Spark, May 2014


15 Rutherford Place
New York, NY 10003
New York Yearly Meeting News
Volume 45
Number 3
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) May 2014
Editor, Steven Davison    


Summer Sessions

Link to Summer Sessions 2014 page and registration  

Theme Features: Let Your Light Shine. . .

    • Are We Not Called?  ~ Robin Whitely
    • Let's Visit Each Other  ~ Jeffrey L. Hitchcock
    • Advancement through JYM and Powell House  ~ Dawn Pozzi
    • Not Your Typical Outreach  ~ Kathy Slattery
    • Trust the Process, Touch the Source  ~ Jim Schultz
    • Sharing the Gift through Outreach  ~ Anne Dalton
    • Resources on Outreach and Advancement  

      About Our Theme

      In their extensive visitation with local meetings, the Priorities Working Group identified a clear and strong desire for more and more effective outreach and advancement on behalf of meetings and Quakerism in general. Accordingly, we dedicate this issue of Spark to an exploration of meeting outreach and advancement. We invited you to submit your thoughts on the following queries:

      As a Quaker, how do you see outreach and advancement?
      What has your meeting been doing to reach out and advance the promise of Quakerism?
      What do you see as the role of New York Yearly Meeting in the larger picture?
      What can the Yearly Meeting do to help your meeting reach out to its community and to the wider society on your behalf?
      What is your sense of the obstacles standing in the way of greater growth in the Religious Society of Friends?
      How can we come together to meet the challenge of advancement in a productive, long-term, and joyful way?

      Friends responded with some wonderful articles. Thank you for advancing our exploration of this important subject.

      Future Themes:
      September: Religious Education
      November: To Be Determined — Send us your ideas!


      Yearly Meeting News

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      Around Our Yearly Meeting

      Newton Garver scholarship established
      At Fall Sessions 2013, World Ministries Committee announced that two scholarships (total of $1,500 per year) have been established in honor of Newton Garver's work and dedication in support of Bolivian Quaker youth. The minute reads as follows:
      In grateful recognition of the love and dedication given by Newton Garver to the Andean Quakers in Bolivia, the NYYM World Ministries Committee is in unanimous agreement that, in his honor, we establish a scholarship for two Bolivian Quaker students each year to attend a university level course of study. The students will be selected by the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, which also will administer the scholarships. This scholarship program will be reassessed by World Ministries Committee after ten years, at which time the process and funding will be reviewed for renewal and any necessary changes. Those Friends who have served with Newton Garver have been inspired by his vision and his untiring work toward nonviolence, equality and dignity for all people. We look forward to the success of those who will receive these scholarships.

      Albany Meeting hosts UU group
      On March 9, a group of 6th and 7th graders from the First Unitarian Universalist Society visited Albany Meeting as part of a religious education class. They joined worship for the first 15 minutes with Albany’s First Day School children, and then joined a discussion of Quaker faith and practice with a couple of adult members of the Meeting.

      15th Street Meeting’s clerk speaks at York College
      Ian Hanson spoke on Religion and Politics through the Lens of Social and Political Psychology at York College in Jamaica Queens, New York on March 31. The lecture reviewed some of the more recent psychological approaches to understanding religion and ideology. He argued that religious and ideological inclinations are best imagined as a circular map of related values rather than as a linear continuum from one pole to another, and that although religiosity and certain forms of conservatism are closely related, religiosity and conservatism make very different predictions of support for oppression and violence against others.

      Flushing Meeting discusses the testimony of equality
      On March 30, Flushing Meeting held a potluck after worship and then a speaker/discussion with Jim Morgan of Brooklyn Meeting on the testimony of equality, asking: What is the spiritual basis for equality? How do we perpetuate inequality? What actions can we take to address inequality?

      Shrewsbury Meetinghouse featured in historic tour
      The Monmouth County Historical Commission hosts an annual Weekend in Old Monmouth tour and Shrewsbury Meetinghouse, built in 1815, is one of the highlights. The tour took place this year on May 3 and 4. The current meetinghouse is the newest of three serving Shrewsbury Friends, the oldest going back to 1672, just a few years after the first Quaker settlement there in 1665. The tour included a discussion of the history of Friends in the area, the unique architecture of the meetinghouse, and information about the historic burial ground.

      Scarsdale Meeting holds Sandwich Seminar Discussion with Jack Patterson
      What makes people change their minds when they are part of a group involved in disputes involving nationality, religion, language, and ethnic identity? What effect does popular opinion have on the ability of political elites to make peaceful agreements when identity groups are involved in disputes? What Quaker traditions, perspectives, and reputations are helpful and what are hindrances when seeking to resolve group conflicts including group identity? Jack Patterson, formerly with the Quaker United Nations Office and AFSC–NY, led a discussion on these topics on April 27 at Scarsdale Meeting.

      Releasing—a new support ministry for Quaker ministers is a project that proposes to build a web-based, centralized directory of ministries. The directory will include information about the ministries: contact information to invite Friends to offer their ministry for you or your faith community, and a crowd-sourcing platform so that community members can assist in providing financial, practical, and spiritual resources to people following leadings in ministry. Friends Journal recently featured an article on Releasing Ministry; visit FJ's website for the article and a video. Visit Releasing Ministry’s website to learn more about this exciting new development in the practice of Quaker ministry.

      Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Teach-in
      Brooklyn Meeting and Brooklyn Friends School hosted a teach-in on the Two Row Wampum Treaty on April 25 & 26. A number of NYYM Friends participated last summer as paddlers and support for the Two Row Wampum Treaty Renewal Campaign paddle down the Hudson to New York City and the United Nations to bring attention to the principles of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Europeans (the Dutch) in 1613. See Indian Affairs Committee’s web page on our website for more on the Two Row Wampum Treaty.

      New Brunswick Meeting hosts program and fundraiser for peace work in Rwanda
      On March 29, the Meeting welcomed as a speaker, Theoneste Bizimania, co-founder and coordinator of the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) program of the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) in Rwanda. HROC holds trauma healing workshops, AVP training, scholarship programs, and Peace Libraries aimed at rebuilding and empowering communities and individuals throughout Rwanda.

      Conflict Transformation Committee films
      The Conflict Transformation Committee has made a film of their workshop, Conflict in Quaker Meetings: Crisis or Opportunity? Several films, actually, because they offer a video of the whole workshop and individual videos of its seven sessions. These are on the NYYM website at . The Committee is also available to take the workshop to your meeting, or for help in transforming a conflict situation in your meeting. See their Committee page on the NYYM website for more information and resources on conflict transformation.

      Positions Available

      Friends General Conference seeks Spiritual Deepening Planning Coordinator
      Check out FGC’s website ( for details on this short-term (7–9 month) contract position to work with FGC committees and staff to coordinate and develop a Quaker spiritual deepening program for individuals and meetings.

      Friends United Meeting seeks a Field Officer for the Africa Ministries Office
      FUM is reopening the search for qualified applicants from North America to serve as Field Officer in the Africa Ministries Office. This full-time, Kisumu, Kenya-based staff person will receive a competitive salary, including benefits. See

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