Spark, November 2020 - Articles and Essays by Friends

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 InfoShare, our monthly email newsletter. Don’t get Spark or InfoShare? 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 November 2020 Spark



Articles and Essays by Friends

This issue is an eclectic collection of articles contributed by Friends. Enjoy!


News from Fall Sessions


Around Our Yearly Meeting

  • Editor's Note
  • News:
    • Announcing the Closure of Blossom Garden Friends School
    • Sojourn at Powell House this Fall
    • Arrange an Earthcare Workshop for your meeting
    • Meeting for Feelings
    • Quaker Day Celebration At Friends Girls School Sohagpur, by Dr. Sanjeev ShuklaPrincipal
    • Back at Bethpage, by Jay Singh, Bethpage Meeting
  • Notices
  • Online Events
  • Opportunities



Around Our Yearly Meeting


Editor's Note

Welcome to Spark, the printed newsletter for New York Yearly Meeting-area Quakers. In addition to Spark, NYYM sends a weekly emailed newsletter. If you aren’t receiving it, but would like to, please email [email protected].

Please consider writing an article or submitting images for Spark. Submissions are considered a form of written ministry.

The deadline for the January issue, “Another World is Possible,” guest-edited by the Another World is Possible Working Group, has passed, but you still have time to send in news announcements for that issue.


Upcoming Spark themes:

March: One Year of COVID-19. It will be one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Quarantine restrictions and isolation have effected our ability to worship as well as our daily routines and plans. Many people have experienced losses of loved ones or experienced a frightening illness. Do you have a story from this year? Is there anything you’ve learned?

Please contribute to this sharing of ideas. Deadline for the March issue is Feb. 1. Email article and photo submissions to Please limit yourself to 400-600 words.

Send your meeting’s news to [email protected] to be shared in the next weekly email update or in Spark.


NYYM is on social media:

Manage your NYYM email lists with NYYM Connect


Happy Christmas and Happy Solstice.

Sarah Way, NYYM
Communications Director




New Members

  • Patricia Bargher — Unadilla
  • Tom Hoppel — Poplar Ridge
  • Burk Ketcham — Schenectady
  • Inali Perseid Otsego Anh Maylin — Genesee Valley
  • James Washburn — Unadilla



  • Barbara Learnard, member of Bethpage, on September 26, 2020. 





Quaker Parent Mutual Support Groups

Quaker parents from all over can join support groups for Quaker parents any time before January 15, 2021. The purpose is to provide Friends who are currently parenting children with a space for mutual conversation and support. The project is supported by New York Yearly Meeting. To register, visit


Sojourn at Powell House

The larger building at the Powell House retreat center, Pitt Hall, is now available to be rented, including the use of its kitchen and common spaces as well as specific bedrooms and bathrooms for your group. For details visit or call 518-794-8811.


Arrange an Earthcare Workshop for your meeting

Quaker Earthcare Witness is offering virtual workshops for your meeting on a wide range of earthcare-related topics. See available topics at and contact [email protected] to set one up.


Meeting for Feelings

What a joy Meeting for Feelings has been! Aura the puppet is a hit with younger and older Friends alike. Over the course of three meetings, we’ve sung and danced together, talked about feelings such as sadness, happiness, and calm, and explored Quaker practices like silent worship and holding others in the light. At our most recent show, we prepared for Thanksgiving by sharing what we are thankful for and creating a gratitude tree (seen in photo). Joy and Aura look forward to continuing Meeting for Feelings through the winter. We meet every Friday morning  at 10:00 a.m. ET.  The shows are designed for ages 3-5 but all are welcome!   


Quaker Day Celebration At Friends Girls School Sohagpur
by Dr. Sanjeev ShuklaPrincipal

While following COVID-19 safety guidelines, Friends Girls School Sohagpur celebrated World Quaker Day on October 3, 2020, in the graceful presence of God. Primary School Manager Sheela Jacob, Principal Dr. Sanjeev Shukla, and senior members Ganeshram Mandloi, Sunila Masih, and Strella Masih highlighted the Quaker Faith with songs and messages. We stated that we are all guided by an inner light. Dr. Shukla addressed everyone, saying that the Quaker faith is quite similar with the Indian belief  “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” — the belief that the whole world is one big family and we are all brothers and sisters. Though people may be divided by the way they worship, we are united by God’s spirit. The day’s program started with silent worship and followed by religious songs and messages. After the indoor program a Naseberry (Sapota) tree was planted by the principal, staff, and children in back yard of the school office. Posters were made by students Kumkum, Anjali, and Sandhya. The program ended with a distribution of biscuits.


Back at Bethpage
by Jay Singh, Bethpage Meeting

After a break of about a year, Friends are once again meeting for worship at the historic Bethpage Friends Meetinghouse. The meeting has used volunteers from their community to repair and extend the front porch (see photos). During pandemic restrictions, worship is taking place under a large tree on the meetinghouse property.

Bethpage Friends Meeting has a rich history that stretches back to 1698. Thomas Powell, along with other settlers of the Bethpage Purchase, started meeting for worship in private homes that year. Known as the Bethpage Preparative Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, the group built several meetinghouses over the years that were lost to fire. The current meetinghouse was moved across the road in 1930 when Bethpage State Park was formed. You can find the current location of the meetinghouse on Google maps by searching for Bethpage Friends Meeting, 24 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735. Quakers continue to meet there today, holding an unprogrammed Meeting for Worship at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday. All are welcome to attend silent worship for an hour. For more information, contact acting clerk Jay Singh, or clerk Valarie Smith.


Online Events


Winter Meetings for Discernment

February 13, 2021

Meetings for Discernment are periods of extended, waiting worship designed to discern leadings and strengthen connections in our yearly meeting. The next one will be held on Saturday, February 13th, 2021. It will be held virtually, on Zoom. Registration information and queries are forthcoming.


Save the Date for Spring Sessions

Spring Sessions, a chance for the New York Yearly Meeting community to gather together for fellowship, worship, and business, will be held online on April 9-11, 2021. Please save the date.


Upcoming webinars from the Center for the Study of White American Culture

Visit for details. The Black Concerns Committee offers some scholarship aid for NYYM members and attenders. Apply to Robin Alpern.

Raising Anti-Racist White Children — Jan. 10, 17, & 24, 2021

An online, live, 3-part interactive workshop for parents and educators offering information and guidance on how to prepare white children to live in our increasingly multiracial society.


Events for Young Adults

The Interim Young Adult Field Secretary, Marissa Badgley, continues to organize a schedule of  virtual get-togethers, workshops, and worship designed for young adults (ages 18-35-ish) but open to all. Visit for all upcoming events and opportunities!


Powell House has gone virtual!

Powell House, the retreat and conference center for NYYM, offers virtual workshops, using the Zoom conferencing technology, on a donate-as-led basis. Go to to see the full list of upcoming events at Powell House; new events are being scheduled all the time. 

Upcoming virtual workshops:

The Winter Solstice, December 21, 4:00-8:00 p.m. This year’s solstice is more mystical than usual—there is an amazing planetary event happening, the “Great Conjunction”! Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets, will be in alignment on December 21—which happens only every 20 years. This astronomical union gives us a chance to look at how our lives align with the interplay of dark and light in the world. Where are the great conjunctions in your life in this time of upheaval and disruption? What is in alignment and what is not? You can explore those questions in this experiential retreat.

Please create a sacred space for yourself to participate in the Zoom retreat. Have a candle nearby. Gather up whatever art supplies you have. Also have a box that has at least one side open. It can be any size, but it should be large enough for you to arrange and possibly glue items in it.

Also, be prepared to spend some time outdoors, wherever you are.

We will enjoy supper together via Zoom as part of this retreat, so please have your meal ready so that you have minimal preparation when it is time to eat.

Powell House Youth Program is Holding Online Conferences

Upcoming virtual youth weekends:

Wintersong, for grades 7-12, Dec. 18-20, 2020.  Wintersong is an event of much joy as we bring light into our collective world. Join us as we dive deep into interesting conversation and build out into exciting, creative spaces. We will dress up in our fanciest clothes for Saturday dinner and share our talents in an expansive cabaret. This is a popular conference.


Online Worship

Many of the local (monthly) meetings in the New York Yearly Meeting area are holding online meetings for worship every week. Visit for the full list.


Powell House Online Worship

Saturdays at 6:00 p.m.

Powell House, the conference and retreat center for New York Yearly Meeting, holds a meeting for worship via Zoom every Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Contact Regina at [email protected] for information on how to join.


Friends General Conference (FGC) Online Worship

FGC offers general worship on Saturdays at 9 p.m.; for People of Color, worship on Wednesdays at 1 and 8 p.m. and worship sharing on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.; and a weekly Meeting for Worship for Friends of European Descent Confronting Racism and White Supremacy on Fridays at 12 noon. Find all details and links at


Pendle Hill Worship in the Barn

Members of the Pendle Hill community gather in the Barn for worship every day from 8:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. Connection information is at


FWWC’s Worldwide Worship List

Friends World Committee of Consultation (FWCC) has compiled a list of meetings holding worship online around the world, here:




Quaker Voluntary Service

Young Adult Friends can apply for Quaker Voluntary Service, an 11-month experiment living at the intersection of transformational spirituality and activism. Young adults work full-time at community based organizations addressing a wide range of issues, while living in a cooperative house and worshiping with, and being mentored by, local Quakers. Applications and references for the 2021-2022 QVS Fellowship are due March 15, 2021. Visit