New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

2018 Annual Report

Oct 17, 2018

Long-time Earth activist Ruah Swennerfelt (Burlington, VT, MM) stepped aside from being clerk of EMC; Mary Bennett (Worcester, MA, MM) and Rebecca MacKenzie (Quaker City, NH, MM) stepped in to co-clerk the business of EMC.

Friends Rod Zwirner and newly appointed Christopher Haines represent NEYM at Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW). Ruah Swennerfelt gave workshops on “Inner Transition,” a personal transformation movement within the work of the Transition Movement, at the Living Faith Gathering in Portland in April, 2018.

EMC formed a sub-committee to research carbon calculators, which was our charge in NEYM Minute 2017-67. We chose a calculator to collect the data necessary to create a baseline in assessing the carbon footprint of individual Friends and our meetinghouses. We encourage our members to choose actions to reduce carbon emissions from the hundreds of suggestions offered with the calculator of choice, the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative’s calculator—created by Stephen Gates (West Falmouth, MA, PM). Stephen subsequently received a grant through Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) to purchase computer tablets to aid data collection for this project. These tablets may be used by monthly meetings for this purpose with the help of EMC members. This project will be presented at Sessions 2018.

EMC was also charged with updating its Purpose Statement this year. We were asked to “be bold” in our re-creation of this Statement to reflect the Spirit’s movement in these pivotal times of climate destabilization and environmental injustice. The Purpose Statement revision began with collaborative efforts online, continued at our annual retreat in May 2018; the Statement is in its final phase of edits as of early July 2018.

Our annual retreat was held at Mary Bennett’s home in Spencer, MA the weekend of May 11-13, 2018. It was the only face-to-face meeting we had during the year. Other EMC meetings were held every 6-8 weeks via our Committee’s virtual meeting Zoom program. This meeting method has aided our desire to reduce our carbon emissions; however, we realize the very positive benefits of gathering in person to renew our connections to one another. We are considering a second face-to-face weekend gathering during the year to conduct business and renew our connections.

The theme of our annual retreat focused on Quakers and The New Story: Healing Ourselves and The Earth, a resource developed by a focus group attended by EMC member Mary Coelho (Cambridge, MA, MM). This QEW pamphlet, which can be accessed online, examines the inter-relatedness of scientific breakthroughs in quantum mechanics and theory and our spirituality as a religious society. The integration of these paths helps us to see that we are inextricably connected at the micro and macro levels, and whatever we do to our environment and one another, we do to ourselves. AQe are made of the same matter as Earth’s micro-organisms and the furthest star in our expanding universe. The Spirit described “in the beginning” is our common matrix, and we are all connected.

Some EMC Friends are active in our monthly and quarterly meetings and larger Friends gatherings, bringing information about the Transition Movement, environmental justice, and the Prophetic Climate Action Working Group; organizing professional conferences and delivering presentations to educate colleagues about climate destabilization and our response to it; rebuilding and renovating our homes to incorporate renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency; creating inventions that move us toward resilience; working with home communities to increase renewable energy; and writing about resilience in national newsletters.

EMC wishes to explore new ways within and beyond the Yearly Meeting to promote responses to climate destabilization and create resilience and environmental justice. We seek to collaborate with other YM committees to achieve this goal. It is with faith we continue to seek the Spirit’s guidance and with thanksgiving we experience the manifestation of the Spirit among Friends who practice environmental justice.

—Mary Bennett and Rebecca McKenzie, co‑clerks

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]