A Moment to Give Thanks

A Moment to Give Thanks

Artwork: Maggie Nelson, Portland (ME) Friends Meeting
Dear Friends,

Before something new begins, it’s important to pause to give thanks.

Here’s some good financial news: Thanks to you and hundreds of Friends like you from Connecticut to Maine, in the recently-ended fiscal year New England Yearly Meeting of Friends met and exceeded our overall fundraising goals, continuing five years of patient progress toward financial sustainability in support of the ministries of New England Quakers. That’s a statement about stewardship, and about how we support what matters to us as a regional faith community. 

We ended the fiscal year with a smaller-than-anticipated deficit. If we all come together, we’re on track to balance our yearly meeting’s budget in the coming year.

And there’s so much more to be thankful for. With your help, countless Friends worked diligently to nourish the Quaker movement in New England in 2018.

Together we:

  • Published a monthly newsletter lifting up the life and ministry of New England Quakers—sharing Friends’ stories, and amplifying our shared witness on the climate crisis and work for racial justice;
  • Raised a more powerful voice on behalf of Friends in our wider region on vital issues of our times through time-sensitive public statements, ecumenical engagement, and organizing;
  • Partnered with local meetings to help foster multigenerational relationships, and integrate young adults & families more fully in our faith communities;
  • Offered workshops and opportunities for connection among those whose service sustains our local meetings, from clerks and treasurers to members of ministry & counsel committees;
  • Removed barriers to participation and offered a wider welcome through the use of the Pay-As-Led approach to event fees;
  • Hosted events that nurtured faith and Quaker practice, including Annual Sessions, Living Faith gatherings, youth retreats, spiritual nurture workshops, and more;
  • Supported those who work with our youngest Friends, providing training and background screenings for youth workers, and implementing our newly-approved child safety policy;
  • Consulted with Friends and local meetings to imagine new and better ways to support the spiritual health and life of children and families throughout New England
As we look to a new year, may we continue to grow in faith, in trust, in relationship, and in grounded joy. From this Center, may we listen, love, and serve boldly as we take up the work before us.

For the opportunity to share this journey with you, I give thanks.

with prayers for our world in 2019,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

The Kindling Power

Most persons are awakened and set on their new track of life through the quickening and kindling power of some person who becomes for them the instrument of inspiration and of the creation of faith and the vision of a nobler way of life. 
Persons are set on fire by someone who is already aflame.

– Rufus Jones

Dear Friends,

I trace my life through moments when I was able to say “yes,” when I found through the encouragement of others the courage to let go of the shore for the ocean. In countless ways, my life has been shaped by relationship.

Among so many moments, I remember and give thanks for:

  • The face of a Friend across my kitchen table, when I was lost for answers, as she took both my hands in hers and taught me to pray out loud
  • Walking with a Friend on a beach in the predawn darkness before I brought a prepared message for the first time. His advice: “Risk failing in order to be faithful”
  • Just before a workshop out West, a Quaker elder who stopped me with a look, then adjusted my posture with some of the clearest, simplest instruction for ministry I’ve ever received: “Head up, shoulders back, heart open”
  • In the depths of a winter night, advice in a time of discernment about whether to let go of one work that had shaped my life, and say “yes” to another: The voice on the phone said, “Sometimes all choices will bring pain. You still have to choose”
  • The dedication of Friends serving as my ministry oversight committee–and each companion, mentor, and elder–witnessing, waiting, and watching with me over months and years, caring for the quiet work of God unfolding among us, discerning what it is time for
  • The Friend who loved animals, women, poetry, art and God, eyes shining as her life reached its end, embracing the undiscovered country to come, blessing those of us who would remain, challenging me to “go where the Life is”

Every day, the kindling power moving through relationship in Quaker faith community challenges me to say “yes” again. Reaching from Cape Cod to Maine to Connecticut; to Kansas, Ramallah, Cuba, and beyond, each day I’m helped and held by the web of relationships in which I’m blessed to participate.

Relationship is at the heart of Friends practice. It’s carefully woven in our communities through acts of presence, prayer, and participation. The substance of faithful community is formed when we love one another, serve one another, challenge each other to greater faithfulness, and name when and where we see the Spirit at work.

So I wonder:

  • What have been your experiences of being met, seen, and encouraged?
  • Who have been the instruments of this enlivening and mentorship in your life, and do they know it?
  • Where might you be called to offer this care, to share this encouragement, to name the gifts you see?
  • How might you challenge, guide, or affirm the Spirit at work in someone in your meeting?

In this season, communities across the world are waiting and watching together in expectant hope. We share stories of Light coming into the world, comforting and amazing us in the midst of fear and desolation. In the unlikeliest of places, Love is born, the fire of Hope is kindled. Through grace and daily choice, we help this happen together.

This month, let’s take the risk that each person we meet could be the kindling that sets our hearts aflame, that reignites our spirits. Risk the possibility that you could give that gift to others. In small acts of service and accompaniment and presence, risk nurture. Risk encouragement. Risk naming the Life you see at work in someone else. Risk participating in the kindling power.

May we come again and again to the sure knowledge that relationship with God and relationship with each other are truly inseparable. May we meet and welcome the Friend in one another.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

P.S.– As a Yearly Meeting, we’re committed to supporting the web of encouragement and mentorship across generations. In February, we’re sponsoring a weekend gathering for Friends who share this yearning. Together, we’ll explore how this happens in our own lives, how we might learn and grow in this service, and how we might help our meeting communities to more fully embrace the ministry of relationship.

Might this opportunity be for you? You can learn more and share your interest in participating here. More information on Partners in Spirit is below.

P.P.S.Affirming the sacredness of relationship means recognizing the Light in each of our neighbors—especially those from whom fear, hatred, and oppression threaten to separate us.

If you haven’t already, please consider how your meeting might support Love Knows No Borders: a moral call for migrant justice sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and partners, December 10-18–next week. See the article below for more information.

Nia Thomas and Hilary Burgin, left; Kristina Keefe-Perry, right

Partners in Spirit: For young adults and aspiring mentors

February 15–18, 2019
Woolman Hill
Deerfield, MA

When you look back on your spiritual growth, who encouraged you?

None of us grows to our full potential without others seeing our inner promise, creating space, and encouraging us along as we move through the hardest stretches.

Mentors are omega-3s for our spiritual growth, increasing vitality and drawing out potential. And yet, many young adult Friends in New England report they struggle to find authentic mentoring relationships.

I do not believe that this problem exists because there is a lack of Friends capable of spiritual nurture; I believe it is (at least in part) due to an awkwardness at starting mentoring conversations and a failure to see ourselves as worthy of this powerful role. 

Read more from Nia Thomas (Northampton, MA, Friends Meeting)
Partners in Spirit is a retreat bringing together aspiring Quaker mentors and emerging adults (ages 18–25) who seek to strengthen their Quaker spiritual practice and to better live their faith daily.

Attendance is by application, and space is limited. Find more information and apply here.

Love Knows No Borders: a moral call for migrant justice

The American Friends Service Committee begins a Week of Action on December 10 (International Human Rights Day), concluding on December 18 (International Migrants Day).  On December 10, more than 200 faith leaders from across the country will take part in an action at the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego, California. Diane Dicranian of Winthrop Center, ME, Friends Church is leaving soon to join this action. Please hold her and all involved in the Light in the coming days.

Here are a few ways you can support this effort, and learn more:

1. Learn more about the action and week’s events at the AFSC Website
2. Watch this week’s teach-in and call to action on Facebook.
3. Follow the NEYM Facebook page for updates and reports from Diane and others, including live-streaming of an interfaith service on Sunday, December 9, at noon EST.

If you or your Friends meeting plan to participate locally or in other ways, please let us know.

Other events coming soon

View More Events

Giving Thanks, Celebrating New Service

From Young Adult Engagement Coordinator Hilary Burgin:

Dear Friends,

As some Friends may have heard recently, I have some bittersweet news: I have accepted the position as Executive Director of Quaker Voluntary Service, and I will be concluding my staff work with New England Yearly Meeting in December (yes, this month).

My own calling to faithfulness has deepened and grown through my work with young adult Friends and with you all around welcoming and outreach. I see tremendous love, care, and opportunity among Friends in New England. I see young adults hungry for spiritual nurture, some being fed by their relationship with local meetings, some through young adult Friends events—and some still seeking their homes. I see meetings seeking ways to welcome young adults. I see individuals faithful to their gifts and leadings, in community with others also seeking to be faithful. I’m excited to see how our Yearly Meeting will explore new edges, take risks, and continue the important conversations and growth that are happening.

As I shift jobs, I will be staying in New England, still living in Boston and worshipping with Beacon Hill Friends Meeting. I look forward to continuing to be with you as a member of our yearly meeting!

To stay in touch, you can write me at hilary@quakervoluntaryservice.org.

In Peace, with gratitude,


From Yearly Meeting Secretary Noah Merrill:

I want to celebrate Hilary’s service as staff of New England Yearly Meeting these past few years, and share my joy and encouragement as she takes these next steps. Like so many of us who have worked to help Quaker Voluntary Service grow in recent years—from its founding, to bringing a QVS house to Boston, to now supporting the transition to a new executive director for this start-up Quaker organization—I’m excited to see Hilary bring her gifts and commitment to servant leadership to QVS.

We will miss working with her as part of the Yearly Meeting staff team, but New England Friends will continue to benefit from what Hilary and many other Friends have done as part of a three-year, grant-funded partnership between New York and New England Yearly Meetings for fostering multigenerational Friends meetings.

This winter and spring, as we conclude the final year of this project, we’ll be integrating lessons learned in the work Hilary has led. We look forward to sharing learning and resources, and to continuing the conversation about outreach, inclusion, and welcome. We’re planning and preparing in-person events, written articles, and tools to support Friends as we continue to do this vital work in our local meetings. Watch this newsletter for more news and next steps in the coming months.

There will be more opportunities soon for Hilary to share her gifts with New England Quakers: at February’s Partners in Spirit retreat, in another opportunity in March at New York Yearly Meeting’s Powell House still in development, and beginning next fall as Hilary serves as co-teacher for the Nurturing Faithfulness program—a partnership of Marcelle Martin, Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center, and New England Yearly Meeting.

Hilary is an inspiring example among the many Friends in New England who are supporting the Spirit’s work through the Quaker movement in these times. I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks for Hilary’s work, and holding her in the Light in this time of newness and transition.

in faith and service,


Boston QVS welcomes Kristina Keefe-Perry

Kristina Keefe-Perry (Fresh Pond, MA, Friends Meeting) will step into Hilary Burgin’s former role as the Boston Coordinator for Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS). Kristina was a founding board member of QVS, and is active in public ministry in New England and beyond.

You can read more about Kristina here.

Friends Responding to Hate and Violence

Image: Callum Taylor
Friends in New England and beyond continue to respond to the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life temple in Pittsburgh. Framingham Friends Meeting (MA) sent a letter to the rabbis of temples in their area which you can read here.  Monadnock (NH) Friends published an open letter to the Tree of Life Synagogue which you can read on their Facebook page.

Pittsburgh Friends expressed gratitude for the support they have received in the wake of the Tree of Life shooting, and approved a minute responding to gun violence.

Framingham Friends also sent a letter to Islamic groups and the principal of Hemenway Elementary School, expressing their distress at the hateful messages sent to a 10-year-old student at the school.

Santa Fe (New Mexico) Monthly Meeting approved a minute supporting the rights of refugees.

Friends Peace House: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities

The Listening Room at Friends Peace House (photo: Anneke Hohl)

Anneke Hohl (Portland, ME, Friends Meeting) visited Friends Peace House (FPH) in Rwanda earlier this year. Read about the work of FPH, including Alternatives to Violence and a campaign to bring mediation into Rwandan prisons, here.

Nurturing Relationship with the “Praying Indians”

Chief Caring Hands and Wellesley Friend Sue Webb (Photo: Roland Stern)
Wellesley Friends recently met to share a meal and watch the film Praying Indianswith guests Zadi Zokou, the filmmaker; and Chief Caring Hands of the Natick Praying Indian TownPraying Town tells the story of the first Praying Indian village, founded in 1651 in South Natick, Massachusetts. On August 11, 2012, for the first time after almost 300 years, members of the tribe again began worshiping at the Eliot Church, South Natick.

Online Course: Building a Nonviolent Campaign

In the face of hatred, injustice, and environmental destruction, are you tired of being told simply to call your elected officials? Do you feel ready for bolder, more creative action on the issues you care about?

Beginning January 7, an online course (4 lessons) will teach you the basics of nonviolent, direct-action campaigning. Eileen Flanagan, the instructor, is a former clerk of the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and a member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

Learn more and register here

Racial Justice and the Beloved Community

Heather Denkmire (Portland, ME, Friends Meeting) is a participant in the course “Racial Justice and the Beloved Community” led by Lisa Graustein (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) and funded in part by a grant from the Legacy Fund of New England Yearly Meeting.

Heather writes for the blog Black Girl in Maine about some of what she’s learning.

The Power of Civil Disobedience

Lewis Randa (Wellesley, MA, Friends Meeting) recently spoke to his meeting about the power of civil disobedience. Lewis is the founder of the Life Experience School and the Pacifist Memorial in Sherborn, Mass. The first student at the Life Experience School, Courty, joined Lewis for the “Second Hour” presentation.

An act of civil disobedience that led to the arrest of Courty contributed to produce change: In 2009, the Department of Mental Retardation changed its name to the Department of Developmental Services.

Quakers Sue New York Prisons

Friends in New York Yearly Meeting, which includes several Friends meetings in prisons, have joined in a lawsuit against the Green Haven prison and the New York Department of Corrections. The suit alleges several instances of denial of freedom of religion.

Read more

New Book: Exploring Prophetic Ministry

In Walk Humbly, Serve Boldly: Modern Quakers as Everyday ProphetsMargery Post Abbott of Multnomah (OR) Friends Meeting explores the understanding and practice of prophetic ministry among Friends today.

In this book, Marge lays out one vision of what a prophetic community might look like among Friends, recognizing fully how often we fall short and how our visions differ. Yet she has hope that in reaching far we might at least in part demonstrate what it means to live in the city of God.

Her work is enriched by the many Friends from around the world who responded to queries about their experience of the prophetic ministry, focusing on how they know and respond to the guidance of the Inward Light and looking to what underpins their witness. Marge hopes this work might be useful for opening conversations and encouraging others to pay attention to those often gentle nudges that can bring us to awareness of our callings and help reshape our lives.

Each chapter contains queries for use by groups. The final query reads:

“Can you imagine Friends as a band of everyday prophets? What does this look like in your imagination? What are the preconditions that would allow this to happen? What might be your first step in becoming part of this band?”

Read more and order the book here

Got photos?

We always need compelling photographs for the website, newsletter, and other publications for New England Friends.

If you have photos from Annual Sessions, events at your local meeting, or other activities of Quakers in New England, please send them to office@neym.org, including the names of the person(s) in the photo, the date taken, the event, and the full name of the photographer.

Thanks in advance!

News of New England Friends sharing and acting from their faith in the past month:

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

Solar On!


The installation of our solar array started today.  They are hoping the weather will continue as forecast and they will finish the project this week.  At the business meeting in October there was a request that the Meeting be informed when the work begins.   Gary is on the roof, the other man working today was not on it at this moment.  After getting 14 inches of Snow in Marlboro in the last storm, they are delighted that our part of Putney  only had 3 inches.

With Our Whole Hearts

Dear Friends,

I’ve been ill for the past few weeks, so I hope you’ll forgive my not sharing a longer reflection this month.

Last week, with support from many Friends, our presiding clerk and I published a public statement on behalf of Quakers in New England, “The Love that Overcomes.” You can read the letter here.

I hope the stories of faithful living and opportunities for engagement featured in this month’s newsletter will bring you encouragement and nourish your spirit. My prayer is that in these turbulent days, each of us might find space—even if only for a few moments—for the refuge, rest, and renewal that will allow us to be who we are called to be.

May we help each other to discern and do just what is ours to do—what only we can do—and to do it with our whole hearts.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Partners in Spirit matches young adults and aspiring mentors

February 15–18, 2019
Woolman Hill
Deerfield, MA

Hilary Burgin (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) and Nia Thomas (Northampton, MA, Friends Meeting) will be joined by guest teacher Kristina Keefe-Perry (Fresh Pond, MA, Friends Meeting) to lead this weekend retreat bringing together two cohorts: emerging adults (ages 18–25) seeking to strengthen their understanding and experience of Quaker spiritual practices and more experienced Friends seeking to grow in their gifts as mentors and spiritual nurturers.

Attendance is by application. For more information, click here.

At the Well

A gathering for Friends in public ministry who identify as women (cisgender and trans), trans men, genderqueer, non-binary, and all gender expansive identities, December 6–9, 2018.

At the Well aspires to witness to the particularity of callings laid upon participants’ hearts by providing a venue for Spirit to knit together a blessed community of connection, support, mentoring, restoration, and passion.

The weekend will include times of worship, worship-sharing in small groups, workshops, multiple participant-led offerings, socialization, rest, and renewal. We intend to follow a hybrid model of structured planned program time and some time for Open Space/Unconference exploration.

An optional 24-hour pre-gathering will offer participants space for self-led sabbatical time or guided discernment program facilitated by Jennie Isbell Shinn (Mt. Toby, MA, Friends Meeting).

Attendance at the gathering and pre-gathering will be open to any Quaker in public ministry whose gender identity is targeted by any form of gender-based discrimination.

Learn more about At the Well and register.

Other events coming soon

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

Upcoming Youth Retreats

View More Events

Dawnland film streaming on PBS this month

Dawnland, the acclaimed documentary chronicling the work of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission in Maine, is now available to stream in the United States on the PBS website and apps through the end of November in recognition of National Native American Heritage month. The Upstander Project team, Dawnlandfilm participants, and their partners at Maine-Wabanaki REACH are available for teacher workshops and to join conversations at all screenings of the film.

Click here to book a speaker. For more about the film, visit the Dawnland website.

Faith & Practice Revision Committee invites
your insights

This year at Annual Sessions, the committee charged with leading the revision of Faith and Practice, our Yearly Meeting’s book of discipline, brought two additional papers to NEYM for Friends’ consideration; one on Pastoral Care and one on Dying, Death and Bereavement. In addition, the Faith and Practice Revision Committee is continuing to work on the papers on Personal Spiritual Disciplines and Membership. Friends can find all of these papers here.

The committee is asking Friends to engage with these papers corporately, in each of our local meetings, and to share our advices and responses. The Faith and Practice Revision Committee is particularly interested in responses to the two new chapters: Pastoral Care and Dying, Death and Bereavement. Responses can be sent to the Committee’s email address, preferably no later than February 1, 2019.

These Friends have been doing careful and deeply discerning work in bringing forward a new book of discipline for New England Yearly Meeting. The invitation to read this material and to engage with it together is an invitation to consider corporately who we are and how we are called to live into our faith.

Song, prayer, and fellowship gather Friends at Living Faith

Photos: (top, lower left) Maggie Nelson, (lower right) Lisa Graustein

More than 125 Friends gathered for a day of community-building, worship, workshops, and fellowship on Saturday, October 27th at The 224 EcoSpace in Hartford, Connecticut. We began the day with a game, and closed the day with worship and song. Read more voices of Friends sharing about the day here.

“Provoke one another to Love” Chosen as Theme for 2019 Annual Sessions

The theme for the 2019 Annual Sessions has been discerned: “Provoke one another to Love.” The phrase comes from a 1656 epistle from Margaret Fell, and was quoted in the Yearly Meeting 2018 Epistle.

Read a message about this theme from Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk Fritz Weiss

Responding to Climate Change

Measuring your carbon footprint

As many Friends are aware, the Yearly Meeting gathered in August committed to assessing New England Quakers’ current impact on the climate and taking concrete steps to reduce our carbon footprint—both for individuals and our local meetings—by December 20, 2019.

An online carbon calculator developed by Friend Steve Gates (West Falmouth, MA, Friends Meeting) can be used by individuals and groups to estimate your carbon footprint. Steve and Rebecca MacKenzie (Quaker City/Unity, NH, Friends Meeting) from the NEYM Earthcare Ministries Committee would love to visit your meeting to listen and share with you about the calculator, to explore the transformations required of us, and to support your meeting in taking steps forward.

Contact Steve by email or call 508-564-2761. Rebecca can also be reached by email or by telephone at 603-504-2851.

Taking action

Middlebury (VT) Friends expressed their gratitude to the local Jewish community by purchasing solar panels for Havurah House, the building where Middlebury Friends meet. These Friends have been thinking for some years about how to help Havurah make the building more environmentally friendly. Once electricity begins flowing from these solar panels, Havurah will get a credit on its electric bill that will offset most or all of the building’s electricity expense.

More resources and inspiration

Andy Burt (Midcoast, ME, Friends Meeting) has created a full-length documentary that tells how 13 Maine activists started their journey of activism for climate justice, and where they find support and hope. The film is free for downloading and streaming at downtoearthstories.org.

Traveling Ministry: Art & Spirituality

Maggie Nelson, of Portland Friends Meeting (ME), is beginning a traveling ministry this year (through May 31, 2019) offering workshops for New England Friends of all ages to explore art as an expression of faith. Additionally, there is an open call for work from Quaker artists exploring this topic. The project will culminate in a collection of artwork that illustrates and illuminates Quaker testimony. Are you an artist with work to share? Would you like Maggie to visit your meeting, retreat, or school? Contact her at maggie@neym.org.
Maggie also served as artist in residence at Friends Camp, in China, Maine, this past June. Read about her experience here.

Friends Camp Registration is Open!

Friends Camp offers 2-week overnight camp programs for children and teens ages 7 to17 in South China, Maine. Campers ages 7 to 12 can try camp for just one week. Check out the Camp’s Instagram photos here and watch a video from this past summer. Visit the Friends Camp website for more information and to register your child.
Learn More and Register

Following Where Faith Leads

An unexpected leading to visit Friends in New Bedford led Martha Mangelsdorf in surprising new directions—with significant implications. Read about her journey here.

Wellesley Friends Join Area Clergy to Support Transgender Rights

June 6, 2018, Needham Community Conversation about Transgender Equality, First Parish UU Church. Cynthia Ganung is at the far left.

Wellesley (MA) Friends Meeting, represented by Cynthia Ganung, joined area clergy in a letter supporting Question 3 on transgender rights in Massachusetts. The faith-based statement was read at the Needham Transgender Equality Coalition program on October 22, “Why Yes on 3? A conversation on preserving transgender rights in MA.” (The photo above is from an earlier event supporting transgender equality.)Cynthia reports “I was proud to be part of this group and to speak out as a Quaker who supports transgender equality. At the end of the program, a woman who is transgender told me she was moved to tears during this reading and is beginning to feel that she might be able to reclaim her faith.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is November 20.

New Quaker Action Program Manager at
Beacon Hill Friends House

The Beacon Hill Friends House (Boston, MA) is excited to announce that Emily Savin has joined the staff and residential community as the organization’s first full-time Program Manager. Emily is a Friend, a writer, and a community-builder, coming to the Friends House from Northampton, MA. A former staff member and resident at Pendle Hill, Emily also brings many years of experience as a grassroots organizer at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and in several U.S. congressional campaigns. Her work will center on stewarding and expanding the Friends House’s educational and action-focused programming on Quaker and social justice topics—both those designed in-house and those hosted by outside individuals and groups.

The addition of the Program Manager—who joins three existing staff and 18 other residents—is the latest step in living into the Friends House’s 2017 strategic plan to grow its role as a center for learning, witness, and action for Friends and others in the Boston area and beyond. Learn more about Emily and the plans for her work in this post on the Beacon Hill Friends House website.

Collaborating for Religious Education

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is a grassroots network of Friends holding a sense of stewardship for life-long Quaker faith formation. Friends from all branches involved in religious education are welcome to join. The collaborative is a community of practice to share resources, skills, gifts, questions, and insights, and to support one another in this vital ministry. QREC hosts monthly online conversation circles on relevant topics.This month’s theme is Friendly Resources for the Holiday Season. For more information on the collaborative and to sign up for the conversation circles, visit the QREC website.

Explore Quaker Parenting

The Quaker Parenting Initiative, with leadership from Harriet Heath of Schoodic (ME) Friends Meeting, offers online parenting discussion series. During a series, parents share their experiences and explore how their Quaker beliefs, the testimonies and practices guide and support their parenting. As one parent wrote:

Online makes it accessible. It was amazing to connect to the community this way!! It has been so lovely to feel part of something with like-minded people, each with their own challenges. It is difficult to commit to a weekly time slot for a number of consecutive weeks, but I am so glad that I did.

She continued by noting how she and her partner now approach each situation using their values, beliefs, and the cognitive development of their children.

Two new series of five sessions of parenting discussions will start in January 2019, one on the 9th and the second on the 10th. For more information or to register, contact Harriet Heath at 413-230-6568 or email her.

In 2019 Friends Peace Teams will be offering opportunities for training in peacebuilding and healing and rebuilding communities. The 6th Annual International Peace Training will happen in Indonesia, January 10 through 23, 2019. Two sessions of “Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities” will be offered, February 3–23, 2019; and July 7–27, 2019; both in Rwanda. For more information on their work, visit the Friends Peace Teams website.

News of New England Friends sharing and acting from their faith in the past month:

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

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Civil Resistance Documentary Films Launch

Dear Friends,

Our former member at Putney Friends Meeting, Steve Chase, has shared these free resources in non-violent resistance.

Civil Resistance Documentary Films Launch

Dear Friends,

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!: We just posted five critically acclaimed documentary films on civil resistance on our website, in English as well as translated into over 20 languages.

Originally available only on DVD or videocassette, and shown in hundreds of screenings in over 25 countries, the films can now be viewed freely, worldwide. The films are:

A Force More Powerful: 
The Emmy-nominated documentary exploring civil resistance campaigns in India, the United States, South Africa, Poland, Denmark, and Chile.

Bringing Down a Dictator: 
The award-winning documentary chronicling the student-led Otpor! Movement that led to the ouster of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

Orange Revolution: 
The acclaimed documentary recounting 17 days of nonviolent civil resistance by the people of Ukraine against their chronically corrupt government.

Confronting the Truth: 
A documentary examining the dynamics and mechanics of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in the aftermath of conflicts in South Africa, Peru, East Timor, and Morocco.

Egypt: Revolution Interrupted?:
 A documentary recounting the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and its aftermath in the years that followed.

All of the films are available for free streaming on the “ICNC Films” page of our website.

Please share this exciting news with anyone who may be interested!

The ICNC Team

1775 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1200
Washington, D.C. 20006

The Love That Overcomes

November 3, 2018
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God –Romans 8:38-39
This week, Quaker communities of faith across the six New England states are mourning with our Jewish neighbors the deadliest act of violence against Jews in this country’s history.  We mourn with all who are targeted by hate.  We join our hearts in grief with the grieving.  We search for ways to respond to the corrosive evils of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and the persecution of those labeled as “other,” even as we acknowledge our own complicity in these sins.  We yearn for justice, for healing, for refuge for those most at risk.  In town squares, in places of worship, in living rooms, in legislative offices and detention centers, we unite with countless others to protect people from further violence, violence fueled by false prophets preaching fear.
Each day brings further anxiety, violence, and vitriol, while some charged to be leaders incite the worst in us as human beings.  We are surrounded by stories of hatred, division, and despair.  And yet, we know this: The story of Love will endure.
This week, in the face of the mass murder of Jews at prayer, Jewish doctors and nurses treated the man who opened fire in the Tree of Life Synagogue.  A stranger in a parking lot cradled the 12-year-old boy whose grandfather was one of two black people shot and killed by a white man outside Louisville, Kentucky.  As some deny the basic humanity of transgender people and people seeking asylum, communities respond with acts of radical love, inclusion, and sanctuary. In these and so many unnamed acts, amidst such suffering, we see the infinite Love of God.
It is the testimony of the Religious Society of Friends that God is at work healing the brokenness of the world and the brokenness within each of us.  Nothing can hold back the unshakeable power of Love in this time, and throughout all time.  What matters in this moment–in every moment–is how we choose to participate in this eternal story.  Our lives must proclaim that this Love is stronger than all fear.
We commit to live today trusting in this Truth.  The words we say and the choices we make in the coming days and weeks must bear witness to Love in concrete acts of connection and care, in our homes and neighborhoods, in our schools and workplaces, in the coming elections, as communities of faith, as people who call this country home, as those seeking refuge and those offering it.  We must waste no opportunity to love.
We must seek the grace to keep free from the politics of rage, division, numbness and dehumanization, even toward those we may perceive as enemies.  We must nurture in each other the courage to come together across difference, to resist hopelessness, to renounce a worldview that treats anyone as disposable, to affirm that the Spirit of God dwells in everyone.  With each person, in each moment, each place—this movement grows.
This is the time for a politics of presence, of radical relationship, of mutual aid and reconciliation.  It’s a time to be witnesses, storytellers of the broken-hearted Love that overcomes the powers of fear.  Let the walls of separation come crashing down.
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
Fritz Weiss, Presiding Clerk
Noah Merrill, Secretary

Free the Children

Include photo creditPhoto: Jon Krieg/AFSC

Dear Friends

As President Trump announced in his press conference yesterday, his administration is working on a new plan to detain immigrant families indefinitely. I want to make sure you know there is a public comment period that allows you to weigh in on this cruel proposal – and the deadline is this Tuesday, Nov. 6. If you haven’t already done so (and thank you if you have!), please take a few minutes to make your voice heard.

Tell the government today that it shouldn’t detain immigrant children and families at all.

We know that families belong together – and not in jail. But in recent months, we’ve seen the devastation wrought by the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies: Children separated from their parents at the border. Thousands of people funneled into a violent and inhumane detention and deportation system. And now, Trump is using the migrant caravan – which includes many families with children – to fuel support for his anti-immigrant agenda.

Trump’s proposed change would create a system of indefinitely family detention. It would supersede the Flores settlement, a decades-old court agreement that limits how long children can be detained and requires standards of care for detention facilities holding children.

Add your voice to the growing number of people telling the government: Stop detaining immigrant families! Here’s how:

1. Click here to publicly comment on Trump’s proposed rule. It’s titled “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children.”

2. Tell the government to reject any regulation that would allow the detention of immigrant children and families. Use your own words and write from your own values and experiences. Here are some points to consider:

  • Keeping children in detention causes lasting trauma.
  • Detention cannot be carried out humanely.
  • Indefinite detention of immigrant families violates human rights, fosters abuse and mistreatment, and is expensive, impractical, and unnecessary.
  • Protecting basic human rights is not a loophole.

Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, Nov. 6. Tell the government today: No more family detention.

In solidarity,

Kathryn Johnson
AFSC Policy Advocacy Coordinator

Submit your comment now

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

Now is the time to stand up for more humane values

American Friends Service Committee
Header Image




Yesterday the Trump administration announced the deployment of more than 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. In El Paso and other ports of entry, border agents have been seen in riot gear conducting exercises.

Now is the time to stand up for more humane values. Will you help fund AFSC’s emergency response to protect human rights and help those fleeing violence?

People fleeing violence in Central America should be able to seek asylum in this “land of liberty.” And deploying more troops to our southern border only endangers lives and puts all of our rights at risk – at enormous taxpayer expense.

We can make a difference. You can help.

AFSC works in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and dozens of U.S. cities and towns, including at the U.S.-Mexico border. Our team has traveled with the migrant caravan and is on the ground in the region now, assessing where our expertise and resources can make the greatest difference. We have also been convening faith and human rights groups in the U.S. to develop a visible, moral response to this human rights emergency.

We are developing plans to:

  • Meet human needs like shelter and safety.
  • Expand human rights monitoring.
  • Advocate for policy change.

Amidst the harassment and threats of detention that migrants face on their journey, we have been inspired to see people along the caravan’s route respond with generosity and compassion. I have no doubt that our community will do the same.

Please make a special gift today to support the people of the migrant caravan who are fleeing violence and poverty. Let’s show the world what love can do.

(portrait) Yours in service,


Mark Graham
Director of Communications and Development
American Friends Service Committee

P.S. My colleagues and I will be following up shortly with more about our efforts and how you can get involved in being a voice for change. Thank you once again for considering a gift to support this work!


American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States