Spark, November 2018 - Cultivating Quakers

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Welcome to Spark Online

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


Cultivating Quakers

Other Articles

Around Our Yearly Meeting

Around Our Yearly Meeting


Editor's Note


Welcome to the November Spark: Cultivating Quakers. In addition to a stellar collection of articles and essays, this issue contains a “How-To” guide for people just starting to navigate New York Yearly Meeting; see pages 5-6. It includes answers to questions I’ve been asked (or had to ask, myself) about Quaker process, an explanation of the current yearly meeting structure, a list of regular NYYM events, and more. I hope you find it useful.


You, reader, are invited to write an article for Spark. Articles should be spirit-led, and are considered a form of ministry. Submissions should be fairly short—400-600 words—and may be lightly edited.


Upcoming Spark themes:


January: Lessons from Quaker History. What can we learn from different facets of Quaker history—from George Fox, to the Hicksite/Orthodox split, to conscientious objection to war? Why were the yearly meetings in the US formed and how have they evolved? How do modern Friends relate themselves to Quakers of the past? Are there lessons from the past that may help us move into the future? Submissions due Dec. 10.


March: Resolving Conflict. Quakers tend to shy away from conflict. How can we deal with it better? Guest edited by the Committee on Conflict Transformation! Submissions due Feb. 6.


Please email your articles, as well as your meeting or committee news and upcoming events, to [email protected].


In between issues of Spark, I distribute InfoShare, NYYM’s e-newsletter. InfoShare has a rolling deadline. Please, share your meeting’s news and events by sending them ASAP to [email protected].


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Upcoming Events


The Young Adult Spiritual Nurture Series Continues!

Part 2: The Intersection of Faith and Everything Else
A one-day retreat for young adults, 15th Street Meeting, NYC, on Dec. 1.

This workshop will be an opportunity for Friends at various points in their journeys to think about our existence in the world (career, studies, job, side projects, hobbies...) and how it intersects, complements, juxtaposes, or deviates from our Faith and spiritual lives. How do we or can we take care of both our spiritual and professional selves, even when they’re interwoven? How do we reconcile work in the world that stands in contrast or works against what we know as Truth? We will reflect, share concerns, listen, and dream as we explore where we are and where we would like to be.


Part 3: What is Discernment? Quaker Decision-Making in the 21st Century

A one-day retreat at Poughkeepsie Meeting, NY, on February 24, 2019 (Following Meeting for Discernment on Saturday.)

Meetings for Discernment are an ongoing experiment in extended worship of New York Yearly Meeting—two periods of silent, waiting worship held twice a year, each lasting more than the usual one hour, with some interval of time between them. This year’s winter Meeting for Discernment is February 23. We invite you to join us in extended worship on Saturday and then for a day of reflection and learning about discernment on Sunday. It is not required for you to attend both events. We will explore the history and purpose of discernment and Quaker decision-making and we will explore ways that this history informs and translates into the 21st century.

VISIT for more information, registration, and to nominate a young adult Friend to attend!



LISTENING CIRCLES for building relationship and transforming conflict 

January 25-27, 2019

A weekend faciliated by Heather Cook and Karen Reixach at the Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center (

When conflict reveals itself, it often feels like both an institutional and a personal crisis. Frequently, we try to ignore or smooth over the ruffled feelings, only to find the conflict resurfacing in unexpected ways. Caught up in our reactions, we often forget that conflict is a normal and integral part of all dynamic organizations and relationships. It can be an indication of people feeling safe to be authentic and to take risks. Addressed creatively and confidently, it can be transforming. This workshop is for people who are ready to help their meetings—and themselves—grow less fear-driven and more whole. Circle processes are in harmony with Quaker faith and practice. Circles provide a structured way to follow our practices of deep listening and of seeking connection through that of God in ourselves and others.



Powell House is YOUR Retreat Center

You are cordially invited to visit Powell House, the NYYM retreat center in Old Chatham, NY.

Some upcoming events for adults and families:

  • • PoHo’s Annual New Years Celebration, a joyful multigenerational gathering, Dec. 30, 2018–Jan. 1, 2019
  • • Dwelling Deep, a Contemplative Retreat (co-sponsored by School of the Spirit Ministry), Jan. 18-21
  • • Friends Decision-Making and Clerking, with Arthur Larrabee and NYYM General Secretary Steve Mohlke, Feb. 1-3

And for youth:

  • Wintersong, for grades 7-12, is Dec. 14-16.
  • A conference for 11-12th graders and young adults, Feb. 1-3


Visit for more!





Flushing Friends Interfaith Breakfast

Flushing Friends Meeting, along with the Queens Bahá’í Faith Community, hosts a monthly interfaith breakfast at the Flushing meetinghouse. Neighbors are encouraged to break bread with each other and connect with people of different faiths. These breakfasts provide a platform for the sharing of concerns and build cross-cultural solidarity in Queens, NY, one of the most diverse counties in the United States. For more information visit or



Outreach Discernment and Planning Meeting 

Twenty-five Friends met at Chatham-Summit Meeting on Oct. 6-7 to plan for the future of outreach in New York Yearly Meeting. It was a weekend of lively discussion, worship, discernment, and hard work. We developed an Outreach Action Plan, a summary of which was presented at Fall Sessions and appears online at (click on “Outreach Working Group Report.”) This plan lays a framework for a new structure to support outreach in our meetings. It will be taken to the Coordinating Committee Weekend in January for further discernment, with a final plan to be presented at Spring Sessions.



New Energy at Mohawk Valley

Members of the Mohawk Valley Monthly Meeting shared that they have an energetic attender who has a passion for outreach and has taken over their website and Facebook accounts, keeping them interesting and updated, and is involved in the Outreach Practice Group of NYYM. They are working to create a welcoming and active group of adults interested in helping to provide childcare and First Day School for young ones on a regular basis. Visit and



Worshipping with Students at Skidmore College Continues

Easton and Saratoga Friends are cofacilitating worship at the Skidmore Chapel. We meet every other Sunday during the semester while school is in session. This is our third year at student request for us to be on campus. We have been starting with 15 minute of fellowship, followed by 30 minutes of worship and 15 minutes for reflection and sharing. Discussion of this format is ongoing.




New Members

Robert G. Docters — Wilton

Richard Z. Duffee — Wilton

Nicholas Knibbs — Binghamton

Jayant Singh — Bethpage

Adrian Vasilko — Matinecock

Martin Vasilko — Matinecock

Bryan Wigfall — Morningside



Robert Martin, from Poughkeepsie to Bulls Head-Oswego

CORRECTION: Elisa Stewart to Hudson Monthly Meeting from Palm Beach Monthly Meeting (SEYM).



Joanna Dreby and Moses Nagel on September 8, 2018, under the care of Albany Friends Meeting



Isabel Chiquoine, member of Mohawk Valley, on September 2, 2018

Louise de Leeuw, member of Poughkeepsie, on August 29, 2018

Ruth Helen Detjen, member of Poughkeepsie, on August 20, 2018

Joseph Levinger, member of Albany, on October 25, 2018