Whatever your political views, and whatever the outcome of the election, all of us, our nation and the world will need prayerful grounding. Anyone is welcome to come to the Meetinghouse for any length of time, from 8am to 10pm Tuesday and Wednesday, to pray, worship, contemplate. On Wednesday, we will hold our weekly unprogrammed Quaker worship from 5:30 to 6:30pm followed by about 20-30 minutes of worshipful sharing. All are welcome.


Tuesday November 8 Wednesday November 9

Meetinghouse open 8am to 10pm

For more information: 413-774-3431,

You are welcome to join us as you are.

“We believe that every person is loved by the Divine Spirit. There are
Quakers of all ages, religious backgrounds, races, education, sexual orientations, gender identities, pfm-drawingabilities, classes and experience. You are welcome to join us as you are.”


These words were approved by the Monthly Meeting today as an update to our welcoming language to the world. Our thanks to the Committee on Nurturing Ministries of Friends General Conference in allowing us to use some of their language.



How the Scandinavians got it right — and how we can, too

by George Lakey220px-galdhopiggenfromfannaraki

Sat Oct 15 Keene, NH: Toadstool Bookstore, 4pm.

12 Emerald St. , the corner of Main St. and Emerald St.

Bill McKibben: “A completely fascinating account of the Nordics–and, in particular, of Norway, one of the planet’s most fascinating nations. Viking Economics shows us there’s no reason we couldn’t be making far more progress across a wide range of problems. George Lakey is great at explaining why.” Journalist, climate activist, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College.

Frances Moore Lappé: “Brilliant, fun to read, and most timely–just what Americans need right now! Lakey busts key myths that keep us believing we can’t have the society we want. Bravo for this great source of evidence-grounded hope!” Author of Diet for a Small Planet and Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Want.

Dean Baker: “Lakey gives a useful account of the development of the Nordic economic and social model. This model has proven extraordinarily successful in ensuring a decent standard of living for all the citizens of these countries, while at the same time keeping them open to international trade and at the forefront of technology. This short book is a great starting point for those looking for insights into the origins and structure of this model.”  Co-Director of Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C.

Chuck Collins: “Carrying student debt? Working longer hours with no vacation?  Do you wonder if it is possible for the U.S. to reverse a generation of extreme inequality?  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Viking Economics helps us envision a different way of organizing our economy to put people and planet first.  With this book, George Lakey stirs our imagination with practical and inspiring lessons from the Nordic countries for U.S. economy and society.”   Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies, and author of Wealthy, Come Home.

In this book, George Lakey, who has lived and worked in Norway, tells an uplifting story. What economists call “the Nordic model” puts Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at the top tier of international ratings.  That includes education, abundance of jobs, health care, and security for all people.  Only Norway found substantial oil. All four Nordics were nimble in bouncing back from the 2008 crisis that still bedevils Europe and the U.S.

The book is not your regular economics book. It tells a very human story: what is it like to be a professional in Norway, or a parent or student or worker or entrepreneur or farmer or retired person or immigrant? The reader will meet people from many walks of life, even the author’s Norwegian family of in-laws. This book is lively and inspiring.

Surprises in the book include the fact that Norway has more start-ups per capita than the U.S., and Sweden outpaces the U.S. economy’s innovativeness.  Denmark is racing ahead to achieve carbon neutrality and already generates enough wind power to sell surplus to Germany. Iceland’s low crime rate is the envy of Europe; in the years since 2008 Iceland increased its already high economic equality.

Nordic societies are not utopian.  Racial and ethnic diversity challenges them. Women have not fully broken the “glass ceiling,” although they have 40% of corporate board seats and give significant political leadership.   For brief periods Swedes, Icelanders, and Norwegians did de-regulate their financial sectors, with disastrous consequences that forced them back to their Nordic model.  The book tells the dramatic story of how they waged their own struggles for democracy and freedom, and opened the space to create a model that others learn from

Becoming the Quakers the World Needs

Dear Friends,

Last week I served in the role of spiritual elder, accompanying and supporting Lisa Graustein of Beacon Hill (MA) Friends Meeting as she led a daylong workshop in New Haven, Connecticut for educators, students and other civic leaders focusing on how our systems of education might be transformed to foster racial justice and healing of multi-generational harm as an alternative to the devastating effects of current realities.

Often working in partnership with Niyonu Spann, a Friend with deep New England roots who shared powerful ministry at Annual Sessions in 2014, Lisa’s ministry in the wider world is to me a pattern and example of how New England Friends are living their faith in ways that matter, within our own spiritual communities and beyond the walls of our meetinghouses and events.

Throughout the day, I felt joy and a renewed sense of hope to be part of such an energized and committed group of attenders, diverse in age, race, background and profession as we envisioned a world transformed.

It was also powerful to be there alongside several Friends from New Haven (CT) Meeting, as well as visiting Friends from Vermont and Massachusetts. Last Thursday, we were modeling the ways I hope New England Quakers will more and more support each other in carrying the spiritual treasures of our tradition into our wider communities, sharing with humility and boldness what we have to share and learning alongside others who like us are called to seek and to nurture the Beloved Community, here and now.

On the long way home that night, it struck me that this experience was a foretaste and a glimpse of the vision for our common life that is also reflected in the Epistle from Annual Sessions this year.

In the best tradition of Friends spiritual writing, this year’s Epistle is not simply a description of what happened at a weeklong Quaker conference. It offers a spiritual invitation and encouragement for faithful living, and a testimony to how together we might more deeply embrace and express the Power available to us – the Life to which our living tradition bears witness.

If you haven’t yet read the Epistle and shared it with your local meeting, I encourage you to do so.

We’re living out this invitation in many ways. The image to the left is of another group of New England Friends – this time in Boston – taking part on September 12 in an interfaith witness as part of the Moral Revival events across the country.

This fall is full of opportunities to connect with our wider Quaker community for spiritual nurture, discernment and witness on shared concerns.

Read on for brief news of just some ways the Spirit is at work among Friends in New England. I hope to see you at one of these events, or in worship at meeting soon.
In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

P.S. – And please – send your events, news and suggestions for upcoming issues! How does the Spirit prosper in your meeting, or in the wider witness and work of Friends in your part of New England and beyond?

Images above: (right) Friends in New Haven for Lisa Graustein’s forum; (left) Friends from Salem Quarter at the Massachusetts Statehouse for the Moral Revival Day of Action.

*A quotation from Robin Mohr, Executive Secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas.

Racial Justice: Steps Toward Healing and Wholeness

Friends communities across New England are engaged in work for racial justice – and we have much work to do to live into God’s vision of wholeness and healing.

In this brief reflection, Clarence Burley of Worcester (MA) Friends Meeting offers a glimpse of an interfaith service in which Worcester Friends participated, witnessing for a new season of justice and healing for their city.

This August, the Annual Sessions of New England Yearly Meeting approved a minute committing to work for racial justice and toward overcoming white supremacy.

Image: Putney (VT) Friends meeting.

Watch: New England Friends on Outreach and Welcoming

Click the image above to watch the first video in this year’s partnership between QuakerSpeak and New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, answering the question:
“How do Quaker Meetings Do Outreach and Welcome Newcomers?”
Find out what Friends throughout New England had to say.

News from Friends Camp

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends joyfully welcomes Anna Hopkins as our new Friends Camp Director.
With support from our longtime former director Nat Shed – who is staying on as a senior consultant this year – Anna is already deeply engaged in preparing for next year’s camp season, and helping us to lift up a shared vision for the future of our beloved Friends Camp as an ever more vibrant youth ministry of New England Friends.

Read a welcome letter from Anna

News and Images from World Quaker Day 2016

Did your meeting participate in World Quaker Day this year?Several meetings across New England have already shared their photos and reflections.

View a gallery of images from Friends around the world – including several local meetings in New England.

Please hold in the Light the Executive Committee for Friends World Committee in the Americas, as they gather in New England this weekend clerked by Benigno Sanchez-Eppler of Northampton (MA) Friends, with Dorothy Grannell of Portland (ME) Friends serving as recording clerk.

Register Now for Living Faith: Spaces Filling Up Fast

The first Living Faith gathering will be held November 5 at Friends School of Portland in Portland, Maine – and spaces are filling up fast.

While we’ve set aside spaces to ensure enough room for Friends from local meetings in Maine, the initial strong response means you’ll need to register as soon as possible to confirm a place if you plan to attend.

For more information, visit the Living Faith pages on

Can’t make this one? A second Living Faith event will be held in Providence, Rhode Island on April 8, 2017.

Register Now for the November 5 Living Faith Gathering 

Climate Witness: Progress to Celebrate

Cambridge (MA) Friends witness to stop the Spectra pipeline in West Roxbury, MALast spring, Portland (ME) Friends Becky Steele and Doug McCown – serving as Friends in Washington with Friends Committee on National Legislation – contacted New England Yearly Meeting to ask us to join an interfaith effort to protect an environmental treasure of biodiversity in the northwest Atlantic Ocean near New England.

Utilizing our policy on time-sensitive statements, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends joined faith groups from throughout our region to sign on to a letter asking the President for permanent protection of recently-discovered canyons and seamounts off the New England coast.

Last month, President Obama responded, creating the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Here’s a White House video of the announcement, and a response to the decision from the advocacy organization Earthjustice.

And if you haven’t seen it, the Minute from Annual Sessions committing to corporate action to support climate witness is here.

Image: Friends from Friends Meeting at Cambridge (MA) witness against construction of the Spectra natural gas pipeline in West Roxbury, MA.

Upcoming Quaker Events

Save the Date

  • April 22, 2017, Earth Day. Consultation on Corporate Climate Witness for New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. Location and details to be determined. For more information, read the Minutes of Annual Sessions 2016 committing to this work.

In Closing

As many Friends are aware, for more than twenty years New England Friends have been building a Bridge of Love with Quakers in Cuba. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s passage over Cuba, here is an update from the Presiding Clerk of Cuba Yearly Meeting that we wanted to share.

Please continue to hold Cuban Friends, the people of Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas and all in the path of the hurricane in the Light.

Copyright © 2016 New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers), All rights reserved.

Deep Change for Climate Justice: Coalescing a Transformational Movement

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light and

Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium

Deep Change for Climate Justice: Coalescing a Transformational Movement 

October 15 – 16, 2016 White River Junction, VTEchinacea, Photo

Lead Speakers: The Rev. Fred Small and Sherri Mitchell

Join us for two inspiring days of creative dialogue for collaborative action with luminary guest speakers, workshops, breakout groups, music and so much more!

The conference offers many options including: coming for one day or both days; signing up for conference-provided meals or bringing/buying your own meals; choosing from a dozen workshops and five breakout session tracks; and carpooling to and from the conference.  The conference website has pages with information on registration & payment, speakers, workshops, schedule, sponsors, children’s program, & more.   

Deadline to register for meals:October 7. Registration fee goes up on October 1. 

Register online or print out the registration form at the conference website:  

For more information, contact Betsy Hardy at 802-434-3397.   802-434-3397

“Only God is Good”: Islam Through the Words of Jesus


Fall 2016 Academic Speaker Series

“Only God is Good”: Islam Through the Words of Jesus
Amer LatifAmer Latif

Monday, September 26, 7 p.m.

Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building

This talk introduces Islamic teachings, ritual practices, and the sharia by using a story from the Gospels in which Jesus answers the questions of a rich man who desires to become his disciple. Although there are significant differences between Islam and Christianity, this comparative approach allows us to grasp some fundamental similarities between these two Abrahamic faith traditions.

Amer Latif has been professor of religious studies at Marlboro College since 2003. His research focuses primarily on Islamic mystical texts and practices. He is also interested in the issues surrounding cultural translation and has published translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Muslim scholar and mystic. A current resident of Putney, he grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States for college. After getting a B.A. in physics from Bard College, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stony Brook University.

This event is co-hosted by the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative. For more information about this initiative, contact Rupa Cousins at

Brattleboro says #NoDAPL

In Solidarity with the AFSC there will be a rally today in Brattleboro.

Brattleboro says #NoDAPL

Start: September 13, 2016• 3:45 PM
End: September 13, 2016• 6:00 PM
Pliny Park• High St/Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301

Join us on Tuesday, September 13 for a solidarity action and rally at Pliny Park at 3:45 calling on President Obama to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the permits for this dirty oil pipeline. After assembling at the park we will move as a group to a location downtown to make our voices heard.

We will begin by gathering at the park, learning from (and about) each other and then at about 4pm move together to Main St to call on President Obama to revoke the pipeline. There will be sidewalk chalk for children to use to tag the streets with words of support for the water protectors. After assembling as a group some of us will move to TD Bank to demonstrate our disapproval of their part in the pipeline construction. Let us be colorful, joyful and positive!

If you haven’t read about it in the media, right now there is one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen. The movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is growing stronger by the day, and it’s time for all of us to rise up and play a role in this fight – no matter where we live. If built, Dakota Access would carry toxic fracked oil from North Dakota across four states and under the Missouri River, immediately upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. That makes it a threat to the sacred land and water of Native communities and a disaster for the climate.

“What Would It Look Like…?”

…to come more fully alive, together?
…for our faith communities to be filled with the power of the Spirit?
…to heal the wounds of racism and ecological destruction?
…to nurture a world of love and hope?

In my service among Friends across New England, I’m blessed to glimpse the many ways we are living into the promise of all that is possible when we open ourselves to the Light—step by faithful step.

As summer turns to fall, I’m writing to share news and joy from Annual Sessions, to lift up clear voices of New England Friends, and to highlight resources supporting faithfulness in our Quaker communities.

Read on for a preview of the upcoming Living Faith gathering, ways to engage in the work of racial justice and other opportunities to connect with the rich and thriving web of New England Friends of which you are an essential part.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

News and Joy from Annual Sessions

Friends gathered for the 356th Annual Sessions of New England Yearly Meeting turned our attention toward the spiritual imperatives our communities and our world face, committing to action in the areas of racial justice, climate change and support for LGBT people.

From August 6-11, more than 600 New England Friends joined by many guests considered together how we are led by the Spirit to help nourish the Quaker movement throughout our region in this important time.

Read a summary of news and key decisions here.

Download a printer-friendly set of Talking Points to post on a bulletin board, distribute, or share in your local meeting for business. 

Resources for Dismantling Racism

Friends sing at the World Conference of FriendsFriends across New England are deepening our engagement in work for racial justice and addressing systemic racism.

At Annual Sessions, our Yearly Meeting committed to take concrete steps to address the toxic effects of white supremacy and its effects on us as individuals and as a community of faith.

Many local meetings are already doing this important spiritual work and discovering its potential to help all of us grow in wholeness and Love.

Wherever you are in this process, know that you are part of a wider community of Friends seeking to be faithful in this journey toward healing, love and transformation.

Click here for a brief collection of resources that you and your meeting may find helpful.

Exploring Travel in the Ministry: New Pamphlet

Debbie Humphries of Hartford (CT) Friends Meeting shares her personal experience of this vital Quaker practice in New England and beyond in a recent Pendle Hill pamphlet.

Here’s a review by Brent Bill in Friends Journal. Learn more and order the pamphlet here.

Debbie serves as Clerk of Ministry & Counsel of New England Yearly Meeting. She can be reached at

Living Faith Gathering: November 5

image of joined hands and poster for living faith event
The first-ever Living Faith gathering will be held on Saturday, November 5 in Portland, Maine—will you be there?

Join Friends from across New England for a day dedicated to Nurturing Spirituality, Fostering Community and Strengthening Witness.

Workshops will explore themes including:

  • Quakers and social media
  • Supporting your local meeting to address climate change
  • Quaker parenting
  • Spirituality through poetry and art
  • Discernment and testing leadings
  • Daily spiritual practice & guided meditation
  • Working together for racial justice

Join us for shared worship, multigenerational time, a dynamic children’s program, nourishing and delicious food and time for fellowship and connection. Parents with young children welcome!

Online registration and more info will be posted soon at, shared in this newsletter and with all local meetings.
Click here to download a flyer with more information

Questions? Interested in volunteering to help out with this event? 

Email the Living Faith planning committee at to find out what’s needed.

Strengthening Our Response to the Climate Crisis

At Annual Sessions in August, New England Friends for the first time formally recognized the urgency of the climate crisis as a spiritual imperative and committed to strengthening our response as a web of faith communities.

Read the 2016 Minute on Climate Change here. More on concrete actions coming soon.

World Quaker Day 2016 is October 2.

Continuing the role New England Friends are increasingly playing in encouraging wider collaboration across the Quaker world, this year NEYM Religious Education and Outreach Coordinator Beth Collea helped produce a Community of Practice Resource Guide to accompany the QuakerSpeak video linked below, developed in partnership with Friends World Committee for Consultation and the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative.

Click here to view the guide to using this video in your meeting’s Religious Education program. For First Day School, here’s a resource and accompanying materials especially for the first Sunday in October—World Quaker Day.

New Video: On Spiritual Hospitality

Listening in Tongues: Being Bilingual as a Quaker Practice
Robin Mohr from Friends World Committee for Consultation describes a powerful practice of welcoming – and what she’s learned from being bilingual.

Don’t forget: World Quaker Day is October 2 – is your meeting celebrating?

Watch for more voices and videos of New England Friends coming soon through our partnership with QuakerSpeak.

Quaker Events

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A Last Word

Celebrating Community and Belonging, The Putney Friends Meeting Retreat 2016

Celebrating Community and Belonging

Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th

 Putney Friends Meeting House


9:30 – 10:00   Muffins and tea

Group Singing

10:00 – 11:30   Intergenerational Activity led by Owen Coursinimage2

Description:  We are asked to think of something we want to increase in the world, and something we want to let go of.  We will write or draw our ideas onto either side of soft clay doves.  We will then hang the doves on tree branches where the clay (and our intentions) will return to the earth.
image1 -In small groups first talk about our ideas, then either using a pre-madedove, or by first making our own, write or draw our ideas onto the dove.

-Come together in large group to briefly share

-We disperse to hang our doves on trees outside


11:30-12:30   Two Simultaneous Activities:

  • Worship Sharing (led by Owen)
  • Pizza Making for adults and kids

12:30-1:30     Lunch — Potluck — plus Pizza

1:30-2:00       Lunch Clean-up

1:15-2:15        Group Games (kids and adults)

2:15-4:00       Two Simultaneous Activities:

  • Hike for kids and adults
  • Presentation by Julie Forsythe on The Inward Landscape based on          the work of Brian Drayton. Worship Sharing

4:00-4:30    Lemonade and Cookies; Closing Circle

Childcare for youngest children provided Saturday, 10:00-12:30


8:30 – 9:30 Meeting for Worship

9:30-10:30  Talk by Noah Merrill; An ecology of faithfulness: encouraging        the life of our Meeting

10:30 – 11:30 Meeting for Worship

Childcare for youngest children provided Sunday, 10:30-11:30