Putney Mutual Aid

Dear Putney Mutual Aid Survey Participants,

With your feedback in hand, a group of Putney neighbors has coordinated a Putney Mutual Aid toolkit for the community to use in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s what it includes:

  1. Putney Mutual Aid Resource Page: Putney/Vermont-specific resources, information and links – a living document
  2. Putney Mutual Aid Needs & Offerings Sheet: a shared online document, enabling neighbors with needs and offers to connect
  3. Putney Mutual Aid Confidential Needs Survey: a survey that allows you to communicate your need confidentially rather than enter into spreadsheet directly

SAFETY: To reduce transmission of COVID-19 the State of VT has asked us to stay at home and keep social distance of 6 feet. If we go out of the house, we are asked to maintain distance, avoid going into anyone’s home, and wash our hands before and after. Volunteers are being asked to follow Vermont Public Safety instructions to keep everyone safe and healthy.  https://vem.vermont.gov/neighborly

Please familiarize yourself with the links above and feel free to share this letter with your Putney network. If you would prefer not to use the Sheet, be assured that the information you shared on the original Putney Area Mutual Aid Survey is completely confidential, and is being handled as follows:

If you communicated an offer to help
You may have already heard from someone on the Mutual Aid team to match you to a neighbor’s need or to connect you with a community organization. We invite you to add your information directly to the Putney Mutual Aid Needs & Offerings Sheet. We are happy to do this for you, just reply to this email and let us know. We will not transfer your data to the Google Sheet unless expressly instructed by you.

If you communicated a need
You can expect to hear from a community organization or individual in the next few days, if you haven’t already. You are welcome to post any new needs on the Putney Mutual Aid Google Sheet, or submit your need on the Putney Mutual Aid Confidential Needs Survey and someone from Putney Mutual Aid will assist in matching you to a neighbor volunteer.

This toolkit isn’t perfect, but we think it’s a solid start. It’s been pulled together by a few neighbors juggling kids, jobs and cabin fever. Expect messiness at times, especially at first. The bottom line is, we’re a strong community made up of people who show up for one another. We will get through this together.
Be well and stay safe,

The Putney Mutual Aid Leadership Team
Kathleen Duich, Ruby McAdoo and Sarah Armour-Jones

P.S. We will post the toolkit and communications to the public about Putney Mutual Aid to our facebook page — please follow us!
https://www.facebook.com/PutneyVTMutualAid

Join us in online Worship

For the health and protection of our Meeting community and to support the public health of the wider community in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, Putney Friends Meeting has suspended in-person Meeting for Worship. We are experimenting with using online worship as an alternative, using the Zoom conferencing service. Please be patient, we are all new to this. Many in our community are familiar with Zoom; some are not. For those who are not, instructions for how to set up and join a Zoom conference follow at the end. 

Many have participated in meetings of various kinds on Zoom; few have participated in a meeting for worship on Zoom. To help establish and sustain the quality of worship, we have prepared some advices below. First, for ease of reference, here is the Meeting for Worship information, with details on setup further below:

Online Meeting for Worship

Topic: Putney Friends Meeting – Meeting for Worship

Time: First Day, Sunday, You may go on-line to join the Meeting beginning at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (if you are new to Zoom, begin your sign in between 9 and 9:15 to become familiar with the screen environment). 

The “Meeting for Worship” begins at 9:30 AM; settling into worship early is always helpful. 

To join the Meeting for Worship email the Clerk for the link: clerk@putneyfriendsmeeting.org


Advices for Participating in Online Worship 

 We have three Friends hosting the meeting:

Clerk (Hosting the Meeting for Worship)

Greeter (Welcoming you to Meeting via “Chat”)

Tech-host  (Answering technical related questions via“Chat”) 

– Enter the meeting in silence as you would for an in-person meeting for worship. Do not introduce yourself when you enter. 

– Keep your device on mute unless you are speaking. Everyone will be muted by default upon entering, and the clerk as host has the ability to mute and unmute any participant. Background noise  such as dogs barking or cell phones ringing can be very disruptive to the spirit of worship and make it hard to hear. 

– If you are led to speak 

=As always, allow some silence after any preceding message to allow it to settle in our hearts. 

= Unmute your device. (see instructions)

=Pause briefly in case someone else has also started to speak. If so, wait for the clerk to recognize you. Otherwise, start speaking. 

=Mute your device when you are done. (The tech-host may do so if you forget.) 

– Continuing in worship, the clerk will close the meeting at the appropriate time and invite afterthoughts, joys and concerns and announcements as usual. Continue to follow the same advices for speaking. 

– If you need to get the attention of the tech-host for any reason, use the chat feature to address your message (Be sure to select “tech-host” and not “everyone”)

Respect the privacy of the Meeting. Do not share photos or screen shots of attendees.


Tips for using Zoom and Joining a Zoom Meeting 

– Set up Zoom a day in advance of the meeting time. Allow more time if you think you may need assistance. If you need assistance ahead of time, call Michelle Wright at: 802-689-0716. 

Here is a link to learn how to join a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting-

– Familiarize yourself with the Zoom features you will use during the meeting, such as muting and unmuting, starting and stopping your video, controlling what you see, and the chat feature. 

Here is a link to learn the controls: https://westernfriend.org/media/how-use-zoom-videoconferencing

-Use only one audio connection per room, ensuring all other microphones and speakers are muted. (For example, you might have more than one person in a room and might be tempted to each use your own device to connect.) 

-Before the Meeting begins  log in at least 15 minutes early. 


Instructions for Setting Up Zoom and Joining a Zoom Meeting 

Download and Install to your Computer or Mobile Device 

-Get the latest software for your device at Download Zoom

-New to Zoom? You can test Zoom here: Test Zoom 

 

Coronavirus Update: To Bless the Space Between Us

3/20/2020

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
It’s okay to be fearful.
It’s okay to have a sense of unreality.
It’s okay not to be able to function normally.  

Those feelings don’t have to be denied—in fact they need to be embraced. Whenever we have feelings which shake up our world, we have to be willing to enter into them. When we have the courage to do so, instead of trying to find ways around them, not only are we accompanied by Spirit every step of the way, but we are able to move through those feelings to a new sense of peace and safety, a new sense and trust in that which is unchanging.  

– Maggie Edmondson, Winthrop Center (ME) Friends Church.
Read the rest of Maggie’s message, “To Bless the Space Between Us.”

Dear Friends,

We wrote our first update of this kind ten days ago. So much has happened since then.

The number of confirmed cases has risen. Time predictions have been extended. In the midst of this, Friends across New England have responded to changing circumstances with swiftness, creativity, and tenderness. You’re demonstrating deep care for our profound connectedness, and for the spiritual and physical health of Friends and neighbors.

This Tuesday evening, on the first of our weekly check-in calls with local Meeting leaders, we were joined by Friends from 23 meetings. As our Meetings have dealt with the loss of our accustomed way of gathering, you have found new ways to foster and manifest the resilience within and among us.

A growing number of meetings have made the leap into virtual worship, and, with it, have found that there are particular joys possible in this way of meeting—we appreciated Amesbury (MA) Friend Christine Green’s description of worshiping online for the first time, which you can read here.

Other meetings have worshiped in parking lots, established prayer partners, created phone trees, observed worship from their homes at a set hour, or used Zoom or phone to participate in small, mutually supportive Faithfulness Groups for shared spiritual nurture.  In a time when much may feel frantic and reactive, we are grateful for the ways that Friends are learning to act boldly, responsively, discerningly, lovingly.

This is a time which calls each of us to prayerfully consider how we are led to act. And yet, it’s helpful to remember that we don’t all need to play every role.

We hope each of us will listen for the contribution that is ours to make. Our staff and volunteer leadership team, who have been hard at work these last two weeks, have been focusing on listening to the emerging needs of meetings and offering the most relevant supports we’re equipped to offer in response. We’re focusing on where we can make the most meaningful contribution, alongside so many others.

In the past week, this has included:

  • Regularly expanding the resources listed on our website that respond to the particular needs facing Meetings at this time.

    • We have recently added:

  • Hosting the first of ongoing Tuesday evening check-ins with meeting leaders. Each Tuesday from 7:00–8:00 p.m., we will continue to host these calls as a space for sharing resources and mutual support. This week, we were joined by almost 40 Friends from 23 meetings. Click here for more information on how to participate, or reply to this email for help.

  • For those interested in more active engagement and information sharing, we’ve set up forums for discussion about virtual worship and pastoral/practical care for Friends and neighbors in these times, via Slack (an online discussion tool).

    If you would like to join our Slack channel, you can click on this link. If you are new to Slack—as many of us are—you can learn more on the brief “how-to” linked here.

In addition to engaging with local meetings this week, we’ve also made some necessary decisions:

  • All in-person events sponsored by NEYM events are now moved to online, postponed, or canceled through April

  • While we are still actively preparing for Sessions as planned in August, we have begun contingency planning should our traditional Sessions not be possible

  • If you have questions about potential changes in the process of yearly meeting discernment coming to Sessions, or how your monthly meeting might participate, please contact Presiding Clerk Bruce Neumann at clerk@neym.org. A more detailed update from Bruce will be sent to all local and quarterly meeting contacts in the coming days.

May you know and trust the loving embrace of the Spirit surrounding you, everywhere you find yourself. Keep in touch.

in faith and service,

Nia Thomas, Quaker Practice and Leadership Facilitator
Noah Merrill, Yearly Meeting Secretary

Putney Friends Meeting House Closing due to Coronavirus

Dear Friends,

With a heavy heart we need to take the unprecedented step of closing Putney Friends Meetinghouse to all Meetings for Worship, renters and groups, due to concerns for safety related to the Coronavirus.

Ministry & Counsel committee is in the process of setting up opportunities for virtual Meetings for Worship by video and phone. The details for these opportunities will be made available when finalized.

Holding you all in the Light,

Roger Vincent Jasaitis

Clerk, Putney Friends Meeting

Corona Virus/Covid19 Notice

Corona Virus/Covid19 Notice

In consultation with Ministry & Counsel, and out of an abundance of caution, we will cancel Monthly Meeting for March. I repeat; No Monthly Meeting for Business this weekend.

M&C is suggesting that Meeting for Worship be continued for now with the understanding that Friends may feel the spiritual need to meet. There is no requirement that you do so out of obligation. If you do decide to go to Meeting, please follow the social distancing precautions that have been advised.  Coronavirus-Covid19 Precautions

Coronavirus-Covid19 Precautions

 

Over the past few days, we have all become more attentive to the growing concerns over COVID19. The US Center for Disease Control urges everyone to take standard precautions by washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when sick.

We hope we will not need to close our programs or limit our celebrations. We will be following the guidelines of our local and state officials in this regard.

As a close community that invites connections, we reach out now to engage all our members in these simple, common-sense steps to ensure a lower risk environment:
1) If you are feeling unwell, even just with a cold, please stay home from Meeting, and other events at PFM. COVID 19 can appear very mild in some people, but the same mild virus in one person can result in a life-threatening problem for someone else. Please make thoughtful choices, keeping in mind the entire PFM community, when deciding if you or your children are healthy enough to attend an event. Stay home and keep others safe if you are unsure.

2) The most effective method to avoid contracting or spreading this virus is HAND WASHING. Please wash your hands well, using soap and water for 20 seconds, and be sure to dry them fully (viruses like wet surfaces more than dry ones). Be sure to cover coughs and sneezes.

3) For the time being, we’ll avoid handshakes and hugs at rise of Meeting and when greeting each other. Please join us in finding fun and creative ways to say hello, good morning and Peace without touching.

4) At events with food, we will be changing our habits to reduce chances of transmission. We ask that anyone preparing or serving food wear gloves.

5) If you are staying home from services or events because of illness, we want to know! Please contact the Clerk, Clerk of Ministry & Counsel or Pastoral Care Committee  so we can check in with you and hold you in the Light in healing prayer

Please reach out to us if you are in need of support in any way. Let’s care for each other with open hearts and covered coughs!

 

Putney Friends Meetinghouse Photos, Jean Schnell

Dear Putney Friends,

Last summer I photographed Putney Meetinghouse.  I have uploaded the best of the photos onto my website, and look forward to getting feedback on them from the people who know the place the best: your members and attenders! .  Which ones do you like best, are there any that are not true to what you know and love about your Meetinghouse?  At some point, I will cull the photos currently on my website to only the best of the best, so your feedback would be really helpful.

Putney Friends Meetinghouse Worship Space
Meeting members voted this photo their most favorite.

If you go to JeanSchnell.com, find the Meetinghouse gallery in the top menu bar.  If you scroll over that, there is a dropdown selection, and you will find your Meetinghouse listed alphabetically.  I may also post one or more of these photos on my Facebook page called Framing the Light, and also on my Instagram site call jeanschnellphoto, so keep an eye out in those places!

And I also want you to know that beginning on March 18, some of my photos( tho not of your Meetinghouse)  will be exhibited at the Center for the Study of World Religions ( AKA Harvard Divinity School, 42 Francis Ave, Cambridge, MA).  The Opening Reception will be on March 26 from 5-6:30.  I am very happy to say that Noah Merrill will be with me at the Opening Reception.  One of the fears one has with Opening Receptions is that no one will come, so I hope for many Friends, and friends,  to join me.   Showing these photos in a place where people are interested in spirituality and religion is a wonderful opportunity for outreach.  I have attached the info….please let people know!

Jean Schnell, Exhibition invitation

I loved photographing in your Meetinghouse, and I have appreciated the opportunity you gave to me to do so.  Thank you again for making this work possible.

Jean Schnell

 

 

A Minute of Welcome

We as members of Putney Friends Meeting (Quakers) share the

goals of many others for social justice. We affirm any work that

addresses equity and inclusion for refugees, asylum seekers,

immigrants, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

 

Our faith community extends a welcome to all those who embark on a

dangerous journey to come to this country to escape violence and

dire poverty, to make a better life for themselves and their families.

 

Likewise, we offer that same welcome to those who come to our

town’s border with the desire to lead dignified, productive lives.

We also call on other individuals, groups, and faith communities to

stand with us in making similar public statements of support.

The Stories We Live

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019
“Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”  
-Toni Morrison

“Hush little baby, a story I’ll tell…”  – from The Great Storm is Over, by Bob Franke

Dear Friends,

Stories have power—to shape us, to bind us, and to free us. They can carry us and guide us. And they can make us bearers of hope in the midst of the unbearable. 

In The Storytelling Animal, Jonathan Gottschall integrates insights from neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology to explore the science of narrative in human experience.

Gottschall shows that our minds are “addicted” to stories, so much so that in the absence of a cohesive narrative, and in the presence of only extremely limited information, our brains inevitably respond to that painful dissonance by creating a story to explain what’s happening and to guide our response.

Once this has happened, it’s very difficult for our minds to change, a process which takes much greater effort than the almost effortless—but powerful—crafting of the (often false) story in the first place. So it matters what stories we allow to take root in our hearts.

We also have a potent capacity to transmit stories. When we “catch” a story, it transports our minds from our present contexts to inhabit a profoundly different reality. And when we share stories, they can spread like wildfire.

It seems we’re hardwired for stories. But what kinds of stories? Stories about difficult things, it turns out.

Studies (and streaming video data) show that humans demonstrate a tendency to gravitate toward those stories that include the greatest degree of—or potential for—conflict, pain, and danger.

Hearing this, I recognize my own tendency to become captivated by experiences of strife, suffering, and risk. And I know this is not limited to the stories I watch or read; I have this tendency in my life and actions as well. Focusing on the possibility for future harm keeps me wrapped in fear, and spreads that fear. 

Despite my best intentions, I know how easily I can be drawn into a story—and so into actions—focused on conflict, intensity, and harm. And despite the loneliness that results from letting these toxic stories find a home in me, I know I’m not alone in this. We could almost say that something in us seems to need a story that includes pain, fear, despair, and death.

And is this really so very strange? These qualities are inextricably part of the condition of the world. We can’t domesticate the wildness of our existence. We need stories that speak to the whole of our lives and potentials, not just the more comfortable or sanitized sides of humanity. A story that does not address suffering and risk has no power to hold us. 

But just because a story contains these elements doesn’t make all such stories the same. Where the story takes us matters.

Does it lead to liberation, or into deeper captivity? Does it open us to Love, or close us to relationship? The stories we tell matter, because the stories that make a home in us—that we tell and rehearse and tell again—become the stories we live.

Within and through every story, a fundamental question is waiting to be answered: In the presence of pain, struggle, and loss, how shall we live?

There are choices for us here. It seems it’s not enough to root out the death-dealing stories in our hearts. We must replace them with stories that lead to Love.

This is why I need you.

One of the essential purposes of our faith community is to cultivate and to carry an alternative story. As we practice our faith, our lives speak. And our lives—even more than our most beautiful words—are telling a story. As action after action shapes our lives, we could say that in some real sense, we’re made of stories.

The stories we tell together carry us, even as they enable us to make one another’s burdens light. As we discover new ways to share them once again, they create us anew—as beloved parts of a whole. If we who seek to live our faith in the Quaker tradition today are a People gathered, we are a People of the Story.

In this shared storytelling, we cultivate what we could call a narrative resilience—a capacity to sustain a living witness in the face of disruption. I will stumble again. You may grow tired. Many of us might even give up. But the communal story goes on.

So what is the story our lives are telling? 


Empire—a name for the manifestation of domination, separation, selfishness, and fear—tells us a story that sustains and makes possible the systems of exploitation, oppression, denial, and death that are plunging our world toward oblivion. This is a one-way, dead-end story, a story whose direction is the end of all of us. This is a story that captivates us with ease, deprivation, ignorance, excess, loneliness, and scarcity. When we’re in the grip of it, we transmit it unconsciously with every step.

But there’s another story—one about deep hope on the other side of despair, about a brighter shore beyond the darkening horizon, about a Love that conquers death. It’s a story that is wholeness, that calls forth right relationship, that treasures the fundamental interdependence of creation. It sustains the enduring Truth of experienced Life that shatters lies. It calls chain-makers to become chain-breakers, and turns the hearts of exiles toward home—no matter how long the journey still to go. It’s a story of a profound, tender, self-giving wildness that seeks to be born anew, as early Quaker Isaac Penington writes, to “grow…and be…and breathe…and act” in every heart.

When we let our lives speak from within that Story, we’re not relying on some promise of release in a far-off future—we’re participating in a new creation, here and now.

This is the Story I need your help to remember. This is the Story I need your help to share. It’s the Love we’re invited to bear witness to—with how we live and serve and walk today.

I hear stories are contagious.

in faith and service,

Noah Merrill
Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

P.S.—The newsletter is later this month than usual, so we’re doing an edition bridging months. Please continue to send news items and submissions.

We’ve been working on a new online home for New England Quakers that we hope will help us cultivate, connect, and share the stories of Friends’ life and ministry in even more meaningful ways. We’d love to hear your experiences and insights about how it’s working for you, and how we might continue to grow.

And we hope the stories, news, and resources shared below will be an encouragement to you and your local meeting in the coming days.

Events coming soon

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

View More Events

A Challenge from Bolivia

(Photo: Emma Condori)

The mountain in the background (above) was for many years snow-covered.

Bolivian Friend Emma Condori made a profound impression as she spoke about the climate crisis in her home country during a visit with Plainfield (VT) Friends Meeting. Rachel Walker Cogbill (Plainfield) shares what she heard about the crisis and steps to deal with it, on neym.org.

From Ramallah: A Reflection on Sessions 2019

Adrian Moody, head of Ramallah Friends School, visited a yearly meeting for the first time, in August—ours! He shares affirming words about his experience at our Annual Sessionsin the School’s newsletter.

Yearly Meeting Seeks Outreach Archivist

New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) is seeking a part-time contracted Outreach Archivist, supporting Friends and Friends meetings to better steward our living history. We are looking for an individual who is a Quaker or someone with strong familiarity with New England Yearly Meeting, and who is experienced and/or trained as an archivist. The Outreach Archivist will confer with the Yearly Meeting, quarterly meetings and monthly meetings on best practices for creating, gathering and transferring permanent records to the Yearly Meeting Archives at SCUA (UMass Special Collections and University Archives) in Amherst.

This contractor will collaborate with the NEYM Archives Committee as well as the staff at SCUA. The work will include contacting meetings who have not yet sent records to the Archives as well as offering workshops and trainings to meetings and other groups within Yearly Meeting.

The position is expected to range from 150 to 200 hours per year. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact Carol Forsythe, clerk of the Archives Committee, at archives@neym.org.

Smith Neck Friends Support
Quaker Records Project

The Smith Neck (MA) Friends Meeting presented the Dartmouth Historical & Arts Society with a $10,000 donation at Town Hall on Oct. 10 to help kick off the Quaker Friends Records Project, with all Dartmouth Meeting of Friends records dating back to 1699 to be transcribed, indexed, and made available to historical researchers on the DHAS website. Digital images of more than 6,000 pages of the Dartmouth Meeting records are already on the society website.

Racism: Let’s Talk About It

Susan Davies (Vassalboro, ME, Friends Meeting) writes about what it was like for her meeting to start talking about racism and white privilege, and offers some ideas for starting the conversation in your meeting in this article on neym.org.

Susan is co-clerk of the Challenging White Supremacy work group of the Yearly Meeting Permanent Board. The work group is available to assist; contact Susan or Fran Brokaw (Hanover, NH, Friends Meeting).

QuakerSpeak: Faith and Art

Maggie Nelson, Portland (ME) Friends and Yearly Meeting Young Friends Events Organizer, talks about how her faith informs her art in this QuakerSpeak video.

Missing Anything?

A number of items remained at Lost and Found at the end of Sessions in August—umbrellas, travel mugs, sunglasses, a guitar capo, and clothing, including a child’s sweatshirt. If you believe any of these items might be yours, please email the Office Manager. Items still unclaimed on December 1st will be donated to charity.

Photographing Worship as Ministry

Jean Schnell (Framingham, MA, Friends Meeting) has a new collection of photographs, “Meeting for Worship,” which you can view on her website. She also has written a blog about the project.

Friends Camp: Developing Leadership

Photo: Friends Camp

Friends Camp Director Anna Hopkins reports on the inaugural session of Rising Leaders, counselors-in-training. Living in the cabins with campers and a mentor counselor, Leaders became an integral part in the creation of the small cabin-family communities that are the building blocks of the Friends Camp experience. Read more on the Friends Camp website.

Growing Relationships Lead to
Restoration Project

Photo: Goodwin Church
Mt. Toby (MA) Friends visiting Black churches in the Amherst area discovered that Goodwin Church needed help. Goodwin Church is the oldest Black church in America, and its 1910 building requires major repair and rehabilitation. Mt. Toby Friends brought this to a meeting committee and then to business meeting, and approved a minute to co-sponsor fundraising for repairs.

A recent local benefit raised funds for the rebuilding; the work continues.

Rediscovering A.J. Muste

Friends at Annual Sessions 2019 may have seen a video about A.J. Muste (who once pastored Friends in Providence, RI), a leader in of the American peace movement from 1941 until his death in 1967. Bayard Rustin said that while he was an advisor to Martin Luther King, he never made a difficult decision without first talking about it with Muste.
See “A. J. Muste: Radical for Peace/Finding True North” by clicking on this link and entering the password Peter. For more information about this continuing project, contact the filmmaker, David Schock.

Video: Friends and Climate Witness

Eden Grace (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) gave this year’s Swarthmore Lecture at the Woodbrooke Quaker Conference Centre In Birmingham England, this summer. Her subject was “On Earth as it is in Heaven: The Kingdom of God and the Yearning of Creation,” reflecting on the theological, spiritual and biblical grounding of Friend’s witness on the climate crisis and the Quaker response.

Video: This is Friends Camp!

Get a taste of life at Friends Camp in this video compiling one second of every day of summer 2019.

News of New England Friends sharing and acting from their faith:

Are you aware of Friends or Friends Meetings featured in the media? Email us so that we can share the news!