New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

New England Friend: December 2014

From the Yearly Meeting Secretary

Dear Friends, 

Welcome to the online content for the December 2014 issue of the New England Friend.

One of the great joys of my work is getting to see new Life rising up in so many corners of our Quaker community. In a season when our society and our world seem besieged by conflict, violence and injustice, I find hope in the ways our meetings--at our best--can serve as circles of Light. I keep hearing stories of how we are helping one another find courage, seek deeper relationship with our neighbors and with Creation, and join with others to build the world of wholeness and right relationship that Jesus called the Reign of Heaven--and what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the Beloved Community.

As the demonstrations seeking deep change in response to the laying bare of systemic injustices mount across the country, and with the release of the Senate report on torture making visible the tragic costs of failing to acknowledge that of God in one another, I believe recommitting ourselves to living our faith as Friends is ever more important. We need each other's help to be faithful, to consider the implications of Ferguson and Guantanamo in the lives of each one of us. Friends, how is the Spirit shaking our assumptions, calling us to pray, to serve, to witness, to speak, to act? How can we share that news with one another, strengthening connections and helping each other find courage and humility to learn, to grow, and to live?


Click links to jump down the page to the relevant section.

  1. 2014 Sessions in Review
  2. NEYM & the Wider Quaker Movement
  3. Staffing & Structure Changes
  4. News in Brief

2014 Sessions in Review

  • New England Yearly Meeting gathered August 2–7, 2014, in beautiful Castleton, Vermont, for our 354th annual session, around the theme, “You are my witnesses.” In many activities throughout the week, we considered various aspects of the word “witness.”

  • What were the decisions made by New England Friends at Sessions 2014?

  • Vermont scenery

    Annual Sessions moved to Castleton State College this past summer—the first time in NEYM’s 354 years we have gathered in Vermont!

  • In August Annual Sessions approved NEYM M&C’s recommendation to extend the FUM financial withholding policy for the next five years, to be re-assessed no later than NEYM Sessions in August of 2019 (and sooner if significant changes occur before then). The General Board of FUM has minuted that they are not in unity with the sexual ethics section of the personnel policy, but the policy has not been changed. - See background material prepared by Ministry & Counsel for Sessions 

NEYM & the Wider Quaker Movement

  • Friends Meeting at Cambridge has agreed to serve as the Host Meeting for a Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) House in the Boston area. This will make Boston the fourth city to host a QVS House since the program’s launch in Atlanta, GA, in 2012.

  • Last spring, Beth Collea was one of four Friends led to expand their discussions on religious education resources and networking by inviting others from across the country to conduct Listening Circles focused on religious education joys and challenges.

  • The Executive Committee of the Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas gathered at Portland Friends Meeting September 18–20, 2014, to complete its work on a new 5-year strategic plan.

Staffing & Structure Changes

  • Q: What's this I hear about staffing changes in the NEYM Office?

  • During the past year the NEYM Structural Review Committee did a survey with 225 Friends participating, visited meetings and committees, talked with individual Friends, visited the YAF & YF groups at Sessions, held other interest groups at Sessions, and spent many hours together thinking about NEYM and its structures.

News in Brief

  • News in Brief: YM Archives location update • Visit NE Friends with your Quaker Passport • Outreach Working Group offers new energy • Friends Camp & restorative justice

  • Want to know how the Spirit is moving amongst Barnstable, Durham, North Sandwich, West Falmouth, Midcoast and Plainfield Friends?

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]