Spark, May 2024 - Why We Gather

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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. Want to get Spark in the mail? Email [email protected], or call 212-673-5750. Want to receive the weekly update emails? Sign up at [email protected].

Welcome to Spark Online

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

This is the Online Edition of the May 2024 issue of Spark, which you can also as a pdf file.


Why We Gather



Articles On Theme: Why We Gather

Other Articles from Friends


Around Our Yearly Meeting




New Members

  • Jody Harrow — Purchase
  • Dian Killian — Brooklyn
  • Abby Kinchy — Albany
  • Aldo Meltz — Albany
  • Stephen Schacterle — Brooklyn


  • Pearl Kanuaka Ratunil, from Storrs Friends Meeting (NEYM) to New Paltz


  • Janet Anderson, member of Albany, on February 20, 2024.
  • Pauline DeForest, member of Unadilla, on February 19, 2024.
  • James Hall, member of Collins, on January 6, 2024.
  • Barbara Heizman, member of Medford Meeting (PYM), former member of 15th Street and employee of NYYM, on January 20, 2024.
  • Ly Kesse, member of Genesee Valley, on February 28, 2024.
  • Joan Lane, member of Manasquan, on March 29, 2024.
  • Susan Medlar, member of Housatonic, on March 12, 2024.
  • Ricardo Smith-Hoffman, member of Fifteenth Street, on February 10, 2024.
  • James Washburn, member of Unadilla, on October 24, 2023.




News from Spring Sessions

On April 7, 2024, NYYM Friends at Spring Sessions approved the following minute:

Love Thy Neighbor: A minute in support of the dignity and basic human rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people

As New York Yearly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends, we embrace that of God and the Light in every person. We are horrified by and opposed to the rising wave of legislation that demonizes transgender and gender non-conforming people in order to deprive them of life-giving treatment and their basic human rights. This statement was born from a place of deep love. We are called to love all our neighbors without exception. We urge our elected officials to support legislation protecting the rights, safety, and human dignity of all people regardless of their gender identity or gender expression. As Friends, we reject any legal restrictions that target transgender and gender non-conforming people.

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An email newsletter is sent to NYYM Friends each Friday. Past editions are available at To subscribe, fill out the brief form at


Powell House Directors to Retire

The Powell House Committee announces with great regret the retirement of its Co-Executive Directors, Regina Baird Haag and Dennis Haag. Their statement follows:

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. . . . Ecclesiastes 3:1

Dear Friends,

As spring finally makes an appearance with daffodils, forsythia, and redbud plants beginning to show off here at Powell House, we recognize that our “season” of work here is concluding. While we have treasured almost 8 years in this “thin place” that offers radical hospitality and abundance to all, it is time to retire and move on into whatever is next for us.

We will take with us many good memories of our journey with this organization! It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as participants in all that Powell House offers the world. Thank you for the opportunity to live, work, worship, and play in this wonderful place :)

Blessings, Dennis and Regina


Regina and Dennis brought many gifts to their eight years at Powell House. Recognizing Powell House’s central role in the spiritual life of the Yearly Meeting, they provided deeply spiritual programs and guidance to Friends and to groups of allied purpose who found a refuge and place to recharge at Powell House. Careful stewardship and creative use of technology in programming enabled Powell House to survive the Pandemic, emerging able to rebuild and move forward after an era many institutions like ours did not survive. Their care for the physical plant will serve us well into the future. Their work and leadership resulted in improved appearance, safety, and functionality throughout the buildings and property.

We wish them well in this new phase of their lives and say our goodbyes with gratitude for their care of Powell House during their time with us. Our blessings go with them.

On behalf of the Powell House Committee, Elise Bacon, Clerk


A new roof for Pitt Hall! The Powell House Capital Campaign

Powell House is the meeting house for all of New York Yearly Meeting. For more than half a century, Friends of all ages have gathered at this special place for extended worship, witness, work and fun. Here we seek and find the Light and here we are strengthened as a body of faith.

Bricks and mortar require care and that takes money. We have already been blessed by the generosity of many Friends and are nearly halfway to our adjusted goal of $1,000,000.

As a part of the Powell House strategic plan, our capital campaign is raising funds for:

  • needed facilities and infrastructure work
  • a commitment to solar and energy independence
  • more stable long-term finances
  • updating our digital capacity

Have you already heard about the Powell House capital campaign? Yes or no, please learn more at: or by contacting [email protected].


George Fox is 400!

Quakers around the world are celebrating the 400th anniversary of George Fox's birth with events throughout the year. What will your meeting do? Visit



Upcoming Events

Summer Sessions July 26-31, 2024

Online and at Oakwood School

Summer Sessions 2024 will be at Oakwood Friends School and online from dinnertime on Friday, July 26, to lunchtime on Wednesday, July 31. Find updates at


Young Peacemakers Week

From August 19-23, 2024, Albany Friends Meeting will again host Young Peacemakers Week in their lovely old meetinghouse and backyard. The prime objective will be, as always, witnessing to the Quaker Peace Testimony, i.e., a commitment to peace and reconciliation in all spheres of life. The children, all in grades 2-8, will practice this concept in typical summer camp activities, such as arts and crafts, non-competitive games, music and drama, and care for nature and the environment. As always, we will carry out our strong family component, as we find that the children learn best when their parents and siblings take part, too.  We will have a family dinner every night, followed by group activities in which the peace component is emphasized. We also offer a program for teen-age interns, in which they support the children in their daily activities. The hours are 1:30 to 6:30, with the option of early drop-off child care from 12:30. Tuition is whatever people are led to contribute. We are looking for teachers (a paid position), interns (also paid) and adult volunteers. Please visit our website, For questions about registration, contact Nancy Mattice. For other questions, contact Anita Stanley. We hope to see you at camp!


Powell House Workshop

Powell House is the retreat and conference center for NYYM. Visit to register or call 518-794-8811.

From Sorrow to Celebration: Cultivating Lament and Joy in our Journey

June 7-9, 2024, in person

IJoin us as we embark on a journey of self-expression and a deeper exploration of how we understand both lament and joy in our lives.
Over the weekend, we will delve into the transformative power of expressive writing and the arts for creating openings for healing and spiritual depth. Together, we will navigate emotional highs and lows, discovering the “joy, unspeakable joy” that can be found in even the most challenging moments.


Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering: Rooted in Story

The 2024 Gathering will be in Haverford, PA from June 30-July 6. Some events will be available online. See


For Young Adults

Children, Youth and Young Adult Community Director Beth Kelly maintains a list of upcoming YAF events at

Ghosts and Grief: A Powell House Conference for Young Adults

June 14-16, 2024

How does the past influence the present? What happens when we pass beyond the physical world? What spaces do you think you would inhabit as a ghost? At this conference, we will explore these questions and more through deep discussion and artistic activities. Find out more:


For Children & Teens

Powell House Youth Conferences

Visit to register or call 518-794-8811.

EarthSong 2024: 7th-12th Grade

May 24-26, 2024

Join us for our annual celebration of our loving, strong community. 


Fire Within for 6th-8th Grade

June 28-30, 2024
Anger, passion, creation, destruction! Fire can symbolize a lot of different things. What gets you fired up? At this conference we will play with ideas about the fire each of us holds inside of ourselves


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.




Quaker Job Openings

These Quaker organizations often have job openings. Check their websites for current opportunities:

Friends General Conference:

American Friends Service Committee:

Friends Committee on National Legislation: