Summer Sessions 2019

Sunday, July 21, 2019 - 5:45pm to Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 12:00pm






NYYM Summer Sessions is a week-long gathering at Silver Bay YMCA, a conference and family retreat center on the shores of Lake George within New York State’s Adirondack Park. Silver Bay has a variety of buildings for meetings and accommodations scattered across a beautiful campus. Staying at Silver Bay includes access to swimming, boating, a craft shop, a gymnasium, archery, and shuffleboard, among other amenities. Friends often take advantage of these activities during their free time. Visit for more information.


On Sunday July 21, arrival day, Sessions Committee has added a special opportunity for First Time Attenders to get all their questions answered and start the week off well informed. Come to the auditorium at 2:30p for orientation! Then, check-in starts at 4:00 p.m. on the porch of the Inn. Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) registration is also at that time. After dinner, there is Opening Worship with a welcome, roll call, introductions, including JYM groups and leaders, and of course, worship.


Every day at Summer Sessions, Monday through Friday, follows roughly the same schedule:

  • 7:30-8:30 a.m.: Breakfast
  • 8:45-9:15 a.m.: Community Worship
  • 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: JYM Programming
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Worship Sharing
  • 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Meeting for Business (Tuesday: Discernment)
  • 12:15-1:30 p.m.: Lunch
  • 1:30-5:30 p.m.: Committee Meetings, Free Time, Special Events...
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Dinner
  • 6:45-7:30 p.m.: Bible Study (Mon-Thurs)
  • 7:30-10:00 p.m.: Plenary, Interest Groups, Contra Dance, Café Night...

The Week-At-A-Glance shows a quick look at the whole week's schedule so you can get an idea of how our time together is blocked out.


Plenary Speakers

Our Route to Powell House

Chris DeRoller and Mike Clark
Powell House Youth Directors


Our preparation for Powell House was, in hindsight, both linear and circuitous. It began 1000 miles apart when we had not yet met. Chris, the oldest of five in a liberal Rochester, NY, middle class Catholic family, and Mike, the second of five in a liberal Columbia, MO, middle class family with Universalist leanings and Southern Baptist roots.


For a brief period in our college years we were a mere 500 miles from one another while Mike was getting his degree in biology from Northeast Missouri State and Chris studied geology at Earlham College. Chris was thrilled to encounter Quakers at Earlham. While sitting in silence sorely tested her in the beginning, she loved the messages that arose from the gathered body and the intentionality with which many professors and students lived. She was hooked.


It was in Guatemala, living only 100 miles from each other that our paths crossed. Both of us were working with the Peace Corps fisheries program, Mike as a trainer and Chris as a volunteer. On our first date Mike suggested that we get dessert first since he wasn’t sure how late the chocolate store would stay open. Chris was hooked, again.


A stint in Ithaca found Mike waking in the wee hours of the morning to feed baby tree swallows as part of a research team while Chris finished a degree in agronomy. We participated periodically in Ithaca Monthly Meeting although more of our time was spent volunteering at the Greenstar co-op and hiking the trails in the surrounding countryside.


We spent several months in South Carolina training farmers from Ecuador and El Salvador in fish culture. Then Chris landed a full time job working as a hydrogeologist in North Carolina. Mike became a stay at home dad with the arrival of Kayla. We were active attenders at the Davidson Worship Group, frequently working with the kids program. This is where Mike began to identify as a Quaker, drawn to the process and practices as he learned more about them and was hooked by the sense of Spirit-filled community.


Finally, it was Chris’s turn to be the stay at home parent and we moved to Wauchula, Florida, where Mike got a job working with Head Start. In Florida, our Quaker connections deepened and spread as our family grew with the addition of Erin, our second daughter, and Lisa, our first dog. We were active in Lake Wales Worship Group, a tiny quirky wonderful collection of people who met under a tree. We became members of St. Petersburg Friends Meeting. Both Lake Wales and St. Petersburg were distant from us, so Sundays became days of travel, worship and play. We would often have a picnic lunch and then explore the natural areas with other families from the worship group. When we visited St. Petersburg Meeting a trip to the beach afterwards was a given.


We also very much enjoyed Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM) gatherings, often at the insistence of Kayla who wanted to be around other Quaker kids. SEYM held a half yearly meeting at Wekiva Springs State Park over Thanksgiving, no business just fellowship. Their annual session was held over the Easter week at a Methodist conference center. There was a campground attached to the conference facilities and a number of families with young children camped and ate together. Mornings found us beneath the Spanish moss having meeting for worship with a concern for coffee and afternoons on ground tarps holding meeting for worship with a concern for naps.


Florida was also where we realized our affinity for working with youth: Mike through his day-to-day work; Chris as the neighborhood mom, home schooler science field trip coordinator, public school classroom volunteer, and member of the Friends of the Library. We also ran programs for the youth at the SEYM gatherings and took turns leading first day school at Lake Wales Worship Group.


Wauchula was a small, rural yet diverse town where Catholic mass was said in English, Creole, and Spanish. Rich and poor neighborhoods were intermixed. Creationists outnumbered evolutionists. It was a Democratic town that voted overwhelmingly Republican in each election when we were there. We were the only Quaker family and a bit of an oddity in many ways. Yet we were embraced by a number of the different communities that made up Wauchula. Like our time in Guatemala, it was an opportunity to open ourselves to cultures and people different than those we had grown up with.


These experiences have proved invaluable in laying the foundation for our work in the Powell House youth program for the last two decades. In collaboration with the youth participants we continually strive to create a space that is inclusive and whole. Over the years our understanding of what that means has both broadened and deepened. When we began our work here we had a lot of experience living and working with people of different ages, economic and ethnic backgrounds, and perspectives on faith and politics. Non-binary gender identity was not on our radar. We had not heard the term “white privilege.” We did not actively consider the First Nations’ connection to the land we now live on.


As our definition of inclusion has expanded, our vision of Quakerism has become more clearly focused. We experience it as a practice of presence and transformative love. We see the youth program as imbued with that. It is playful and serious. It is open and inclusive but does not tolerate bullying or apathy. It accepts us where we are yet challenges each of us to stretch and grow. It is strong enough and loving enough to reject fear and embrace what is real. We believe it is possible to create these nurturing spaces in our monthly meetings, other Quaker bodies and beyond. We have some ideas for how to do that.


QUAKER BASICS--(Scheduled as "Meals with Meaning")

Monday Lunch, Gullen Lounge Quaker Basics: Let Your Life SpeakAnne Pomeroy, convener

Tuesday Lunch – Gullen Lounge Quaker Basics: WorshipTrish Eckert, convener

Wednesday Lunch – DH Boardroom Quaker Basics: Experiences of the Inner Light – Marissa Badgley, convener

Thursday Lunch: Gullen Lounge Quaker Basics: The Business Process – Glenn Josey, convener

Friday Breakfast - Gullen Lounge Quaker Basics: NYYM History: Looking Back, Looking Forward Emily Provance, convener


Quaker Basics--Let Your Life Speak

What does it mean to be faithful among Friends? This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of living a life guided by Spirit.  Together, we will ask: What is a leading? What does it mean to "test a leading?" How do we recognize gifts of the Spirit in others and ourselves?  Why do these matter in community? Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another.  Convener: Anne Pomeroy, Spiritual Nurture Working Group, NYYM


Quaker Basics--Worship

What do Quakers do in worship? This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of worship in its diverse forms. Together, we will ask: What makes Quaker worship different or similar to other traditions of worship?  How do I know if I have a message? Are there rules? Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another. Convener: Trish Eckert, Pastor, Farmington Friends Meeting, Farmington, NY


Quaker Basics--Experiences of the Inner Light

What do Quakers mean by "the Inner Light?" This interactive work guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of recognizing that of God in everyone, including ourselves! Together, we will ask: What language have Quakers used to describe  experiences of the divine?  What are some ways of describing different spiritual experiences among Friends? In what ways is this distinct to Quakers or like other traditions? Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another.  Convener: Marissa Badgley, Young Adult Coordinator, NYYM


Quaker Basics--Business Process

How do Quakers make decisions? This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of Quaker-style organization and decision-making.  Together, we will ask: Are we practicing "consensus?" Why do Quakers do it this way? Why do we spend so much time on minutes? What are the guidelines for participants?  Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another. Convener: Glenn Josey, clerk, Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting, New York City


Quaker Basics--NYYM History: Looking Back, Looking Forward

What are important milestones and movements in the history of the New York Yearly Meeting? This guided conversation will open a space to explore our basic understandings and experiences of Quaker history local to us. Together, we will ask: Who have we been--communally, geographically, demographically? How does what happened "back then" matter now?   Bring your questions and your curiosity to learn from one another.  Convener: Emily Provance, clerk, Ministry Coordinating Committee, NYYM


For more information, see:

Lu Harper

Anne Pomeroy


Meeting For Discernment: On the Meaning of Membership


Join us on Tuesday at Summer Sessions for Meeting for Discernment. As envisioned from their beginnings, Meetings for Discernment provide the space and the time to enter into deep listening and sharing. At this summer’s Meeting for Discernment we will take extended time with each other to consider what membership means in our lives and meetings. Does your meeting have diverse views about the meaning of membership in the Religious Society of Friends? Perhaps your meeting has active attenders who haven’t (or won’t) become members. Perhaps your meeting has members who never participate. Are there non-members serving in roles that were historically reserved for members?


The manner in which Quakers handle membership hasn’t changed much in generations. New York Yearly Meeting is considering a change that would allow individuals to become direct members of New York Yearly Meeting instead of requiring that membership be maintained exclusively by monthly meetings. This is important to people who feel like they are Quakers but haven’t been able to connect with a monthly meeting, perhaps due to geography, culture, incarceration, etc. However, there are aspects of our Quaker practice that have been historically rooted in the monthly meeting. At Spring Sessions, we heard a report from the Alternative Membership Pathways Working Group and we heard a proposed revision to Faith and Practice that would provide the specific mechanism for such membership. We heard ministry that expressed unease and ministry that expressed enthusiasm.


Please come to the Summer 2019 Meeting for Discernment on Tuesday, July 23, at Silver Bay YMCA. Participants will be able to really listen to each other on the topic of membership. Friends believe that when we gather together in waiting worship, the Spirit moves powerfully among us. Come be together to feel that power.


— Elaine Learnard and Caroline Lane, co-clerks of the Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee


Interest Groups

Interest Groups are a good way to introduce yourself to a topic or dive deeper, to learn and to share, and can consist of a presentation, slide show, film, discussion group, or other activity. For an example of interest groups offered last year, visit


Volunteers are needed to lead interest groups. Interest groups should relate to our theme and/or the NYYM Leadings and Priorities in general. If you feel led to run an interest group, contact Martha Gurvich or Helen Garay Toppins ([email protected]), or fill out the Interest Group Proposal Form online.


Session Documents & Resources


Quaker Updates

Look too the Quaker Update, or Q-Up for short (formerly known as The Daily Minute), for agendas for upcoming meetings for business in worship, special events of the day, changes in program, and other important news.

Advance Reports

  • Advance Reports - annual reports from committees, working groups, and staff about the past year's work

Documents for Meeting for Worship With A Concern for Business


Items for consideration for approval:

Seasoned Business Items:

Registration Resources