Spark, September 2017 - Bridging the Divide

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Bridging the Divide

Other Articles

Around Our Yearly Meeting

Around Our Yearly Meeting

Editor's Note

The Tote Bag

NYYM Religious Education and Family Resources

The Tote Bag: NYYM Religious Education and Family Resources” is an e-newsletter published quarterly by the Children and Youth Field Secretary. The Winter 2017 issue includes new curriculum resources for First Day programs, events and news for families, youth witness opportunities, and information about summer programs. The Spring 2017 issue will focus on resources and support for youth (middle/high school) in our meetings.

To read, share, and subscribe, please go to:

Welcome to the September issue of Spark. Articles in Spark are written and submitted by members of our Friendly community. Pieces should be spirit-led and reflect personal experience, Quaker history, or present faith and practice.

November's Spark theme: Welcoming, as the first step of Outreach–to be guest-edited by the Outreach Working Group; see attached "ad". The deadline for article submissions and news updates is October 10.

Meetings and committee clerks: please share your info–news, upcoming events, etc.–with me so I can send it out via InfoShare, our digital newsletter. The next issue is in October; send items ASAP to [email protected]

Check in with our lively Facebook page at

Find short news updates, links to articles, and the occasional Instagram image on our Twitter feed:

Finally: the new version of is live! Explore it and enjoy the information and functionality.

  —Sarah Way

Meeting News

Mohawk Valley hosts FCNL

Mohawk Valley Monthly Meeting hosted a Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team training at the Meeting House on June 23 for 20 people, including members of the monthly meeting, quarterly meeting and local activists. Maiya Zwerling, the trainer, kept us interested and engaged for the three hours of the training.
We began with the historical context of FCNL, how its lobby work began and how it has expanded to 60 teams across the US. We heard examples of how FCNL has worked with congress people to encourage law making in the public interest, using the Quaker principle of seeking God in every person and building relationships with each.
The 2017 goal is to hold Pentagon spending at its current level. At first it felt as if this was too narrow a goal; but after further clarification we came to realize that increased Pentagon spending would mean a corresponding decrease in spending on Medicaid, social justice, environment and other issues we hold close to our hearts.
We heard some practical tips in terms of developing an “elevator” speech about Pentagon spending, and how to write letters that included a thank you, our connection to our community, what we are asking of the congress person, and how that would help our community. A point many of us found thought provoking was that our Democratic congress people also need to hear from us as they may be inclined to compromise our important issues for gain in another area.
And after it was all over 14 of the 20 attendees were interested or possibly interested in working on the Advocacy Team. We already have two of four telephone trainings scheduled. FCNL is available every step of the way to support us, give us information and pull us together in a variety of ways as we find our own voice.
Liseli Haines

Rochester Friend featured in NY Times article

Michael Rhynes, who is a member of Rochester Monthly Meeting and is incarcerated in Attica Prison, was featured in a recent NY Times article about an opera company that goes into Attica to perform. Michael is active in the Attica Worship Group and has started a theater company within the prison. The article includes a photo of and quotes from Michael. Read it here:

Brooklyn hosts Interfaith Association panel on misogyny

The Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Clergy Association has begun a series of panel discussions on Faith and Justice: How Our Religions Challenge and Support Systems of Oppression. The first of these was held at the Brooklyn Meetinghouse on May 22, co-sponsored by Brooklyn Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel Committee. Speakers addressed the topic of misogyny from four religious traditions: Quaker, Episcopalian, Islamic, and Jewish. A lively discussion followed the presentations. We look forward to future discussions in the fall. Many in the audience had never before been inside the meetinghouse, and so it was an excellent opportunity to introduce our Quaker ideas to others in our neighborhood.
Nancy Black

Dover-Randolph Community Open House

Dover-Randolph Meeting held a free Community Open House on June 3rd with the theme "Planting Seeds of Hope, Building a Community in Peace". Visitors had the opportunity to meet with representatives from community service groups to learn about their work. The groups included Peace Works, Interfaith Food Pantry, 11th Hour Rescue and GAAMC (a local gay rights group). The Meeting provided free light refreshments, face painting, children’s games and tours of our historic Meetinghouse. There were also two presentations. We experienced the artistry and spirituality of "Singing Masks" and "God is a Musician" exploring the connections in music and nature. While the attendance was lighter than we had hoped, we were glad to have made connections with other community groups and make more of our surrounding neighbors aware that there is a small, but active Quaker Meeting in their midst


Upcoming Events

Scarsdale's book discussion series on race in America

Scarsdale is starting another series of books on Race in America. Our titles and tentative dates for this year are:
Brian Stevenson, Just Mercy, Oct. 29
Barack Obama, Dreams from my Father, Dec. 3
David Billings, Deep Denial, Feb. 25
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, March 25
Naomi Schaefer Riley, The New Trail of Tears: How Washington is Destroying American Indians, April 22
Friends from nearby meetings are invited to join us for worship, social time and book conversations on those dates.

Purchase Meeting Harvest Dinner

Purchase Meeting will be hosting its annual Harvest Dinner to benefit the Sharing Fund on the last Saturday in October, which is October 28. Please note the earlier date! We hope downstate Friends will join us for a home-cooked food extravaganza! Details on reservations will be found on our website in early October.


Job Opportunities

Young Adult Field Secretary of New York Yearly Meeting

The Young Adult Field Secretary works with young adult Friends in the NYYM area, assisting in multi-generational community development, spreading information, and helping young adult Friends to develop their gifts and find a home in the Religious Society of Friends. The position will support retreats, activities, and religious education, as well as college outreach efforts. This is a half-time position that requires ongoing ministry and travel, including weekend commitments, around the NYYM area. Applicants should be a member of (or active participant in) the Religious Society of Friends and have a strong understanding of Quaker ministry, testimonies, structures, history, and practice; have written and verbal communication skills; be skilled at supporting the gifts of others and at building relationships; and have experience with social media.
We expect to begin interviewing in September and will accept applications until the position is filled.
For the full job description, see To apply, email your resume to [email protected].



New Members

Scott Bradley — Conscience Bay
John Major — Brooklyn
Connie Mather — Poplar Ridge
Philip Milton — Conscience Bay
Seth Phillips — Brooklyn


Carol Holmes and Bowen Alpern, members of Scarsdale, on August 5, 2017, under the care of Scarsdale Meeting.


Dianne de la Veaux — to Brooklyn from Wilmington (PYM)
Nicholas Dosch — from Alfred to Genesee Valley Executive Meeting
Andrew, Dennis, and Regina Haag — from Adirondack to Old Chatham
Mary Hamilton — from Alfred to Genesee Valley Executive Meeting
Ly Kesse — from Alfred to Genesee Valley Executive Meeting
Lawrie Mifflin — to Brooklyn from Swarthmore (PYM)


Sharon Chapman, member of Elmira, on June 21, 2017
Lynn Grove, member of Rochester, on December 17, 2016