New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

New England Friend: February 2016

Welcome to the Winter Edition

I am pleased to share the January edition of the New England Friend. The focus of this issue is on how Friends across New England are engaged in the hard work of faithfulness—the acceptance that God is at work in the world and our participation in that work. There are reports from Friends engaged in work towards racial justice, a report from Marian Baker on her work in Tanzania and Uganda, and news from monthly meetings. Our Yearly Meeting office shares exciting news about new resources and programs which are coming up.

Sometimes in January in New England it is easy to be absorbed in the beauty of the winter and of our region. I hope you are well, warm and healthy.

In peace,

Fritz Weiss, Hanover (NH) Friends Meeting
Presiding Clerk
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends


Faith in action for racial justice

  • Dear Friends in New England: I am sharing a minute approved by Beacon Hill Friends Meeting on January 3, 2016, and a statement that Greg Williams has shared with us. Beacon Hill Friends Meeting takes Greg Williams’ ministry to deepen our struggle for justice against racism under our care. This ministry will involve both change within the Society of Friends and outreach to individuals of color in Boston. We see this work as being central to living fully into our faith and witness.

  • The summer after my first year of college, I worked for an academic summer program in my hometown of New Haven. As part of our training, we did a number of exercises around identity and different facets of diversity. This was probably only the second or third time in my life that I was asked to explicitly speak from a white perspective and I found myself trying to defend and explain things I didn't have the language for, nor did I have the ability to fully understand what others were saying.

  • In the last year or so, the need—and hope—for prison reform has taken up more and more time in the media, on TV, in print, and on the internet. More recent events in the news—Ferguson and a police propensity to shoot first and maybe ask question later—have contributed to the whole issue of unequal treatment “under the law” and to questions about whether the prison system is actually successful in how it treats prisoners (e.g., solitary confinement) and whether any programs do rehabilitate and provide opportunities when an inmate is released to society.

  • Cobscook Friends Monthly Meeting worships on land that was originally part of the Passamaquoddy Tribe's ancestral territory. Some time ago, this awareness spurred us to learn about the Doctrine of Discovery and its role in the taking of Indigenous lands and lives. We continue to learn about the Wabanaki peoples, their culture, and the genocidal practices by our own government. We also continue to wrestle with our sense of white privilege and with the knowledge that we have benefited greatly from the wrongs committed by our ancestors and by the systemic racism that continues.

  • The newly developed web pages for the RSEJ committee are a natural place for healthy exchange and learning. We do hope you’ve had a chance to look at what’s posted. While you are there please notice the “Our Network” section. Meanwhile Barnstable Friends is collaborating with RSEJ on the Black Lives Matter vigil and working closely with a number of people from the Mashpee Wampanoag community.


Feature

  • In November, about a dozen and a half Friends gathered at Woolman Hill for the second gathering of Climate Spring. The “spring” doesn’t refer to the season, but reflects the influence of Quaker Spring, which has been a model of a gathering that is not programmed, but is guided by a listening committee that is responsible for proposing topics and activities over the course of the gathering, taking into account the ideas and concerns of all those attending.


Ministry Profile

  • For several years, I have been spending three to six months annually, under a travel minute from New England Friends, energizing and equipping Quaker women pastors from Kenya to travel and uplift the women in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania. God has brought together teams: Margaret and Pamela focus on Tanzania, and Eileen and Agneta focus on Uganda.


New resources for New England Friends

  • Traveling throughout our region, it’s common to hear Friends give voice to a yearning shared by many:  strengthening the participation of young adults and young families in our meeting communities. Seeking to respond to this concern, dozens of Quakers from throughout New England braved a snowstorm to gather at Moses Brown School in Providence for the NEYM Consultation on Young Adult Ministries.

  • Is your meeting developing a set of Community Safety policies and procedures?  The Quaker Youth Education Committee is piloting a notebook of resources and sample policies and forms to help you move forward with this important concern. Each notebook comes with a copy of Safe Sanctuaries, our favorite guide on the subject. We’re starting with five notebooks. The contents will be posted online here. If you would like one of the first five notebooks, contact Beth Collea, [email protected]

  • As you may know, New England Yearly Meeting has created a grant program of financial assistance for individuals pursuing education and training. This grant program has been established to purposefully disperse the funds of the former NEYM Student Loan program. You do not have to be a member of a monthly meeting to apply, but you must be committed to Friends’ principles and willing to share the role of Quakerism in your life. Further details and application information can be found here.


Around the Yearly Meeting

  • Barton-Glover Friends have changed the name of the meeting to Northeast Kingdom Quaker Meeting and have moved to a much more comfortable and appealing worship space in Coventry, Vermont (48 Coventry Station Rd) as of January 10, 2016. They have also changed the time of meeting for worship from 9:30 to 10:00 to accommodate those traveling from a distance. The meeting has already seen an increase in attendance, including children. Visits, encouragement and prayers are appreciated.

  • The legacy of Elise Boulding (1920–2010) is being carried into the 21st century. Elise was active in the life of Wellesley Monthly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting for many years and was internationally renowned as a peace activist and author.


Exciting Events Coming Soon

  • Many of our First Day Schools are growing and new ones are springing to life! It’s time to gather as a Community of Practice to share, learn, and problem-solve together. Join Beth Collea and Melinda Wenner Bradley, a Philadelphia YM Friend and author of some of the Faith & Play Stories, along with other First Day School teachers, RE Committee members, Quaker grandparents, and other Friends at Woolman Hill.

  • This weekend at Woolman Hill is designed for Friends currently engaged in Quaker Outreach.  So many Friends will be presenting their work, that space is limited. We are asking Friends to apply for one of the remaining Open Spaces by telling us about their interest, experience, and hopes for outreach in their meetings. Click here for further details and an application form.

  • Lift up and celebrate the Spirit’s work in your meeting! Back by popular demand, the Sessions 2016 Meeting Fair. Same format—plan for about 3 feet of table space for some sort of display with information about your meeting. A trifold display board works well. Same flexibility—use our questions and themes or come up with your own.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]