Spark, November 2023 - Perspectives on the Peace Testimony

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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 November 2023 issue of Spark, which you can also as a pdf file.


Perspectives on the Peace Testimony



Articles On Theme: Perspectives on the Peace Testimony


Around Our Yearly Meeting



Editor's Note

Many thanks to Susan Weisfeld for guest editing this issue. She found Friends who wrote thoughtful, honest, and brave articles; thank you. Note: articles were written before the current conflict in Gaza and Israel.

As a cost-saving measure Spark will go from five to four issues a year in 2024. The new schedule will be February, May, September, and November, to align somewhat with our Sessions schedule (early April, late July, early December). Please fill out the Communications Survey on the last page of this issue (or online at and let us know what you think about this change and about receiving information from NYYM in general. It is brief and easy! We need to hear everyone's voice on this. Thanks.

Spark accepts article submissions of 400-600 words, artwork, photos, poetry, shorter news items and announcements, and letters to the editor. 

Upcoming Spark themes:

February 2024: Youth and Young Adult Leadership.
This issue will center the voices of youth and young adults in our yearly meeting as they share their passions and leadings. Older adults should expect to learn from, and be inspired by, these members of our community. Beth Kelly, NYYM's Children, Youth and Young Adult Community Director, will be assisting with this issue. Submissions are due by Jan. 1 to [email protected].

Please also send your meeting’s news and upcoming events for the NYYM weekly email update or Spark to [email protected]. Join NYYM's weekly email list at

NYYM is on Facebook (NewYorkYearlyMeeting), X (NYYMTweets), and Instagram (newyorkyearlymeeting).


Sarah Way, NYYM
Communications Director
[email protected]




New Members

  • Charlotte Holton—Scarsdale
  • Scott Lockhart—Poplar Ridge
  • Christopher Kontos­—Matinecock
  • Bronwyn Losey—Poplar Ridge
  • Harriet Losey—Poplar Ridge
  • Muriel Losey—Poplar Ridge
  • Matt Sunderland—Scarsdale
  • Jeff Turney—Poplar Ridge


  • Bob Lohaus—Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting
  • Anne Wright—Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting


  • Bowen Alpern, member of Scarsdale, on October 4, 2023
  • Janet Carter, member of Bulls Head-Oswego, on October 13, 2023.
  • Lyn Pyle, member of Brooklyn, on October 13, 2023.
  • Paul Simkin, member of Poplar Ridge, on August 27, 2023.




Suggestions for State of Society 

Friends! The State of Our Society Committee would like to thank all those monthly meetings and worship groups that participated in our report for 2022. Your contributions made the report possible.

For our report for 2023, we are seeking suggestions from Friends, monthly meetings, and worship groups for this year's query. You may send your suggestions to Hans-Jurgen Lehmann at [email protected]. (That's HJLJTP.)

Thank you for your help.

—State of Our Society Committee


Rustin — a new film streaming on Netflix soon

"Rustin," a Netflix film produced by Barack and Michelle Obama's company, Higher Ground, will open in select theaters nationwide on November 3 and will be available on Netflix November 17. "Rustin" is a docudrama about the organizing of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, starring Colman Domingo in an Oscar-worthy performance as Bayard Rustin, a Black, gay Quaker who was a longtime member of Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting.


Participating in God’s Power — A School of the Spirit program

Accepting applications through December 1st. How do we go deeper in our spiritual lives and serve more profoundly in a world that is daily moving towards violence, division, and the unraveling of the web of life? Participating in God’s Power welcomes Friends who seek to develop or deepen in spiritual practice, and to live that learning and growth out in every aspect of their lives. It is a year-long program consisting of five residencies involving spiritual practice, experiential learning, teaching, and learning through two different small groups. Find out more at


Faith and Practice Available

Copies of Faith and Practice, the NYYM book of discipline, are available to purchase from the NYYM office. $10.00 per copy suggested.
To order, contact [email protected] or write to New York Yearly Meeting, 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003.


NYYM's Weekly Update Email

An email newsletter is sent to NYYM Friends each Friday. Past editions are available at To subscribe, fill out the brief form at If you've subscribed but haven't received any emails, please check your spam folder or email [email protected]


World Quaker Day 2023 in India

World Quaker Day, the first Sunday of October 2023, was celebrated in Friends Girls School Sohagpur, India. The program started with silent worship followed by messages on Quaker faith and testimony from Manager Sheela Jacob and Principal Dr. Sanjeev Shukla. Students performed a beautiful action song based on the Quaker "SPICE"—Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Caring, and Equality—in the guidance of teacher Priyanshi Yadav. The program ended with the distribution of biscuits (cookies) to all who were present.



Upcoming Events

Save the Date(s) for Sessions

The next gathering of New York Yearly Meeting will be Fall Sessions, held online December 1-3, 2023.

Spring Sessions 2024 will be held April 5-7, 2024, at Oakwood School and online.

NEW DATES: Summer Sessions 2024 will be held at Oakwood School and online, Friday, July 26 (dinnertime) to Wednesday, July 31 (lunchtime). Please contact [email protected] to help plan Summer 2024, especially if you're interested in working with children, or to join a working group researching alternate sites for Summer 2025. 


Save the Date for Winter Meeting for Discernment

March 2, 2024

Please mark your calendar!  The Winter Meeting for Discernment will be held online on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024. As we begin to plan for the Winter 2024 Meeting for Discernment, we’d like to expand the Meeting for Discernment Steering Committee to include diverse Friends from across the yearly meeting who appreciate the opportunity the Meetings for Discernment offer for Friends to listen deeply together, sharing concerns individually and for their meetings.  If you are interested or would like to visit a Steering Committee meeting, please contact Lu Harper, [email protected], (585) 732-4779; or Kaitlyn Pawlukojc, [email protected], (631) 662-7390.


Powell House Workshops

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

Winter Solstice at Powell House

December 21, 2023, 4-8 p.m., online or in person

Give yourself some space during this busy time to breathe—while also getting in touch with Spirit's and nature's rhythms. We'll get outside, with additional time spent in worship, a creative activity, hearing a story, sharing and listening within our group. Supper will be provided for those attending in person. 


New Year's Celebration

December 30, 2023 to January 1, 2024

At this annual event, we have activities for all ages—but what we plan is up to you. Previous years have included cookie making, energy work, enneagrams, musical collaborations, tai chi, Pilates, a clay workshop, and a walk to Dorson’s Rock, among others. Right after our evening meal on the 31st, it’s Cabaret! Bring your instruments, a song, story, poem and/or skit to share with everyone on New Year’s Eve. Our cooks will have a "Quaker midnight" feast ready for us. We’ll conclude the celebration with a brunch on January 1st.


Friends' Decision-Making & Clerking: Participating in Meetings for Business with Joy and Confidence 

SAVE THE DATE: February 2-4, 2024, at Powell House. This conference is invaluable for new clerks of committees and meetings and anyone who wants to know more about Quaker practice. Visit


Friends General Conference's 2024 Gathering

SAVE THE DATE: June 30-July 6, 2024 in Haverford, PA 

The theme is "Rooted in Story". Sign up at to receive updates on the Gathering. Beginning with Haverford in 2024, FGC will host a traditional in-person Gathering in even-numbered years, and a smaller, age-focused in-person YAY (Young Adults and Youth) event in odd-numbered years. A virtual Gathering open to everyone will also occur in those same odd-numbered years. Visit


Friends World Committee on Consultation — World Plenary Meeting

SAVE THE DATE: August 5-12, 2024

In 2024, the first Quaker World Plenary Meeting in almost a decade will take place in South Africa, hosted by Southern Africa Yearly Meeting. The theme is “Living the Spirit of Ubuntu: Responding with Hope to God’s Call to Cherish Creation and One Another,” which reflects the ways of expressing our faith used by our hosts. Visit


For Young Adults

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

SPICES: INTEGRITY for 11th-12th Grade and Young Adults

December 1-3, 2023, at Powell House — see full listing in next section.


For Children & Teens

Powell House Youth Conferences

Visit to register or call 518-794-8811.

DIY CABARET for 6th-8th Grade

November 17-19, 2023

On Saturday night of every youth conference at Powell House, we have Cabaret—a time to share creative acts that range from beautiful songs to laugh-out-loud improv games. At this conference, you will get to craft instruments and props yourself for a DIY (do-it-yourself) Cabaret. We will have lots of time for designing materials and have an extra creative (and potentially quite long) Cabaret! We will also sprinkle in games and discussions during the weekend to help us explore different aspects of crafting and performance.

SPICES: INTEGRITY for 11th-12th Grade and Young Adults

December 1-3, 2023

Quaker testimonies are foundational for the Powell House Youth Program. These testimonies (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship) represent core ideas within Quakerism and are often referred to as the Spices of Quakerism since they form the acronym SPICES. At this conference we want to focus on the I of SPICES: Integrity. What does it mean to be true to yourself? How does one breathe their Truth into the world? These are the kind of questions we will be exploring through deep discussion and fun-filled activities.

WINTERSONG 2023 for 7th-12th Grade

December 15-17, 2023

Wintersong is a time for connection and care within our community. We will play games, participate in deep conversation, share talents at Cabaret, delight in a fancy dinner, and more. There is a special feeling of warmth and celebration that is created at Wintersong. We hope you will join us in creating that experience this year.


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.




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:


NYYM Grants for Earthcare and Climate Justice Projects

NYYM Friends and meetings are invited to apply for grants of $50 to $500 from NYYM’s Earthcare Fund to support their projects related to Earthcare and Climate Justice. 

Visit to find out more and to apply.