Friends General Conference

Spiritual Deepening eRetreats:

Living into Wholeness


The Living into Wholeness eRetreat invites you to explore and practice what it means to live into Beloved Community, the ways we are called to recognize patterns of marginalization and exclusion and to act toward justice, and tools for transforming and vitalizing our meetings and communities.  

Week 1: Living into Wholeness

Week 2: Community Calls Us to Justice

Week 3: Patterns of Exclusion and Marginalization

Week 4: Tools for Transformation & Vitality

This eRetreat has been previously offered under the name Beloved Community.

Offered March 18 – April 12, 2019 (four weeks, $35 pay-as-led participation fee)    Weekly Community Building Calls (optional)

    More information and Registration at


Living Faith Spring 2019

Dear Friends,

Registration is now open for the next Living Faith gathering, to be held Saturday, April 6, in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts!

Please share the invitation with your networks, including meeting email lists, newsletters, announcements, social media, and word of mouth.

We hope to see you there.

In the Light,

The Living Faith Spring 2019 Planning Team

Hannah Zwirner Forsythe, (Clerk), Elizabeth Hacala (Events Coordinator), Sarah Cushman, Lisa Graustein, Jay O’Hara, Noah Merrill, Jennifer Higgins Newman, Heidi Nortonsmith, Newell Isbell Shinn, NiaDwynwen Thomas

Register Now
You can learn more about Living Faith Gatherings, including links to the Welcome, FAQ, and workshop descriptions here

Putney Hosts Quarterly Meeting

Putney Friends Meeting and Orchard Hill Quaker Worship Group is pleased to invite North West Quarter Friends to the Quarterly Meeting on March 3rd, 2019.

Quarterly Session Schedule of activities

  • 8:30am – 9:30am Program Discussions
  • 8:30am – 9:30am Early Meeting for Worship
  • 8:30am – 9:30am Program Discussions
  • 9:30am–10:30  Tea, coffee, muffins in the Community Room
  • 10:30am – 11:30am Late Meeting for Worship, First Day School
  • 11:45am – 1:00pmLunch Potluck
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm Quarterly Meeting for Business

Program Discussions

Social Justice Service

Putney Friends has three active groups under our Social Justice Service Committee. They are focused on immigration issues, specifically supporting people who are in the process of seeking asylum; racism with a focus on understanding our own racism; and outreach in the form of serving meals at the local shelter. Representatives of these groups are looking forward to sharing with Friends and learning about similar work within other Northwest Quarter meetings.


FCNL Advocacy Workshop

The Orchard Hill Worship Group, in collaboration with Putney Friends Meeting, will be hosting an FCNL advocacy workshop on March 30th at the Orchard School and Community Center. Each year, in addition to their on-going work, FCNL takes up specific campaigns that they believe they can achieve movement on. This year, FCNL is working on a campaign to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and will be providing advocacy training in the manner of Friends. We look forward to discussing this work, welcoming Friends who would like to participate, and learning of existing chapters or like initiatives in our Quarter.


Reflections from a new worship group

Friends from the newly formed Orchard Hill Worship Group in East Alstead, NH will speak on their formative experience. Where did this leading come from? Who are we? What lights us up?

We look forward to introducing ourselves and extending our warm greetings to our Quarter.

Northwest Quarterly Meeting Registration


Putney Friends Meeting and Orchard Hill Quaker Worship Group is pleased to invite North West Quarter Friends to the Quarterly Meeting on March 3rd, 2019.

Please register by Wednesday February 27th, 2019.

When registering, please send the following information to Clerk, Roger Vincent Jasaitis. Email; clerk@putneyfriendsmeeting

Name (each attendee): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Putney Friends Meeting and Orchard Hill Worship Group will provide potluck options.

Dietary:                     _____omnivorous   _______vegetarian __________vegan

Allergies/intolerances (we will do our best to accommodate these, but suggest that those with multiple or unusual limitations should bring fallback items. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Children who will attend and need childcare (name and age of children)


Address of Meeting House:

17 Bellows Falls Rd

Putney, Vermont

Driving Directions can be found at:

Putney Friends Meeting is handicap accessible.    Wi-Fi is available.

The Thinking Heart

At night as I lay on my plank bed surrounded by women and girls … who often told me during the day, “we don’t want to think, we don’t want to feel, otherwise we are sure to go out of our minds,” I was sometimes filled with an infinite tenderness, and lay awake for hours … and I prayed,
“Let me be the thinking heart of these barracks.”
—from the diary of Etty Hillesum

Dear Friends,

This week marks the presidential order in 1942 that led to the internment of Japanese Americans. It’s the one-year anniversary of the killings of high school students in Parkland, Florida. In a season of “emergencies” both real and imagined, of walls and separation, of hatred and division, we mourn the suffering and loss of so many to violence, injustice, and the lack of moral imagination. I know I’m not alone in struggling to live faithfully in the face of it all.

Through the gift of a friend, I’ve found guidance and encouragement in A Life Transformed, a biography including the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum. A radiant and challenging voice, Etty was born in a secular Dutch Jewish family, growing up in her twenties in Amsterdam during the Second World War.

Living a self-described life of personal chaos, insecurity and disorder, on the precipice of the Holocaust Etty had a powerful experience of convincement and transformation. Without any formal religious background, she learned to pray through direct spiritual experience. Etty was driven to her knees in prayer on the rough floor of an untidy bathroom. This moment reordered her life toward the ground of reality she discovered within her, a presence she came to call “God.” She came to volunteer as a caregiver—and to bear witness—in a transit camp from which thousands of Jews and those deemed “other” were loaded onto trains for Auschwitz. In time, her whole family was forced to board one of those trains—including Etty.

In the face of terror and dehumanization, Etty chose to cultivate an inward freedom. She dedicated herself to safeguarding deep within the resilient hope beyond despair, grounded in Love. Faced with lies, oppression, and evil, she chose to live as if the Truth is true. She found refuge in that knowing, in the active practice of what she calls the “thinking heart” of God. Her witness calls me to consider how I—how we—might live in ways that more fully bear witness to the truth of Love she discovered and trusted until death and beyond.

In a moment of shattering recognition, she prayed:

Dear God, these are anxious times. … We must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last. There are, it is true, some who, even at this late stage, are putting their vacuum cleaners and silver forks and spoons in safekeeping instead of guarding You, dear God. And there are those who want to put their bodies in safekeeping but who are nothing more now than a shelter for a thousand fears and bitter feelings. And they say, “I shan’t let them get me into their clutches.” But they forget that no one is in their clutches who is in Your arms.

I’m increasingly convinced that one of the greatest gifts we can offer to the condition of our world today is the quality of grounded love that we cultivate and bring into relationship. We can love and feel and hope for those who are unable as yet to love and feel and hope—and we can do this for each other when we’re the ones unable to love and feel and hope. We can strive to protect our cherishing of divine presence within each person—and in ourselves—in the face of the countless voices that would close the ears of our hearts to Grace.

The growing resonance of that loving and feeling and hoping can open the way for new breakthroughs, fresh possibilities, bold emergences in our communities, cultures, and institutions. In Etty’s words: “Somewhere deep inside me is a workshop, in which Titans are forging a new world.”

Etty’s presence and practice as the “thinking heart” of the transit camp barracks calls me me to question my own capacity and commitment to Love. Her testimony challenges me to renew my participation in relationship with fresh intention and initiative. I hear the echo of Etty’s midnight prayer: to be an instrument of presence, to bring forth this radical, witnessing, self-aware, resilient loving even in the midst of unimaginable suffering—and I’m drawn to imagine how that resonance might be more fully expressed in my own life, and in our corporate life as Friends.

Might we find the courage to be thinking hearts of the voyage on which our own desperate, divided society is sailing? Might we discipline ourselves to be the thinking heart of a demonstration; of a workplace, of a family crisis; of a chance encounter on our daily commute; an intervention with an addicted friend, neighbor or stranger; a vigil at a detention center or a bedside? Through patience and dedication, might we be the thinking heart in the worship of our local meeting, radiating love and witnessing presence to all who surround us?

I give thanks for all the ways members of our Quaker communities are working alongside so many others in this powerful practice of presence, and I give thanks for the Spirit provoking us to deeper Love. Wherever we might encounter God in ourselves and one another—may we remember Etty, and her witness to the power of the thinking heart. And may we, like her, be filled and freed by the infinite tenderness that is stronger than death.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

P.S.: Again this year, New England Friends are partnering with New York Yearly Meeting for a weekend retreat, March 29-31. It’s an opportunity to gather with Friends from across the northeastern United States who are called to nurture the wholeness of the local meeting community, cultivating this resonance of resilient love.

If it sounds like this opportunity might be right for you or someone in your local meeting, contact Honor Woodrow, clerk of NEYM Ministry & Counsel, to explore participating, or speak to your local meeting’s Ministry & Counsel/Worship, who have received more information.

P.P.S.: I hope you had a chance last month to watch the invitation to the “video plenary” series from Lisa Graustein. This month—with links later in this newsletter—Lisa offers three more short videos with different ways of engaging with New England Quakers’ repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.

Whether you plan to attend Annual Sessions this August or not, these videos are intended to help us all engage with the ways the Spirit is working among Quakers in New England, inviting us to grow in Love and carry that Love into the world. 

Transforming Racism and White Supremacy

Noticing Patterns of Oppression—and Faithfulness

In 2018 the Yearly Meeting in Sessions charged the NEYM Committee on Ministry & Counsel (M&C) with creating a process to name people to help New England Friends see when and how we are enacting patterns of oppression. As the work unfolds, it has become clear that we need time together to build the skills of noticing and sharing awareness of these patterns in ways that invite people in, build community, and help us become more God-centered and just.

The Working Group under the care of M&C will host a day-long workshop on Saturday, March 9th at Wellesley (MA) Friends Meeting. We hope you can join us! The workshop will be a chance to learn about and experiment with the practice the Working Group has developed, gain skills for talking about patterns of oppression, and connect with other Friends who want to help move our shared work forward.

All Friends are welcome, young Friends and adults, whether you are new to social justice work or have been doing it for a long time. Please consider encouraging others from your meeting to attend.

To register, click here.

Waking Up White

Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White, will speak on the issues of racism and white privilege explored in her books at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St, Worcester, MA, on March 31, 2019. Sponsored by Worcester Friends Meeting, the event is free and open to all.

Other events coming soon

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

View More Events

Join the Virtual Plenary Experiment

In the January newsletter we shared an invitation from Lisa Graustein (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) for Friends to participate in a “Virtual Plenary” to deepen engagement with the theme for 2019 Annual Sessions, “Provoke One Another to Love.” This is an opportunity for meetings and individual Friends—whether or not they are planning to attend Annual Sessions—to take part in exploring these important issues that we face as Friends today.

The three videos this month include some reflection-and-discussion questions at the end. The videos were designed to be viewed on your own and can also be used to shape an adult religious education session, using the reflection questions for discussion. If you want support or ideas for how to use them in First Day School or for adult programming, contact Lisa Graustein.

Click here or on the images below to watch

Video 1- Exploring New England Yearly Meeting’s Minute repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery
Video 2- Noticing and understanding patterns related to the Doctrine of Discovery
Video 3- Spiritual practices to support our work related to the Doctrine of Discovery

Legacy Grant Application Deadline:
March 1, 2019

Do you or someone you know have a ministry that could use some financial support? The deadline is fast approaching to apply for grants from the Yearly Meeting Witness and Ministry Fund and the Future Fund.

Ministries which already have an oversight committee and the support of their meeting will be given preference. Click here for details.

Nurturing Faithfulness

Informational video about the upcoming Nurturing Faithfulness Program at Woolman Hill Retreat Center (Deerfield, MA)
Might you be led to participate in a multi-generational faith and leadership program designed to help Friends explore ways to meet God more deeply, hone methods of discernment, reach for fuller faithfulness, and ultimately bring these gifts and strengthened abilities home to your local meetings and beyond?

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

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

Join the NH Council of Churches in opposition of the death penalty

In 2012, New England Quakers joined fellow member churches on the NH Council of Churches in approving a statement opposing the death penalty. New Hampshire again has a death penalty repeal bill in the 2019 legislative session. That bill has just been made public as HB 455. The Council encourages congregations to join them in preaching, praying, teaching and acting for the repeal of the death penalty in the state of New Hampshire on February 24 as part of “Death Penalty Repeal Sunday”.

Click here for more information and resources

Accompanying Migrants in Tijuana

Em McManamy (Amesbury, MA, Friends Meeting) and members of her family spent a week in Tijuana, accompanying migrants waiting to present their cases for asylum in the U.S. Read about Em’s experience here.

Friends Camp: Lasting Impacts

“Going to camp is a challenge. You are living in (quite close) community with many other young people. You have to leave your cell phone at home. You might not have a good friend you already know at camp. Facing this challenge and having an amazing time at camp can make a camper more willing to take on the next challenge that comes their way, whether it is starting at a new school, trying out a new sport, or even going off to college.”

This is just one of the impacts that Friends Camp Director Anna Hopkins writes about in her most recent blog post about the lifetime effects of attending Friends Camp.  Read more from Anna’s blog here.

Opportunities to Serve

There are many employment, and service opportunities listed on the New England Yearly Meeting website. Click here for details.

Work with the Friends Committee on National Legislation

If you are under 35 or work with young adults, come to Washington, DC on March 23-26, 2019 to lobby on immigration issues at Spring Lobby Weekend.

Registration is open!

If you are about to graduate college, apply for the Young Fellows program. Deadline is February 18, 2019.

If you are looking for an internship this summer, apply for the Summer Internship program. Deadline is March 29, 2019.

Quaker Center Continues Search for Directors

The Ben Lomond Quaker Center (Ben Lomond, CA) is now accepting applications for a Director to begin work during the summer of 2019.  The Director provides spiritual leadership, develops workshops; manages staff, finances and facilities; fundraising; and works closely with the Board in support of the mission of Quaker Center. The Center is also accepting applications for an Associate Director.

Click here for more details.

Discounts for Friends General Conference  Gathering

Thanks to a generous donation, FGC is offering discounts for the 2019 Gathering!

  • Children and teen’s program fees are waived
  • 50% of children and teen’s meals are covered
  • More scholarships are available to families and teens
  • The fee for young adult Friends is reduced

Click here to find out more about the 2019 FGC Gathering in Grinnell, Iowa.

Friends General Conference is a North American association of Quaker groups of which New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is a member. 

Come and See! Friends World Committee for Consultation

Friends World Committee on Consultation Section of the Amercas (FWCC-SOA) will gather in Kansas City, MO, March 21–24, 2018, with the theme ¡Come and See! (John 1:46). There will be daily worship, Bible study, and workshops including:

  • “Come and See: An Examination of Earthkeeping Through the Lens of Quaker Conviction” with Adrian Halverstadt, Director, Evangelical Friends Church – North America; Shelley Tanenbaum, General Secretary, Quaker Earthcare Witness; and Cherice Bock, co-clerk, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • “Who is my neighbor? Welcoming the stranger, being a Friend” with Judy Goldberger (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting)

Find out more about the gathering here.

Howard Thurman on PBS

PBS is offering an hour-long documentary about the life of activist, mystic and theologian Howard Thurman in Backs Against The Wall: The Howard Thurman Story, which you can view online. Friends who have benefitted from reading his work may appreciate the chance to learn more about his story. You can see a collection of his work here in the Friends United Press bookstore or in their print catalog.

Updated Quaker Resources for Newcomers

Are you looking to update your meeting’s printed materials about Quakers? Do you wonder what to include in welcome packets for new attenders? The Friends United Meeting (FUM) Communications Department is in the process of updating their pamphlet series. Three titles have been updated so far: The Gospel According to FriendsGeorge Fox and the Early Quakers, and A Quaker View of Ministry. Each one gives, in a quick and readable style, an introduction to one aspect of the Quaker faith. Perhaps one will be right for your meeting.

News of New England Friends sharing and acting from their faith:

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

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Advocacy Team Workshop for Orchard Hill Quakers and Putney Friends Meeting

Orchard Hill Quakers-Putney Friends Meeting FCNL Advocacy Teams Launch

Saturday, March 30, 2019                   1:00-4:00 PM

Orchard School Community Center,114 Old Settlers Road, Alstead NH

Register Here!


People across the country are asking the same question: “What can I do to change what’s happening in the world?”

Our 75 years on Capitol Hill have shown that your voice can make an important impact on federal policy. In-person meetings with your members of Congress are the most effective wayto influence policy decisions.

Change in Washington starts with you.

Please join FCNL for an advocacy workshop:

  • Influence your members of Congress and their staff through face-to-face conversations
  • Drive the media coverage you want to see
  • Build a strategic team in your community that lobbies as part of a powerful national advocacy network
  • Join our 2019 Advocacy Team campaign to stop endless wars by urging Congress to reassert its constitutional authority. We are supporting legislation to repeal the AUMF and encourage public debate on all issues of war and peace.

Learn More:

Always Coming Home

Dear Friends,

A Friend once told me a story. It went something like this:

Long ago, the swallows that now journey across the globe didn’t migrate with the changing seasons. The swift and graceful birds wandered aimlessly from place to place, without guidance or direction for their flight.

One bright clear day, they came to a small farm, where a farmer was working in her garden. With delight, she greeted the flight of swallows as they—first one, then another, then in numbers uncountable—found their way into the barn her hands had made.

The farmer was filled with joy at the presence of the swallows, and cherished their beauty, energy, and life.

But the farmer knew that this joy would be short-lived. A winter beyond what the swallows had experienced was coming, and she knew that if the swallows stayed, they would die in the cold.

She tried to explain in every way she could—in all the languages she knew—but saw the swallows didn’t understand her. Her heart was breaking at the recognition that the swallows didn’t belong in the barn—they belonged in the ever-changing air, riding the thermals, freed and lifted by the rushing wind, rejoicing in the sunlight and the infinite sky.

The farmer loved the swallows more than they could ever know. And so the farmer transformed herself into a swallow, to help guide them home.

She swooped into the barn, dancing with the swallows she so deeply loved. They recognized her as one of their own, and with a great movement, all at once, they leapt from the shadows of the barn and into the bright autumn air, returning to the sky.

The farmer-who-became-a-swallow led them for some time, as the light grew warmer and the wind more gentle. She led them over valleys and rivers, over deserts and seas. They delighted in the journey, in the beauty, and in their love for this newfound Friend who it seemed they’d known for so long. The farmer-who-became-a-swallow shared in this joy.

And yet, even as they settled in a new land, the farmer-who-became-a-swallow was troubled in her heart. She knew, as the other swallows did not yet know, that the seasons would change again, and they would need to find their way to other lands. She also knew that she couldn’t stay with them forever.

Because she knew the swallows so well, she understood how easily they could be distracted, how inclined they were to become fascinated with other things, to forget who they were born to be, and to lead each other astray. She knew that her time as a swallow would be all too brief, and that over many miles and the passing of time they would forget, and wander, and get lost. When new challenges arose, they would find themselves without guidance, in danger, separated, scattered, and alone.

And so the farmer-who-became-a-swallow transformed herself into a song, so that they could sing her love to one another. And as they sang, and as they journeyed together, she would live in their hearts forever, always available to guide them home.

And so it was. Each time the song was sung, it passed from one bird to another, ever-changing, ever-new, and yet always carrying the infinite love of the farmer, who became a swallow, who became a song.

There are many now who wonder if there ever was a farmer, who became a swallow. You might wonder, too. And yet with every changing season, the song that lives in every swallow lifts their hearts; it calls them back to the exultation, adventure, and wonder of the ever-changing sky. Each time the song is sung or heard, they are drawn by the memory of the flight for which they were born.

Now the swallows live their lives in pilgrimage, over the fragile, blessed earth. And wherever the flights of swallows are found, they carry the song within them, singing love and belonging and courage into the world. Wherever they go, whatever strange seasons they encounter, they know they can turn to the resilient song that waits within them.

Their journey home isn’t measured in many thousands of miles spanning continents—it’s measured in each new beginning, every turning within, with each new flight toward faith. Again and again, the song’s unity gathers their hearts.

They sing to one another the ever-new sound that leads them back to their truest selves, inviting them to risk, to love, to take wing—always returning, always coming home.

I believe this song can live in our hearts as well. And my experience is that this song—this guidance, this power for liberation, this deep belonging, what Friends for generations have called gospel—can guide us in our living.

As with our swallow-kin in the story, the song in our hearts calls us to joy, to courage, to leap into lives lived in pilgrimage. It calls us to remember and to make manifest who we were born to be. In each new place, in every new moment, it takes fresh forms.

This year, let’s listen together for new harmonies, for the particular expressions of this Love—here, now, in you, in me. May it gather us all in a new “we”, as we discover a new “how” for our journey home.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Friends Decision-Making and Clerking, 2019

Are you interested in learning more about Friends practice of discernment?  Are you a clerk who would like additional guidance and support in your service? Are you considering service as a clerk, but feeling ill-equipped?  The upcoming workshops in New York and New England might be for you.

February 1–3, Powell House in upstate New York is offering a weekend workshop for everyone who wants to deepen their understanding of Quaker decision-making. Visit the Powell House website to learn more and to register.

More details on the workshop being planned here in New England on April 13 will be shared soon.

Nurturing Faithfulness: An Informational Webinar

Please join Nurturing Faithfulness co-teachers, Hilary Burgin (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting) and Marcelle Martin (Swarthmore Monthly Meeting, PhYM) on January 22, 7:30 p.m., to hear more about the Nurturing Faithfulness program co-sponsored by Woolman Hill and New England Yearly Meeting.

Nurturing Faithfulness is a 9-month exploration of Quaker faith and leadership, designed to support individuals in faithfulness and sharing faithfulness with their Friends communities. Participants attend three residencies between August 2019 and May 2020, monthly webinars, and have a variety of small group nurture experiences. Curious? Join us for our webinar! Email if you would like to RSVP and get a reminder email, or simply join the link below on January 22nd.

Join Zoom Meeting online:

One tap mobile:  16465588656,,192119140# US

Dial in: 1 646 558 8656 US

Meeting ID: 192 119 140

Training on “Noticing Patterns”

In 2018 the Yearly Meeting in Sessions charged Ministry & Counsel with creating a process to name people to help us see when and how we are enacting patterns of oppression. The Noticing Patterns Working Group is clear that we need time together to build the skills of noticing and sharing awareness of these patterns in ways that invite people in, build community, and help us become more God-centered and just.

The Working Group will host a day-long workshop on Saturday, March 9th at Wellesley (MA) Friends Meeting. We hope you can join us! The workshop will be a chance to learn about and experiment with the practice the Working Group has developed, gain skills for talking about patterns of oppression, and connect with other Friends who want to help move our shared work forward.

All Friends are welcome, whether you are new to social justice work or have been doing it for a long time, young Friends and adults. Please consider encouraging others from your meeting to attend. To register, click this link.

Other events coming soon

Upcoming Quarterly Meetings

View More Events

Speakers Announced for August Sessions

The Bible Half-Hour speaker at Annual Sessions this summer will be Colin Saxton, now a Stewardship Consultant working for Everence, a faith-based financial services company. Prior to that he served as a Quaker pastor, superintendent of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, and general secretary of Friends United Meeting. Many New England Friends who have heard Colin speak know him as a gifted, engaging, passionate and joyful minister who will bring true gifts to New England.
Lisa Graustein (Beacon Hill, MA, Friends Meeting), will facilitate a plenary (whole group) session designed to “ground ourselves in the decisions that have led us to this point, … call in the wisdom of our ancestors, create art and prayer together, and envision a future beyond ourselves …[to] learn, interact, engage, pray, and imagine together, bringing that sense of community, hope and creativity into the rest of our week … [seeking] understanding of where and how we have been the Beloved Community and where we have failed to live up to God’s vision.

In preparation for this summer, Lisa is inviting New England Friends—whether we plan to attend Annual Sessions or not—into an experiment with a “virtual plenary.”

Listen to Lisa’s invitation here or watch the video below.

Read more about Colin and Lisa.

Virtual Plenary: An Invitation from Lisa Graustein

Watch a video with Lisa’s invitation to deeper engagement with our theme and related minutes of New England Yearly Meeting

Legacy Gift Fall Awards Announced

The Yearly Meeting Legacy Gift Committee has announced the grantees for the fall round of grants. The grantees include individuals, monthly meetings, and programs. Read the complete list here.

Application Deadlines

Legacy Gift Committee’s next deadline is March 1, 2019. The Committee will be accepting applications for both the NEYM Future Fund and the NEYM Witness and Ministry Fund. Guidelines and application information are available here.

If you have questions about any part of the Legacy grant program, please contact the co-clerks.

Time-Sensitive Requests

Beginning in January 2019 and continuing through September 30, 2019, the Legacy Gift Committee will consider funding requests for time-sensitive projects that take place outside of regular deadlines (March 1 and October 1). The Committee will consider time-sensitive applications on a rolling basis, with a minimum of a month’s notice.

This process is intended to enable timely support for participation in or provision of trainings, conferences or other time-sensitive events or projects that fit Legacy funding criteria (including support, oversight and reporting). The maximum grant is $1,000.  Applicants should follow the Legacy guidelines and application procedures.

Love Knows No Borders

Diane Dicranian, front row, left.
Diane Dicranian (Winthrop Center, ME, Friends Church) was among hundreds of people of faith who gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border the week of December 10. Read more about Diane’s experience here.

Portland Friends Host Families Experiencing Homelessness

For more than a year, Portland (ME) Friends Meeting has been a host congregation partnering with Greater Portland Family Promise.

Read about this effort and how it has changed Portland Friends here.

Confronting the Past with Faith

Martin Rumscheidt (Dover, NH, Friends Meeting) has written a new book, In Search of a Theology Capable of Mourning. In this 42-minute video, Tom Jackson (Dover Friends) interviews Martin about the book, coming to terms with German history—including Christian support for Nazism and the Holocaust—and Martin’s relationship with his father, who worked in German munitions during the Second World War.

Epistle from “At the Well” Gathering

Photo credit: Jennie Isbell Shinn

Quaker women and genderqueer people with a call to ministry gathered for renewal at Stony Point Center, New York, in December, and published an epistle to share their experiences and lessons learned.

Read the epistle here.

What Canst Thou Tweet?

Image: Kathleen Wooten

Kathleen Wooten (Fresh Pond, MA, Friends Meeting) is a called to a ministry of connection, both in-person and digitally. She shares her thoughts about the advantages—and warns of pitfalls—of using digital technology for outreach and inreach in this article.

Click here or the image above to watch the livestream recording.
Repairers of the Breach, the Kairos Center, and the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign held a national Watch Night Service, New Year’s Eve, bringing together people of faith and conscience and recommit ourselves to the fight against systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.

The first Watch Night Service took place in 1862 when both enslaved and free Black people came together in churches and homes across the nation while they waited for the news of the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than 150 years later, we continue this tradition with all those who, despite the challenges that arise every day, believe and are working towards a more just and equitable society today.

View a recording of this year’s Watch Night Service in Raleigh, NC, and hear directly from Rev. Dr. Barber, Rev. Dr. Theoharis and others, and hear powerful music that will inspire the heart.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is an endorsing partner of the Poor People’s Campaign. 

Celebrating the Light

Image: Friends in Belfast Area (ME) Friends Meeting welcomed the winter season with candlelit, contemplative time and a “solstice spiral.”

Finding the Path

Photo credit: Eric Muhr

Rebecca Leuchak (Providence, RI, Friends Meeting) uses hiking on trails not clearly marked—setting off into the uncertain distance—as a metaphor for the spiritual journey. Read Rebecca’s essay here.

Nurturing Faithful Ministry

Brian Drayton (Souhegan, NH, Friends Meeting) has been writing a blog “Amor Vincat” (“May love have the victory!”) for many years. In this essay, he writes about Quaker traditions to help nurture gospel ministry among Friends.

News of New England Friends sharing and acting from their faith:

Maine Quakers Speak Out Against Skowhegan Mascot

Diane Oltarzewski (Belfast, ME, Area Friends Meeting), Mark Raines (Farmington, ME, Friends Meeting), and Shirley Hager (Winthrop Center, ME, Friends Church) were among many who spoke at a public hearing about the Skowhegan High School mascot, the “Indian.”

Skowhegan High School is the only school in the state that still has a Native American mascot. The hearing is posted here on YouTube; Shirley appears at 47:57, Diane appears at 1:28:22, and Mark at 2:39:48. Read the statements given by Diane and Shirley here.

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

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)