Spring Sessions 2024

Friday, April 5, 2024 - 7:00pm to Sunday, April 7, 2024 - 2:00pm


Spring Sessions, April 5-7, 2024

At Oakwood Friends School and Online


A Welcome From the Clerk

Friends, Attenders and Seekers, welcome to Spring Sessions, 2024. As we gather together, to journey through this new year, let’s uphold each other in the spirit of “Faith, Hope and Love.” Allow these virtues to form the essential ingredients that will characterize our lives and lived experiences from now and beyond.


Please come and join our hybrid Sessions from April 5-7, 2024, at Oakwood Friends School, Poughkeepsie. Since this will be our first meeting together as a Faith Community, we will encourage each other in prayers and thanksgiving, with the hope of being covered in unfathomable peace. 


Again, in the spirit of unwavering faith, hope and love, we welcome everyone to 2024 Spring Sessions!


Gloria Thompson,

Clerk, New York Yearly Meeting




Spring Sessions will be at Oakwood Friends School and Online

Spring Sessions 2024 will be a hybrid gathering, with most events accessible both online via Zoom and in person on Oakwood Friends School's campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. See below for the full schedule.


What is Spring Sessions?

This is one of the three times a year that members of the NYYM community gather to worship, conduct business, and have fellowship together. These gatherings are open to anyone who is interested in Quakerism and the Quaker meetings in NY state and nearby CT and NJ. Reports to read in advance of business meetings, the business agenda, and more will be posted below as they are available.


Meetings for Worship and Business

At Sessions we gather in meetings for worship with a concern for business. Business meetings are preceded by an hour of worship to help us spiritually center and gather ourselves together. This worship is mostly unprogrammed (silent, unless someone is moved to speak) but can also include readings, singing and playing music. At business meetings the clerk leads us through an agenda of items, including the hearing of reports and the discernment of issues that require an action on the behalf of the gathered body of Friends.



Live closed captioning will be turned on during Zoom meetings. If you are joining the meeting on a computer or laptop, click the button on the bottom menu labeled “Show Captions”. If you are on a phone/tablet, on the meeting controls toolbar, swipe and tap the Captions (CC) icon. Those attending Sessions in person may find closed captioning to be helpful when sound is quiet or garbled. Closed captions will be visible on the screen to the right of the stage. Friends who would like to read the captions may wish to sit closer to that screen.

Those with mobility issues, special needs, and/or young children should feel free to go to the head of the food line in the cafeteria.


Meeting for Remembrance

UPDATED WITH CORRECT DATES: Beginning with Spring 2024, the yearly meeting will hold a hybrid Meeting for Remembrance at each Sessions to recognize and hold in the Light Friends we have recently lost. Because there was no Meeting for Remembrance at Summer Sessions 2023, we will attempt to “catch up” at Spring 2024 by focusing on Friends who passed in 2022. Friends who died in 2023 will be remembered in July at Summer Sessions 2024. At the meeting, names will be read, along with their meeting affiliation. For those who were active in the yearly meeting we will read brief excerpts from their memorial minute (if it has been transmitted to the NYYM office). There will be time for Friends to speak in remembrance as they are led.


Coordinating Committee Meetings

NYYM coordinating committees serve to coordinate and season the work and functions of their member committees, all of which share a related mission. Ministry CC coordinates the work of the committees concerned with various aspects of the yearly meeting's spiritual life. General Services CC coordinates the administrative functions and activities of the yearly meeting organization. And Witness CC coordinates the work of the committees concerned with the yearly meeting's social witness in the world. Attending a meeting of one of these coordinating committees is a good way to learn about the work of NYYM committees and to see where Spirit is moving among us.


On Saturday of Spring Sessions, during Coordinating Committee time, 4:15-5:45, there will be a joint meeting of Witness and Ministry Coordinating Committees to reflect together on racial justice. All Friends are welcome. The meeting will be hybrid.


For Those Attending Spring Sessions in Person

NYYM will gather at Oakwood Friends School, Friday evening, April 5, through Sunday lunch, April 7. Oakwood School is in Poughkeepsie, NY, at the end of the Metro North Line (also available by Amtrak) and just off Rt. 9 on the east side of the Hudson River. 


The areas on campus that we will use during Spring Sessions are largely accessible. There is no accessible bathroom at the dining hall however. If you have mobility concerns, please contact [email protected] or call the NYYM office at 212-673-5750. One way to help our community is to offer assistance to Friends who may need help getting around campus or getting food in the cafeteria. NYYM will not be able to use Oakwood's gym during Spring Sessions.


Childcare available on request; please indicate your interest on your registration form.


Please check in at Collins Library when you arrive. You can view an online map at https://massinteract.com/oakwood-friends-school/.


Friday Evening Program April 5, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Oakwood School and Online

What Does it Mean to Say "Jesus is Palestinian"

with Walid Mosarsaa

Join us Friday evening of Spring Sessions (April 5 th ) for a discussion with Walid Mosarsaa. Walid is a 29-year-old Palestinian Quaker who attended Ramallah Friends School from 2001-2012 and graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. He graduated from Guilford College in 2016, and then earned a master’s degree from the Earlham School of Religion with a focus on Peace and Justice Studies. His recent article “What Does It Mean To Say ‘Jesus Is Palestinian’?” was published by Sojourners in February. Here is a brief excerpt:

“To say Jesus is Palestinian is to articulate a narrative that both honors his Jewish identity and emphasizes his profound role as a liberator within the specific context of Palestine. This dual recognition does not diminish his universal significance as a figure of liberation but enriches it, highlighting the particular resonance of his life and teachings for us. Jesus is not merely a symbol of liberation in the abstract; he is a direct ancestor, a beacon of resistance whose life under occupation mirrors the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people.”

This month Common Dreams published a piece by Walid entitled “Biden’s Middle East Policy Trades Humanitarian Aid for Endless Warfare”.

Walid currently serves as Senior Program Coordinator for Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) at Guildford College. Every Campus A Refuge was founded at Guilford College by Dr. Diya Abdo in September of 2015 as part of a call to colleges and universities around the world to partner with their local refugee resettlement agencies by offering refugees temporary housing, board and resources on campus grounds. Under this program, refugee families are housed temporarily in Guilford College facilities until they are able to resettle successfully in Greensboro. They are provided with free rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, use of college facilities and resources, as well as a large community of support in the form of the college campus and its friends.


Saturday Evening Program April 6, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Oakwood School and Online

Belief – Practice – Action

The Challenges of Living in Community


God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)


“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?. . . .  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. . . .  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”  (James 2:14-26)


In response to the question, “Is the Society of Friends a community of belief or practice or action?” one wise Friend answered “Yes.”

(From “A Concluding Reflection” by Victoria Baker Cooley (1995))


Saturday evening's program will start with settling worship and some introductions by Fred Dettmer. Then, Ben Frisch will present some history of New York Yearly Meeting (about 10-15 minutes). That will be followed by short 4-5 minute presentations by six panelists: Suzanne Blackburn, Bryant Henning, Beth Kelly, Mary Pagurelias, John Scardina and Marvea Thompson. The panelists will then engage in a round table discussion moderated by Spee Braun. There should be about 40-50 minutes for inviting the Body into the discussion with queries, ministry, advocacy, challenges, etc.

The panelists have been asked to prepare brief individual statements on what it means to each of them to be a Friend and how that understanding impacts their relations with the wider society. The round table discussion is intended to delve more deeply into these Friends' perspectives ("theology") and to ask how we can find harmony and a unified Society given Friends' disparate views (theologies). How do we, and how can we in the future continue to, live in community when Friends hold very different beliefs. "Is the Society of Friends a community of belief or practice or action?" If, as an anonymous wise Friend answered, "YES," how do we make that happen?


COVID Concerns

Masks will be optional. Friends are encouraged to take a COVID test at home before coming to Oakwood. If you feel unwell, please stay home, regardless of COVID test results. If you feel ill at Oakwood you will be asked to take a test.


Overnight Accommodations

On campus—The deadline for reserving on-campus rooms has passed. The online registration form has the option to join the waitlist for an on-campus room, however this option is unlikely.


With FriendsThere is also a limited number of home hospitality offers from Friends in the area. You can indicate your interest in either of these options ­— staying on campus or with local Friends — on the registration form.


Off campusA block of rooms has been reserved for us at the Hampton Inn and Suites at 2361 South Road, Poughkeepsie, at the reduced nightly rate of $129+tax per room. To reserve a room, call the hotel at 1 845-463-7500 and mention you are part of the New York Yearly Meeting group or use the code NYY. There are many hotels close to Oakwood. If you’re staying at a hotel you must make your own reservation separate from your Sessions registration.



Meals at Oakwood’s cafeteria will be available for purchase when registering for Sessions. Our first meal will be dinner on Friday and our last meal will be lunch on Sunday. Meal costs are as follow: 

Children under 12: $15/day for all meals

Adults and children over 12:

  • Breakfast $9
  • Lunch $12
  • Dinners $15

Those with mobility issues, special needs, and/or young children should feel free to go to the head of the food line in the cafeteria.



The address for Oakwood School is 22 Spackenkill Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY. Poughkeepsie is the last stop on Metro-North’s Hudson train line, which leaves from Grand Central in NYC. You can find train schedules at new.mta.info/schedules. Amtrak also stops at Poughkeepsie. Shuttle service may be available between Oakwood and the train station at certain times; details will be posted on this page as they are available. Taxis are also available.



There are multiple costs associated with sessions. 


Direct costs are paid through NYYM for on-campus meals and dormitory housing. Indirect costs are incurred by NYYM more generally, such as the contribution NYYM makes to Oakwood for this event, staff time associated with preparing for sessions, and making it possible to hold sessions in a hybrid format. The suggested registration contribution of $50 helps offset some of these costs.


Paying less: Please keep in mind that your presence is more important than your ability to pay these costs. You don’t need to pay anything. If you underpay NYYM for meals or housing at Oakwood, the balance will automatically be covered by the Equalization Fund. The suggested registration amount of $50 is voluntary.


If you need help paying for your transportation or off campus housing costs please contact [email protected] or call the NYYM office at 212-673-5750. 


Paying more: Anything you contribute beyond the costs NYYM incurs for your meals and housing will be part of the Sessions Income that NYYM receives to offset the cost of sessions. This will be acknowledged as a contribution to NYYM at the end of the year.



Seeking Assistance

Need help at Spring Sessions? Have questions about the schedule, or want to know who to contact about a problem? Call the NYYM event phone at 212-673-2285 to reach NYYM staff or a registration team member. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will respond as soon as they can.


Spring Sessions Schedule

April 5-7, 2023

Oakwood and Online

Underlined events will take place both in person and online (hybrid)



Friday evening, April 5

4:00 p.m.                Check-in begins at the library

5:30-7:00 p.m.        Dinner at Oakwood

7:00-9:00 p.m.        Friday Evening Program


Saturday, April 6

7:30-9:00 a.m.        Breakfast at Oakwood

8:30-9:30 a.m.        Meeting for Worship - Programmed Worship with David Herendeen

9:45-11:45 a.m.      Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

12:00-1:30 p.m.      Lunch at Oakwood

1:15-2:45 p.m.       Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

3:00-4:00 p.m.       Meeting for Remembrance

4:15-5:45 p.m.       Coordinating Committee Meetings - Note: Witness and Ministry Coordinating Committees are holding a joint meeting to reflect together on racial justice. All Friends are welcome. General Services Coordinating Committee will meet separately.

5:30-7:00 p.m.        Dinner at Oakwood

7:00-9:00 p.m.        Saturday Evening Program

Sunday, April 7

7:30-9:00 a.m.        Breakfast at Oakwood

10:00-11:00 a.m.    Meeting for Worship - Unprogrammed Worship

11:15-12:30 a.m.    Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

12:00-1:30 p.m.       Lunch at Oakwood

2:00 p.m.                 Departure




Supporting Documents and Agenda

The Agenda (below) has links to supporting documents that will help Friends prepare for our time together in Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. The Agenda is not yet finalized, and may change as way opens. Please check back regularly to ensure that you are viewing this up-to-date Agenda.

Agenda with links


Supporting Documents