Our Common Life

Our Common Life New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

One of the most enlivening aspects of my work is visiting local meetings across New England, connecting with Friends and encouraging the Life of the Spirit in the Quaker Movement.

In my travels in recent years—in meetings small and large, pastoral and unprogrammed, urban and rural, with meetinghouses and without—I’ve noticed similarities that seem to underlie our diversity. Though we organize and express our common life as Friends in myriad ways, at the root of our life together are several ways of being and doing that to me seem essential.

I’ve been searching for ways to describe these qualities, and want to ask for your experience and perspective.

In our meetings, when we’re thriving, I see us:

  • worshipping together
  • learning to love one another
  • engaging and exploring Friends’ tradition and how it’s relevant today
  • supporting one another to live our faith in our daily lives
  • making decisions together—with Divine guidance—and acting on those decisions
I’d love to hear about your experience of these aspects of our common life as together we continue to share, learn, nourish and encourage the thriving of our local meetings, which are the heart of the Quaker Movement.

You can email me here; I look forward to hearing from you.

In this issue, you’ll find news of how Friends are doing this work throughout our region. I hope you find these stories and opportunities enlivening.

In faith and service,

Noah Merrill
Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

In This Issue:

“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
Secretary
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 mc-clerk@neym.org

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 neym.org/livingfaith, 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 livingfaith@neym.org 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

PUTNEY FRIENDS INTERGENERATIONAL RETREAT

PUTNEY FRIENDS INTERGENERATIONAL RETREAT

Saturday Sept 26  9 to 5  &

 Sunday Sept 27 9:30 to 10:20

 Theme:  Exploring our Gifts

 Place:   Meetinghouse

Come to whatever parts appeal to you. Childcare provided 10-12:30 and 1:30-4:00


Saturday, September 26 

9 a.m.  Muffins, tea, coffee, and OJ

9:30     All ages celebration of our new Peace Pole  – outside parking lot

with Francie Marbury and Brent Seabrook

10 a.m.  Exploring Our Gifts

All ages presentation by Laurie Rizzo Medved  using Godly Play

materials and an opportunity to draw/collage/write afterwards and sharing

our responses with all ages. Bring your own journal  if you  have one.

Writing and art supplies provided.

11:15     Choose one of these two activities

  •    Worship Sharing in the Meeting Room – getting to know better some

of the folks you worship with – led by Elisabeth Dearborn

OR

  •     Making pizza for lunch with Gail Haines and Ann Coakley

12:30     Lunch starting with gathering songs led by Julie Forsythe

1:30     Clean Up

2:00     Choose one of these two activities

  •      Deep Relaxation with John Calvi in the meetingroom. Bring your

own yoga mat if you have one, blanket, pillow as needed

OR

  •      Hiking to Putney Mountain led by  ???

4:00    Lemonade and Cookies

4:30- 5:00  Intergenerational Games led by Richard Brady and Gail Haines.

Get to know your community of Friends in new ways!

5:00    Closing Song(s)  led by Francie Marbury


Sunday, September 27 

9:30 to 10:20  Noah Merrill will be offering some reflections on exploring

our gifts.  All are welcome!  Let us know if you need childcare because

you plan to attend this.


LOOK FOR THE FOOD AND FLOWER SIGN UP SHEET & help it happen !

Be in touch with Gail Haines or Elisabeth Dearborn with questions

Bring your Rise Up Singing book if you have one. 

Note: Childcare is  available  Saturday 10-12:30 and 1:30-4:00

Read The New England Friend online.

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DEAR FRIENDS,

I’m pleased to share with you the latest online edition of The New England Friend.

Read The New England Friend online

One of the great joys of my work is getting to see new Life rising up in so many corners of our Quaker community. In a season when our society and our world seem besieged by conflict, violence and injustice, I find hope in the ways our meetings–at our best–can serve as circles of Light. I keep hearing stories of how we are helping one another find courage, seek deeper relationship with our neighbors and with Creation, and join with others to build the world of wholeness and right relationship that Jesus called the Reign of Heaven–and what Martin Luther King, Jr. called The Beloved Community.

As the demonstrations seeking deep change in response to the laying bare of systemic injustices mount across the country, and with the release of the Senate report on torture making visible the tragic costs of failing to acknowledge that of God in one another, I believe recommitting ourselves to living our faith as Friends is ever more important. We need each other’s help to be faithful, to consider the implications of Ferguson and Guantanamo in the lives of each one of us. Friends, how is the Spirit shaking our assumptions, calling us to pray, to serve, to witness, to speak, to act? How can we share that news with one another, strengthening connections and helping each other find courage and humility to learn, to grow, and to live?

In this online content, you’ll find news from the growing edges of the Quaker movement in our region, including exciting updates giving you a glimpse of new explorations in several of our diverse local meetings.

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As you’ll read below, New England Friends are helping to kindle new collaborations in support of Quaker religious education, and partnering with Friends organizations like Quaker Voluntary Service and Friends World Committee for Consultation to bring the richness of the global community of Friends to enliven our life together in New England, in worship and in witness.

I hope you’ll also check out the updates on our work to improve our Yearly Meeting’s staffing and organizational structure to better support the life of the Spirit among us. Finally, we’ve included a summary of highlights from this past summer’s Annual Sessions, held for the first time in our 354-year history in Vermont. The full Minutes of business sessions are posted online. It would be wonderful to welcome even more of our Quaker family next summer at Sessions in Vermont, August 1-6, 2015.

Below are two events I’d like to especially highlight in the coming months, with more information to be posted to the online calendar and shared with local meetings soon. The conversation will be more complete with your meeting’s participation!

Finally, we want to hear from you. Do you have:

  • News to share about the life of the Spirit in your corner of New England?
  • Examples of successes or creative new initiatives in your local meeting?
  • Reflections on how your faith leads you into witness and action for our world?
  • Suggestions on how we might help this newsletter be an even more useful tool to connect and energize Friends communities in New England?
Please send an email to Office Manager Sara Hubner at office@neym.org(link sends e-mail) or call the office at 508-754-6760 to learn more about submissions, suggest upcoming themes and share how the Light is at work in your meeting.

In faith and friendship,

Noah Baker Merrill

Noah Baker Merrill
Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Read The New England Friend online