New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

JYM November Retreat Postponed

Nov 6, 2017
Gretchen Baker-Smith

November 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know that the JYM Bread Retreat, scheduled for Nov. 17–19, 2017 at Westport Meeting, is being rescheduled for some time in the late winter or early spring

On Sunday, October 30, dear Friend Edward Baker died after a valiant 5-year battle with cancer.  His leave-taking at dusk was full of grace, love, and Light, with his heartbroken family and dear friends around him.  He was an extraordinary human being, husband, father, brother, uncle, neighbor, scholar, singer, woodworker, dancer, gardener, writer, historian—and Friend.  Edward’s grace and fingerprints are in so many parts of the Yearly Meeting—from Permanent Board to Personnel and Friends Camp.  He was a gifted clerk and recording clerk and generously gave his time and talents.  His wise counsel guided us, time and time again, faithfully with the leadings of the Spirit, as he could sense and put into careful, eloquent words what was needed in times of discernment and emotion.  We will so very much miss him, even as we celebrate and give thanks for his beautiful, faithful life and all that he taught us.

For many years, Edward’s wife Carol (whom we affectionately call The Exalted Food Wizard) has been the primary cook for both the JYM and JHYM Retreats.  She is also the long-time coordinator of the 5–6 Grade Group at Sessions.  She is much loved by all of us for her joy, cooking skills, generosity, heart, organization, her flexibility with special diets, schedule changes, and funky Quaker kitchens, and for her deep commitment to the youth of NEYM.  She is a dear, dear friend and Friend.

After much thought, care and logistical considerations, Carol and their daughters Sarah and Hannah, and son Andrew, chose the afternoon of November 18, 2017 as the very best date for Edward’s Memorial Service.  Given all that Edward, Carol and their daughters have done, been, shared, and channeled in our Yearly Meeting, it is very clear to me that we need to move the JYM Retreat to another date so that as many Friends as possible are able to attend it.   Please be assured that we will reschedule this special Bread Retreat for another weekend.  And, 6th Graders who want to come back to JYM for this special retreat, whenever it is scheduled, will be allowed to do so.

I apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment, but there is no doubt in my heart and mind that this is the right decision.  Please help me to spread the word and to help our young children understand that one of the greatest treasures in our lives is the people who touch our hearts and show us Light and compassion.  I deeply trust that they will understand, and I am so humbled.

I will send an email with information on Edward’s Memorial Service in a day or two.  In the meantime, cards and expressions of sympathy can be sent to Carol and her family to their home at 77 Ashaway Road, Ashaway, RI 02804.  Be in touch with me with questions or concerns.  Hold the Bakers close to your hearts in the days and weeks to come. 

With much love to you,

Gretchen Baker-Smith, JYM-JHYM Coordinator, NEYM

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]