To the community of Putney, our Town, State and Federal elected officials and other Towns taking up the work of understanding systemic racism.
In Jan 2016, the Putney Friends Meeting (Quakers) agreed to hang a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Meetinghouse. We also agreed that we wanted to become a body that is actively involved to make our Quaker Meeting and our community as a whole, active participants in the change that needs to happen to become more anti-racist.
Part of that understanding is that white people in our congregation and community need to learn the history and impact of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, continuing disparites in opportunities for housing and education and mass incarceration of african americans, as a result of white american denial and indifference. We need to understand how the resultant white privilege is not simply a matter of individual acts of blatant violence, but in fact the truth that unwittingly all white people have inherited systemic racism. It shows up for all white people, and it is our responsibility to work on intimate understanding of how that system of racism plays out all the time in our interactions with people of color.
On September 2, Steffen Gillom, President of the Windham County NAACP, attended a Select Board meeting in Putney. That meeting, like all public meetings, was recorded and broadcast by Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV). Watching this meeting is a great example of a person of color speaking up about systemic racist activity that he had experienced. It took great courage for him to address a room of white people about behavior that white people find difficult to acknowledge, because of the enormous discomfort it provokes in themselves.
The outcomes of that meeting for Putney were profound. White participants were able to:
We see it as helpful and educational as white people, to invite feedback from people of color to point out racist comments, acts etc, such as Steffen gave us all at our Select Board meeting.
Members of Putney Friends Meeting continue to be troubled by, and wrestle with, white supremacy. Our congregation has undertaken reading racial healing
material (anti-racism) material, sharing with other Friends Meetings taking up this work, and participating in local groups working for justice and addressing systemic racism.
Putney Friends Meeting will do the following:
We appreciate that mistakes are essential to learning, and the real question is how we are creating a trusting enough Town, where honest feedback from people of color can be heard, believed and responded to by our largely white community. This is for all of us.
BELLOWS FALLS—In spite of the restrictions imposed on its fundraising efforts by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) was able to raise more than $11,000 from its sup- porters all over the country.
“We ran an online StartSomeGood campaign in July that reached 83 folks all over the country, with roughly 30 percent of our donations coming from out of this area,” Dempster Leech, the campaign’s chief bandleader, said in a news release. “It’s a testament to peer-to-peer fundraising and our supporters’ understanding of how this pandemic is affecting our work that we actually raised more than last year.”
As a result of this year’s suc- cess, Leech says CASP has com- mitted to taking on two new asylum seekers.
A nonprofit founded in 2016, CASP provides material and moral support to those seeking asylum from violence and pov- erty in their home countries by finding host families for them, helping with food and other daily needs, assisting them in navigat- ing the asylum claim process, and helping them achieve even- tual independence as they pro- ceed through the process.
CASP supports 14 individu- als from Mexico, Cuba, and Honduras in the Windham County area.
CASP supporters Dale Kondracki and Alan Fowler created a three-minute video for the project that ran on the StartSomeGood website and fea- tured CASP founder and former executive director Steve Crofter and its new executive director, Kate Paarlberg-Kvam, discuss- ing CASP’s mission and vision for the future.
As part of the campaign, a raffle of donated gift certifi- cates was held. Winners were Leda Schientaub, $50 from Woodzels by Wetzels; Francie Marbury, $100 from Village Square Booksellers; and John Bohannon, $200 from Chris Sherwin of Sherwin Art Glass.
Further information about CASP and its work can be founded at caspvt.org.
Thursday, Aug 6 and Sunday, Aug 9, 2020 mark the 75 year anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan . Hundreds of thousands of civilians lost their lives as a result of these bombings, which were not necessary to end World War ll because the Japanese government was attempting to surrender. However, the U.S. went ahead anyway with the bombings to gain an advantage over the Soviet Union in the newly emerging Cold War.
There will be a vigil on both days at the Wells Fountain (adjacent to the library) in Brattleboro, Vermont – to call attention to these atrocities. All are welcome to attend. Please bring your own sign if possible. We will be wearing masks and social distancing. Vigil times are:
Thursday, Aug 6 and Sunday, Aug 9 from 4:30-6:30pm
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!)
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|
May 18, 2020
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
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
For the health and protection of our Meeting community and to support the public health of the wider community in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, Putney Friends Meeting has suspended in-person Meeting for Worship. We are experimenting with using online worship as an alternative, using the Zoom conferencing service. Please be patient, we are all new to this. Many in our community are familiar with Zoom; some are not. For those who are not, instructions for how to set up and join a Zoom conference follow at the end.
Many have participated in meetings of various kinds on Zoom; few have participated in a meeting for worship on Zoom. To help establish and sustain the quality of worship, we have prepared some advices below. First, for ease of reference, here is the Meeting for Worship information, with details on setup further below:
Topic: Putney Friends Meeting – Meeting for Worship
Time: First Day, Sunday, You may go on-line to join the Meeting beginning at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (if you are new to Zoom, begin your sign in between 9 and 9:15 to become familiar with the screen environment).
The “Meeting for Worship” begins at 9:30 AM; settling into worship early is always helpful.
We have three Friends hosting the meeting:
Clerk (Hosting the Meeting for Worship)
Greeter (Welcoming you to Meeting via “Chat”)
Tech-host (Answering technical related questions via“Chat”)
– Enter the meeting in silence as you would for an in-person meeting for worship. Do not introduce yourself when you enter.
– Keep your device on mute unless you are speaking. Everyone will be muted by default upon entering, and the clerk as host has the ability to mute and unmute any participant. Background noise such as dogs barking or cell phones ringing can be very disruptive to the spirit of worship and make it hard to hear.
– If you are led to speak
=As always, allow some silence after any preceding message to allow it to settle in our hearts.
= Unmute your device. (see instructions)
=Pause briefly in case someone else has also started to speak. If so, wait for the clerk to recognize you. Otherwise, start speaking.
=Mute your device when you are done. (The tech-host may do so if you forget.)
– Continuing in worship, the clerk will close the meeting at the appropriate time and invite afterthoughts, joys and concerns and announcements as usual. Continue to follow the same advices for speaking.
– If you need to get the attention of the tech-host for any reason, use the chat feature to address your message (Be sure to select “tech-host” and not “everyone”)
–Respect the privacy of the Meeting. Do not share photos or screen shots of attendees.
– Set up Zoom a day in advance of the meeting time. Allow more time if you think you may need assistance. If you need assistance ahead of time, call Michelle Wright at: 802-689-0716.
Here is a link to learn how to join a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting-
– Familiarize yourself with the Zoom features you will use during the meeting, such as muting and unmuting, starting and stopping your video, controlling what you see, and the chat feature.
Here is a link to learn the controls: https://westernfriend.org/media/how-use-zoom-videoconferencing
-Use only one audio connection per room, ensuring all other microphones and speakers are muted. (For example, you might have more than one person in a room and might be tempted to each use your own device to connect.)
-Get the latest software for your device at Download Zoom
-New to Zoom? You can test Zoom here: Test Zoom