Open for Transformation:
A Summer of Continued Change at FMC and Beyond
In all of our life as a religious society, there is, wonderfully, no ‘them’ and ‘us’. … everything we want to do is up to all of us. Indeed, it is for all of us to lend our hands to God, to again feel God’s transforming role in our lives and in turn act as agents together of transformation.
You might not see it yet, but over the summer at FMC there has been much transformation burbling up and taking shape. Simply on a physical level, we are in the process of installing new gutters and refurbishing First Day School Room 4. When you have a chance take a look at the colorful and bright carpet squares!
After looking at all of our wall spaces, the ad hoc group on refurbishing our bulletin boards reflected on how we communicate with ourselves and newcomers. As a result, there will soon be some changes in how our Friends Center entryway feels. More transformation of our wall spaces will come over the course of the fall. This transformation of course is more than a physical one. It is about allowing our rooms and our walls to speak the joy of being in community together and clearly ring out the invitation to join us. In doing the work of re-imagining our bulletin boards and signage, we have discovered the ministry of our walls!
There are other groups whose work will bear fruit this Fall. First Day School is taking off in new directions with a theme for the year of journeys. Read Greg Wood’s article for more information about this very exciting change! It has been amazing to watch how Spirit has gathered energy for planning over the summer and is moving through the committee with sparks of excitement and commitment to change. When I reflected this back to them, they said the time is right. The theme of journeys turns out to be very rich. Thinking of journeys and transformation, I am reminded that for all of us one aspect of our faith journey is transformation. How has Quakerism changed you? Me? Us? What changes are being called for now? There is much richness for all of us to engage in with our youth and ourselves around the concept of journeys.
This is something the newly formed ad hoc committee on adult education might directly or indirectly ask us to explore. This group recently formed as a working group of Ministry and Council with the realization that there is no current structure or practice to ensure everyone at FMC has opportunities to deepen their spiritual exploration and relationship to Quakerism. Watch for new opportunities coming out of their work!
Another strand of this tapestry of transformation happening at FMC is that the Beneficial Cycle Coordinating Group is wrapping up their first five years. They are prayerfully compiling a report of learnings and recommendations. Plan on coming to our next Meeting for Business in Worship on September 9 to be in dialogue with this.
And finally, as a continuation of the conversations we started in April, a new ad hoc group put together by the Clerks Table is beginning to plan the next steps in our conversation about the future of FMC. So we will see what journey of transformation they call us all to and what voices we will bring together to discern the path forward.
What I also want to hold up is that I believe that these transformational stirrings are not unique to FMC. During my week at Friends General Conference this summer, one conversation I participated in was about the future of Quakerism. We wrestled with how to talk about what feels to be the underlying issues across all of our meetings. What I came away with was clarity that as Quakers our dynamics and needs have already shifted while our structures and practices have lagged behind.
I found New England Yearly Meeting Sessions (NEYM) this summer to also be inspirational in its call to live into transformation. NEYM has committed to spending this year examining ways to change both structures and practices of how they conduct business. In their own words, they are calling all of us to engage “in a continuing conversation about the need to identify and interrupt the patterns of seeing and doing… that lead to complicity in white supremacy and oppression.” (NEYM talking points)
I am excited to witness the work of the Spirit/God moving through us at FMC and through NEYM and through Quakerism as a whole. As we move from summer mode into what can be the busy-ness of fall, I would like to encourage all of us to keep our focus on the power of transformation. I’ll end with the quote I began this article with: “It is for all of us to lend our hands to God, to again feel God’s transforming role in our lives and in turn act as agents together of transformation.” Let us see what we can do together with Spirit this fall.
Recent FMC Events
2018 Senior Forum
On a beautifully summery afternoon on Sunday, June 17, 2018, over 70 family and Friends gathered in the Meetinghouse for the annual forum to celebrate our high school Seniors. Five youth attended: Izzy Thorndike, Callie Reagan, Rachel Myers, Lizy Szanton, and Tyler Dyer, with Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator Greg Woods. A sixth Senior, Robbie Watkins, was unable to attend but was with us in spirit. Izzy, Rachel, Lizy, Tyler, and Robbie all grew up in FMC while Callie discovered FMC just this past fall, after being introduced to Quakerism at Friends Camp in South China, Maine. These thoughtful young adults shared many memories of family and youth retreats, Christmas pageants, pie-baking, sandwich-making and more. While we are pleased to share some highlights here, we hope you don’t stop here, but rather use this as a jumping-off point to strike up a conversation with these young adults or others at FMC and in your lives.
In reflecting on what they would take with them as they go out into the world, the teens shared that their Quaker experience has helped them develop skills of listening, understanding, and being open-minded to the perspective of others, especially in diverse settings. One remarked that Quakerism’s tradition of Seeking and the lack of a clear creed helps frame uncertainty as a strength and not a weakness. Another shared that the testimonies have provided a strong moral foundation and a sense of social justice. Several remarked that the various retreats for families and Young Friends were instrumental for teaching and modeling Quaker practices, and for providing spaces where they could be silly and irreverent while developing trust and vulnerability with others.
The teens had rich reflections on Quaker decision-making process, and credited the Young Friends Retreats for teaching them how it works. They recognized that it is really helpful to learn how to consider all aspects of a dilemma, but wonder if sometimes it goes on too long with no endpoint. One suggested that we find ways to practice decision-making with middle school and even younger children.
The teens suggested that FMC could do more to improve communication between youth and adults. They invited adults to come be part of the high school meeting for worship, or to match youth with adult mentors, particularly those in college or recently graduated. They noted that family retreats were a wonderful way to make connections with other adults, and wondered why other intergenerational events don’t draw as many teens. Some of the teens have worked in the nursery and/or served on committees. However they suggested that FMC could still do more to invite youth to be an active and integral part of the life of the Meeting.
One teen shared that they really liked how teen worship meets on alternate weeks, serving as a bridge to a deeper experience in the Meetinghouse on the weeks in between. Another noted that while we are taught that Quakers eliminate the intermediary with God, we could do more to provide a pathway for those who need more guidance, for example by engaging younger kids in concrete practice about being in Meeting for Worship.
Another teen observed that while there is a deep commitment to anti-racism among Quakers, it seems difficult for Quakers to approach it in a productive way since our community is so white, and they challenged us to do more work on that. Similarly, a teen challenged us to explore more of the complicated feelings people have related to violence, rather than shutting down discussion by standing too quickly with a ‘non-violence’ response.
And on a more light-hearted note, two teens suggested we should do more singing together!
The teens also fielded some very thought-provoking questions from the friends and family attending the Forum, such as:
- Have you spoken in Meeting? If so, what was it like?
- How aware are your friends that you are Quaker, and what do they know about being Quaker?
- Is there a moment or a story where you experienced the Holy/God/Spiritual Mystery/Beloved?
- How has FMC contributed to your sexual education and ability to develop healthy relationships?
- How can we as a community support you as you go forward?
In the spirit of keeping this article brief, I will only say that their answers were truly wise and thoughtful, and I encourage you to ask one of the teens yourself the next time you see them!
Thanks again to Greg Woods for your expert facilitation, to the families and friends who have helped raise these wonderful young adults, and to all at FMC who contribute to the upbringing of all the young people at FMC. And most importantly, THANK YOU to our Seniors for sharing so deeply and honestly with us! It was truly a gift. We all wish you the best with what comes next, and we hope you will come back and continue to share your lives with us at FMC!
If reading this has inspired you to consider volunteering with FMC teens, youth, or children, please reach out to Greg Woods, our Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gardening and Landscaping at FMC
I would like to introduce myself, Nancy Hewitt, and Robert Szudra, two members of the Gardening and Landscaping Committee. We have been involved with several projects this year.
We mulched a good portion of the property last year and plan to complete the project while adding more to some areas. We assisted the First Day School in planting more flowers in new pots to add to the Meetinghouse grounds and a family of bunnies was raised in one of them until they had their eyes open. We have been weeding, pruning and planting on the grounds. Two new Mountain Laurel shrubs are now planted along the fencing. They seem to be doing very nicely and will grow up to 8 – 10 feet high! The front lawn needs de-thatching and we hope to get estimates on that and perhaps some transplanting and bulb planting this autumn. We also hope to do some socializing in the fall and winter months.
Anyone interested in becoming part of the gardening committee is welcome. There are large-team jobs and small/single jobs you can join in on. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, if you would like to lend some time to our lovely sanctuary.
Clerk, Gardening and Landscaping Committee
FMC at the Boston Pride Parade
A group from FMC marched in the Boston Pride Parade on June 9, 2018.
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Welcoming Momentum for Peace in Korea
August 5, 2018 on the Charles River.
Protest at Raytheon, August 20, 2018
In response to the Saudi bombing of a bus, killing 44 Yemeni children on August 9, our FMC Peace and Social Concerns Committee, along with others from FMC, and Veterans for Peace/Smedley Butler Brigade, Mass. Peace Action, and American Friends Service Committee rallied at Raytheon BBN offices in Cambridge on August 20. Raytheon supplies the bombs and military equipment to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE that makes such savage attacks possible and it has a close and essential relationship to the Saudi Military. Over 70 people, including about 15 from FMC, participated. Readers are reminded that FMC prays for peace outside this Raytheon/BBN facility every third Sunday from 10:45 to 11:45 AM.
First Day School (FDS) Update
from Greg Woods, Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-251-6512.
New Curriculum for First Day School
Over the summer, I worked with a small group to revamp the curriculum for Pre-K through Middle School. We decided to stop using the old curriculum that has been used by the meeting for the past two decades. This new curriculum will be project-based and using the three themes of Quaker history, Biblical stories, and service and activism intertwined throughout the year, instead of having three distinct sessions. We hope to have a final presentation in the spring explaining what we have learned.
Each Sunday, the children will still be in Meeting for Worship for 15 minutes and then we all will gather together in FDS 4 for singing and a big group lesson. Afterwards, we will break out for small group activities based on the lesson for rest of the time together. Also, every six weeks or so, we will have Meeting for Business within First Day School to decide on a long-term service project and then plan it out.
This year’s theme is Journeys. Throughout the school year we will explore the different concepts of Journeys, ranging from talking about where we come from to immigration to community. We hope that this new curriculum will connect with youth more and encourage them to come more often.
First Day School Kickoff Event
Sunday, September 9, 9:30 am, parents, children, youth, teens, and teachers are invited to a Kick-Off Breakfast to celebrate the start of the school year sponsored by the First Day School and Youth Programs Committee.
Adult First Day School Volunteers Needed
Do you have a skill or talent that would relate to the theme of Journeys that you want to share with the First Day School?
Do you want to learn along with the students about the theme of Journeys?
The core teachers this year will be Beth Fuller, David Smith, and Patti Conty. We need a couple volunteers each Sunday to help out with First Day School during the School year. Please contact Greg Woods, Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator at email@example.com or 413-251-6512.
We Also Need More Childcare Volunteers
Meeting has made a commitment to support families by providing childcare during Meetings for Worship and committee meetings when needed. Your help is needed and spending time with our FMC children is fun! You will be volunteering with at least one other person.
Please contact Greg Woods, Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-251-6512.
FMC Committees and Groups Open to All
Are you new to FMC and interested in how the committees work? Are there issues you care about that you would like to join with others at FMC to discuss? Please reach out to learn more and to visit a committee or group meeting.
|Committee or Group Name||Contact Name||Contact Email|
|Aging–Tea and Worship Sharing||Kitty Rushemail@example.com|
|Artists and Writers Group||George Campbellfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Board Game Group||Sarah Spearemail@example.com|
|Communications Umbrella Group||Jonathan Vogel-Bornefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Family Worship Planning Group||Ian Harringtonemail@example.com|
|Fellowship & Outreach Committee||Holly Lappfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Friends for Racial Justice Committee||Nancy Frostemail@example.com|
|Gardening & Landscaping Committee||Nancy Hewittfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|International Day of Peace Planning Group||Ian Harringtonemail@example.com|
|LGBTQ+ Working Group||Jane Jacksonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|New Story Group||Cornelia Parkesemail@example.com|
|Peace & Social Concerns Committee||Ray Aucoinefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Prison Fellowship Group||Michael Careyemail@example.com|
|Sanctuary Group||Susan Daviesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sc-Fi/Fantasy Reading Aloud Group||Betsy Roperemail@example.com|
|Simple Lunch Group||David L. Meyersfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Young Adult Friends (ages 18-35ish)||Miranda Henneemail@example.com|
New FMC Lead Nursery Teacher
Eliza Myers was hired as our Nursery Lead Teacher, when our previous Nursery Coordinator, Pearl Kerber, moved out of Cambridge last June. Eliza has been working at Meeting since mid June.
Eliza Myers grew up attending FMC with her family, and currently lives in Brookline, where she works as an after-school teacher at the Pierce School Extended Day. She went to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she majored in French literature and journalism. Since her graduation in 2013, Eliza has worked as a paraprofessional in both Pre-K and Preschool classrooms, and currently she is pursuing a degree in nursing. She hopes to become a pediatric nurse and continue her work with children and families.
Explore the Quaker spiritual journey by reading and discussing Marcelle Martin’s book Our Life is Love. Order your copy online, or buy one at Meeting for $20. There will be monthly forums to discuss each element of the Quaker journey on the 4th Sunday of each month.
Ad Hoc Adult Education Group
Welcome the new Head of Cambridge Friends School
David J. Tierney began serving as the Head of School at Cambridge Friends School on July 1, 2018. David served most recently as the Director of the River School Conservatory in Weston, MA. He was also the chair of the Performing Arts department and directed the Summer Academic Programs at Rivers.
David believes fully in expanding the potential of students: “We have to encourage students to become active learners who think critically and understand thoroughly as they seek solutions to complex problems, contemporary issues, and creative demands. To do so, our passion for our subject area and for the process of learning must be readily apparent to our students along with our confidence in their ability to learn successfully. We must inspire our students to be sincerely inquisitive about the world and to consider multiple perspectives before formulating an opinion or offering a solution.”
Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition Update
Part of understanding justice is to recognize the disproportions among which we live…it takes an awful lot of living with the powerless to begin to understand what it is like to be powerless, to have your voice, thoughts, ideas and concerns count for very little. We, who have been given much, whose voices can be heard, have a great responsibility to make our voices heard with absolute integrity for those who are powerless.
Members of the FMC community are involved in the Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (CISC) with the following six actions to protect immigrants and work toward justice:
- Acting as a supporting congregation for University Lutheran Church in Cambridge providing sanctuary for an Ecuadorian family since May 2017
- Approving a minute concerning the separation of families
- Participating in The Jericho Walk at the offices of ICE in Burlington, MA
- Accompanying detained children and adults to court hearings
- Vigiling at the South Bay Jail in Boston, MA
- Lobbying for immigration reform
Of these efforts, support for the University Lutheran Church in Cambridge, which is providing sanctuary, has required the most effort. This began in May 2017, as FMC made a Covenant with 10 other faith groups in Cambridge. We are not here to “help” immigrants or to “speak for” them, but rather to walk the journey with them.
During their first year of the sanctuary, about 25 members of the FMC community have provided over 2,200 hours of volunteer time in accompaniment of the family in sanctuary in 4-hour shifts. Some have done grocery shopping and two have acted as Volunteer Coordinators, which has included coordinating the work of volunteers, attending administrative and other meetings of CISC. In addition, FMC has made financial contributions to CISC and reimbursed volunteers for grocery purchases. Several members of the FMC community have also made financial contributions to CISC.
We welcome additional volunteers in all aspects of this work, and we are seeking a second Volunteer Coordinator to help with this crucial effort.
For more info, talk to Susan Davies or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our FMC Community of Hope provides the following types of care and support to individuals within our community:
- a Friendly visit 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;
- a conversation to assist in determining the need for a Support or a Clearness Committee;
- a supportive visit and listening presence during a challenging life experience; and
- 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 or calling Diana Lopez, Pastoral Care Coordinator, at 617-312-8304.
Forums are held Sundays at 9:30am in the Parlor
For September Forums contact Patricia Wild at email@example.com
- September 9: “What’s Bubbling up for You in Your Spiritual Journey? How is Quakerism helping you with this?”
- September 16: James Mills, a Boston Divinity School student and regular attender of FMC’s Wednesday night Sharing Circle, will share his prison ministry journey.
- Septembr 23: “Seeking Spiritual Community at FMC” A panel of newcomers will share their longing for spiritual community that brought them here and their experiences after arriving here at this stage of their journey.
- September 30: “What Do You Long for on Your Spiritual Journey?” Group discussion of Chapter 1 (Longing) of Our Life Is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey by Marcelle Martin. No need to have read the chapter to participate!
Our member Patricia Anne Hogan passed away on July 4, 2018. A meeting for worship to celebrate Trish’s life took place on Sunday, August 12, 2018 in the Meetinghouse.
Her obituary and the program from her memorial meeting for worship can be found at:
Celebration of the Life of Patricia Anne Hogan
Skip Schiel Travels to Palestine on September 5, 2018. Skip writes: On September 5, I will leave on an extended trip to photograph internally displaced Palestinian refugees in Palestine, an extension of my 15-year project about Palestine-Israel and my attempt to connect to the global refugee and immigrant crisis. In early summer because of medical and political problems I had to postpone the first part of this project, Palestinian refugees in Europe. I plan to work in Gaza with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), and to photograph refugees living in camps in Gaza and the West Bank, assuming Israel grants entry permits for Gaza to me and the AVP team. I will then photograph the refugees’ original home sites now in Israel. I hope you can support my project with prayers, guidance, and funds, as so many Friends have done over the 38 years of my participation in our Beloved Community.
If you’d be interested in joining my email list to receive dispatches from the field, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBSCRIBE TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEE PHOTO PROJECT in the subject. To contribute, go to my GoFundMe site.
Despite the political uncertainties, I intend to maintain focus on Palestinian refugees displaced from their original homes (during the Nakba or “Catastrophe”) because of Israel’s occupation and siege of the West Bank and Gaza. As in the past, I will create exhibits, slideshows, blogs, books, and movies on my website teeksaphoto.org. I intend to be a photographer-proxy, using my white international privilege to gain access to areas forbidden to Palestinians—to advocate for their right of return.
Our Friends Sev Bruyn and Dan Fitzmartin
Wider Quaker News
Special Events from the NEYM Website
To see all events go to https://www.neym.org/news-events
- Vasselboro Quarterly Meeting (and young adults aged 18-35 from all of New England) September 7-9 • South China, ME
- Junior Yearly Meeting Retreat (Grades 2-6) September 14-16 • Deerfield, MA
- Young Friends Leadership and Learning Retreat (Grades 9-12) September 14-16 • Framingham, MA
- New Young Friends Welcome Dinner (Grades 9-12) September 15 • Framingham, MA
- Virtual Quaker Parent Discussion Group (Group 1) September 18 • Online
- Virtual Quaker Parent Discussion Group (Group 2) September 19 • Online
- Junior High Yearling Meeting Retreat (Grades 6-8) September 28 to September 30 • Framingham, MA
What Does It Mean to Live a Faithful Life Today?
Book talk by Quaker Authors Debbie Humphries and Iris Graville Sunday, September 9 at 3:30 – 5:00 pm at Beacon Hill Friends House
Quaker authors Debbie Humphries from Hartford (CT) Monthly Meeting, and Iris Graville are coming to Beacon Hill Friends House at 6 Chestnut Street, Boston, MA. The authors of Seeds that Change the World and Hiking Naked—A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance, respectively, will lead an open discussion of what it means to live faithfully in our culture, time and place. Refreshments will be served during the event. Please join us!
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Workshop
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) began in 1975. An inmate group at Green Haven Prison in New York sought assistance from local Quakers to reduce inmate violence. From this partnership of inmates and Quakers, AVP was born. AVP is in demand in schools, prisons and youth groups. AVP conducts programs in 35 US states and over 45 countries. AVP has shaped the Reconciliation process in South Africa and in Rwanda.
About the Basic Level Workshop
AVP is an experiential program, helping people change their lives. The basic level AVP workshop is an intensive learning experience that teaches interpersonal conflict resolution skills. These experiences in small groups and in one-to-one interactions help build a sense of community. Role plays also provide an opportunity to explore, to learn, and practice creative ways to respond to real life conflicts in our lives.
Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS)
2018-2019 QVS Boston Fellows
The Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) year has begun with eight fellows living in their house in Dorchester and working at social service/change agencies in the Boston area, with support from Friends Meeting at Cambridge, other local meetings, and many individuals.
Each month this fall we will highlight two of the fellows; here are the first two:
Jeremy Graf Evans grew up in a mixture of Israel/Palestine (Birth->1 year), Baltimore (1-5), and Jakarta, Indonesia (5-9), with his family holding home for the past 13 years in a renovated barn in Glen Mills, PA – conveniently he can say he grew up in a barn. Given the somewhat nomadic nature of his childhood, he feels fortunate to call Westtown School (2014) and Haverford College (2018) part of his home as well. Although not a formal member, Jeremy has most often worshiped in Westtown Monthly Meeting and got his first introduction to Quakerism beginning in his Baltimore years at Stony Run Meeting and Catoctin Quaker Camp.
At Haverford, he spent his final three years living in the Quaker Community House and was a four-year member of the Men’s Basketball Team, and the Ford S-Chords A Cappella group spending the summers working with B Lab and DiverseCity. A Political Science Major, and Environmental Studies Minor who dabbled in Economics electives while diving into a wide array of liberal arts courses, Jeremy has a fascination with the intersection of how economics/finance, and social J ustice play a role in promoting sustainable ecosystems that can support human life to the fullest. Fittingly, he is excited to get a broad-based understanding of how we might reimagine economic and subsequently earthly and social relationships this year through working with the New Economy Coalition.
Eust Eustis grew up in Medway, Massachusetts, and has spent the past three years living in Boston. They graduated from Simmons College in May of 2017, where they received a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Sociology. At Simmons, they were Co-President of the Sexuality Women and Gender Center, wrote a thesis about plants that can absorb and clean up arsenic pollution, and discovered their passion for science, public health, social justice, and human rights work. Eust hopes to use the privileges they have been granted in this lifetime to work to dismantle systems of oppression and to return power and pay reparations to historically marginalized people. They are excited about the opportunity QVS offers to dedicate themself to this work, while also living in an intentional community and exploring their spirituality. They look forward to the transformative year ahead and all of the growth, learning, and unlearning they will do. They cannot wait to begin working with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in the fall.