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

Whites confronting our Racism – study and dialogue to action

Dear folks connected to Putney Friends Meeting,
We have put up a sign saying that Black Lives Matter.
We had a film series in late spring on looking at racism and some of its evolution.
And this is your invitation to join a focused group this fall. Details are below. Please contact Gail Haines to register (or with questions).
802-387-5676 or 802-258-0369.
Please register by September 10th.

Thanks and toward justice and peace, Gail

> Whites confronting our Racism – study and dialogue to action
> A group to meet 5 times. Regular attendance at all sessions is important for group development, so let us know if you have to miss a time.  There will be readings sent out ahead of each session. We hope everyone who attends will have seen or see the films that were in the racism series in the spring. (they can be borrowed from the meeting)
> Tentative session titles:
> White privilege and white fragility within the context of a society that has structural racism
> Micro aggressions
> Practicing interventions
> Being black / person of the global majority in a majority white community and congregation
> How to take actioniur
> Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Sept 21Oct 5Oct 19Nov 2Nov 16
> At Mareka’s house, 126 Main St. Putney – go in front door and ring bell on right (residence)
> Please let Gail Haines know by September 10th if you want to participate.
> 258-0369.
> Organizers and facilitators of the series – Claire Halverson,  Sandy Lynn, Mareka Ohlson, Sheila Garrett, and Gail Haines.

New online learning opportunities at Pendle Hill

Hello NEYM monthly meeting friends! e-learning-235x125

Greetings from Pendle Hill!  I am the new communications and outreach coordinator here, and look forward to being in touch regarding our programming and educational opportunities.

I am reaching out today because several of you had a chance to join Doug Gwyn in his bible study half hours at NEYM annual sessions and I thought you might be interested to know that Doug will be joining Pendle Hill to teach an entirely online course this fall.  This means that, without needing to come to campus, you have the opportunity to join in learning community with Doug again!  Please share information about this course with your meetings as you are called.

More information about the course is available at our website, but I’ve also pasted information about the course below:

Quaker Studies Online– A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation

September 5-November 20, 2016 


This course offers an opportunity to reframe Quaker faith and practice within the horizon of the global concern for sustainability. This reframing allows us to reclaim the Quaker tradition with fresh understanding and renewed purpose. The course is built around Gwyn’s book A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation and several relevant Pendle Hill pamphlets, and will involve webinar conversations with thoughtful Quakers engaged in sustainability work, including Steve Chase, Marcelle Martin, Brian Drayton, Pamela Boyce Simms, Eileen Flanagan, and Ruah Swennerfelt.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions or concerns.  For questions about financial aid and group discounts please contact Steve Chase at or (610) 566-4507, ext. 123.  Register today to save your spot!

I know that Radical Faithfulness was also the theme of NEYM Annual Sessions this year, and I wanted to extend an invitation to you and those at your meetings to consider applying for this year’s cohort of Pendle Hill’s flagship Radical Faithfulness course.  More information below:

Radical Faithfulness

September 26, 2016-May 22, 2017 (online and on campus)
Core faculty: Steve Chase
Guest faculty/presenters include: Rev. Dr. William Barber

Called to faithful action for peace, social justice, and sustainability? Want to work more effectively with others for positive change? Ready to learn more about nonviolent action and grassroots organizing? Then consider joining Pendle Hill’s intensive 9-Month Online/On-Campus Program on Spiritual Activism and Faith-Based Organizing (with five on-campus residencies).

For full schedule, information about financial aid, and other program details see here.

I have attached flyers  as well, thank you for sharing these two educational opportunities!  I look forward to being in touch.

With gratitude,


Lina Blount

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Pendle Hill

338 Plush Mill Road

Wallingford, Pennsylvania

610-566-4507, ext. 122

Being the Hands of God: A Call to Radical Faithfulness

The theme of the 356th Annual Sessions was ”Being the Hands of God: A Call to Radical Faithfulness.” Doug Gwyn, pastor of Durham Friends Meeting in Maine, offered the Bible half hours each morning. Through stories of early Friends reclaiming the power they encountered in the Scriptures to build a world-changing movement in their time, we heard a call to take up the work of listening for and living in the guidance of that same Life and Power as we seek to be faithful now.New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Nearly 600 Friends attended Annual Sessions in Castleton, Vermont. 83 of them–nearly 14%–were attending for the first time, a significant increase from last year. Youth attendance also continues to grow. We celebrated strong representation from each of the New England states, with the largest increase being Friends from Rhode Island. We were also joined by 48 visitors from beyond our Yearly Meeting, including Quakers from Kenya, Cuba and several other yearly meetings within the United States, as well as ecumenical representatives.

Here’s a summary of important news from the week:

We committed to action in the areas of work for racial justice, responding to the climate crisis and support for LGBT people in Uganda.

1.     Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people: Continuing work brought to us from the quarterly meetings, New England Yearly Meeting publically endorsed the work of the Friends Ugandan Safe Transport Fund, which supports Ugandans in providing safe passage to other Ugandans fleeing persecution due to sexual or gender identity.

2.     Climate Change: Reflecting years of faithful work in our local meetings and the ongoing ministry of many New England Friends, Sessions approved a minute which begins:

“Friends…have heard a Divine call to the witness of addressing climate change. We affirm the overwhelming scientific consensus that greenhouse gases released by human activity are causing climate change, that these changes threaten life on our planet as we know it, and that we have a responsibility to address the very real threats that will impact both rich and poor. Those on earth who have contributed least to this crisis are likely to suffer most from it…”

Responding to a call from Quakers worldwide who gathered at the Friends World Committee for Consultation World Plenary of Friends held in Peru in 2016, we corporately committed to take three concrete actions in the coming year: 

a.     Support a working group of New England Friends led to participate in bold and prophetic nonviolent direct action consistent with the urgency of the global climate crisis

b.     Encourage all local meetings to prayerfully consider how they might further respond to the climate crisis, and to share news with the Yearly Meeting office to enable better communication and support for our collective witness

c.     Organize a consultation for New England Friends on our witness for sustainability and our response to the climate crisis in the spring of 2017

3.     Racial Justice: Recognizing the urgency of work for racial justice and the ways in which white supremacy affects and is present in our Quaker faith communities, in the coming months the Yearly Meeting will explore concrete steps New England Friends can take to help us more fully realize God’s vision of the Beloved Community. To begin and inform this work going forward, we asked the Permanent Board of NEYM to explore an external audit of our cultural competency. We see that the work of change and recovery from the spiritual disease of systemic racism needs to happen in each of our hearts, within our organizational structures, and in each of our local meetings. Expect to hear more soon about opportunities for your meeting to engage in this work, and please share ways you are already learning, healing and acting for racial justice.

Supporting this work more widely, we further committed to raise funds in support of the efforts of Friends General Conference—a North American association of Yearly Meetings in which we hold membership—to also undergo a cultural competency audit. 

Legacy Gift Committee: With joy, Friends heard reports from the first year of grants distributed from the Legacy Gift funds. Grantees—including local meetings and individuals across New England—updated us on the fruits of their work through displays and small group conversations. For a complete list of recipients and the ministries being supported, and for more information, visit next deadline for applications to the NEYM Future Fund is November 1. Please send questions and inquiries to

Public Statements: Friends reviewed the public statements made on behalf of New England Friends in the past year, and offered guidance to the presiding clerk and secretary for how to approach this work in the coming year. We heard strong support for continuing to lift up a clear and timely witness on issues of concern for Friends in these times. Monthly and Quarterly Meetings will be notified whenever such statements are made. Meetings are encouraged to share their news and work with the Yearly Meeting office in order to help us all stay connected and increase the visibility of Friends witness in the world. A summary of all statements is available on page 11 of the 2016 Sessions Advance Documents.

Living Faith Gatherings: Responding to calls for more opportunities for nurturing spirituality, fostering community and strengthening witness, New England Yearly Meeting is planning two daylong Saturday gatherings over the next year. Friends from across our region are invited to gather on November 5 at the Friends School of Portland, Maine; and on April 8 at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island. To learn more, get involved with planning or share your gifts at this event, contact or visit

Archives: We heard that the NEYM Archives have been successfully relocated to the W.E.B. Dubois Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Attention will now turn to gathering records from local meetings and making the Archives more fully available both on site and online.

Budget: Sessions approved the fiscal year 2017 budget for the Yearly Meeting as an organization. This budget continues progress toward financial sustainability while eliminating reliance upon subsidy from Legacy Gift funds. We are not yet clear how new federal rules ensuring more equitable pay will impact our budget, but look forward to aligning our finances with our commitment to fair employment practices for Yearly Meeting staff. In the coming year, the Ad Hoc Long Term Financial Planning Committee will support development of multi-year budgeting and planning.

Friends Camp:  We celebrated the 12-year tenure of Nat Shed at Friends Camp, and approved the appointment of Anna Hopkins as the new Director. We gave thanks for the completion of a review of governance and administration at Friends Camp, renewed our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the Camp, and heard hopes for even more integration of Friends Camp with the other vibrant youth ministries of New England Friends.

Working Paper on Membership: The Committee revising the book of Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting presented a working paper on membership in the Religious Society of Friends for consideration and feedback from local meetings and individuals. The document reflects significant progress in our conversation about commitment and what it means to be a part of our Quaker faith community. The working paper on membership can be downloaded at

Further details, video & audio recordings and minutes will be posted soon at To receive news and updates on the life and ministry of Friends across New England, subscribe to the new monthly email newsletter at

In Faith & Friendship,
Fritz Weiss
Presiding Clerk

QuakerSpeak to visit Putney Friends Meeting

Dear Friends,iur
On Sunday August 7th, Jon Watts, Director of the popular QuakerSpeak video series, will be worshipping at Putney Meeting for the 10:30worship.
Following the rise of meeting, Jon would like to invite anyone who is interested to join him for another brief period of worship, during which he will be filming Friends in worship for use in the upcoming series of QuakerSpeak.
New England Yearly Meeting and QuakerSpeak are partnering on Season Three of the video series, and are producing several videos featuring the life and ministry of Friends in New England. This filming of Friends in worship in Putney’s beautiful meetinghouse are intended to help provide context and background to the videos.
To clarify, there will be no filming in the regularly-scheduled meeting for worship, but only in the special brief time, attended only by those who are comfortable being filmed in worship.
Learn more about QuakerSpeak at