April Minutes & Reports Due, Monday, April 1, 2019

April Business Meeting, 1:15pm, April 14, 2019, at Cambridge Friends School. Meeting of Cambridge Friends School Corporation, at 1:45pm

May Newsletter Due, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

May Minutes & Reports Due, Monday, April 29, 2019

Announcement Sheet Due, Mondays at midnight

Recent Events

Our first Community Breakfast (renamed from Intergenerational Breakfast) on  Sunday, March 7, was a huge success with over 70 people attending. Thanks especially to the cooks and those who helped set up and clean up. (Panoramic photo from Lorena Boswell)

Jim Serdy, Lizza Vachon and Ian Harrington made delicious crepes and various kinds of pancakes for all.


Staff Evuluations are due Sunday, April 14

FMC Staff Evaluations Feature

As part of our annual review, we are requesting feedback from all of you who have had interactions with our staff this year. As staff, we would greatly appreciate it if you take the time to offer your perspectives.
Please note: this year’s process is different! There are forms for each of the primary staff: Amy Mercure (Office Manager), David Dunphy (Faciities Manager), Greg Woods (Youth and Education Secretary), and Lorena Boswell (Resident Friend). The new forms include both 5 point scales and spaces for comments in different aspects of each person’s job. They are easy, interesting and quick for you to fill out. If you don’t have time to write comments, please just answer the 5 point scale questions! Of course comments help us understand with more depth what your experience and needs have been and would be greatly appreciated. Forms are available on the cart next to the kitchen in the Friends Center or via email from the Resident Friend, Lorena Boswell, at Annual staff evaluations are a great opportunity for us to hear directly from you about how we’re doing, to celebrate where we are meeting your needs, and to learn about how we can improve our service to FMC. Thank you for your time and perspective!

Please return the evaluations for Amy, David and Greg to Lorena. Return the evaluation for Lorena to Jonathan Vogel-Borne at

Seeking Database Apprentice

FileMaker Pro DB

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!

New England Yearly Meeting Student Scholarship Grants

New England Yearly Meeting Logo

Application deadline: May 15, 2019
New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) offers grants to students of any age enrolled in post-secondary educational or professional training programs, whether full- or part-time. Awardees are eligible on the basis of spiritual connection to the Religious Society of Friends and participation in NEYM.
You do not have to be a member of a monthly meeting to apply, but you must be committed to Friends’ principles and willing to share the role of Quakerism in your life. You should be able to describe in your personal essay what draws you to Quakerism, whether you are an attender or member of a meeting or otherwise connected to Friends. Your references should be chosen carefully to speak to your commitment to Friends principles and your prior participation in the NEYM community.

To apply, complete the Student Financial Assistance application, including a personal statement and two letters of recommendation, one of which must come from the clerk of your Monthly Meeting, a representative of NEYM (for example, a youth programs coordinator or Quaker camp administrator), or a Quaker school teacher or administrator.
For questions and final submission of the application by the May 15th deadline, please contact the NEYM Student Scholarship Grants Committee: Ian Harrington (FMC’s Co-Presiding Clerk) is a member of that committee.

Personal News

Happy 91st Birthday to Bob Carter! If you might be interested in a worship and visit with Bob, please email Holly Lapp at for a future date.

Member Elizabeth (Minga) Claggett-Borne  wrote an article on “Experiments with Worship” that was published in Friends Journal, March, 2019. She says, “The queries are different when worshiping outside a sheltered meetinghouse. Thomas Kelly describes a gathered meeting as when ‘A blanket of divine covering comes over a room; a stillness that can be felt over all.’ When walking in worship the Spirit is under us, within us, and surrounding us; Spirit is in feet pressing onto root; Spirit is in the sounds of a thrumming city park.”

Barbara Owen, a former attender at Friends Meeting at Cambridge, has died. Her memorial will be held at Wellesley Meeting House on Saturday, April 13 at 2:00pm followed by a reception. For further information, please contact Sally Harrison at 339-235-5579.


Where are the Events?

Featured Events Page

You will find announcements for all current FMC events on the FMC website, on the home page. These events are free, except as noted, and open to the public. Below the announcements you will find the web calendar that can be viewed by the week or month that has in addition regular meetings for worship and committee meetings. These listings do not include non-FMC sponsored events that take place at FMC.

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, who is your friendly website master and newsletter editor.

YAF Events

Events for Young Adult Friends (YAFs)

Young Adult Friends are between 18 and 35(ish) years old. If you have any questions or want more information about what FMC offers for Young Adult Friends, please contact Miranda Henne at

Young Adults Bicycling to Meeting

Young Adult Friends Spring Retreat & Living Faith Trip

April 5-7 – Dartmouth & New Bedford, MA
Living Faith is an all-ages gathering for Friends across New England featuring workshops, community building, and worship. This year we are trying something new and adding an option for young adults to make a weekend of it by gathering early and staying late for some young-adult only time in the evening and time with Friends of all ages during the day. Come connect with others, visit new meetings, and join in a bit of an adventure! More information & registration here. Space is limited & registration is required by March 31. If you are only interested in the Saturday events and are not planning to stay overnight, use the Living Faith registration here

Clerking in the 21st Century

May 3-5 – Old Chatham, NY

The next installment of the Young Adult Spiritual Nurture Series is coming up May 3-5 at Powell House! Register here. Pay as led.

Clerking is a skill that we hear a lot about but don’t often get officially taught. This weekend will refresh us on what we know already (or *think* we know) and also introduce new concepts around bringing clerking practice into the 21st century. We will be covering different clerking roles (recording, reading, committee, YM, etc.) and will have ample opportunities to practice together! Our facilitators will be Glenn Josey, Elaine Learnard, and Steve Mohlke.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions to Marissa Badgley at

Continuing Revolution: Experimenting Beyond Capitalism

June 7-12 – Wallingford, PA (Philadelphia Area)
This extended conference for young adults Quakers from across the nation features in-depth learning about economic injustice and Spirit-led alternatives. More information here. Applications are due by May 24th.

Young Adult Friends Potluck

Sunday, April 28 from 6:15pm-9:00pm
Friends between 18 and 35(ish) years old are welcome for our monthly potluck. You are welcome whether or not you’re able to bring a dish to share. The room we meet in is wheelchair accessible. Please note that we meet in an alcohol-free space. Childcare provided. For more information, please contact Miranda Henne, Young Adult Friend Coordinator, at

YAFs all over Maine – let’s get together for a sleepover!

Friday, May 3rd 7PM
Portland Friends Meeting
1837 Forest Ave, Portland, ME

You’re invited to an evening of food & fellowship followed by a slumber party at Portland Friends Meeting, before we all carpool to All Maine Gathering the next morning.

This is an event piggybacking off of the All Maine Gathering– a biannual gathering of all Quakers in Maine for business and fellowship.

All Maine is on Saturday, May 4th at the Friends School of Portland, for all ages, and THIS super special slumber party event is a chance for Young Adult Friends (ages 18 – 35ish) to gather together early for some cozy, fun community building before heading to All Maine together.

Our goal is to help YAFs have meaningful experiences at Quaker gatherings, and to connect with Friends across all generations. We hope that by gathering together with people of a similar life stage, and then also participating in the wider Quaker community together, we can support each other in building the beloved community we seek.

More info about All Maine here.

PLEASE REGISTER FOR ALL MAINE if you plan to attend this event here

RSVP to the slumber party on Facebook and invite your Maine F/friends here

FDS and Youth Events

First Day School Happenings

Connecting with Bolivian Friends

Emma Condori of the Friends International Bilingual Center has begun a project to match Quaker youth in Bolivia and USA. Emma visited FMC last August and talked about her work in Bolivia during a Forum. Our First Day School has been matched up with Villa Exaltacion Friends Church in El Alto, Bolivia, near La Paz. We have written a letter to them and received a letter back. We will send them digital postcards periodically talking about what we are doing in First Day School and asking them more questions. While we have been doing this project in FDS, we have learned about the country of Bolivia and the older youth have talked about the theology of Unprogrammed Friends and Holiness Friends, which Villa Exaltacion belongs to. Holiness Friends are not well known to Quakers in the US because there are only about a couple hundred Friends in Indiana who identify as Holiness Friends but in Latin America there are tens of thousands of Quakers in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru.

Easter Egg Creating

Saturday, April 20, 2:00-4:00pm

Join us in the Friends Room to dye Easter eggs (for younger kids) and create Ukrainian eggs (for teens)! Snacks provided! Youth under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please let Greg Woods or 413-251-6512 know if you can attend so there will be enough eggs.

Easter Egg Hunt

Sunday, April 21, 11:45am-12:15pm

Following worship and First Day School, children will be invited to search for Easter treats hidden by the youth group. Please drop off eggs and items to put in the eggs in the Nursery before worship.

Questions? Ask Greg Woods or 413-251-6512.

Youth Group / Friends Camp Pizza and Game Night

Sunday, April 7, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm

Current and past Friends Camp campers are invited to join the FMC youth group for pizza and games. Parents are invited to join the Sunday evening worship from 5-6 pm.

Please let Greg Woods, Youth and Education Minister, know at or 413-251-6512, if you are planning to attend so that we can plan the food.

Family Retreat in Alfred, Maine

All Meeting Retreat Come together to share fellowship, outdoor play, nature walks, and worship in beautiful Alfred, Maine. Our annual family retreat begins at lunch on Saturday at noon, ending early afternoon Monday. Register with Greg Woods, Youth Ministries and Education Coordinator, or 413-251-6512. Fees for this retreat will be $150 for adults and $75 for children (ages 5-11). Children under 4 are free. Scholarships are available for those who need financial assistance. More information will be available soon, but just wanted to let you all know about this date.

Parents’ Listserv

Something that come up at the Parents’ Meeting is a desire for parents to be able to communicate with each other as a group. To facilitate this, I have set up a listserv through Google: If you have an Google account, you can request access. If you don’t have an Google account,please let me know and I can add you.

Greg Woods Greg Woods, Youth Ministries & Education Coordinator or 413-251-6512

Job Openings

Part-Time Childcare Provider

Fresh Pond Monthly Meeting, Cambridge, MA

Fresh Pond Monthly Meeting seeks an individual to team with our current childcare provider to care for children (ages infants to 4 years) during meeting for worship from 10:00am to 11:00am. After Meeting for Worship, childcare duties include caring and organizing activities for the older children ages 5 years to teenage years as well as caring for the younger children. For more information and application instructions, please visit here.

Friends Camp Hiring For 2019 Session

Camp jobs are difficult, exciting, fulfilling, challenging, fun, and inspiring. For our nine week summer season, we look to hire about thirty people. One-third to one-half of our staff are returning staff each year. Please feel free to ask questions about working at Friends Camp at any time. You can reach Anna, Friends Camp Director, at (207) 445-2361 or by email at For more information, visit here.

Summer Positions at Farm and Wilderness Camp

Working side-by-side, staff guide campers through fun-filled, adventurous, and educational programs that change people’s lives — campers and staff alike! Each year F&W hires more than 230 summer staff members, with positions that include: Cabin Counselor, Assistant Director, Program Director, Wilderness Trip Coordinator and Trip Guide, Cooks, and many more. Please visit the site for more information at .

Summer & Year Round Internships

William Penn House

William Penn House, Washington, DC

Our 10-12 week social justice internship offers college students a unique combination of service and civic engagement, along with structured opportunities for personal, spiritual, and professional development; the WPH Social Justice Residency offers similar opportunities but with sustained support for college graduates committed to building more peaceful, just and inclusive communities. For more information, please visit here


Announcements April 16 to May 2

Community-Wide Zoom Link Schedule

The community-wide zoom link schedule for the week includes worship times as well as some other scheduled activities. If nothing is scheduled, the Zoom link is open for you to socialize or create an impromptu event. The open time is a no-host space, please honor it and each other. If enjoying fellowship together, please be sure to check the calendar so that you know when events are scheduled and honor the transitions from open to programmed.

In the weeks to come, please let us know if you’d like to host an online event (what’s your talent or passion you’d like to share? Maybe you’d like to create a children’s hour?) To check the most current availability and to put something onto the schedule, please contact Amy in the office at

Reopening Guidelines for Small Groups

Reopening guidelines for small Groups

During this time of pandemic, the Reopening Working Group (ROWG) working with the Trustees Committee has been developing guidelines for gathering safely at FMC. We have developed guidelines for small groups (12 and under) to meet on the Lawn and in the Meeting House. We are also working on guidelines for larger groups and for use of the Friends Center.

Small gatherings such as worship groups or committees can now meet if they wish at FMC following these guidelines. They should however schedule with Kathleen Wooten, Facilities Manager, at

Other questions regarding reopening can be directed to David White at

April Forums start at 9:15am

Online forums for April start at 9:15am
Our theme this year is Another World is Possible

Welcome to Friends Meeting at Cambridge forums on Zoom, an opportunity to hear ideas, queries, and others’ experiences so as to deepen our connection with one another. We meet every Sunday from 9:15 to 10:15am.

To participate on-line, click here . To participate by phone, call (929) 205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID: 783 475 1861.

  • April 4, 2021. “Worshipping a Disabled Christ: An Introduction to Disability Liberation Theology” with Greg Woods.
  • April 11, 2021. “My journey in embodying the light.” Presenter: Emmy Mathis.
  • April 18, 2021. “Continuing Revelation and Striving toward Greater Inclusivity at FMC.” Presenters: LGBTQ+ Concern Group.
  • April 25, 2021. “The Spiritual Dimension of Reparations.” Presenters: Lynne Layton and Nakhie Faynshteyn, Boston Workmen’s Circle/Center for Jewish Culture.

Work at Friends Camp 2021

Update from the FMC Coordinating Team

Veronica Barron, Jan Nisenbaum, Tom Sander, Jonathan Vogel-Borne

Dear FMC Community

We are now eight months into our year of reflection on FMC’s future staffing needs. The Imagining Faithful Structures Working Group is mulling over the results of their recent survey to see how they are led to come up with a plan for the future. We had originally thought that this process would take a year, but it appears that we will need to go into a second year of discernment. It is clear to the Coordinating Team that this team, or some other similar configuration, is necessary for the executive functioning of the Meeting.

After meeting every other week since July, the Team offers the following observations:

  • The functions that the Coordinating Team has focused on are not identical to what Resident Friend was doing: As a group we are doing less pastoral care, putting a greater focus on supervision, integrating newcomers, and more strategic thinking about the Meeting.
  • The Coordinating Team structure, while largely invisible to FMC, has worked well but we are not sure that it is replicable because of the high level of experience among the current team members and the large amount of volunteer time it takes to serve on the team. The meeting at large may not necessarily know what needs to be done (and that’s okay!), but will feel it if this group was not doing its functions and certain things don’t get done.
  • Our group has only committed to serve through June 30, 2021 and any extension of that would require a request to those serving to see if they would serve until a later date. While not yet formally asked to continue, the Coordinating Team members are each considering whether they will continue service past the end of our fiscal year on June 30th, if asked to by the clerks team.
  • We think a group approach has worked well where the group coordinates well and where each person on the group, in their role, is working on issues they are well-skilled in.
  • Having a single person to shepherd the experience of newcomers seems beneficial (as opposed to relying solely on committees).

Warm regards,

Jan, Tom, Veronica, and Jonathan + Debby Colgan (from Clerks Team)

About Our Roles

Our meeting decided to take the coming year to reflect on what we want and need in terms of staffing. In this interim year of reflection, many of the core responsibilities once held by the Resident Friend will be now shared among a four-person team for the coming year—the FMC Coordinating Team!

  • As Staff Coordinator, Jan Nisenbaum supervises FMC staff and works with the First Day School, office operations, and facilities committees.
  • As Finance Coordinator, Tom Sander oversees the FMC budget, monitors expenditures, and works with the finance subcommittee of Trustees.
  • As Welcome Coordinator/”Friendly Presence”, Veronica Barron works on outreach + inreach to help folks connect more deeply with the meeting, and works with the Fellowship & Outreach committee, the Adult Education Working Group, and Young Adult Friends.
  • As Communications Coordinator, Jonathan Vogel-Borne helps connect the dots between the work done by FMC’s various committees, working with the clerks team and others.

The Pastoral Care Team remains a resource for support and concrete assistance. They may be reached at

For background information, you may read the minutes setting up the Interim Coordinating Team (ICT) and the Imagining Faithful Structures Group, and the final report made by LJ Boswell reflecting on their work as Resident Friend.

In short: if there’s something for which you used to turn to the Resident Friend, reach out to the FMC Interim Coordinating Team by emailing!

Short Bios of the Team

Veronica Barron is a non-theist Friend who started attending Friends Meeting at Cambridge in 2015, never having previously participated in a spiritual or faith community. She is a communications professional for a music conservatory, a performing artist working domestically and internationally as a puppeteer, actor, and composer, and a community leader for a radically inclusive brass band and dance troupe. She grew up in Seattle, Amsterdam, and Florida, and since 2007 has lived in Cambridge with her bicycle, Papaya.

Jan Nisenbaum has been an active member at FMC for over 30 years, serving as Co-Presiding Clerk, and representative to Ministry & Counsel, Trustees, Pastoral Care Team, Personnel, Fellowship & Outreach, and the Ad Hoc Financial Priorities group.

Her professional experience as a Social Worker included roles at the Department of Mental Health and Department of Children and Families, as well other as other non-profit agencies.  The focus of her work has been on Secondary Trauma, child welfare and mental health clinical practices, organizational and program development, training and quality improvement.

Tom Sander has been a member of FMC since birth (those baby Jesus days!) and comes from Quakers that stretch back to the 1700s in New Jersey.  For the Meeting he has served on Trustees, Ministry & Counsel, Peace and Social Concerns, Fundraising, and has been a co-Clerk of the Meeting, among other responsibilities.  He looks forward to cooking soup and constructing salads for the community on First Days again.

When Tom is not working for the Meeting he has helped led research teams looking into the decline of social and civic connections in America, the role of religion in America and the growing opportunity gap between rich and poor.  He serves his town (Lincoln, MA) on Finance Committee and on the Community Preservation Committee and the Water Board.  He enjoys hiking, cooking, traveling, and puzzles.  He has not yet named his bicycle.

Jonathan Vogel-Borne and his spouse Minga Claggett-Borne were invited to come to Friends Meeting at Cambridge to serve as Resident Friends from 1985–1990. Growing up in a Friends family in California, Jonathan has traveled widely across the full Quaker spectrum, from evangelical to liberal. His ministry is to seek deeper unity and a clarity of vision and witness among all peoples.  Jonathan was the lead staff person at New England Yearly Meeting from 1991 to 2013. In addition to serving on the FMC Coordinating Team, he is also assistant clerk of the Meeting and clerk of Friends Peace Teams, an international Quaker organization promoting justice and healing. Jonathan’s paid work is as a graphic artist / website developer. He also loves group singing and plays violin, guitar, and electric bass.

FDS News

First Day School News

FDS News for April 18, 2021

FDS News for April 11, 2021

FDS News for April 4, 2021

  • Sunday, April 4, 2021, 12:30 pm: Join us on Easter in this latest virtual worship experiment for kids and adults of all ages. This time we’re going to explore the theme: “So What’s with the Eggs?” We’ll sing, hear two stories–one about Easter and the other will be the telling of a children’s story about Ukranian Easter eggs, have a couple fun activities and settle into a short period of waiting worship before enjoying a virtual Easter Party on Zoom complete with spring gift bags for kids to open.
  • Sunday, April 11, 2021. 9:30 am Preschool First Day School. This week, in the Preschool First Day School, we will read the book Sacred Song of the Hermit Thrush, and then we will talk about the importance of telling the truth.
  • Sunday, April 18, 2021, 9:30 am Elementary & Middle First Day School. We will be talking again about school mascots and the movement to ban Native mascots at public schools in Massachusetts. This is part of our initiative this year in FDS to learn about indigenous people in response to the yearly meeting’s request for local meetings to be in right relationship.

To participate in the FDS Zoom events, click this link or call 1-646-558-8656 and provide the Meeting ID 838 2538 6231 and passcode 217962.

Greg Woods Greg Woods, Youth Ministries & Education Coordinator or 413-251-6512

Ad Hoc Grants Group Seeks Recommendations

Ad Hoc Grants Group Seeking Organization Recommendations
Deadline to submit suggestions: Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Ad Hoc Grants Group — composed of people invited from the FMC witness groups (Cambridge Quaker Earthcare Witness, LGBTQ+, Friends for Racial Justice, Peace and Social Justice, Prison Fellowship) and other interested individuals — has begun meeting to discern how to give away the $5,650 in the Meeting’s budget for grants to other organizations. We are reaching out to the wider FMC community for your recommendations. Similar to last year, the Ad Hoc Grants Group is planning to give a very small number of larger grants, with the smallest donation amount of $500, to organizations that:

  • are known to and/or are suggested by those in the FMC community.
  • have a small donor base.
  • are involved with mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups and individuals, and/or
  • support New England Yearly Meeting’s recent initiatives “Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples” and “Call to Urgent, Loving Action for the Earth and Her Inhabitants” around climate justice and racial justice.

Do you have specific suggestions of organizations/groups that fit these criteria?

Please contact Jonathan Vogel-Borne at by Saturday, April 24 with your suggestions. Also contact him if you would like to attend the next Ad Hoc Grants Group meeting on Sunday, April 25 from 6:30-8:00 pm so he can send the Zoom link and supporting documents. All are welcome. Final grant recommendations will be forwarded to the monthly Meeting for Business in Worship in May or June.

Minutes and Reports, April, 2021

Can you help close the gap?

4/25 Climate Emergency Parade and Action

Earth Week Climate Emergency Parade and Action

Sunday, April 25, 1:00pm at the Massachusetts Stathouse

This event will begin at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston with a couple of speakers and some climate disco (a choreographed dance party in the name of the earth). We will then parade around the City of Boston to express gratitude for our planet and its biodiversity while also pushing the state and city for immediate action on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. This event will be “Emergency” themed filled with climate firefighters, dancing, and lively music. The parade will end with XR flair

Register here.

Pictured: Gwen Noyes and Arthur Klipfel carrying the banner “Stop Burning Fossil Fuels” at the Valentine’s Day Extinction Rebellion parade, 2021. Gwen is an active member of the Red Brigade, so you won’t recognize her in most pictures.

Contact: Minga Claggett-Bourne at

4/25 Spring Salem Quarterly Meeting

Dear Friends:

I hope you have marked your calendar for Sunday April 25, 1:00 yo 3:00pm for our Spring Salem Quarterly Meeting.

We will gather to consider grant applications, hear memorial minutes, and a potential travel minute. If you have any items for consideration for business, please send them to me, Kristina Keefe-Perry, Salem Quarter Clerk, at

Looking forward to seeing you then!! See Zoom link below.

In Faith,



Topic: Salem Spring Quarter 2021
Time: Apr 25, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

To join the Zoom Meeting use
By phone dial 1 929 205 6099 and enter the Meeting ID: 841 6944 7553

Newcomer Welcome Days


Drop in via Zoom for 30 minutes from 9:45-10:15am. Click this link or open Zoom and enter the Meeting ID 836 4779 3717 and Passcode: 877919. To connect by phone call 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID.

Upcoming dates and hosts:

November 22: Veronica Barron and Michael Shanahan [Facebook RSVP]
December 13: Veronica Barron and Richard Ristow [Facebook RSVP]
January 10: TBA [Facebook RSVP]

Registration is not required, but please contact Veronica Barron at to receive a personal reminder/invitation prior to the event.

New (or new-ish) to Quakerism? Thinking about attending your first Meeting? Or maybe you’ve attended once or twice but have some questions. You are welcome anytime, but you’re extra welcome on our monthly Newcomer Welcome Days! You’ll hear a few basics from your two hosts—a longtime member and a newer member. Then, it’s time for your questions such as

  • What is everyone doing during silence in Meeting for Worship? Who speaks, and why?
  • Am I required to believe anything in particular?
  • How do we try to put faith into practice around topics like prison witness, anti-racism, LGBTQ+ affirmation, peace and nonviolence, and more?
  • Ask us any “dumb” questions, or “how not to embarrass myself” questions—we promise, your questions are not dumb!
  • Ask us what we like best about our personal Quaker faith and practice.


  1. 9:45-10:15am ET: The Newcomer Welcome Q&A will be a small group conversation.
  2. 10:30-11:30 ET: After the Newcomer Welcome session, we invite you to join us for Meeting for Worship. Ours is a large meeting, with about 100 attendees and some new faces every week. Newcomers and guests will be invited to introduce yourself at the end, but it’s your choice and no one will call on you if you choose not to. We are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but we have regular attendees from across the U.S. and several other countries—you’re welcome regardless of location!
  3. 11:45-12:15/30: If you’d like to stay after Meeting for Worship to connect with others in medium-sized groups (usually about 20-30 people), we invite you to stay for Afterthoughts (a chance to share what came up for you in Meeting for Worship) or Friendly Fellowship (informal conversation and chatting.)

All of our activities currently take place online via Zoom. The Weekly Announcement Sheet on our website has the description, date, time, contact person, and Zoom link for FMC events.


  • You may participate via Zoom or phone, with or without video.
  • You will be invited to share your pronouns/the pronouns you wish to use in this space.
  • If you have additional accessibility or inclusion needs, please email

Friends Meeting at Cambridge: Our Faith, Worship, Community, Outreach, Our World, Learning, Membership, News.
New England Yearly Meeting: Who We Are, What We Believe.
Friends General Conference: FAQ’s About Quakers

Tips for Climate Action: Earthday

Earth Day April 22, 2021

Earthday Emergency Parade and Action
This is why we need to ‘take to the streets! Join the XRs (and, hopefully, Gwen Noyes and the “Reds”) on April 25 (Earth day Saturday) at the Statehouse. Click this link

What Do We Mean When We Say “Justice”?
“Environmental and Climate Decision-making at a Crossroads” talk by
Amy Laura Cahn, Visiting Professor and Acting Director of the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School
Click this link.
This is part of Tufts University environmental series. Click here for link.

Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup
Monday, April 19 – Saturday, April 24, 2021

We hope you will join us: RSVP here
The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup builds on a national effort as part of American Rivers’ National River Cleanup®, which to date, has removed over 25 million pounds of trash from America’s waterways. From 2016 to 2019, the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup was recognized by American Rivers for the Most Pounds of Trash Collected and Most Volunteers Mobilized. Our cleanup brings together over 3,000 volunteers each year to pick up litter, remove invasive species and assist with park maintenance along all 80 miles of the Charles River. Residents are drawn to the popular Charles River Cleanup from a desire to give back to their community while enjoying the beauty and wildlife along the river.

Earth Day Every Day!

Welcome to the new “Tips for Climate Action”! As part of the new Climate Justice group, an arm of the Peace & Social Justice committee, my leading is to illuminate further steps in recycling! I will be highlighting a tip or two a month to share ideas and outside organizations that are taking an extra step in diminishing our carbon footprint! This is also another “Forum” for people to PARTICIPATE and share what they have done or organizations they have found that are participating in helping our planet survive. Have a recycling or environmental tip you would like to share? Send an email to:! We will include your name, with permission, when your tip is shared! Earth Day is EVERY Day! Thank you!

United Teen Equality Center

Our first organization to highlight is United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell, MA. This company hires at risk youth and young adults with jobs in catering, running events, wood working products AND Mattress Recycling! Our trash yards are filling. Mattresses take up huge amounts of space. UTEC workers dissemble the entire mattress and box spring and recycle the wood, springs, cotton, batting and other materials! If you live in Cambridge, Lowell or Newburyport, UTEC has a contract with those cities and comes to your residence to pick up the mattress set for free! Call for an appointment, bring the mattress out to the curb by 7:00 am the morning you are scheduled. They do the rest! There are a dozen other towns that also, actively use UTEC. You can drop off your mattress set at your local DPW with those communities. You can also drop off at their Lawrence site for a reasonable fee. Check out the amazing job this non-profit is doing or call for an appointment at 978-856-3997. I have used this service already and am excited to see the award-winning work they are doing in teaching job skills, building leadership and stewardship training.

At the Crossroads of Community and Benign Mutual Neglect

Other Quaker Virtual Opportunities

You are invited to attend the following online meetings.

List of meetings holding virtual Meetings for Worship in New England

Pendle Hill Online worship at Pendle Hill every morning from 8:30 to 9:10am EDT

Friends for LGBTQ Concerns is hosting a weekly worship opportunity via Zoom each Saturday at 4pm EST. There will be an hour of unprogrammed worship, followed by introductions, and then a non-facilitated virtual “social hour” until 3 PM PST/6 PM EST. If you would enjoy worshiping in “queer Quaker’ company, please come! For the Zoom link, please contact Lewis or Jed or Rose:
lewis.maday.travis[at] [1], jedwalsh[at] [1], or roseannahopper[at] [1]

The Western Friend has a list of online meetings in the West who welcome visitors.

Next Newcomer Welcome Day, March 14


To participate in the Zoom event, click this link or call 1-646-558-8656 and provide the Meeting ID 836 4779 3717 and passcode 877919.

New (or new-ish) to Quakerism? You are welcome anytime, but you’re extra welcome to attend our monthly Newcomer Q&A Welcome sessions. Drop in via Zoom for 30 minutes from 9:45-10:15am, prior to our Meeting for Worship at 10:30am. Bring your questions, and hear from your two hosts—a longtime member and a newer member. Then, it’s time for your questions such as

  • What is everyone doing during silence in Meeting for Worship? Who speaks, and why?
  • Am I required to believe anything in particular?
  • How do we try to put faith into practice around topics like prison witness, anti-racism, LGBTQ+ affirmation, peace and nonviolence, and more?
  • Ask us any “dumb” questions, or “how not to embarrass myself” questions—we promise, your questions are not dumb!
  • Ask us what we like best about our personal Quaker faith and practice.

Email to learn more.


  1. 9:45-10:15am ET: The Newcomer Welcome Q&A will be a small group conversation.
  2. 10:30-11:30 ET: After the Newcomer Welcome session, we invite you to join us for Meeting for Worship. Ours is a large meeting, with about 100 attendees and some new faces every week. Newcomers and guests will be invited to introduce yourself at the end, but it’s your choice and no one will call on you if you choose not to. We are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but we have regular attendees from across the U.S. and several other countries—you’re welcome regardless of location!
  3. 11:45-12:15/30: If you’d like to stay after Meeting for Worship to connect with others in medium-sized groups (usually about 5-15 people), we invite you to stay for Afterthoughts (a chance to share what came up for you in Meeting for Worship) or Friendly Fellowship (informal conversation and chatting.)

All of our activities currently take place online via Zoom. The Weekly Announcement Sheet on our website has the description, date, time, contact person, and Zoom link for FMC events.


  • You may participate via Zoom or phone, with or without video.
  • You will be invited to share your pronouns/the pronouns you wish to use in this space.
  • If you have additional accessibility or inclusion needs, please email

Friends Meeting at Cambridge: Our Faith, Worship, Community, Outreach, Our World, Learning, Membership, News.
New England Yearly Meeting: Who We Are, What We Believe.
Friends General Conference: FAC’s About Quakers,

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Group Online

Science Fiction and Fantasy Read Aloud Book Group.

Join us as we gather to read aloud and discuss science fiction and fantasy short stories. Come with your stories or just come to listen. We meet 2nd and 4th Saturdays (except in February) from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

To participate in the Zoom event, click this link or call 1-646-558-8656 and provide the Meeting ID 335 209 895 and passcode 398431.

For more information, contact Betsy Roper or Jonathan Gilbert at

May Forums Start at 9:15am

Online forums for May start at 9:15am
Our theme this year is Another World is Possible

Welcome to Friends Meeting at Cambridge forums on Zoom, an opportunity to hear ideas, queries, and others’ experiences so as to deepen our connection with one another. We meet every Sunday from 9:15 to 10:15am.

To participate on-line, click here . To participate by phone, call (929) 205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID: 783 475 1861.

  • May 2, 2021: We will break into small groups for hearing concerns and prayer requests with the intention of holding those small groups in prayer during meeting for worship. Members of the Pastoral Care team will be available should you prefer a one-to-one conversation.

Guided Meditation for Relaxation


Jessica Ronalds, from the Pastoral Care Team, has graciously invited anyone interested to participate in a time of Guided Meditation for Relaxation. These online sessions will take place on Mondays and Fridays from 1:30-2:30 pm. We will have the opportunity for brief check-ins, share in a guided meditation followed by a time of sharing.

To participate on-line, click here. To participate by phone, call (929) 205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID: 783 475 1861.

For questions, contact Jessica Ronalds at

Peacemaking and Jailbreaks

“Peacemaking and Jailbreaks: Liberation in Captivity”

On Sunday, March 28, John Bach gave the homily at The Community Church of Boston: A Peace and Justice Congregation Since 1920.

“If we consider the existential threats of nuclear weapons and climate destruction as imprisoning the human family, what tools may we develop to resist the lunacy and give hope to each other and future generations? How can we keep ourselves free and reasonably happy. The example of Fr. Placid Karoly Olafsson, a survivor of 10 years in the Soviet Gulag, is discussed.”

John Bach is a longtime social justice and anti-war activist. He spent 3 years in federal prison during the American war in Vietnam. He makes his living as a housepainter and is the Quaker chaplain at Harvard.

Click this link to listen to John speak about the delights of dangerous resistance. John begins to speak at 37:00 minutes into the video.

Minna Rothman Wins Tapestry Award

I am honored that my work is included in [probably] the largest international fiber art show in the world: Symbiosis and Coexistence, the 11th ‘From Lausanne to Beijing ‘ International Fiber Art Biennale. The virtual show just opened on January 16, 2021, and will be available until February 16. There is some amazing work to see and it shows what great potentials virtual exhibits can have.

An in-person show is planned for later depending on the pandemic.

Here is the link to the show at the Tsinghua University in Beijing My work is shown in the grouping: Prize-Winning-Work.


PS The presentation may take a while to download in your browser.
FB: Minna Rothman
Instagram: minnarothman

Polly Thayer Starr Art Exhibit

Jules Kobek Art Exhibit

The Proletariat Tarot and Art during the Pandemic

Click the image to see the collection

Proletariat Tarot: Display of several cards, box cover, booklet, and stack of cards.

Selected Works from the Proletariat Tarot

Art during the Pandemic: Woman with her head in her hands and a distressed expression.

Art during the Pandemic

Artist’s Biography

Jules KobekJules Kobek, the granddaughter of Polish immigrants, grew up in Philadelphia. The completion of a degree at Cornell University made her the first in her family to graduate from college. After moving to Boston, she coordinated the English language program for adult refugees and the family literacy program at the Asian American Civic Association. Currently she provides private English classes for foreign-born professionals. She has also taught classes on gardening, foraging, and identifying wild plants. She lives in Cambridge with Helen Kobek, her partner of 33 years.

The development of her artistic skills came later, in her thirties, first as a kind of journaling, then more seriously with a few figure drawing classes. The Proletariat Tarot was the opportunity to honor her working-class roots while expressing her interests in symbolism and spirituality. Art during the Pandemic, an ongoing project, is born out of the anger, fear, and turmoil of this time.

A Proletariat Tarot deck may be purchased by contacting Jules at

Essay on what is holy

Casey Scribner’s Forum December 13, 2020

In Remembrance of Ghanda DiFiglia

Ghanda DiFiglia died Saturday, December 28, 2019. 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.

As a member of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Ghanda Di Figlia has long worked on issues of peace and justice. She is especially interested in the intersection of faith and social action, and is available to dialogue with congregations and other groups on aspects of that subject. She has spoken at several Unitarian Universalist churches in New England and is one of the summer preachers at First Church UU in Jamaica Plain.

Dan Fitzmartin Wrote this beautiful piece celebrating Ghanda’s life based on the rhythms of the Stone of Hope drumming circle

Obituary for Charles Kern

As promised, here’s the obituary for Charlie/Dad from his memorial service – a 2 minute read. A huge and eternal thanks to all who made it possible and beautiful – and all who were there in Zoom and/or in Spirit 🙂 We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and care.
We’re looking forward to keeping in touch with folks who knew Dad (and of course, those who didn’t), swapping tall tales, anecdotes, and memories. In the meantime, we’re sending everyone love, light, and well wishes.

Alex (for the Kern-folk)


Charles Everett Kern II passed away peacefully on August 23, 2020 at the age of 86. He was surrounded by his wife of 57 years, Montague Levering Kern, and his children and grandchildren. Born in the District on March 8, 1934, Charlie was a sixth generation Washingtonian. He spent his early years on the 3700 block of T Street and on Volta Place, then moved to the 3800 block of Garrison Street in 1943. He lived at 3812 Garrison for the remaining 77 years of his life.

Charlie graduated from Ben W. Murch Elementary School, class of February 1946, where he and classmates planted Victory gardens during World War II. He also attended Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, class of 1952; Princeton University, class of 1956; and Yale University Law School, class of 1961. Between 1956 and 1958, he served in the US Army in Frankfurt, West Germany at the Psychiatric Neurological Section of the 97th General Hospital. After a few years in private law practice, Charlie chose a career in public service, “going up to the Hill” in 1971 to work as a staff attorney in Congress, first on the Senate side and then in the US House of Representatives. He spent the bulk of his career working for the House Committee on the Judiciary, where he specialized in antitrust law. He was proud of his role in helping to break up the AT & T monopoly on telecommunications.

Charlie Kern was many things: a brilliant mind and generous heart; an outgoing introvert; a denizen of the District who knew DC “like the back of his hand”; a champion of economic justice, always “fighting for the little guy,” he said, and building bridges of bipartisanship from the 1970s to the 1990s. Charlie was a world traveler who hosted the world in his home; an avid collector of interesting things and people; a lover of great literature, classical music, genealogy, historical artifacts, coins, and just plain stuff. He was an inveterate storyteller with a trove of “Dad jokes.” He was an Episcopalian and Army veteran who married a beautiful Quaker pacifist from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. He was a marcher for peace and civil rights – protesting Vietnam and joining the March on Washington. He was a cyclist with a fetching array of adorable hats; a kind neighbor and unofficial mayor of Garrison Street. He was a loving spouse, father, and grandfather – an adventurer, chess player, and faithful letter-writer who moonlighted for his kids as a poetic Tooth Fairy named Randolph the Rhyme Elf. Charlie was a rare person who lived so deeply in the past, yet was so fully present to others – on the phone, in the streets, by his fireplace. He was a dear old friend, a wise confidante, a beloved soul.

Charlie was active in organizations such as the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of DC, the Washington Numismatic Society, and the National Press Club, which his grandfather Charles Everett Kern helped establish. Charlie was a member of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and also attended the Friends Meeting of Washington. Famously, he was fascinated by all things Czech and Slovak, and while he was not Czech, he was active in the Embassy community and had perhaps the largest collection of Czech literature in English translation this side of Prague. This library will be donated to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as the Charles Everett Kern II Collection.

Charlie is survived by his wife Montague, three sons, Christopher Winn Kern of Alexandria, VA, Alexander Levering Kern of Somerville, MA, and Deane Lindsey Kern, of Charles Town, WV; daughters in law Rebecca Grunko and Priscilla Rodd; grandchildren Elias Kern, Ruthanna Kern, Loki Kern, Zion Kern and Aurora Rodd, and many other beloved family members. Charlie Kern was a titan to his family, a source of strength and guidance, a deeply loving and socially committed man who loved information, people, and the endlessly fascinating adventure of being alive. He will be interred at Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown with his ancestors. He was first, and always, a family man. Charlie Kern, rest in peace and power in the Life that knows no end.

Statement by John Bach on Police Contracts

Tuesday, September 8, 2020, John Bach gave this statement before the City Council Committee on Ways and Means #0840, Order for a Hearing Regarding Police Contracts as Policy Documents

Louise and Severyn Bruyn’s Art Exhibit

Biography of the Artists

Louise BruynLouise Bruyn studied dance and theater at Illinois College. After having two girls, Rebecca and Susan, she taught elementary school for 5 years at Washington Elementary where their third child, George became adopted. Once she became established in Newton, she taught dance and choreographed many dances for local schools. Her art work has been a continual presence in her life and was well appreciated during peace marches when many banners were masterfully created at the Bruyn household. She hopes to continue painting more in her new home at Cabot Park Village.

Sev BruynSeveryn Bruyn got his PhD at Illinois College and then got a job offer at Boston College after his Doctoral Dissertation was published, Communities in Action and was well received. His work at Boston College focused on social economic equality and justice. He started painting in 1980’s for the first time in his life, he took up the arts. During the next forty years he painted over 300 paintings. At his life celebration, many of those paintings were gifted to his friends at Meeting.

Louise and Severyn met at Illinois College, and were married in 1951. Their lives have been devoted to peace and social justice ever since they met.

Click any image below to view in a slide show 

Poems by Marian Shapiro

Marian Shapiro Reflects on the Experiment of Life, Quaker Worship, and Poetry
and Publishes A New Book of Experimental Poems

Marian writes: Life seems to me to be a Great Experiment, one in which the result is often the surprise I never expected, but always the surprise I needed. Finding the Quaker path, after attending a small NC meeting with my daughter-in-law in 1998, was such a surprise, and every Meeting thereafter another one. Like dreams, my inner life announces itself unbidden, sometimes in spoken messages, sometimes in poems. They arrive, like Spirit, during Meeting, between appointments, during walks, while driving….All my poems are experiments, the most recent in the visual mode; these are appearing in my next book, At The Edge Of The Cliff (Plain View Press), scheduled to debut in January 2021.

Hillel famously asked, “If not now, when?” At 81, I am definitely at WHEN! Actually, we are all at ‘when,’ when we realize it. That is my edge of the cliff. The view is truly great from here.



What We Know

Poems shared at Forum May 3, 2020

“A Summer Garden” watercolor by Mary Coelho

You Worry Too Much
The poem I shared was the end of the Rumi poem “You Worry too Much.” Here is a link to the full version.

Marilyn Bannon

Nancy Hewitt shared her poem Take Me from From ”Messages Outside the Envelope” Elf Boot Records, ©2002.

John Calvi’s 6 Healing Sayings

Quaker Witness at Raytheon

Hiroshima Day 75th Anniversary at Raytheon Technologies

Friends meeting at Cambridge joined with other peace activists to peacefully demonstrate in the parking lot in front of Raytheon Technologies. John Bach read an open letter to Gregory J. Hayes, CEO, Raytheon Technologies, and Wesley D. Kremer, President, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, entitled Tell Raytheon to Cease and Desist From the Development of Nuclear Weapons. Here is the statement.

Hiroshima Day—75th Anniversary at Raytheon Technologies

On August 6, 2020, we stood outside the Cambridge office of Raytheon (“The Light of/from the Gods”) Technologies, the world’s second-largest aerospace-and-defense company by sales and the world’s top manufacturer of guided missiles and a leader in missile defense systems. Notably, they sell the missiles to Saudi Arabia which kill hundreds of Yemini civilians. Later we delivered to management a Cease and Desist order to stop manufacturing instruments of war. Organized by Massachusetts Peace Action and other groups including Friends Meeting at Cambridge.

Massachusetts Peace Action News, August, 2020. Crowds Gather in Cambridge for Morning and Evening Programs on the 75th Anniversary Hiroshima Day Commemoration

Arms Control Association, May, 2020. Raytheon to Build New Nuclear Cruise Missile

Copyright © skip schiel, 2020, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
9 sacramento st
cambridge ma 02138

Quakers Greet Raytheon, June, 2020
On a bright Sunday following the summer solstice Quaker excitement was electric. Twenty Friends gathered for worship long-distance on the sidewalk near Raytheon Industries equipped with chairs, facemasks and sanitizer. Although worship was deep, I confess my thoughts were tumbling Three elements sizzled in my mind.

  1. Boston Friends have not gathered physically to worship since March 2020. Finally three months later we were called not to our settled quiet worship place, but out to witness by a bustling street.
  2. Our land was still infested with militarism and racism along with a pesky virus that kept many sheltering at home. Black lives matter. The brutality of Raytheon exporting violence in lands of mostly Brown and Black people is a pox on our land just as the police kill people of color in the US.
  3. We chose our first in-person gathering on the Massachusetts sidewalk outside of Raytheon, Cambridge. Friends spread out 6 feet, smeared in sunscreen. We came in humility clear to defund evil. We come with many questions how to rebuild a new land.

Dear Holy One, why do we continue to tolerate Raytheon, a behemoth of stolen wealth and heedless power. Raytheon provides engineers and new equipment to continue the perpetual US peddling of weapons that maim and kill. Raytheon Technologies based in Waltham signed a contract to develop the Long Range Standoff Missile, a new air-launched nuclear weapon delivery system that makes nuclear war more likely. We allow our nation to kill neighbors, often black and brown peoples. These nuclear missiles also destroy lands once full of life in Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan.

The AGM-129 was a stealth nuclear cruise missile that was retired in 2010 and all units destroyed in 2012. USAF photo

On the 75th anniversary of the atomic attack on Hiroshima, we will gather at 9:00 am on Thursday, August 6, on the public sidewalk in front of Raytheon BBN Technologies for the Witness for Peace and Life. Many of the nuclear arms are sold to Saudi Arabia and used as a war against Yemen. We will deliver a demand that Raytheon cease building these deadly weapons and exporting climate destruction.

In worship we call on another power that recognizes green sprouts in the desert. There is a power that covers the Earth with well-being and grace. By asking God’s strength to take root next to the brick block building on Concord St. Thousands of years ago God asked people to turn swords into plowsharers so as to feed people. Can we do something similar in 2020? Engineers, with their ingenuity, could be rebuilding new energy systems and much needed medical equipment

Friends are expecting a miracle. In these times of pandemic we need to lean into the work of healing and rebuilding. “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the defenses and shatters the spear. Any defenses against the enemy will be burned.” Psalm 46. “There will be new streams in the dessert, and new hope for the poor.” Isaiah 43

Elizabeth Claggett-Borne at

Financial Help from the Pope Fund

The Ebenezer Pope Fund

The Pastoral Care Team is happy to be working with the Pope Fund Committee on behalf of anyone in our community who has been significantly adversely impacted financially due to the Corona Virus pandemic. Friends Meeting at Cambridge has the potential to provide at least some level of support through the Pope Fund to those who are facing severe financial circumstance in the current environment. We can also assist in providing information as needed about government and community programs available.

The Pope Fund is an important resource for the FMC Community. We recognize that this Fund has a modest amount and may not be able to address all of the needs. If the needs exceed the available resources in the Pope Fund, we will work with the FMC Community as a whole to explore other options that might individually or collectively be made available. Please contact if you have or are aware of someone in need.

The Pope Fund was established by a gift of one thousand dollars in 1801 by Ebenezer Pope to provide
for needy friends in the Boston area. Trustees of the Fund are responsible for screening loan or grant
applications. Discussions are kept confidential. Anyone may alert the Trustees to another person’s need
or financial distress, or may urge that person to make direct application to the Trustees. In addition to
providing financial assistance, the Trustees try to work with the recipients and applicants to seek out
resources and strategies to ease their needs.

Getting Organized During Covid19

Getting Organized
Resource list compiled by Christa Redner (nee Frintner)
Getting Organized, A List of Tangible, Emotional, and Spiritual Supports for These Times.

Coping Strategies During Covid 19

Patti Muldoon and Bill Thompson modified a friend’s email to share with our FMC community: Coping Strategies During Covid 19.

Caring for Self and Others in Times of Trouble:
Some Spiritual Tools and Tips
1. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more. Take time in your day, at any moment, to take ten deep even breaths. Carve out 5-10 minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness or contemplative prayer. Start here, now, wherever you are.
2. Ground yourself in the present moment. Focus your awareness on something real, enduring, or beautiful in your surroundings. Look up often. Discover the wonder and awe that is already here.
3. Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, concerns. Offer them up in prayer, if you pray. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Feel what you feel, honor it, and know that it is not the final word.
4. Remember you are not alone. Ever. You are surrounded by care and support. Reach out.
5. Create and sustain community. Show up for one another. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Even while avoiding “close physical contact,” message the people you care about. Stand with those most vulnerable and those who suffer the brunt of prejudice and fear. Check in on folks. Call your mother, father, guardian, mentor, little sibling, long lost friend.
6. Unplug, judiciously. While staying aware of developments, do not let the Corona-chaos govern you, but forgive yourself when and if it does.
7. Practice kindness. There is a temptation in health scares to view others as potential threats. Remember we are in this together. While practicing health guidelines and appropriate caution, remember to engage one another. Smile when you can. Bring good deeds and good energy into our world.
8. Stay healthy through sleep, diet, exercise. See healing and wellness holistically – mind, body, and spirit.
9. Make art. Discover, imagine, engage your hopes and fears, the beauty and ugliness of our world. Write, paint, sing, dance, soar.
10. Practice gratitude. In the face of crises, make note of the things for which you are grateful: your breath, the particular shade of the sky at dusk – or dawn. The color blue, the color green, the gifts and strengths you have, other people in your life, the ability to laugh. A pet.
11. Connect with your spiritual, religious, humanist, cultural, or other communities. Find strength and solace and power in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, holy times and seasons.
12. Pray as you are able, silently, through song, in readings, through ancestors. Remember the long view of history, the rhythms and cycles of nature, the invisible threads that connect us all.
13. Practice hope. Trust in the future and our power to endure and persist, to live fully into the goodness that awaits.

Words by Alexander Levering Kern
Painting by Wendy Prellwitz

Resources for End-of-Life Workshop

Art during the Pandemic

Click any image to view slide show

Return to Jules Kobek’s Art Exhibit Home

Selected Works from the Proletariat Tarot

Click any image to view slide show

Return to Jules Kobek’s Art Exhibit Home

March 2020 Newsletter

Contribute to the FDS Advent Project

MAAP Urgent Needs

For those of you that I’ve met, hi! And those I’ve yet to meet, hope to meet you soon! My name is Nora and I’m a YAF as well as the Program & Outreach Coordinator for the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) which is located in the basement below the Meeting house. MAAP seeks to support and empower community members experiencing homelessness and living in poverty through providing material aid, access to resources, and advocacy opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who was present for MAAP’s Forum at Meeting Sunday, October 27, and to everyone who has been consistently encouraging of MAAP’s work! We were moved by the amount of support and care shown by everyone who was present. And for all who asked “What can we do for MAAP, and how can we grow and sustain our relationship?”

As those of you who were at Forum heard, many MAAP community members have been affected by an initiative begun 89 days ago by the Boston Police Department known as “Operation Clean Sweep.” This violent measure is meant to displace people experiencing homelessness and has further separated them from their already precarious resources and communities.

For more information on Operation Clean Sweep, please follow these links:

Twitter Recap Thread of Operation Clean Sweep & and recount of what happened from Jared, whose wheelchair was thrown out by Boston Police.

We Can’t Arrest Our Way Out of the Opioid Crisis and It’s Cruel to Try by Miles Howard of WBUR

One month update by WBUR on “Operation Clean Sweep’ arrests

At MAAP we have been working with many folks to replace their belongings since Operation Clean Sweep began, in addition to our regular work with community members experiencing homelessness and precarious housing. In response we are putting out an “all-call” for the following urgently-needed items:

1) A T-Mobile phone for Jared, whose wheelchair was thrown out by Boston Police. Jared and his partner Emily are in long term treatment programs. He’s been communicating with his family, MAAP, and social workers using friend’s phones. His family would love to be able to keep in touch with him & he has a phone plan but no phone. We’re working on supporting him to help find housing and continue meeting his & Emily’s basic needs.
2) Warm, waterproof shoes and boots (any size and gender)
3) Gift cards to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts so folks are able to go inside to warm up as the weather gets colder.

Please see the attachment for our extended Urgent Needs wishlist!

There is a bin outside of MAAP’s door where you can leave donations at your convenience. Again, thank you for all you have done and for all there is to come!

Nora (FMC attender and MAAP Program & Outreach Coordinator)

Peacemaking and Jailbreaks

Full version of the sermon given by John Bach at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockport, MA, January 13, 2019.

Reading: Psalm 126

  1. When the Spirit turned against the captivity of Zion, we were like them who dream.
  2. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the Spirit hath done great things for them.
  3. The Spirit hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
  4. Turn against our captivity O Spirit as the streams in the south.
  5. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
  6. They that goeth forth and weep, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.

Good Morning. I am much honored to be in your midst. For a half century I have been a grateful usual-suspect, fellow-traveler, and co-conspirator with Unitarian Universalists in many a worthy and noble cause. Still am.

A 17th century observer of Quakers called them “happy, content, and always in trouble.” So I am indeed happy and content this morning, and I should hope, not so much in trouble 15 minutes from now.

There is no longer much of a prophetic vocation in proclaiming that we find ourselves in a hand basket with certain knowledge of where we’re headed. For one thing, we’re facing the 6th major extinction. The last one 65 million years ago did in the dinosaurs when a 6 mile wide meteor hit the earth. This time we’re doing it to ourselves as we enter a brand new geological epoch: the Anthropocene marked by extreme negative human impact on the environment. We’re poisoning ourselves to death and extinction.

Nor is there much prophetic vocation in proclaiming the failure of most of our institutions to meet human need, amid a perpetual war economy and culture with plans to develop three more generations of nuclear weapons at trillions of dollars. The Union of Atomic Scientists has set its doomsday clock at three minutes before midnight, the closest we’ve been to Armageddon since the early 1980s. Meanwhile, many of our own kids go to bed hungry, to say nothing of the rest of the world’s children. Last year, over 6500 of our vets committed suicide. What does that say? So as always, the question is, both abstractly existential and intensely human, what is to be done? One short simple answer, that answers everything and answers nothing, is Gandhi’s three points of satyagraha, “truth force.” Pursuit of truth; loving means; and self-sacrifice. And if I could add one more: orientation to our victims. Gandhi was wise enough to instruct us not so much what to do, but how.

Yes, things are indeed dire. And if we agree that no one is free until everyone is free; and that a crime against one is a crime against all … what better image for understanding where we are than that of captivity; imprisonment by capitalism, militarism, racism (Dr. King’s “monstrous triplets), climate destruction, social greed, profits over people, and slavish devotion to the criminal allocation of resources and wealth.

So, peacemaking may also be understood as the business of jailbreaks. That sense of liberation in captivity. How can this be? We’re not without historical precedent. Remember the examples of Shadrack, Meschach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, or Daniel in the Lions’ Den. Or the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, however you understand it. Or the Elizabethan martyrs from my own tradition who went to the gallows, it was said, as though going to a picnic. Or the Vietnamese Buddhists and their realization of purification through suffering; Or the two major 20th century French philosophers who both worked in the resistance during WWII. “We were never so free,” they said, “as during the Occupation.” Or Dr. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” or my own experience of three of the freest years of my life as the three years I spent in federal prison, and an even greater sense of liberation in solitary confinement. Or the two generations of Plowshares activists who have spent and currently are spending years in prison for enfleshing Isaiah’s admonition to beat swords into plowshares.

For the next few minutes I suggest we stay away from lofty abstractions and noble statements. Instead, why not bring a metaphor and story to the discussion, examples from the more intense facets of Life in Extremis: war and imprisonment. Surely if there are any signs of hope within these two hellish realms there may be hope for the rest of us, too.

In order to explain the task they saw set before them during the American war in Indochina, the Vietnamese used to say it was their job to use the Vietnamese egg to break the American rock. What they had to do, they’d patiently explain was to keep chipping away. They’d pause and then say, “chip, chip, chip.”

How preposterous. Any child knows you can’t use an egg to break a rock. The rock — virtually indestructible; and the egg — virtually destructible by anything. Yet consider how wonderful and telling the symbols are.

The ROCK: grey, inert, lifeless, humorless, and incapable of growth or movement, a prisoner of its own mass and dead weight, able only to crush.

The EGG: ready to explode with color and warmth, alive and pulsating; to eat, breath excrete, fertilize, communicate, nourish others, and live in balance with nature.

Throughout Vietnamese history that fragile little egg succeeded in breaking one huge rock after another. Hundreds of years against the Chinese. Chip, chip, chip. A generation against the Japanese. Chip, chip, chip. Eight brutal years against the French. Chip. Chip. Chip. And 15 savage years against the mightiest empire the world has ever had to endure. Chip, chip, chip. Napalm, Agent orange, saturation bombing, targeting of hospitals, schools, and orphanages, anti-personel weapons, strategic hamlets, bombing of dams and dykes, gang rape by occupying forces, the threat of nuclear weapons. Chip, chip, chip.

The egg triumphed because it never stopped and never stopped growing; it remained constant and diligent. Its support ran miles wide and just as deep. And in this there is a lesson for those of us who aspire to universal justice and enduring peace or to precipitate major change in our own lives: that none of us will live to see the end of our struggle; that we must live faithfully to our ideals and not be seduced by legislative or electoral side-shows, or quick fixes, or short cuts or the multitude of seductions our culture offers those of us in privileged positions. That peace and justice and honest lives will come only by our own hands and hearts, and not as a gift from some one else.

The difference, of course, between our two settings and struggles is that for the Vietnamese there was either victory or submission, the EGG or Death; liberation or captivity. For us there is no such imperative or urgency, and our culture provides us with no lack of excuse or diversion.

We who embrace spirituality and peace testimonies, who endeavor to put our vision into practice, certainly will not see the realization of justice that is universal nor peace that is enduring, or the perfection of our own wounded selfish egos. After all, if we are asking questions to which there are immediate answers, we’re not asking big enough questions; and if we set about to accomplish tasks that are within our reach, we ought to set our sights a little higher. At least some tasks.

And truth be told, it does not look wonderfully optimistic at the moment. But when has it ever? But in the struggle, neither will there be submission, and the Light will not be extinguished. And therein lies the victory. In the struggle. In the constant chipping away of that which demeans life, and renders us incomplete. The Egg will not crack, will in fact grow stronger with use, propagate itself, and continue to function and inspire. For all its fragility, what magnificent potential, this egg, our lives, our struggle.

The last breath is not extinguished by the imperial cross or the colonial lash; the witness is not silenced by the executioner’s bullet, the hangman’s noose, the racist’s ax-handle, the assassin’s blade, however starched their collars or clean their fingernails, savage. Nor by governmental lies, media neglect, and the process by which the powers and principalities filter all great movements: by ignoring them; ridiculing them, violently opposing them, and finally accepting them as self-evident after a great deal of struggle and sacrifice.

Have political or spiritual persecutions and assassinations or imprisonments ever silenced the message by killing or imprisoning the messenger in matters of social justice, humanism or faith (those powerful ideas whose time has come)?

Socrates, Jesus of Nazareth, George Fox, Mary Dyer, Bahalu’llah, Joe Hill, Mother Jones, Saco and Vanzetti, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Salvador Allende, Victor Jara, Oscar Romero, Fred Hampton, or Fr. Olofsson.

Wait, who was that last one? Fr. Placid Karoly Olofsson, to whom I was introduced by a friend and to whom I am now introducing you. When my friend met him, Fr. Olofsson was in his ‘80s, small, wiry, a human dynamo, irrepressible, someone you could imprison, even kill, but never repress or silence. He was a Hungarian Catholic priest who was teaching school in Budapest at the end of WWII, and who did not show the requisite enthusiasm for the party line when the Soviets took power. He was shipped off to a labor camp in Stalin’s gulag. These were not intentional death camps, but conditions killed almost half of the prisoners as they were worked to death in the brutal, unforgiving environment. He spent 10 years in captivity there. Fr. Olofsson survived and spoke passionately about his four keys to survival, encouraging us through his story to live with courage and hope in whatever circumstances we happen to find ourselves. Here’s the jail-break.

Don’t complain. There is no need to dramatize your suffering. Others have it just as bad as you do, so what are you going to gain by complaining? Complaining sets up a cycle of despair that weakens you and leads to your downfall, and those around you. You don’t have to look for suffering; it will find you all by itself. Accentuate the positive.

Find small joys to celebrate. Early in his imprisonment Fr. Olofsson organized his fellow prisoners to end each day by sharing something for which they were grateful. An extra piece of bread; a letter from home; a pleasant dream, paper to take into the latrine; a guard’s smile. They would have contests each night to see who could come up with the longest list of appreciations. Since they didn’t have anything to give the winner, they agreed that they would sing that person’s favorite song. The record was held by one man who had sixteen items on his list.

Choose to be noble. There is no point in clinging to the myth of your own innocence. There are no rewards given to the innocent. There are the weak and there are the strong. Since the guards had the guns, they were the strong and the prisoners were the weak ones. But even in weakness, one could be noble. One could live decently and with integrity and compassion by serving others. One could choose to live honorably by forming and bolstering community.

Cling to a source of strength. For Fr. Olofsson, his strength was his faith and conducting mass, using whatever materials he could scrounge up for bread and wine. I ask you to meditate on what your source of strength is? Your faith; your orientation to social and personal improvement; your identity and self-respect; love of family; the images of children under bombardment. It was those photographs from Vietnam that sent me to prison and kept me very strong.

Fr. Olofsson left us with a final story about the gift of laughter, even in the midst of a terrible ordeal.

It seems that the commander of the camp was something of a thief. One day a train had stopped at the camp and the commander had helped himself to a package he found on one of the cars. When it got it back to his office he discovered that it was something he had never seen before, a box containing two wooden toilet seats. He had no idea what they were, but that didn’t deter him. He called Fr. Olofsson into his office and instructed him to mount his beautiful new picture frames, now surrounding two large portraits of Lenin and Stalin, on the wall. Fr. Olofsson gladly complied with the order and said the men couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the night. The next day they decided to tell the commander that they had determined what those frames actually were and that he had better take the pictures down or things would go badly with everyone.

The words are simple, but their meaning is priceless:

Don’t complain
Celebrate small joys
Choose to be noble
Cling to your source of strength.

And finally, here’s a retelling of today’s reading, Psalm 126 by my buddy and fellow jailbird war-resister Fr. Daniel Berrigan.

When the Spirit struck us free, we could scarcely believe it for very joy. Were we free? Were we wrapt in a dream of freedom? Our mouths filled with laughter, our tongues with pure joy. The oppressors were awestruck. What marvels this spirit works for them. Like a torrent in flood our people streamed out: locks, bars, cages, cuffs, gulags, ghettos. A nightmare scattered. We trod the long furrows, slaves, sowing in tears. A lightning bolt loosed us. And now we tread the same furrows half-drunk with joy, staggering, the golden sheaves in our arms.

Chip, Chip, Chip.

CQEW Forum Handouts

Several participants requested digital copies of the materials handed out at the April 7 forum given by members of the Cambridge Quaker Earthcare interest group: Marion Foster, Gwen Noyes, Mary Gilbert, and Mary Coelho. If you missed the forum, this is your chance to catch up. The opening query was read:

“In this fragile time (from a climate disruption standoint), how do our Quaker roots feed our new growth and sense of direction while we re-learn deep empathy for the world we are a part of?”

We then read the summary report on Responses to 2019 FMC Climate Questionnaire and responded to it in worship sharing.

The second hand out, To Better Understand Our Earthly Situation, is a list of references for further reading and watching.

For information about previous work of the committee, please see their Climate Action page under Outreach on this website.

NEYM Virtual Plenary

At New England Yearly Meeting sessions this summer in Castleton, VT,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” using the videos below:

Provoke One Another to Love

Our Life is Love

life love readings

Please join us for forum every fourth Sunday, when we will explore the Quaker Spiritual Journey through Marcelle Martin’s book, Our Life is Love. One Sunday a month, for ten months, we will take up one of the ten elements of this journey we’re on together by sharing our stories with each other and responding to the queries that Marcelle raises up. This is an opportunity to deepen our connections to one another and to our Quaker heritage.

What is the book about? Marcelle Martin uses the words of many early Friends and contemporary Friends to explore each of ten elements of the Quaker Spiritual Journey. Each section ends with a set of queries that we can use to explore our own experiences. She also shares the ways in which she has experienced these elements in her own life.

Do I have to read the book? No! The queries that we’ll be exploring in each forum are evocative on their own, and the lives of our fellow community members are fascinating. All are welcome – whether or not you’ve done your “homework.”

Can I drop in, or do I have to commit to the whole series? Please come to as many forums in this series as you are able to. While we hope that the experience has a cumulative effect, each forum should be able to stand on its own as a time of powerful sharing.

How can I get a book? You have two choices:

  1. Order a hard cover, paperback, or eBook from Inner Light Books. A paperback is $17.50 plus shipping and handling.
  2. Borrow a book from the Meeting library. There are at least two to lend.

What are the dates and topics for the whole series so I can mark them on my calendar? I’m so glad you asked!

  • 9/30: Longing
  • 10/28: Seeking
  • 11/25: Turning Within
  • 12/23: Openings
  • 1/27: The Refiner’s Fire
  • 2/24: Community
  • 3/24: Leadings
  • 4/28: The Cross
  • 5/26: Abiding
  • 6/23: Perfection

4/26-27 AVP Workshop and Training

4/26 Challenging White Supremacy

11/16 Noticing Patterns of Oppression

3/11 Friends for Racial Justice (FORJ)

3/15 Make a Reusable Name Tag

3/15 Sev and Louise Bruyn Art Show

3/15 Child Safety Workshop

3/20-3/22 All-Meeting Retreat

3/22 Second meeting for awarding grants

3/29 Committee Fair

3/29 Faithfulness Group Follow-Up

5/6 Midweek Meeting For Worship

5/6 First Day School Parents Meeting

5/7 Stone of Hope Drumming

5/9 Deep Quiet to Rest, Grieve, and Prepare

5/10 Morning Meeting for Worship

5/10 Sunday Evening Meeting for Worship

5/10 YAF Sunday Virtual Potluck

5/17 Adjourned Meeting for Business

5/25 Adoración compartida en español

5/25 New Story Group

5/26 White Privilege Book Group

6/7 Family Worship

6/10 Artists and Writers Group

6/14 Meeting for Business in Worship

The Love that Overcomes

Public Statement from NEYM, November 3, 2018

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers,nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. — Romans 8:38-39

This week, Quaker communities of faith across the six New England states are mourning with our Jewish neighbors the deadliest act of violence against Jews in this country’s history. We mourn with all who are targeted by hate. We join our hearts in grief with the grieving. We search for ways to respond to the corrosive evils of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and the persecution of those labeled as “other,” even as we acknowledge our own complicity in these sins. We yearn for justice, for healing, for refuge for those most at risk. In town squares, in places of worship, in living rooms, in legislative offices and detention centers, we unite with countless others to protect people from further violence, violence fueled by false prophets preaching fear.

Each day brings further anxiety, violence, and vitriol, while some charged to be leaders incite the worst in us as human beings. We are surrounded by stories of hatred, division, and despair. And yet, we know this: The story of Love will endure.

This week, in the face of the mass murder of Jews at prayer, Jewish doctors and nurses treated the man who opened fire in the Tree of Life Synagogue. A stranger in a parking lot cradled the 12-year-old boy whose grandfather was one of two black people shot and killed by a white man outside Louisville, Kentucky. As some deny the basic humanity of transgender people and people seeking asylum, communities respond with acts of radical love, inclusion, and sanctuary. In these and so many unnamed acts, amidst such suffering, we see the infinite Love of God.

It is the testimony of the Religious Society of Friends that God is at work healing the brokenness of the world and the brokenness within each of us. Nothing can hold back the unshakeable power of Love in this time, and throughout all time. What matters in this moment–in every moment–is how we choose to participate in this eternal story. Our lives must proclaim that this Love is stronger than all fear.

We commit to live today trusting in this Truth. The words we say and the choices we make in the coming days and weeks must bear witness to Love in concrete acts of connection and care, in our homes and neighborhoods, in our schools and workplaces, in the coming elections, as communities of faith, as people who call this country home, as those seeking refuge and those offering it. We must waste no opportunity to love.

We must seek the grace to keep free from the politics of rage, division, numbness and dehumanization, even toward those we may perceive as enemies. We must nurture in each other the courage to come together across difference, to resist hopelessness, to renounce a worldview that treats anyone as disposable, to affirm that the Spirit of God dwells in everyone. With each person, in each moment, each place—this movement grows.

This is the time for a politics of presence, of radical relationship, of mutual aid and reconciliation. It’s a time to be witnesses, storytellers of the broken-hearted Love that overcomes the powers of fear. Let the walls of separation come crashing down.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
Fritz Weiss, Presiding Clerk
Noah Merrill, Secretary

FMC Stands with Immigrant Families

Friends Meeting of Cambridge, holding to our deepest beliefs in mercy, peace and justice, cannot abide any U.S. policy which forcibly separates children from their parents, those who are immigrants and asylum-seekers. As Quakers, parents, children and United States citizens, we condemn this profoundly and deliberately violent course. We utterly reject the idea that God or Scripture condones such actions. Family internment camps are little better, evoking the shame of the Japanese internment camps of World War Two. We must work to reunite the nearly 2,300 parents and children already separated. International law and human decency require us to keep ports of entry open to asylum-seekers who are often fleeing brutal violence in their home country. We call on President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to see that such cruelty makes no U.S. citizen safer but only sows misery, and diminishes us all, the jailer and the jailed, the liars and those lied to. Let us turn from this evil work.

11/3 Discernment on FMC Priorities

11/3 Worship Sharing for Healing

12/2 FMC Group Photo

12/2 Lowering the Barriers

12/8 Gift Wrapping Workshop

12/8 Community Re-entry Program

12/8 Singing by the Fireplace

Gift Wrapping Workshop

gift wrapping

On the afternoon of December 8, Nancy Hewitt, clerk of the Gardening Committee, led a cozy group in a wrapping and bow-making workshop for the holidays.

On Civil Disobedience — A Conversation

Gandhi Salt March Civil Disobedience

Sunday, November 18, at 12pm Lewis Randa of the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, MA and criminal defense trial lawyer, Gregory R. Barison will speak at Wellesley Friends Meeting, 26 Benvenue Street, Wellesley, MA.  The talk will provide an opportunity to gain insight and understanding of civil disobedience as an act of conscience. Six different actions with, or on behalf of, students from The Life Experience School will provide the context for the discussion.

Cambridge Friends School Used Book Sale

Cambridge Friends School Used Book Sale

Wednesday, November 14 to Friday, November 16, 4-6pm
and Saturday, November 17, 8am–2pm

Donations Accepted 11/5 through 11/9, 8am–4pm

Cambridge Friends School (CFS) is accepting donations of books in good condition (both children’s and adult literature, coffee table books, cookbooks, etc.). Please do not bring in CDs, DVDs, textbooks, VHS videos, cassettes, records, games or puzzles. If possible, please separate children’s and adult books—it makes set up easier.

CFS Book Sale Book

Slippers in Meeting for Worship are Great!


Does curling up next to the fire in your slippers sound appealing? This is a gentle reminder to bring slippers to Meeting to save the wear and tear on our floors and rugs, especially during wet and/or snowy days. We certainly do not wish to cause hardship for anyone, but for those of us able to bring a change of footgear, every little bit helps. Slippers to borrow are available in the Meetinghouse and entryway to the Friends Center. Put your wet/salty/snowy footwear in the plastic trays.

The Common Strummers

common strummers music

The Common Strummers (FMC Friends from left to right – David Bonner, Molly Watt, Dan Watt and Polly Stevens) played ukulele and lead singing at Midnight Voices (co-sponsored by Peace & Social Concerns Committee) on Thursday, October 18 in the Friends Room. Midnight Voices takes place on third Thursdays at FMC and there are open mic slots for readers and performers each month.

A Procession of Friends

FDS procession friends

To celebrate World Quaker Day (October 7, 2018) fifty-four Friends (young and older) gathered in the Friends Room or Family Worship where they created a Procession of Friends banner and talked about the contributions of various Quakers through the ages.  The group from Family Worship then shared about their banner and their worship with those gathered in the Meetinghouse at the rise of regular Meeting for Worship.  The banner (and Quaker biographical info) is on display downstairs in the hall in the First Day School.

Autumn Mandala

mandala 2018

First Day School students and some adult volunteers gathered again this year at FMC during All-Meeting for Worship at Raytheon on October 21, 2018 to create this beautiful mandala with found nature objects.

Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA

Leaving Everything at the Door: Year-End Silent Retreat with Aggie Mitchkowski

December 28-31, 2018

Silence is a universal language. No matter who we are, where we come from, what we believe, we can all come together without feeling our separateness. Leaving our words behind, ideas behind, each of us has the opportunity to open to what is, in the moment, together as one. Join us for this silent retreat where our goal is nothing less nor greater than to meet each other in that field Rumi talks about. We will spend the days and nights in silence, enjoying the company of our communal oneness. For more information and to register please visit Woolman Hill Retreats

Bolivian Quaker Education Fund

Bolivia Child Mother

Fidel Chigua Caraniis is the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund (BQEF) student who receives support from Friends Meeting at Cambridge (through individual contributions). Fidel receives our scholarship in monthly payments (about $50 per month). To learn more about the BQEF program or to contribute on behalf of FMC’s student go to Bolivia Quaker Education Fund or contact Richard Barran at

Help the Poor and Homeless

MAAP logo

The Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) that operates from the basement of the Meetinghouse needs donations of winter clothing including coats, hats, scarves and gloves/mittens. Items do not need to be new but should be in good condition. Travel-size toiletries are also very much needed (bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, combs, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, packets of tissues, Band-Aids, etc.)

Drop off items Tuesdays or Thursdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, or put them on the tunnel hall bench near the MAAP door after hours. For more information and to volunteer, contact Cassie Hurd at

Mugs Needed


Friends, a shift in our Meeting culture has happened in our Coffee Hour after worship on Sunday; now we are using ceramic cups as much as they are available; this is clearly a more sustainable option than using paper cups. It’s a small thing, but of course, we do whatever we can, even if small. BUT … we don’t have enough cups for this to work all of the time. So, if you have extra mugs of whatever size, please consider giving them to Meeting. Just leave them on the counter over the dishwasher and we’ll take care of washing and storage.

—David Myers, Ceramic Aggregation Coordinator (volunteer)

Thanksgiving Dinner at FMC

thanksgiving dinner

…and a wonderful Thanksgiving feast was had by all. Fifty-six Friends, family and friends of Friends gathered to share food and fellowship. Many helped with cooking, set up and clean up—including Elliott Maddocks who washed all the dishes, glasses and silverware before they went through the sanitizer.

Pie Sale Success!

Pie Sale

On Saturday, November 17, families and youth in the meeting spent four hours baking 31 apple, cherry, and pumpkin pies as well as pumpkin cream cheese squares.

Then on Sunday during social hour we sold them all (plus one donated pie) to help a local charity, Liam’s Lunches of Love. Liam is a middle school student in Cambridge who gives out food to people living outside! We raised $671 for Liam’s efforts! Thank you to everyone who helped with the pie making and everyone who bought pies!

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender day of remembrance

Twenty-nine Friends gathered for a memorial Meeting for Worship was held for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, hosted by the LGBTQ+ Ad Hoc group, on Sunday, November 18. The names of those people whose lives have been taken in violence over the past year within the US were read and a candle lit for each.

5/11 Path of Demilitarization (Film)

5/12 Book Discussion “On the Run”

5/12 Group Memorial Meeting

A Group Memorial Meeting is an opportunity to honor those family members or dear friends in the FMC community who have died in the past year or so. Out of the silence, one by one, participants rise if able, and, after sharing the name of the person we are honoring, say a few words about that person and what they meant to you. Contribution of savory or sweet items for the reception are welcome.

Contact Patricia Wild,, if you wish to participate.

5/13 Mother’s Day Walk for Peace

5/13 Apache Elder Speaks

Apache elder Tomas Eagle Bear will be visiting the Northeast and he has kindly agreed hold a session for Quakers and any interested others on the evening he is in Boston, namely Sunday May 13. Details below. It’s free but donations to support Eagle Bear’s cultural center are welcome. I’ve attended the Sun Dance that Eagle Bear conducts at his off-grid intentional community in Colorado for two years in a row now, and I can only say it’s a magnificent 4-day ceremony. This is a rare chance to meet a rare man.

WHAT: Tomas Eagle Bear, Apache elder, will present an evening of Native American song and storytelling. Topics may include the Sun Dance, Vision Quest, Inipi (“sweat lodge”), and Coming of Age ceremony. Eagle Bear will also perform a hoop dance.
WHERE: Cambridge Cohousing, 175 Richdale Ave., Cambridge MA
WHEN: Sunday May 13, 6:30 – 9 PM
WHO: All ages welcome

Questions or more information: David Anick

6/17 May Fair Redux

3/4 Nominating Committee Fair

3/3 Jonathan Fine Memorial Meeting

3/4 Intergenerational Breakfast

3/4 Quaker Voluntary Service Panel

3/4 QVS Fundraiser with Daniel Parker

Quaker World

Nine Month Nurturing Faithfulness Program Returns in 2019

Woolman Hill winter

Nurturing Faithfulness is a program for individuals who have a spiritual nudge to orient one’s heart towards the Divine, be more faithful in discerning gifts and leadings, and nurture one’s home spiritual community. Perhaps you know someone who participated in the first iteration of this program, called Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness. Good news is: we’re offering this program again! Take a look at the Woolman Hill website for more information or keep reading.

Nurturing Faithfulness is a 9-month program consisting of three residencies at Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA (August 2019, December 2019, and May 2020), monthly webinars (that are actually connective and grounding), readings, and small-group opportunities for deepening relationships through local care committees and Faithfulness Groups.

Co-teachers for Nurturing Faithfulness are Hilary Burgin (Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, NEYM) and Marcelle Martin (Swarthmore Monthly Meeting, Philaadelphia Yearly Meeting). This program is co-sponsored by Woolman Hill and New England Yearly Meeting. For more information take a look at our video.

Applications are due in Spring 2019, so we encourage you to start considering if this program might be right for you. If you RSVP to Marcelle Martin (link sends e-mail), we will also send you a reminder about the informational webinar and the application.

Early application deadline, with priority for NEYM Friends: April 1, 2019

Final application deadline: July 22, 2019.

NEYM Sessions August 3-8, 2019

Image by © Skip Schiel,

Each August, more than 600 Friends, come together for worship, fellowship and seeking how God will guide us in meeting for business. Having first gathered in 1661, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is the oldest “yearly meeting” in the Quaker world. While this gathering is large—among the largest Quaker events in North America—there are many opportunities to connect with Friends old and new: vibrant youth programs, adult small groups, variety shows, topical interest sessions and shared meals. In recent years, Sessions has featured plenary addresses, Bible Half-Hours, a contra-dance, and coffeehouse. Our 2019 theme is “Provoke one another to Love.” For more information about the Bible Half-Hour and Plenary Speakers for 2019, click here.

Other Events on the NEYM Calendar

Turmoil, Tumult, and Truth—Vital Quaker Witness Today April 1, 2019 • online or at Pendle Hill

Living Faith Gathering April 6, 2019 • Friends Academy, North Dartmouth, MA

Clerking Workshop April 13, 2019 • Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston, MA

Junior High Yearly Meeting Retreat April 26-April 28, 2019 • New Haven, CT

Young Friends Retreat April 26-April 28, 2019 • Wellesley, MA

Sandwich Quarterly Meeting April 27, 2019 • East Sandwich, MA

Salem Quarterly Meeting April 28, 2019 • Amesbury, MA

Events at Beacon Hill Friends House

Beacon Hill

Clerking and Friends Decision Making Workshop

Saturday, April 13 from 9:00am-4:30pm
Beacon Hill Friends House

Join Friends to develop skills in Quaker decision-making processes in our Meetings and committees. We are offering two workshops to help community members gain more knowledge and skills. These workshops are open to all. We especially encourage people who are currently clerks of meetings, committees or other groups, as well people who would like to become more active participants or leaders themselves. The workshops will be led by Fritz Weiss and Jacqueline Stillwell, current and past presiding clerks of New England Yearly Meeting. The workshop is in two parts. Friends are invited to attend either the morning session or both sessions. (Attending the afternoon session alone is not recommended: the morning session is a prerequisite.)

This workshop is sponsored by the Coordinating and Advisory committee of NEYM, and hosted at the Beacon Hill Friends House. Please register on Eventbrite so we know how many people to expect. Questions about the workshop may be directed to Jackie Stillwell at (603) 933-2608 or or Fritz Weiss at

Childcare is available by advance request (email Please let us know by April 1 if you need childcare. We will do our best to accommodate you if you make the request afterward, but it can be difficult to find a childcare provider on short notice.

How We Win: A Workshop with George Lakey on Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning

*New date added* Tuesday, May 7, 6-9pm
Beacon Hill Friends House

George Lakey returns! Our March 30 workshop sold out so fast that we had to bring George back to do it again. In this interactive workshop led by movement veteran George Lakey, participants will engage in a lively exploration of how to use direct action campaigns to build power toward a movement of movements.

Sliding scale admission. Advance registration required. Workshop 6-9pm; come at 5:30 for a BYO bag supper in community. Light snacks provided. Childcare available by advance request. Wheelchair accessible room. Cosponsored by the Boston Democratic Socialists of America.

Advance registration is required. Please click here to register on Eventbrite.

Advocacy for the Long Haul: An FCNL Workshop & Team Launch

Sunday, May 20
Brown bag lunch at 12:30 pm
Beacon Hill Friends House

What can we do to change what’s happening in this country? For over 75 years, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has shown that our voices can make an impact on federal policy. Join Sarah Freeman-Woolpert of FCNL for an inspiring workshop that will provide concrete strategies for effective advocacy and a structure for taking next steps together.

Learn to:

  • 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 FCNL’s 2019 Advocacy Team campaign to stop endless wars by urging Congress to reassert its constitutional authority. Advocacy Teams are supporting legislation to repeal the Automatic Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) and encourage public debate on all issues of war and peace.

RSVP requested. Childcare is available upon request.

Discounts for Friends General Conference 2019 Gathering

Friends General Conference

Thanks to a generous donation, Friends General Conference (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.

Location: Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA
Early Registration: April 1-14, 2019!
Dates: June 30-July 6, 2019
Theme: Peace in Our Hearts, Justice in the World

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.

Cambridge Friends School

CFS All-School Worship

Tuesday, April 2 from 8:30am-9:00am

All School Meeting for Worship in the gym. All are welcome to attend.

No Ashes in the Fire: Race and Gender in America

Thursday, April 4, at 4-5:15pm

Join us at CFS for a conversation around one of Oprah’s Top Books of Summer, No Ashes in the Fire. Author Darnell L. Moore will discuss race and racial experiences, and important tools and techniques for anti-racism with Jack Hill, anti-racist educator and CFS Head of Middle School and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Darnell will be available for book signings after the discussion. Books are available to purchase during the registration process, with limited quantities available at the door.
Questions? Contact: Diane Marangoly at 617-354-3880 ext. 117
$20 suggested donation in advance; $25 at the door
Register online here.

CFS Pre-K/Kindergarten Open House

Saturday, April 6 at 10:00am-12:00pm

Join us for this Open House specifically for students ages 3-5 who are looking for Pre-K and Kindergarten for the 2019 or 2020 school years. We are excited to welcome visitors to campus. This family-friendly event will feature hands-on projects and experiences for students, as well as an opportunity for parents to meet teachers, current parents, and staff to learn more about our unique educational philosophy. As the only Quaker school in Massachusetts, we would love for your families to know about this event! RSVP to or 617-354-3880 ext. 144.

Live Performance:

Wednesday, April 24 from 6:30-8:30pm

JoinCFS for a contemporary dance event with, a dance troupe that focuses on movement and poetry to explore racism in America that was founded by professional dancer, Anna Myer (CFS Class of 1970). Since its founding in 1992, Anna Myer and Dancers have performed Anna Myer’s innovative choreography to a steadily growing audience throughout the Northeast, most notably in Boston and New York City, and to the acclaim of some of the country’s most prominent dance critics. Myer’s unique language of movement is a fusion of her classical, modern, and postmodern background. Her dances are emotionally charged and infused with a keen formal intelligence.

We hope you can attend this creative exchange for social change! Register online here .
Suggested donation $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

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