Our Elders Speak
Members of Creation
January Letter to New England Yearly Meeting from Noah Merrill, NEYM Secretary
And yet, some Thing that moves among the stars,
And holds the cosmos in a web of law,
Moves too in me: a hunger, a quick thaw
Of soul that liquefies the ancient bars
As I, a member of creation, sing
The burning oneness binding everything.
– Kenneth Boulding,
from “There is a Spirit”: The Nayler Sonnets
We formed a circle, and began to listen—and to speak.
FDS and Youth Events
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To help the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) housed in the Meetinghouse basement, First Day School is collecting items for hygiene kits on the list that they will all put together during March 8th Meeting for Business.
There will be baskets for your donations in the Meetinghouse and Friends Center in both the lobby and the Friends Room on Sundays to collect items.
We have a new Nursery Teacher Caitlin Peters
Caitlin is currently a graduate student in the Elementary Education program at Boston University. In May, she will be licensed to teach children between the 1st and 6th grade. This is an exciting career change for her as she previously worked in various business roles after graduating from Bentley University in 2012. She is very excited to continue working with children as a Nursery Teacher at FMC! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, running and spending time with her family and friends.
Young Adult Friends (YAF) News
FCNL Spring Lobby Weekend 2020
Saturday March 28 – Tuesday March 31 in Washington, DC
At Spring Lobby Weekend 2020, hundreds of students, recent grads, Quakers, and young adults will come to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on one critical issue—climate change.
Part-time Position at Durham Friends Meeting
Forwarded from Nia Dwynwen Thomas, NEYM Quaker Practice and Leadership Facilitator
Durham Friends Meeting in Maine is hiring for a part-time position. If you know someone who might be led to this type of service, please feel free to pass this along.
Right Sharing of World Resources Job Opening
Right Sharing of World Resources is a Quaker nonprofit based in Indiana, but most if not all of the employees work remotely. They make mirco-loans to support cooperatives in different parts of Africa (usually in west Africa and in the Great Lakes Region) and India. They are excited to announce reopening the search for a Communications Director. The job description can be found here. Inquiries and applications should be sent electronically to Jacqueline Stillwell, General Secretary with a letter of interest, resume, and 3 references. Applications will be accepted until the right person appears. Interviews will begin late January with a start date of February 3.
2019-2020 Annual Staff Evaluations Coming Soon!
Please be on the lookout for a request for staff feedback. As part of our annual review, we request feedback from all of you who have interactions with our staff to let us know your perspective. As you know, our principal staff includes LJ Boswell, Resident Friend; David Dunphy, Facilities Manager; Amy Mercure, Office Manager; and Greg Woods, Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator. If you interact with nursery workers or the Center Residents, your input on their work will also be welcome. Keep your eye out for more information in the next couple of weeks. When it comes across your path, all of us would greatly appreciate it if you take the time to offer your perspective.
Do you have a few extra hours to give to FMC?
Are you interested in finances and/or databases? Or children? or good with tools? or words? or just want to chip in a bit more on Sundays?
I have a few invitations for you to consider
- FMC currently uses Filemaker Pro, programmed by David Meyers. We are beginning to research other possibilities. There are two parts to this invitation. The first is to help David and be a back-up Filemaker troubleshooter. The second is to help us research and decide about the possibility of switching. You could let us know what you already know, volunteer to research one option and fill in info on our Google Drive excel chart where we will be gathering information, or be part of the full planning process. In other words, there’s so many different ways to be involved.
- We have need for folks to be occasional childcare workers when a parent is at a meeting. Sometimes this is on Sundays and sometimes this is during the week in the evening. You’d be one of two adults in the room, so the responsibility would be shared and not solely on you.
- We have a large facility in need of various things such as the dryer vent cleaned out and other small maintenance jobs. Ideally this would be someone who could come in during regular M-F daytime hours. Do you have a flexible schedule and miss using your hands?
- Editing the newsletter and announcement sheet. The Publications group just lost a member of their team and is interested in finding someone else to help out!
- Help on Sundays: Write the Whiteboard announcments in the morning before worship, help with Simple Lunch prep, help organize the food info cards for our monthly potluck, welcome folks to Simple Lunch and facilitate the process.
Your Resident Friend LJ Boswell (with Ella) at email@example.com
Wear Slippers Inside at FMC
Make a Fashion Statement! This is a gentle reminder to bring slippers to FMC to save the wear on our floors and rugs, especially during wet and/or snowy days. If you are able to bring a change of foot gear, every little bit helps. Some slippers to borrow are available in the Meetinghouse and in the entryway to the Friends Center. Put your wet/salty/snowy footwear in the plastic trays.
Pastoral Care at FMC
Our FMC Community of Hope provides the following types of care and support to individuals within our community:
- Friendly visits to someone’s home or a visit to someone in a hospital or nursing home
- Accompaniment to a medical appointment
- Preparing and/or delivering meals
- Conversations to assist in determining the need for a Support or a Clearness Committee
- Supportive visits and listening presence during a challenging life experience
- Sending cards on behalf of FMC
If you, or someone you know within our FMC community, might benefit from one of these care and support activities, please let us know. You may reach the program by emailing your request to PastoralCare@fmcquaker.org.
Do you enjoy reading the FMC Newsletter?
Consider joining the Publications Team that brings you the monthly FMC newsletter. Various talents are welcome: proof reading, event creation, reporting, photography. This is a great way to get to know the meeting. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and see what we can do for you!
Cornelia Parkes, Holly Lapp, Amy Mercure
Simple Lunch Needs Additional Helpers
The almost-weekly Sunday Simple Lunches started in November 2015. Participation these days is usually large and always appreciative. The Lunch Crew has a number of very fine cooks, and gets a lot of help from lunch-eaters in setting out chairs, rinsing dishes, and putting away tables. Sometimes we are a little short-handed in the cleanup department—running the dishwasher, putting away leftovers, clearing the serving table, washing pots and pans. We invite Friends to consider joining us occasionally to do your preferred activity: cooking, putting out food and dishes, welcoming, running the dishwasher (great fun and training is available to supplement the written instruction sheet). Contact David L Myers at email@example.com.
Seeking Database Apprentice
Put your database experience to work in support of a good cause! FMC urgently needs a person to learn our Filemaker Pro database that has been developed and maintained by one person over the last 9 years. David Myers, also known as the simple lunch guru, is a really cool guy. Find him in the kitchen any Sunday and check out this opportunity!
Recent FMC Events
Friends Called to Address Climate Change
On January 19, 2020, our large community room was filled with 55 people who came to reflect on how our Friends community might respond to the climate crisis.
How am I called to respond to the Earth’s climate crisis and participate in Earth’s healing? How can the Quaker spiritual community respond?
Out of worship sharing there were expressions of fear and awe. One woman cried out how her ancestors on this land were no longer here to teach her their songs, dances and ways of honoring the Earth. One father shared his worry about whether or not to have a second child in these days of climate chaos. Another Quaker stated that their work is to truly learn that they belong to the Earth: they are not stewards or even caretakers of the Earth. We need to learn how to abandon the destructive path our civilization is carving. How can we restore our land, recognizing that the US military has an outsize carbon footprint?
“My ideas around how to address the climate crisis needs to come out of moral conviction or passion, but not moral certitude.”
Many mentioned that we can aim to act forcefully but we cannot do it all. Discernment is needed.
When does action happen? Some action now is called for in light of the enormity of the environmental disruption. Is there a Divine plan for soil and stardust? Do we act from a faith that the biosphere is evolving? Do any of the truth seeking, peace-building groups we hosted speak to Friends’ conditions? (guests included Mothers Our Front, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion). There are several small Quaker groups that might grow within Meeting: Voluntary Carbon Tax, New Story, Gardening, Bolder Deeper, etc.
How do we listen to God’s calling knowing that Spirit is moving and growing always? Are we are committed to acting with love towards each other as we stand resolutely facing the challenge?
We invite you into your next step:
- Come together in a smaller group to discern what you can do,
- Be part of a supportive group that does direct action,
- Raise your awareness regarding the imperiled Earth: explore, draw, pray, express anger, hope (and all the feelings in between), ask questions of each other.
2019 was the 20th anniversary of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TDOR has been observed annually on November 20 as a day to memorialize those transgender and gender non-confirming people who have been lost to violence within the past year. It originated when an African American woman, Rita Hester, was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts in November 1998. In response, an outpouring of grief and anger led to a candlelight vigil in which about 250 people participated.
There was a Memorial Meeting for Worship in observance of TDOR on Sunday, November 24, at 1:15 pm in the Meetinghouse. From the silence, as led, people read the name, and a sentence about each reported person whom we know of who died in the United States. They then lit a small candle from the larger one burning in the center. There were 38 candles; 37 of the small named candles, and the 1 large candle in the center representing those whose names we do not know, either because their deaths were not reported, they were misgendered when their deaths were reported, or they are still missing. This number is but a small fraction of the deaths reported worldwide.
Loving your enemy is manifest in putting your arms not around the man but around the social situation, to take power from those who misuse it – at which point they can become human too.
Our beloved member Mehmet Rona passed away on October 18, 2019. A Memorial Meeting for Worship to celebrate his life was held on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 2pm. Mehmet’s obituary was published January 19, 2020, in the Boston Globe.
Family photos of Mehmet Rona and photo boards made by Jessie Brown (with community input) were on display at Mehmet Rona’s memorial on January 25, 2020 and will be on display in the Friends Center until at least February 2nd. Jessie included quotes of vocal ministry by Mehmet made during the time she transcribed vocal messages during worship for Chuck Woodbury who was functionally deaf.
We are saddened to learn that Ghanda DiFiglia died Saturday, December 28. Her niece, Becca, and her husband, Josh, were with Ghanda and relayed that she “passed away quietly surrounded by love.” Becca has said so often over the past few weeks how strengthened she was by the caring and support Ghanda received from her FMC community.
Ghanda’s presence in our community will be greatly missed. Her commitment to peace and social justice reflected in her witness over so many years will continue to serve as an inspiration to many. Over the past several months, Ghanda demonstrated such consistent grace and caring about the welfare of others even as she was battling health issues of her own.
Please hold Ghanda, Becca and her family, as well as Ghanda’s family in California in the Light.
A memorial meeting for worship to celebrate Ghanda’s life will be held on Saturday, April 25, at 2:00pm at Cambridge Friends Meeting.
FMC member John Starkey died on January 11, 2020. Although he lived and taught theology at Oklahoma City University for over 20 years, he loved coming to visit FMC each summer. Please find his obituary here.
An early tapestry by Marina.
Member Marina Rothman has a tapestry “Peace?” as part of this exhibit. The reception for general public is on
February 15, 3:30 – 5:00 pm.
The Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown in partnership with the Surface Design Association presents a winter regional exhibition titled Threaded: Contemporary Fiber in New England. This exhibition combines artwork from Surface Design Association members that reside in all 6 New England states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island) in a narrative that presents a unique perspective on the artistic voices of our region. The exhibition was juried by Beth McLaughlin, Chief Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Fuller Craft Museum.
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the featured events for February, 2020.
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The FMC Quaker home page also has the current announcement sheet, this month’s forums, Minutes and Reports for the next business meeting, and this newsletter. Bookmark this page and consult it frequently to keep current on FMC happenings. If you explore further you will find pages of interest to the community and to newcomers. You are encouraged to add your voice to the mix. Send comments and suggestions to Cornelia Parkes at firstname.lastname@example.org, who is your friendly website master and newsletter editor.
What Does Love Look Like in Challenging Times?
Our Theme for the Year
February 2: “Love within the Prison Community: A Fable Regarding a Prison Strike” with John Bach
February 9: What does Agape mean to you? Readings, story-telling, worship-sharing.
February 16: “Raising A Meeting’s Child: A True Story” with Lili Schwan-Rosenwald
February 23: “Outlawed Love, from Stonewall to Prison” with Michael Cox, director of policy for Black and Pink, Boston. Black and Pink is a prison abolitionist organization rooted in the experiences of LGBTQ+ and people living with HIV.
Child care is available during forums. For more information or to present a forum contact Patricia Wild at email@example.com
Wider Quaker World
Quaker grants are available to support individual spiritual leadings and for other purposes. Some of the upcoming grant application deadlines include:
- Legacy Grants – Witness and Ministry Fund due March 1, 2020. The purpose of the Legacy Gift Funds is to support the ministries of New England Yearly Meeting Friends, both within and beyond our region.
- Prejudice and Poverty Fund Grants. Grants are awarded to address the needs and concerns of organizations who work to alleviate the suffering of segments of the U.S. population who experience discrimination.
- Obadiah Brown’s Benevolent Fund awarded three times annually: deadlines January 15, April 15, and September 15. Primarily focused on New England Friends and Friends’ organizations, grants shall be made for Quaker purposes. OBBF favors discrete projects. OBBF encourages applications from Friends engaged in a wide range of ministries.
- Salem Quarterly Meeting Funds awarded in the spring and fall: deadline March 31
Additional funds are at https://neym.org/quaker-grants.
Events Around New England in February 2020
- Multiage Inclusion Hybrid Webinar Series February 4 – 25 Note: this series began January 28th. Late registration is still possible.
- Brent Bill: Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love February 7 – 9 • Old Chatham, NY
- Anger as Ally: It All Depends February 7 – 9 • Old Chatham, NY
- Facilitating Groups for Social Justice February 8 • W. Hartford, CT
- Annual Winter Wonderland February 14 – 16. An unprogrammed weekend • Old Chatham, NY
- Young Friends Mid-Winter Retreat February 14 – 17. The theme is “Caring For Ourselves and Each Other” • Deerfield, MA
- Energy Work for Everyone February 21 – 23. A retreat with John Calvi at Powell House • Old Chatham, NY
- FWCC Sustainability Conference February 22. An Online Conference with Friends Worldwide. How does God call us to act?”
- Building a Culture of Multi-Age Inclusion February 28 – March 1. Making it easier for Friends of all ages to thrive. • Old Chatham, NY
- Junior High Yearly Meeting Retreat February 28 – March 1. Sanctuary • Wellesley, MA
- Meeting Care Day February 29. A Gathering for Nominators and Pastoral Caregivers in Local Meetings• Leverett, MA
Dear Salem Quarter Friends,
As many of you know, the Beacon Hill Friends House is not just the home of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, but also a community residence, meeting and event space, and Quaker non-profit organization in downtown Boston. Many Friends in Salem Quarter have been enthusiastic and generous supporters of the House for many years – as board and committee members, as participants in programs, as financial contributors, and in other ways (including as residents!). Over the past couple years the Friends House has been expanding its public programming on Quaker learning, social action, and other topics, and Salem Quarter has corporately supported this work with a few financial grants.
All of this is why I’m excited to announce to our broader Friends community that the Beacon Hill Friends House has hired a new Program Manager, Jennifer Higgins-Newman, who started work this January!
Jen is a member of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, and has been a part of the public programming work of the Friends House as a volunteer since she moved to Boston in 2017. She served on the Friends House Board of Managers from late 2017 through the middle of this month, and has also been a House resident since mid-2018.
I’m really excited to have Jen join the small staff team at the Friends House to lead much of our public programming, outreach, partnerships, and communications work. She brings not only deep gifts and strengths that will be an asset to her role, along with extensive knowledge of the recent work of the House, but also years of experience and commitment to Quaker learning and spirit-led action.
Here is Jen’s bio on the Friend House website.
All my best,
Executive Director, Beacon Hill Friends House
6-8 Chestnut Street. Boston, MA 02108
Program Coordinator, AFSC New Hampshire Program
The Program Coordinator for AFSC in NH, Arnie Alpert, is retiring. His job is posted now. We are really going to miss his amazing work. He seems to be everywhere on the social action scene in NH. Maybe someone looking to leave the Boston bustle behind would be interested in life in Concord, NH, a pretty neat small city.