Town Hall For Our Lives

Dear Friends —

Rep. Peter Welch will be holding a Town Hall meeting specifically on gun violence prevention TOMORROW in Brattleboro. We are glad that he is helping to further the conversation around gun violence prevention, and we hope that you can attend.

Details:

Town Hall For Our Lives
Sat, Apr 7 2018 at 10:00 AM
River Garden, 157 Main St., Brattleboro

For more information on the Town Hall Project, visit their website.

Hoping to see you there,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director, GunSense VT

 

The Encouragement of Light

The Encouragement of Light

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise, we all remain too frightened.

–Hafiz, It Felt Love

Dear Friends,

In this season of turmoil and transformation, I’ve been learning about—and from—crocuses.

The flowers of the snow crocus focus the energy of the sunlight, so much so that the air at the heart of a crocus blossom can be as much as ten degrees warmer than the surroundings. Newly emerged insects warm themselves in crocus blossoms. They are a fierce and breathtaking harbinger of the coming spring.

On a path I often travel, this week there are beautiful new crocuses. They’ve been with me in my prayer time, and I think they’ve been telling me a story. I feel led to share that story with you:

It was quiet and dark below ground. Nothing changed; nothing stirred. Nothing grew. It felt safe. For all anyone remembered, it had always been this way.

No one risked; no one failed. No one danced or sang; no one was vulnerable. And so, no one learned or laughed. And no one was able to truly love…

Read more

In This Issue:

We’ve all been doing some heavy lifting

GunSenseVT
Putney Friends Meeting —

We know we’ve been asking a lot from our supporters these past few weeks. Getting these gun violence prevention bills passed is no mean feat, and we’ve all been doing some heavy lifting.

  • We believe that the final vote on S.55 (background checks) will start TOMORROW, 3/30, at 11:30.

  • We must be there, letting our Senators know that we support their YES vote!

Can you come to the Senate chamber starting at 9:30? Bring a book. Bring a friend. Once you have a seat, take turns spelling each other and enjoy some coffee in the cafeteria.

PLEASE RSVP HERE.

We are so close to passing this bill. We must draw on one another’s energy for this final push.

Thank you for being there,
Clai

http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Sen. Jeanette White showing some resistance to gun legislation

Dear Putney Friends Meeting — GunsenseVT

Thank you for all that you’ve done in support of gun violence prevention, and particularly in support of S.55 (background checks).

The bill is on its way, but we are not there yet.

Sen. Jeanette White is showing some resistance to the changes approved by the House yesterday. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has a lot of influence over what happens with this bill.

Please contact Sen. White today and ask her to approve the changes to S.55 and vote YES.

jwhite@leg.state.vt.us

(802) 387-4379

Or call the State House and leave a message for her at 802-828-2228.

 

With great thanks for your support,

Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director

A lot is happening

Dear Friends, GunsenseVT

If it seems like you’ve been hearing from us a lot, it’s because a lot is happening. We have a big opportunity to make real strides in gun violence prevention, and we can’t let up.

THE NEWS:

Universal Background Checks has made it through the Senate and is now in the House Judiciary Committee. The Committee is hearing testimony on Wednesday 3/14 and Thursday 3/15.

 

WHAT THIS BILL NEEDS TO PASS:

Your presence.

If you can commit even an hour or two to attending the House Judiciary Committee meeting to show your support, that would be very powerful.

Wednesday 3/14 — Testimony will begin at 9:00 and go through the afternoon with a break from 11:45-1:00
Thursday 3/15 — Testimony is scheduled for the morning only beginning at 9:00

You don’t need to speak. Simply being there is enough. Wear a GunSense button if you have one. If you don’t, we will have some available.

When you enter the State House, a page should be able to help you locate the meeting room. Rooms are also posted on a board in the main lobby.

On behalf of the leadership of GunSense, I hope we’ll see you there.
Clai Lasher-Sommers
Executive Director

 

p.s.–if you can come to Montpelier for an hour, please let us know by RSVPing here.

Together, we are making a difference

Dear Friends,GunsenseVT
Together, we are making a difference. Gun violence prevention is a top priority in the state capital right now and this historic shift is being driven by the voices of Vermonters calling for change.  
 
Governor Phil Scott took a courageous step when, in response to a school school threat in Fair Haven, VT, he changed his position and called for immediate passage of gun violence prevention reforms. He needs to hear your voice of support, now. 
 
Please call his switchboard, (802)-828-3333, to leave a message thanking him for his leadership and urging him to keep it up.
 
The gun lobby wants the Governor to back down. Don’t let them drown the majority of Vermonters’ voices out.
 
Please call the Governor’s message line today at (802)-828-3333.

Clai Lasher-Sommers

Executive Director
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Living Faith Spring 2018

Dear Friends,NEYM-web

Registration is now open for the next Living Faith gathering, to be held Saturday, April 14 in Portland, Maine!

Please share the invitation with your networks, including meeting email lists, newsletters, announcements, social media, and word of mouth.

We hope to see you there.

In the Light,

The Living Faith Spring 2018 Planning Team

Lisa Graustein (Clerk), Elizabeth Hacala, Jay O’Hara, Sarah Cushman, Hannah Zwirner Forsythe, Noah Merrill

Register Now

Our Hearts are Broken

March 1, 2018

 

Dear Friends,

Again, our hearts are broken by news of a school shooting. pexels-photo-256395.jpeg

Galen Hamann of Providence (RI) Meeting, Director of Friends Education at Moses Brown School, writes to us asking: “What do we say to our children who ask why schools aren’t safe places?”

She shares the first query raised by the students in the school’s Letting Our Lives Speak group: “How many kids have to die before we take action?”

Each tragic episode challenges our faith and calls us to live it ever more deeply. We mourn with communities who have recently lost children to gun violence. We mourn with communities—especially communities of color—who have been losing children to gun violence for many years and whose decades of work to end it have gone unrecognized by those in power.

New England Friend Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation, calls us to move beyond “thoughts and prayers” to bold action.

Participants in our Young Friends program—teenagers from across New England who had planned to be on retreat in March in Hartford—have chosen to join the nationwide, youth-led “March for Our Lives.”

This is not a time to restate facts or to make new arguments about the need to prevent gun violence. We are called to testify to Truth, even when it may seem impractical or unpopular. William Penn reminds us, “Truth will not lose ground by being tried.”

As Quaker faith communities across New England, can we still proclaim as Friends did in 1660, “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world…”?

New England Friends are deeply engaged in the education and nurture of youth.  In our youth ministries retreats, at Friends Camp in Maine, Moses Brown School and Lincoln School in Providence, Friends School of Portland, Cambridge Friends School, Friends Center for Children in New Haven, and at Quaker gatherings large and small, children and youth are cherished. In our local meetings and in our families we strive to create communities where all are safe, where all are loved and where all belong

But our testimony as Friends is not that we can create safe harbors in an otherwise dangerous world. Our testimony is that, wherever we are, we can hear and heed the promise of the voice that speaks in Isaiah 11:9, “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain… .”

We affirm that the whole world is the Holy Mountain. As a people called to faithfulness, we strive for a prophetic life that lives as if the Truth is true, that God’s Reign is here, now. Children and youth deserve to be safe in every part of their lives.

Friends, let those of us who are adults tell the children and youth in our lives what we will do to witness to this today—and let our words become actions.

Let us keep writing letters, making calls, joining demonstrations, and standing up. Let us counter the lie that violence is best met with more violence. Let us risk for love what some so readily risk for hate. Let us advocate for effective laws and regulations to prevent gun violence. Let us join our neighbors and rise with the fierce faith that inspires bold action.

In a blog post, Doreen Dodgen-Magee, a Friend from the Pacific Northwest who has lost family to gun violence, writes:

We can … take small but powerful steps to usher in ripples of justice, love, and action. While they may seem small, such actions carried out boldly, consistently, and over time can disrupt a system that has become overly passive about violence and … overly permissive about guns. I must believe that each of us, small and insignificant as we may seem or feel, have a part to play in creating a country and a world where the love of self and other reigns. Where we are willing to stand up for the rights of our neighbors and children to feel and be safe. Where we are willing to have difficult discussions and to listen and to be open to being moved. Where we can communicate effectively about our values, thoughts, and feelings and have the skills to handle the strong emotions of anger and rage. Where we feel capable of handling conflicts within us or between us with our words rather than with weapons.

The foundation of our witness is knowing where to stand—in the Life and Power of God’s Love—and to stand there together; with strength and courage, not giving up.

Fritz Weiss, Presiding Clerk

Noah Merrill, Secretary

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Healing Mind Body and Spirit: Care for the Caregivers

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Healing Mind Body and Spirit: Care for the Caregivers

Are you someone who takes the time to call people, or to hold them in your prayers when you know they are having a hard time? Do you help organize rides for older Friends who wouldn’t otherwise be able to make it to worship? Do people often confide in you? Do you feel at ease just being with people when they are struggling, suffering or in pain? Do others describe you as having a “healing”, “soothing” or “calming” presence? Perhaps you serve on your meeting’s Pastoral Care Committee, Ministry and Counsel Committee, or Care and Community Committee, or Friends in the meeting just naturally turn to you when things get “sticky”. You are doing the work of pastoral care. If any of the above seems like it describes you – and you are looking for fellowship with others and an opportunity for connection with the Divine Love that grounds this work- this might be the event for you.

What:

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

New England Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel is hosting a one-day retreat and workshop of rest and healing for Friends who do the work of pastoral care in their meetings. Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by demands on your time and energy? Come and be recharged in the fellowship of other caregivers. Working in pairs, we will give and receive comfort and healing while honing our skills in providing care for others. We hope that together we might experience the healing that comes from connection with the Spirit and with others who share in similar work, and that we will leave with practices and skills that will help us in the day to day work of healing and support that is so needed in each of our contexts, and in the world. There will be opportunities for fellowship and connection, worship, and sharing about the joys and struggles of our work. We will have the gift of being joined by several Friends with particular gifts to offer, including John Calvi (Putney, VT) who will be leading a portion of the day on energy healing practices.

When:
Saturday April 21, 2018

Where:
Westport Meeting (MA)

Registration will be open soon! Please contact Cornelia Parkes (cornelia.parkes@comcast.net) or the Clerk of Ministry and Counsel (mc-clerk@neym.org) with any questions.

We hope to see you there!