Spark, November 2017 - Quakers Reaching Out
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The online edition of New York Yearly Meeting's print newsletter.
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Quakers Reaching Out
- Outreach Very Much Alive in NYYM! by Robin Whitely
- Quaker Presence at a Street Fair, by Judith Fetterley
- Using Social Action for Community Outreach, by Barbara Ransome
- The Many Faces of Outreach at Wilton Monthly Meeting, by Pete McCaughan
- Outreach as a Quaker Practice, by Arlene Johnson
- Making Space for Outreach, by Sarah Gerk
- To Be One Body: Prison Ministry in NYYM by Suzanne Blackburn
- Spiritual Preparation for Recording Clerks, by Sharon Hoover
- A Quaker and Three Marines, by Gallia Taranto
Around Our Yearly Meeting
Opportunities and Resources
- A Presentation on Palestine, by Jonathan Fluck
- Turning, Turning: A Quaker Blog
- The Gathered Meeting, a Pendle Hill Pamphlet by Steven Davison
- Youth Services Opportunity Project!
- Using Quaker Faith to Support & Guide Your Parenting, An online series in winter 2018
- Outreach Resources to Explore
- Connect with NYYM
Around Our Yearly Meeting
Welcome to the November Spark. This issue on Outreach was guest edited by Arlene Johnson and Robin Whitely of the Outreach Working Group. Robin and Arlene were incredibly helpful, thorough, creative, and always on time. Thank you, Arlene and Robin!
Everyone reading this is welcome to write an article for Spark. Articles should be spirit-led and are considered a form of ministry.
Upcoming Spark themes:
- January: Why Membership? What does membership mean? Why do people chose to become members—or not?
- March: Earthcare Now Where is the life and energy in earthcare right now? Inspired by the Pisac Sustainability minute.
- May: Learning from First Day School
Please send your submissions for upcoming issues of Spark to [email protected] by the 10th of the month prior to the month of publication. (For Jan. Spark, the deadline is Dec. 15.)
In between issues of Spark we distribute InfoShare, NYYM's e-newsletter. Please, share your meeting's news and events by sending them ASAP to [email protected].
Keep up to date at facebook.com/NewYorkYearlyMeeting/
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AVP Youth Leadership Camp
This summer’s AVP Youth Leadership Camp at Chatham-Summit Meeting was our third successful year. 18 new participants and one returning participant became graduates of the BASIC and ADVANCE AVP program. Some numbers:
- 4 facilitators (2 youth and 2 youth in spirit) facilitated the AVP part of the camp for the 3rd time
- 5 youth facilitators facilitated the AVP part of the camp for the 2nd time;
- 6 youth facilitators facilitated the AVP part of the camp for the 1st time; and
- 4 facilitators facilitated different logistic elements of the camp for the 3rd time.
- Another 10 adults were actively involved in different support activities.
All together almost 50 individuals crossed Chatham Summit’s doors and were embraced by Quaker values as they participated in different ways in our camp activities. Because of siblings and parent involvement this translates to about 37 families.
A dream is definitely becoming reality as one child at a time is reached. There is a lot to do in this world but, though we may feel frustrated a lot of the time, we are doing something good here.
ARCH Workshop in NYQM
Friends from New York Quarterly Meeting met at Brooklyn Monthly Meeting with ARCH Director Callie Janoff for a workshop titled "Aging: It's What We Do!" This intimate gathering engaged a thought experiment, imagining ourselves older than we are now, and then in our final year of life. We discovered what was most important to us in these times: personal relationships, the life of the spirit, and feeling connected. We practiced asking for and offering help to one another—which proved exceptionally difficult! With all of this in mind we discussed our advance care directives: identifying who we want to be our health care proxies, and committing to complete or update our documentation. This and other workshops facilitated by NYYM staff and volunteers are available to Monthly and Quarterly Meetings and Worship Groups. Please contact the office to arrange one!
First Day School Conversation Circles
Friends gathered online October 16 and November 1 for "Conversation Circles" with others serving First Day programs in their local meetings. These are opportunities to gather with our community of practice, to share ideas, questions, and support one another in the ministry of spiritual formation with children and youth. The "BYOM" events online (bring-your-own-mug of coffee or tea!) allow Friends to gather from across the yearly meeting, and are hosted by the children and youth field secretary using the NYYM Zoom video conferencing account. Themes lifted up in the recent discussions included: supporting children in a small meeting, ideas to engage teens as they transition to a First Day program for older youth, multigenerational worship, pastoral care for parents, and ways to connect children and youth regionally (including inter-visitation in regions). It was wonderful to create a space where Friends could share their experiences and resources, and offer ideas and possibilities to one another. Watch for upcoming Conversation Circles to be announced and join us!
Unite in Light March
Quaker Activism, with support from Brooklyn Monthly Meeting, held Unite in Light on Saturday, Nov 4th. Unite in Light was a family-friendly, interfaith and joyful march from the Brooklyn Quaker Meetinghouse across the Brooklyn Bridge. Roughly 50 marchers carried LED signs, flashlights and glow sticks or draped themselves in strings of lights to reclaim the act of raising light as a show against racism and white supremacy. The parade was led by a light up peace dove followed by LED signs reading: LOVE, PAZ, AMOUR, BE THE LIGHT, PEACE and a crowd favorite “Kind is Cool.” Marchers received overwhelmingly positive responses to their chant “No to racism. Yes to love.” People from all walks of life, from all over the world smiled and took photos of the light and love brigade. QA members handed out flyers to passersby with resources for how to get involved in local activism and family guides to talking about equality and race. Organizers plan to hold similar events at locations around the city.
Powell House is YOUR Retreat Center
You are cordially invited to visit Powell House for an upcoming retreat or conference. Many exciting and spiritually nurturing programs await you at powellhouse.org. Some upcoming events:
Mary Kay Glazer is facilitating an Advent Retreat, Dec. 15-17. What are you waiting for? During this retreat, we will have the gift of time to reflect on the season of Advent, the season of life unseen, the season of dwindling light.
Mary Kay is also running a day-long retreat on Dec. 21, Solstice, the Birth Within.
For youth, Wintersong is coming on Dec. 8-10. This is our traditional two-house conference where older middle schoolers join our high schoolers to create a vibrant, joyful community. Saturday night culminates in a dress up dinner and talent-filled cabaret.
And don't forget to register early for the always-popular, annual intergenerational New Year's Celebration, Dec. 30-Jan.1. Come to Powell House! It's for you.
Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan is Seeking New Renters and Members
The Quaker Intentional Village in Canaan (QIVC) is seeking new members. Rent, buy or build a house in the intentional community in East Chatham. NYQIVC, established in 2000, is a community of 20+ people of all ages living close to the land on 135 acres of forest and pasture in the upper Hudson Valley. We strive to live spirit-focused lives that are simple, sustainable, and joyful, benefitting from and enjoying our close connections with each other and the land. We welcome diversity of all sorts, and don't all need to identify as Quaker.
Spaces available: 1-2 Rooms in Community Farmhouse, with preference given to those interested in exploring intentional community; The East House, available to rent or buy, is ~1,260 square feet with three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms; and one building site is available for purchase. Sales are to members only, following a successful trial period of about a year while you rent or live nearby.
Interested in Sustainability?
Susanna Mattingly, the new Sustainability Communications Officer for the Friends World Committee for Consultation, is looking to connect and support Quakers who are taking action on sustainability. She writes, “At the start of this project I am keen to first learn more about what your yearly meeting needs in relation to sustainability and the interconnected issues of climate change, reduction of natural resources, human rights and economic justice.” Email Susanna at [email protected]. For more information see fwcc.world/sustainability.
For more opportunities for you and your meeting, see Opportunities and Resources
Marian Jeannette Maguire — Chatham-Summit Katherine Shine — Wilton
Sarah Gerk — to Binghamton from Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (LEYM)
Opportunities and Resources
A Presentation on Palestine
Jonathan Fluck, Brooklyn Meeting
My trip to Palestine with Max Carter and a group of nine other Quakers last June was an eye-opener. We met with people from many different life situations, listened to their stories, and asked them questions about their everyday life and their hopes for the future.
I gave an hour-long presentation at the Brooklyn Meetinghouse this Fall and am eager to share my observations, photos of where we were and who we met with any meeting or group of Friends who might be interested.
The optimism that the older among us felt with the Oslo accords in the 1990s has vaporized with the realities of what is happening in the area now—that will be part and parcel of what I cover in my presentation. But that reality has not changed the warmth and welcoming spirit of the Palestinian people! Because we were housed at the Friends School in Ramallah for most of our 15 day trip, we saw a lot of that city and the people who live there. Whenever we went out the people were friendly and inquisitive. I can never forget one of our first days there when we had a few hours of unprogrammed (pun intended) time. Steve, who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, decided he wanted a haircut. Out he and I went looking for a barbershop. Why, I asked him? Because, if you really want to know the pulse of the people, where better to go than a barbershop?
Max and Jane Carter have been organizing these trips for 25 years or so, and they have developed a broad array of contacts from many differing points of view. Throughout our 15 days we met with an official of the Palestinian Authority, a representative of the PLO (yes, they're different organizations), two different Israeli settlers, an ex-IDF member who is with Breaking the Silence; we toured hospitals, small towns, a kibbutz; met with church leaders and Imams. The most heart-rending meeting was with two members, one Israeli and one Palestinian, of the Bereaved Parents Circle—both had lost children to the senseless violence. We were in refugee camps and in people's living rooms, we toured holy sites and archeological digs. We worshiped with Friends and with Muslims. We heard tales of horror and tales of joy.
Whether you choose to invite me to give a presentation or not, I encourage everyone to deeply consider joining Max & Jane next year for the trip. There is a lot of walking, so be prepared for that. But the greater preparation is to be open to the many people and viewpoints that you will hear.
Turning, Turning: A Quaker Blog
Emily Provance, member of 15th Street Meeting and recent Interim Young Adult Friends Field Secretary for NYYM, maintains a blog of Quaker thought and "Holy Experiments" at quakeremily.wordpress.com. She recently completed a series of posts on reaching out to seekers and integrating them into meeting. A seeker must go through the following steps to transform from a person seeking a faith community to an integrated member of a meeting:
- I know that Quakers exist.
- I have found a Quaker meeting in my area.
- I have decided to visit the meeting.
- I have visited the meeting and have decided to come back.
- I have developed a sense of belonging in the first few months of attending.
- I am experiencing long-term spiritual nurture, and I’m providing this nurture to others as well.
To find out how to help seekers at every stage of this journey, start here: quakeremily.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/from-seeker-to-quaker/
Emily has been the driving force behind the Social Media Ads Outreach Experiment, the Quaker Outside the Lines project, and the Quaker Education and Discourse (QuED) series. She is currently serving under a travel minute, endorsed by her meeting and NYYM, to support her ministry of hearth-building: "the work of creating a home for Friends, a community rich with opportunities that are so nourishing that each of us can then turn around and minister in the world, fully fed."
To learn more about Emily and her work, and for blog posts on Quaker outreach, leadership, multi-age inclusion, and more, visit quakeremily.wordpress.com.
The Gathered Meeting
A Pendle Hill Pamphlet by Steven Davidson, Central Philadelphia Meeting
Steven Davison, former Communications Director for NYYM, has written a pamphlet for Pendle Hill on "The Gathered Meeting." In a review for Friends Journal Marty Grundy writes, "Too many Friends have never experienced a gathered meeting and have no idea what they—and we—are missing.... It would be good if every Friend read and pondered this pamphlet, and if every Ministry and Counsel Committee studied it carefully and considered implementing its suggestions."
Youth Services Opportunity Project!
Did you know there’s an easy way to get middle school, high school and college students involved in Quaker inspired service learning in New York City? The Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), headquartered in the 15th Street Meeting House in Manhattan is a Quaker organization dedicated to engaging youth in meaningful service to homeless and hungry people. Since 1983, YSOP has been bridging the gap between youth who want to get involved with service and service agencies that are happy to welcome the vibrancy and enthusiasm of young volunteers.
You can reserve YSOP daylong, overnight and weeklong programs for religious and community groups, schools, clubs, university organizations and corporate groups. All of our programs begin with an orientation to homelessness and hunger, send students out in small teams with adult supervision to help at soup kitchens, food pantries, urban gardens and other opportunities to contribute to the hands-on needs of homeless and hungry New Yorkers and conclude with a reflective discussion led by trained YSOP staff on the various service experiences.
YSOP Executive Director and member of Purchase Meeting Ed Doty explained, “I founded YSOP with a small group of like-minded Quakers in 1983, because I wanted my teenage children to have meaningful, experiential Workcamps like I participated in.” For more information on how to get a school, club, youth group or other organization involved in YSOP service, check out the YSOP website at http://www.ysop.org or call 212-598-0973 to reserve a program.
Using Quaker Faith to Support & Guide Your Parenting
An online series in winter 2018
Have you ever wondered:
How your Quaker faith can give support and guidance to your parenting? How your parenting is part of your spiritual journey? What guidance does Quakerism give to knowing how to deal with behavior challenges, from toddlers to teens?
The Quaker Parenting Initiative (see http://www.quakerparenting.org) is offering an opportunity to explore these questions in a five-week virtual conference series starting in January 2018. To learn more or sign up contact Harriet Heath: [email protected]
Outreach Resources to Explore
Something here for every meeting!
- Advancement and Outreach webpage http://nyym.org/content/quaker-resources-advancement-outreach A rich compilation of outreach resources in NYYM and well beyond
- NYYM Outreach Working Group (OWG) nyym.org/committee/outreach-working-group A exciting new initiative to nurture and support outreach across the Yearly Meeting
- Outreach Practitioners’ Circlee nyym.org/sites/default/files/Spark-2017-09-Whitely&Johnson.pdf An OWG program for monthly meetings working together to nurture and support their outreach efforts and share outreach wisdom and information
- Outreach e-newsletter To Subscribe: Click Here! An exciting new collaboration between New England Yearly Meeting and NYYM aiming to share fresh, innovative outreach ideas
- Monthly Meeting Partners Project nyym.org/content/monthly-meeting-partners-project The inreach aspect of effective outreach: a program aimed at nurturing the spiritual lives of children and youth and strengthening the intergenerational life of the meeting
- Facebook Outreach Experiment quakeremily.wordpress.com/the-social-media-ads-outreach-experiment/ For detailed reports on how 18 local meetings reached 300,000 young adults through Facebook ads, and information on how your meeting can try this too
- Quakers Communications and Outreach Group www.facebook.com/groups/QuakerComms/ To join a group of Friends regularly exchanging resources and asking questions about outreach, try the Facebook group "Quaker Communications and Outreach"
- For even more frequently updated outreach ideas and resources try quakeroutreach.com
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This newsletter is the result of a collaboration of New England Yearly Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting, made possible by a grant from the Thomas H. and Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund in support of Fostering Vibrant Meetings.
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