and race; segregation in religious institutions; the issue of reparations; ethnic prejudices; and governmental (systemic or institutional) racism. We studied the life and works of James Baldwin and learned the concept of "good trouble" from Congressional Representative John Lewis. We looked at the insidious injustices perpetrated against Native Americans and considered the concept of intersectionality. One week, we listened to selections of "Music of the Movement" and considered how self-care can help us work for racial justice. In late 2021 into 2022, we continued to meet on a monthly basis to share experiences and insights, holding impromptu discussions in friendship, love, and support of one another.


It has been a sometimes joyous and fulfilling, and at times arduous, journey as we faced inner demons of oblivious complicity in the inherent advantages of White privilege, unconscious biases and outright prejudicial attitudes. A thorough reflection on factors guiding one's thoughts, beliefs, and actions (or inactions) can prove to be a demanding and challenging task. While attempting to cultivate racial solidarity, we demonstrated compassion and supported each other in sitting with the discomfort, confusion and numbness that often accompanies White racial awakening. The group developed a high degree of intimacy as we struggled with these deep feelings. Together, we leaned on each other for encouragement and care. An image appears of us all huddling together as we make our way through a dense fog, crossing over a narrow bridge without guardrails. We link arms lest we fall into a river of paralysis shutting us down due to weakness or guilt or panic instilled by the societal distractions prevalent all around us.


We are now again attending weekly sessions based on the 2019 bestseller, How to Be an Antiracist, by historian Professor Ibram X. Kendi. (Insight on the content of the book may be viewed at: His premise is an attempt for people to change from a stance of "not a racist" to act as an "antiracist" in life. Professor Kendi, expressing an understanding of human nature, says that these labels are inherently impermanent, sort of like removable and reusable stickers as opposed to a more permanent tattoo.


In the human psyche, transformation is a lifelong passage through time. You can never change the world without first changing yourself for, after all, that is the only change you ultimately control. African scholar Dr. Molefi Kete Asante wisely counsels, "While we recognize the individuality of the responsibility, we know that it cannot be carried out without others. We can reach our own transcendence, but never without the help of others . . . I am no longer myself; I am a transpersonal being at this moment . . . It is joy ineffable, because I am in tune with the feelings of others."


Our attempts, and those of other Quaker meetings, to educate, inform and enlighten ourselves, each other, and those we touch in our daily lives—to be part of a true communion which is constantly open to encounter, dialogue, attentive listening and mutual assistance—will, it is hoped, bear much fruit.