Summer Sessions 2016: Invitations

Message from the Clerk

Summer Sessions are a time to gather both for work and for community-building. This year we gather to celebrate and nurture each and every one of us, from smooth-skinned infants in arms to elders whose every wrinkle radiates wisdom. We are tremendously blessed to have each other’s company, to share and support each other as we learn to walk God’s path for us, both individually and as the body of New York Yearly Meeting. It is not easy. We feel that in our hearts, we know it with our minds. And yet there is so much cause to rejoice. At Silver Bay, we are particularly invited to rejoice in the natural world and our place in it. Even in rain we walk past scented flowers. We see the sparkle of sunlight on Lake George as we eat our meals, breezes caress our faces as we ride the golf carts, feet, at long last, can go unshod on beaches and in green grass.

Years ago in my home meeting, Scarsdale, a dear Friend stood and quoted part of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur” in her message. The poem reads, in part:

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.”

But the part she quoted reads:

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things . . .

Please come to Summer Sessions and celebrate the dear freshness in us all.

Lucinda Antrim, Clerk, NYYM


Nurturing the Blessed Community at Every Age

Introduction from Sessions Committee

This year’s Summer Sessions theme, based on the NYYM Leading & Priorities, is “Nurturing the Blessed Community at Every Age” – life begins for each of us with nurture at the hands of a care-giver, and as we grow, we learn to nurture and care too. But we often also learn to see people as “other” and we often learn that “other” is not worth our time or care. In joining this Faith, the Religious Society of Friends, we challenge that view of “other” and work towards recognizing that we are all part of the Blessed Community. Summer Sessions is an opportunity to live, experientially and intensively, in the blessed community of Quakers, sitting close in worship, whispering to our buddies on the Inn porch, sharing life experiences over meals, caring for each “other” and opening up to how our Faith holds us together though the stages of our lives, witnessing the concerns, the awe, and the beauty of every age.

One opportunity for nurturing and being nurtured is to participate in Community Worship every morning in the auditorium, from 8:45-9:15 a.m., before Worship Sharing. Everyone is invited to gather for worship, storytelling and singing to pull us together and ground us for the day; sharing what is happening that day in adult and junior yearly meetings; hearing stories of personal faith, and witness; highlighting interesting activities; explaining a little about what happens at sessions; clarifying terms or procedures; and making use of and highlighting technologies (video, live-casting, internet, etc.) that are relevant and interesting to various ages.

A second opportunity is to join in “Whisper Buddies”—a new mentorship program where those who want to learn about Quaker process get to know those who feel they have experience to share. At the Monday afternoon planning meeting, we’ll gather to share interests and choose buddies, with an emphasis on equality and friendship, who will then work together to choose which business sessions and/or committee meetings they will attend together. JYMers will need a signed permission slip from their parent or guardian if they choose to meet with their Whisper Buddy during JYM sessions. The best part of this program is that it will happen in real time via passing notes and whispering. Continuing the process during meal time discussions is also encouraged. Whisper Buddies will enhance the experience of being part of our yearly meeting for our youth, our Young Adult Friends, and our whole community.

Third, in the plenary meeting on Wednesday morning, we will all gather in the auditorium again to hear how the NYYM staff works to nurture our yearly meeting at every age. With the newly hired Children and Youth Field Secretary, we have YM staff working with every age group – youth, young adults, adults, and the elderly. Not everyone knows that these nurturing and caring staff members are available to every age and every Meeting. This will be a time to learn what is possible and find out what our dedicated staff can do for you.

Another new opportunity to support each other is the “Quaker Crafts” event on Wednesday afternoon. As part of the new Fundraising Policy for NYYM Sessions, Sessions Committee is offering a two-hour event for f/Friends to sell their or others’ crafts. Crafters should contact the Conference Services Liaison to request a table. Set up will begin 30 minutes before the Quaker Crafts event starts at 2:00 p.m. and sellers must stay with their table and be responsible for their sales money through-out the two hours. Please read the Fundraising Policy and contact the clerk of Sessions Committee if you have any questions on “Quaker Crafts.”

As in the past, there are at least two opportunities to help Friends attend Summer Sessions and both are found on your registration form. First, we offer an option to donate to the Equalization Fund, from which Friends can then request assistance. Second, there is an option to help pay for our littlest members (the babies!) to attend Silver Bay’s Morning Program. We have found that, when Friends are given these opportunities to help others, they are both conscientious and generous.

Finally, because even a blessed community experiences conflict, the Conflict Transformation Committee (CTC) and the Abuse Investigation Committee (AIC) will be available all week. The members of the committees will be introduced at the Sunday Opening Worship and listed in the first Daily Minute available on Sunday. If you witness something or hear about something that you are uncomfortable addressing yourself, please seek out a member of CTC or AIC as soon as possible. Both committees will make it a priority to ensure complete confidentiality in all aspects of their work. A CTC member or the General Secretary (on behalf of the AIC) will report back to you on your concern, and also to the community if the AIC determines that to be necessary.

Melanie-Claire Mallison
Clerk, Sessions Committee

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