Welcome to Putney Mutual Aid!

We are a group of community members working to coordinate neighbor-to-neighbor support in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

We help match needs and offerings for things like essential rides, food, grocery pickups, caring for loved ones, organizing neighborhood groups, meals, masks, donations and more.


DO YOU NEED HELP?  CAN YOU OFFER HELP?

Please go to our CONFIDENTIAL Needs and Offerings Form.  A small team of Mutual Aid volunteers will receive your requests and offers and match you behind the scenes. Please know that this team is committed to your privacy and your name will not be shared other than with the volunteer(s) and community organizations who will be supporting you.


DO YOU WANT INFORMATION ABOUT PUTNEY AND VERMONT-SPECIFIC RESOURCES?

Please go to our Putney Mutual Aid Resource Sheet.


DO YOU NEED INFORMATION ON STAYING SAFE WHILE HELPING NEIGHBORS?

To reduce transmission of COVID-19, the State of Vermont 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 wear a mask, maintain distance, avoid going into anyone’s home, and wash our hands before and after. Volunteers are being asked to follow Neighborly Best Practices for Helping During COVID-19 to keep everyone safe and healthy. 


DO YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY OR VERY URGENT CONCERN? 

Please call Tom Goddard, the Putney Emergency Director. You can reach him through the fire station hotline – 802-387-4372. If you can’t get through, please call 911.


FIND OUT ABOUT PUTNEY FOODSHELF RESOURCES HERE

Foodshelf open hours, resources related to food insecurity

FIND OUT ABOUT PUTNEY COMMUNITY CARES RESOURCES HERE 

Meals on Wheels, essential rides, small grants, help with applications and more


PUTNEY MUTUAL AID TEAM (and growing – join us!)

Volunteer Team

Ruby McAdoo, Jaime Contois, Cor Trowbridge

Support and Advisory Team

Ellen Strong and Hannah Pick (Putney Foodshelf), Kathleen Duich, Sarah Armour-Jones, Abd Rababah, Kate Kelly (Putney Community Cares), Laura Chapman (Putney Selectboard), Mike Mrowicki and Nader Hashim (State Representatives)

Neighborhood Point Person Team

Chris Ellis, Elizabeth Christie, Elizabeth Bissell, Maria and Ward Ogden, Nancy Shepherd, Amber Paris, Michael Hornsby, Amanda Perez, Jorika Stockwell, Gerrit Bollin, Ruby McAdoo, Jaime Contois, Betsy Hallett , Maggie Smith, Alison Mott, Sheila Garrett, Dierdre Kelley and growing

• • •

This is a grassroots effort, organized around a value for self-organizing community systems. Please feel empowered to take part.

You can reach us directly at PutneyVTMutualAid@gmail.com

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PutneyVTMutualAid

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
 

May 18, 2020
 Dear Friends,

Across New England, people are talking about “re-opening”. After much anticipation in the media, today the State of Massachusetts released guidelines (here) for houses of worship as some public health restrictions are being lifted.

While other states in our region are moving on their own timelines, events seem to be unfolding quickly in many of the places New England Quakers call home.

The Massachusetts safety standards, informed by what is now known about the coronavirus, mean that in-person worship will look quite different, will be limited in numbers of people permitted to gather, and will require extensive and frequent sanitation. 

In response to the announcement, the Massachusetts Council of Churches (of which New England Yearly Meeting is a member) issued a public statement (here) reminding church leaders that:

“Churches are designed to be places of healing, not sources of sickness. We receive these new minimum safety standards from the state with much concern for those people most at risk in our churches and our communities….just because congregations may return to their buildings does not mean they should.”

It’s clear from these unfolding events that although many people are understandably eager to gather in person again, there will be no going back to the way things were. We can only move forward on the path before us now; we can only respond to the invitation before us.

Fresh Pond (Cambridge, MA) Friend Kristina Keefe-Perry shares her sense of how we might move into the future together:

To go back to “normal” means to accept structures that are built on exploitation and inequity. And so we keep on walking forward. That doesn’t mean that we can’t mourn the loss of a world we’ve known…while we do it, we have to look towards building a world that’s reflective, truly reflective, of God’s kingdom.

As we look forward toward what’s ahead in our lives and the lives of our Meetings over the coming months, what helps you to listen? What is the Inner Guide saying? What does looking toward a world more aligned with God’s dream for us mean for you, in this moment?  

Regardless of where we live, we are moving into this unknown future together. And the choices we make—alone and as communities—matter more than ever. 

Read on for updates.

New Resources for Friends Serving Their Meetings

In response to requests for support with decision-making as some restrictions are lifted, which we heard on our Tuesday evening check-ins with local Meeting leaders, we have created this new page on our website with nuts-and-bolts resources and tools for reflection.

We hope this will be helpful to Friends across New England and beyond as we consider the challenging decisions of this moment.

An Update on Annual Sessions: From your suggestions, extended dates announced
First, thank you to the many Friends who have reached out to the Summer 2020 Programming team via this digital suggestion box with hopes, ideas, and questions related to re-envisioning Annual Sessions for this summer. 

We want you to know that we are reviewing with care and prayerful attention all of the insights that you are sharing with us. Many of your contributions align with the creative discussions our small group is already engaged in, while others are great new suggestions we had not thought about. So thank you for all that you offer!While we are still mourning the loss of the in-person aspect of our annual gathering, we are deeply encouraged by the enthusiasm and clarity we’ve heard from Friends.

From your many responses and reflections in the suggestion box, we want to reflect a number of themes:
 A desire to connect emotionally and spiritually with the wider body of Friends across New EnglandThat Friends hope this will be an opportunity to make Sessions more accessible to those who need to work, or have caregiving responsibilitiesAcknowledgment that not all Friends have access to web- or internet-based contentKeen awareness that “Zoom fatigue” is real, and that Friends do not want to spend long stretches of time at their computersThe central importance of opportunities for small group connection That Friends yearn to connect “beyond the screen”–though postal mail, over the phone, via simultaneous prayer, or, if possible given the public health situation, in small physically-distant localized groupsThe need to hold over non-essential decision making until Friends are able to be with each other in personThe desire to allow space for grieving, and also for joy, celebration, and fellowshipThe yearning for “peer” spaces for mutual support among those with shared experiences and needs in this time, especially for youth, young adults, and parents
 Supported by your feedback, we have become clear to extend the dates of Annual Sessions 2020.

We’re excited to announce that programming will begin on Saturday, August 1, and will conclude on Sunday, August 9.

This means that this year Sessions will include two weekends—and the week in between. A Wednesday Sabbath day, without programming, will offer further time for prayer, exercise, and refreshment. We hope this extended schedule will allow for a more spacious experience, with breaks between digital activities, an alternation of youth and adult programming, and plenty of offerings on evenings and weekends for Friends who will be working during this time.

Please continue to submit hopes, ideas, and questions related to Sessions in the digital suggestion box here.

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing a more formal invitation to Sessions, an announcement of registration, and more schedule specifics about how Friends can participate in the re-envisioned, physically-distant Sessions experience this summer. As we all move forward in preparation, we want to especially emphasize our appreciation for the loving, faithful work that so many of you have offered in helping our annual gatherings to be possible in years past.

As we pivot to a new format for this year’s gathering, we are building on a strong foundation thanks to the many, many gifts that you have offered, your time and talents, to help make New England Yearly Meeting Sessions a vibrant and Spirit-filled experience.With love and care, and in faith,
 The Ad Hoc Working Group on Summer Programming 2020Elizabeth Hacala, Events Coordinator
Rebecca Leuchak, Sessions Committee Clerk
Bruce Neumann, Presiding Clerk
Nia Thomas, Quaker Practice & Leadership Facilitator
Noah Merrill, Yearly Meeting SecretaryUpcoming Opportunities for Sustenance and


Connection *for newcomers*: Quaker Sampler Workshop, May 23
 Quaker retreat center Powell House offers this one-day series designed for new Quakers and the Quaker-curious to learn more about Quakerism. Learn more here. *for young adults*: Continuing Revolution Online, June 5-9

 Pendle Hill’s annual conference for Friends ages 18-35, this year offered online with a focus on conflict transformation. More information here. 

*new*: Experience Playing in the Light Workshop,  June 10 at 7pm Come learn about Godly Play and Faith & Play, an experiential, Montessori-inspired approach to religious education designed for children ages 3–12. Facilitated by Faith & Play co-creator Melinda Wenner-Bradley. Learn more and register here. 

*ongoing*: Weekly Check-in for Meeting Leaders, Tuesdays at 7pm
Connect with other New England Friends serving in leadership roles in their local meeting as we respond to the needs of Friends in this pandemic together. More information here. 

*ongoing*: Weekly Parents Tea-and-Chat, Thursdays at 8pm
 Join Youth Retreat Coordinator Gretchen Baker-Smith and Quaker Parenting Initiative Founder Harriet Heath for weekly drop-in conversations about parenting in these times. More information here

*for lamentation and prayer for our world*: Day of Mourning, May 25, sunset vigil  Join Friends in Chicago and across the world to mourn the losses of all of Earth’s children in this time. At sunset wherever you are, light a candle and, if it is safe for you, step outside to be seen by your neighbors in a witness of prayer for the world. Learn more here

 To see a full list of events for Friends in New England, visit our events calendar In the promise of what’s possible, and until we meet again,

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

 

Dear Friends,

Groundworks needs your help now more than ever. Groundworks staff is working around the clock to provide the best protection and support for the people they serve. This creates an unprecedented financial challenge for Groundworks to house and feed their clients and keep them safe.

The Seasonal Overflow Shelter was closed and everyone was moved into motel rooms to allow for isolation. This effort was very successful, resulting in only one known homeless person in Brattleboro, and this person did not want to move into one of the motels.  Foodworks, the food shelf and part of Groundworks,  has moved to a delivery model, mobilizing volunteers and working to source enough food to deliver to anyone with need in our community. Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for food has doubled.

Foodworks is accepting in kind donations, in particular of items listed on the website. However, monetary donations have the largest impact. For each $25 raised, Foodworks can provide a family of five with items for two weeks due to being able to take advantage of wholesale prices.

Please consider making a donation to Groundworks. Currently, all gifts up to a total of $5,000 are matched by a generous donor.

For detailed information please see: https://mailchi.mp/6812b271af35/heres-the-latest-news-from-groundworks?fbclid=IwAR3ItPOPR3rn3hKLuT1TTY72oJtAxcIOymHP2FfA29EVZzwKcUsK7rdxLtk

Thank you.

Dear Friends,

In New England’s natural landscapes, April is a time of renewed tenderness, and of breaking open.

This year, amid the new buds and birdsong, many Friends are seeking ways to slow down and stay open—and to be made tender—to new Life within and among us, even while meetinghouses and public gathering places are closed, even in the midst of turmoil, suffering, and grief.

For many of us, this is also a time of action and urgency, as plans are disrupted, lives are upended, and we do what we need to do to make it through today. We’re adapting to new and uncertain circumstances.

Whatever is going on for each of us individually, let’s remember that we’re all in this together. This is both a foundational truth, and something we have to make real in this time with our choices and our care. May our hearts break open to embrace an ever-wider sense of who is part of our “we”.

This week, we’re writing with invitations for ways we can live and act on our faith—one focused on nurturing connections among Friends,and one focused on witness in support of some of those most vulnerable.

Please read on below for more.

Living Faith Reimagined: An Invitation

A message from the Living Faith Planning Team…

Dear Ones,

As we listen for how we are called to serve in this season, we return to our vision for the spring Living Faith event, originally planned to take place today: Saturday, April 4.

Living Faith gatherings have always been dynamic opportunities focused on supporting each other in living out a shared faith, both within our Quaker communities and in the wider world. While the next in-person Living Faith gathering is postponed until the fall, our commitment to lift up and support the ways we can live—and act on—our faith during this time continues.

You’re invited to share

Today we write to invite you to participate in a New England-wide project, called A Week in the Life, to celebrate and lift up the ways New England Quakers are living our faith in these times.

During this coming week—known in many churches as Holy Week—we are inviting you to take a photo of yourself living your faith right now. This could be a photo of anything you are doing to deepen and express your practice and leading as a Quaker—daily prayer, caring for someone else, doing necessary work, sheltering in place, etc.

To contribute to the project, please send your photo and a short caption (including photo credit) to us at LFsharing@neym.org by the end of Easter Sunday, April 12th.

Please note, these photos will be public, so share only images and words you are comfortable being public to anyone, and that you have permission to share from everyone pictured.

If you don’t want your face in a photo, think about taking a picture of your hands, something you have made, or creating a still life photo that represents how you are called to live your faith this week. You can be serious, you can be silly, you can do this in any way that is right for you.

We’ll be back in touch

The week following Easter, we will share the collected content from A Week in the Life on our website, in this update, and via social media. In this way, we hope to lift up some of the many ways Friends are living—and acting on—our faith in this moment.

We hope that this shared effort strengthens our sense of connection during a time of physical separation, deepens our ability to witness to the power of the Spirit in our lives, and helps us to hold one another and this beloved world in the Light.

with Love,

Sarah Cushman (Portland, ME, Friends Meeting)
Clerk, for the Living Faith Planning Team

Contribute a Photo for the Project

Opportunities for Advocacy and Witness

Even as we practice physical distancing, we urge Friends to consider how we can live our faith through advocacy to support those who are especially vulnerable.

Below we’re highlighting two issues of particular urgent concern accompanied by actions Friends can take, as well as links to learn more.

Stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag

  • As those who are able shelter at home, our neighbors of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe are at risk of losing what is left of their homelands due to recent decisions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Secretary of the Interior. Also known as the People of the First Light, the Mashpee Wampanoag have occupied the same region for over 12,000 years. Sovereignty, tribal government, health, education, and emergency services are all threatened by the actions of the U.S. government. Learn more here.
  • Mashpee Wampanoag community leaders have shared that Friends’ advocacy at this time is welcomed, especially in support of HR 312, federal legislation that would prevent the Department of the Interior from “disestablishing” the Tribe’s reservation.

    Rachel Carey-Harper, (Barnstable, MA, Preparative Meeting), a Friend with many years’ relationship with members of the Tribe, has created a call to action for Friends and a sample letter that Friends can use to offer support through letter-writing and phone calls.

    From Rachel: I respectfully ask Friends to prayerfully consider appropriate responses and support for the indigenous people in Mashpee…Let’s envision and work toward a renewed commitment to respect and healing. As this blossoms in all our hearts, it enables us to meet each other with Light and unconditional Love.

    Read more from Rachel here. There is also an online petition organized through MoveOn.org that you can sign here.

Care for Those Incarcerated or Detained

  • Alongside many in our region and around the country, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is calling for government officials across the U.S to protect the vulnerable, especially those confined in detention centers, jails, and prisons, where physical distancing is not possible and coronavirus outbreaks are spreading

    Take action to contact your governor and relevant ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) authorities with the message that we must care for all who are in danger—including those members of our communities who are detained or incarcerated, and their families.

  • Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has more information on the particular vulnerability for those incarcerated and in detention, and action steps you can take, here.
  • “No Way to Treat a Child”, a campaign co-sponsored by the AFSC, is asking Friends to support a bill in Congress that would prohibit U.S. taxpayer funds from supporting the military detention and abuse of children, with particular emphasis on the care of Palestinian youth in Israeli detention centers, where coronavirus infections have already begun to spread.

    Consistent with New England Friends’ 2017 minuted call for an end to U.S. military aid to the Middle East, we encourage you to learn more and take action here.

Looking for more legislative action updates? FCNL is maintaining a COVID-19 advocacy page here.

Aware of other ways New England Friends can support those most vulnerable?  Email Noah. We’ll gather and regularly review these opportunities to support Quakers in witness during the pandemic.

Continuing Connection and Support for Meetings

We remain grateful for the rich sharing and relationship being fostered through our weekly calls with meeting leaders and via the New England Quakers discussion forum on Slack (contact us to join).

This week, we’ve heard questions from Friends about online security, particularly for those of us using Zoom. In response, we’ve added a page on the topic, with tips for managing virtual risks, to our website here.

In the coming days, we’re continuing to support Friends serving in local meetings with further resources and connections related to online discernment and decision-making, as well as sharing practices and counsel for holding space for grief and mourning in these times.

Please reach out—just reply to this email—if there are other ways we can be of help in the coming week. 

In tender openness, with profound care, and until we meet again,

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

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

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

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

 

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!

 

Dear Friends,
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to gather with Friends from across New England and New York Yearly Meetings to explore the ways we “hold the whole” of our spiritual communities.

Hearing from people  about their experiences, I was moved by this reflection from Kathleen Wooten of Fresh Pond (MA) Friends Meeting, and wanted to share it with you. Kathleen’s message resonates with conversations I’ve heard happening in many Friends communities, across our region and beyond.


In these conversations, I hear a rising invitation to reorient our hearts toward spiritual abundance, toward welcoming the diverse gifts we’ve been given for the good of the whole community. This is challenging work. For some of us, it may call us to re-examine how we understand the economics of grace.

In our wider society, we’re often accustomed to seeing what benefits one as a loss to another. As Quakers, even in our meeting communities, we can fall into the sense that giving “too much” attention or care to some diminishes others. It’s almost as if we’re concerned that if we help our neighbor to spread her wings and take flight, we might be left behind.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In celebrating, we just might be given more to celebrate. In giving, we might receive. In helping each other grow in particular service, even more of us might come alive to how we are called to serve, becoming more and more fully the channels of Love we were born to be. We serve, each in our own way.

Becoming a spiritual community that helps everyone to find their place at the table—and to set the table for others—might take us all. In these days, when the fabric of our society is torn by anxiety, isolation, and fear, Friends tradition invites us to a different path. When we help each other come alive, we come alive to serve.

And what, after all, is the purpose of wings?

Here’s Kathleen:When penguins swim, they are one of the fastest animals and most effective hunters on the planet.  They dive deeply, speed around catching fish, and are generally obviously made for what they are doing in that moment. With wings. In water. Hmmmmm.

The times when I am able to come most fully alive, to live into the piece of God’s kin-dom I am meant to shepherd and serve, is when I am simply able to feel direct nudges of the Spirit, and experiment with what works best for the tools I possess. I need to be able to take risks, to fall down safely, and to be encouraged to keep going.

Read more of Kathleen’s blog here.

Whether we fly or swim, our wings—the gifts we’ve been given to carry—aren’t for us alone. They’re for the building up of the whole community, given to be a blessing for the whole world. This month, with each other’s help, may we come to more fully know, embrace, and express the particular qualities we were born to share. With the love, care, and encouragement of our Friends, may we reach out to those around us, with the gift of all we are.

in faith and service,

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

Explore Quaker Discernment & Decision-Making

NEYM Presiding Clerk Fritz Weiss (Hanover, NH, Friends Meeting) and former Presiding Clerk Jackie Stillwell (Monadnock, NH, Friends Meeting) will lead a two-part workshop to explore clerking basics on April 13 at Beacon Hill Friends House.

The morning session is designed for Friends with little or no experience with clerking; the afternoon session will provide experience in facilitating Quaker decision-making process. Friends may choose to attend one or both sessions.

Click here for more details.

Exploring Prayer and Meditation

On May 24-27, Marcelle Martin will lead this three-day weekend exploring numerous approaches to prayer and meditation, including thanksgiving, petition, intercession, healing prayer, Examen, Lectio Divina, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, Centering Prayer, Grand Silence, extended meeting for worship, and prayer with scripture, images, music, and the body.

This workshop is also a chance to experience a taste of the Nurturing Faithfulness nine-month course, to be offered at Woolman Hill August 2019–May 2020, in partnership with New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

Register for Exploring Prayer and Meditation at the Woolman Hill website.

Events coming soon

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

View More Events

Join the Virtual Plenary Experiment

In the February and March newsletters we shared videos by Lisa Graustein (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) for  a “Virtual Plenary” to deepen engagement with the theme for 2019 Annual Sessions, “Provoke One Another to Love.” This is an opportunity for meetings and individual Friends—whether or not they are planning to attend Annual Sessions—to take part in exploring these important issues that we face as Friends today. All of the videos and related resources are posted here.

This month we are sharing two of three videos about Climate Change. (Part 3 will be posted on the website as soon as it’s available, and included in next month’s newsletter.)

These videos were designed to be viewed on your own and can also be used to shape an adult religious education session, using the reflection questions for discussion. If you want support or ideas for how to use them in First Day School or for adult programming, contact Lisa.

Virtual Plenary—Climate Change, Part 1 of 3: The Minutes
Virtual Plenary—Climate Change, Part 2 of 3: Patterns of Diversity

Sharing—And Celebrating—New Shapes of Service

From Yearly Meeting Secretary Noah Merrill:

With joy, I’m writing to share some exciting shifts in the focus of work of two Friends serving New England Quakers as staff.

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson (Portland, ME, Friends Meeting; pictured right) has previously served as part of the Friends Camp staff; as the founder of Art Camp, a weeklong camping program for adults exploring art as an expression of spirituality (now a program of Friends Camp); in an interim role coordinating the Young Friends (high-school-aged) program last year; and since the fall in an exploratory short-term role. I’m grateful to announce that Maggie will be moving into the new—and ongoing—staff role of Young Friends Events Organizer.

Maggie will have primary responsibility for Young Friends programming and events. She will work closely with Gretchen Baker-Smith (Westport, MA, Friends Meeting) to nurture connections with the Junior High Yearly Meeting program, and to strengthen transitions and continuity of relationship between these vibrant ministries of New England Friends.

Nia Thomas

Maggie will serve with support from—and in collaboration with—Nia Thomas (Northampton, MA, Friends Meeting; pictured right with baby Llewelyn), who has nurtured Young Friends for many years and will continue to be involved in many aspects of youth ministry with teens, families, and meetings.

In turn, Nia’s focus will shift to more fully include work with Friends of all ages in the new role of Quaker Practice and Leadership Facilitator, helping New England Quakers deepen our engagement with spiritual formation, training in Quaker practice, and the nurture of leadership. In this role, Nia will be working to help network and convene those active in these areas of ministry, curate resources, and connect many more people with opportunities that nourish their gifts and help the Quaker movement to thrive.

Responding to Continuing Revelation

While these new titles and staff roles are being formalized this spring, in reality they reflect an unfolding of this work that has been in process organically for some time. This change in orientation builds on learning from a three-year grant funded project, supported by the Shoemaker Fund, to learn about fostering vibrant multigenerational spiritual communities. It reflects a continuation—and an evolution—of some of the groundbreaking experiments in outreach and religious education led until last fall by Beth Collea (Wellesley, MA, Friends Meeting). And this transition responds to the wider discernment of Friends throughout New England in recent years on the need to focus more intentionally on nurturing the web of local Friends meetings and the wider ecology of the Quaker movement across our region.

We hope you’ll experience the fruits these changes will bear in the life of Quakers in New England in the coming months. In the meantime, you can reach Maggie at maggie@neym.org, and Nia at nia@neym.org. As always, I’d also be happy to hear from you at ymsec@neym.org.

I’m grateful for each of the many, many Friends who have helped with vision, discernment, questions, expertise, prayers, and ongoing financial support to make these transitions possible.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating these changes, congratulating Maggie and Nia, and looking forward to new growth and possibilities as this work unfolds!

in the Love that makes us Friends,

Noah Merrill (Putney, VT Friends Meeting)
Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Supporting Our Muslim Neighbors

Friends from around New England took part in prayer vigils in response to the mosque shootings in Christchurch New Zealand, including Friends from Wellesley (MA), New Haven (CT), Concord (NH), and western MassachusettsCanadian Friends circulated a minuteexpressing their sorrow and prayers for both the victims and the perpetrators of violence.

Maine Friends Support Maine Native Tribes

Leslie Manning (Durham, ME, Friends Meeting) spoke on behalf of the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy in support of funding for the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission on March 19. You can read her testimony here.

Support for Our Immigrant Neighbors

South Starksboro (VT) Friends Meeting has passed a minute in support of immigrant families and asylum-seekers. Read the minute here.

Called to Nurturing Faithfulness?

Might you be led to participate in a multi-generational faith and leadership program designed to help Friends explore ways to meet God more deeply, deepen discernment, reach for fuller faithfulness, and share these gifts and skills with your local meetings and beyond?

Consider joining the Nurturing Faithfulness program beginning in August 2019 co-led by Hilary Burgin (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) and Marcelle Martin.

Click here for more information, and decide if this is the program for you or someone you know.

Got Office Skills?

Work behind the scenes with staff and volunteers in the Yearly Meeting office during Annual Sessions in August. You will be supporting the Office Manager during the two weeks that the office is on site at Castleton University in Vermont. It’s busy, sometimes chaotic, but also fun. Read the job description and if you’re interested, email Office Manager Sara Hubner.

Speaking Out Against the Death Penalty

On March 26, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 455, a bill to repeal the state’s death penalty. Among those who spoke in favor of the bill were Marian Baker (Weare, NH, Friends Meeting and a representative to the N.H. Council of Churches), Margaret Hawthorn (Monadnock, NH, Friends Meeting), Bess Klassen-Landis (Hanover, NH, Friends Meeting), and Arnie Alpert from the American Friends Service Committee New Hampshire office.

Read Margaret Hawthorn’s testimony here.

Marion Baker testifies in opposition to the death penalty in New Hampshire

Friends Camp Has Adopted Art Camp!

With two years under its belt as a grant-funded independent ministry, Art Camp is becoming a program under the care of Friends Camp. Maggie Nelson (Portland, ME Friends) will continue to coordinate, with support from Friends Camp Director Anna Hopkins. You can read more about this change here.

Watch for more details about this year’s Art Camp, both here in this newsletter and on neym.org!

Quilts for Beauty and Comfort

A building renovation leads to a quilt-making project—which leads to another quilt-making project! On neym.org, read how and why Mt. Toby Friends are making quilts.

Preserving Your Meeting’s History

The present life of your meeting will be history before you know it! Preserve important records by submitting them to the Yearly Meeting Archives at UMass Amherst. Wondering what to send? How to send it? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions or contact the Archives Committee.

Friends Celebrating Pete Seeger

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Friends from nine meetings across New England are organizing singalong concerts in their area to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s birth—and the many groups carrying on his lifetime of work on behalf of peace, justice and the earth. You can find more details here.

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood of Mt. Toby (MA) Meeting will lead Friends in a singalong concert of Pete’s songs on Tuesday evening of Annual Sessions in August.

Apply for a Prejudice & Poverty Grant

The Working Party of the Yearly Meeting Racial Social Economic Justice Committee (RSEJ) seeks applications for grants from the Prejudice and Poverty Fund. We urge “organizations who work to alleviate the suffering of segments of the U.S. population” to apply immediately.

Read details about application and submit your request for consideration this month.

Emily Savin on PBS

Emily Savin (Northampton, MA, Friends Meeting) discovers her inner rebel and breaks one of her mom’s sacred rules in this episode of “Curveball,” which you can watch here (Emily’s story begins at 17:57).

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!