Weekly Announcement Sheets resume Monday, September 2, 2019
September Business Meeting, 1:15pm, September 8, 2019
October Newsletter Due, Monday, September 16, 2019
October Minutes & Reports Due, Monday, September 30, 2019
October Business Meeting, 1:15 October 13, 2019
Images by Skip Schiel from New England Yearly Meeting Sessions
August 3 through 8, 2019, at Castleton University, Castleton, VT
Children’s schedule — Weighty discussion on the lawn — May I interrupt your lunch? — Speaking in the gathered meeting — The Disruptive Committee — Colin Saxon, Bible half-hour presenter — Lisa Graustein, plenary speaker — Focused discussion at lunch — At the coffee house.
Quaker Culture is Changing: Bringing NEYM back to FMC
By Lorena Boswell
Friends, let the eternal light search you, and try you, it will rip you up, lay you open. Provoke one another to Love. ~ Margaret Fell 1656
The theme for the 2019 New England Yearly Meeting’s (NEYM) Annual Sessions was “Provoke one another to Love.” More than 20 Friends from Friends Meeting at Cambridge attended. Seventeen of us met to debrief and discuss how to bring the many aspects of our experience back to Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC). The fact that so many of us wanted to debrief together I believe is a testament to the power of this year’s Sessions.
We identified several themes of the week we’d like to lift up and bring back to Friends Meeting at Cambridge. This newsletter article is one way we are doing so. I hope the snippets below inspire you all to learn more by talking to those of us who attended and/or reading the NEYM minutes and epistle when they are released.
Difference in the Depth of Worship in Business Meeting between NEYM and FMC
Many of us were affected by an overwhelming sense that the Meeting for Business in Worship at New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) is done in love. Some hard and seemingly irreconcilable new items were brought forward, yet they were attended to with a feeling of attentive and caring focus. Many of us noted the same feeling is not as strong at FMC and wondered how and why the two are different. We are curious to explore how to carry this energy home here to Friends Meeting at Cambridge.
Plenary and Empire
Lisa Graustein’s plenary was titled “Empire and the Great Unconformity: Provoking One Another to Love and Re-member God’s Power Through Us.” If you haven’t already watched the virtual plenaries she posted online before the session, I encourage you to do so. We wish you all could have experienced the plenary in person and the recording are posted at NEYM Bible Half Hours and Plenary Recordings.
What we were most struck by was the theme of the power of empire in our lives. One theme that Lisa lifted up was that becoming fully embodied is part of the work of remembering God’s power through us. Empire stays in power by training us to remain cut off from our emotions and Spirit that call us to justice and action. One FMC Friend noted to this end: “I have been practicing being in touch with my body. I hope to bring about change beyond just my brain with this practice.” Many of us felt provoked by the naming of the role of Empire in our lives and hope to continue this conversation at FMC throughout the year in many different ways.
Noticing Patterns of Oppression and Faithfulness work – Calling in, not out
This year NEYM took on an experiment entitled Noticing Patterns of Oppression and Faithfulness. Woven throughout sessions was an invitation to step into the work together of changing our culture so that we better notice and interrupt patterns of oppression within our own interactions. There were visitors from 4 other Yearly Meetings to observe the cutting edge experiment that NEYM stepped into this year! This is work Spirit/God is calling us as Quakers to do!
There were workshops, drop in anchor groups, reports from the Working group, and most prominently, 3 noticing elders on the side of the stage. While this had the potential to feel intimidating, overall we expressed feeling, deeply touched, moved and excited by the loving invitation into this challenging work. This was the pattern of faithfulness we collectively embraced. Instead of summarizing an experiment that was woven throughout everything, here are a few noticing of FMC Friends who attended the debrief session:
I am proud of the work we did Noticing Patterns of Oppression and Faithfulness and wish that FMC could experience that. It’s too hard to convey the experience in a report.
I felt a real follow through from last year; both in Noticing Patterns of Oppression and Faithfulness and in the nourishment and the bringing of changes to practices, structures and appreciation of clerkship roles. I experienced nourishing changes within clerkships and practice. I even saw the clerk of NEYM eldered within Meeting for Business in Worship and saw him back up and change his behavior.
I got comfortable with the elders (of Noticing Patterns of Oppression and Faithfulness) though at first they felt like Olympic judges. Eventually they felt like our eyes and ears — and an invitation was extended for me to be so as well.
Doing this work gave some, who have been noticing for a while, permission to speak and others, who are new to the work, permission to step into it.
I felt an environment of love; it changed my experience of being eldered. For example, I was getting into one of the golf carts and noticed a person with mobility needs. I said, “Here, take my seat.” Another person said, “Why don’t we see where she wants to sit?” Instead of hanging my head in shame for the week, I was able to let it go.
I spoke up twice and both times resulted in an ongoing change in behavior. I was surprised at how much closer I now feel to these folks who I interrupted with a loving invitation. As a result, I feel our relationship and the fabric of our community strengthened. I’m grateful to have better tools to know how to say something.
By relaxing into (the process) it became an invitation, a visible reminder of noticing. It was demanding because first, the very act of paying steady attention and second, the process and act of noticing was an insight into the physical toll friends of color endure.
We still have a lot of work to do. One person left Sessions because of the amount of micro-aggressions they experienced. I feel grief and anger at this.
I feel that I’m walking around in a world I couldn’t see before.
Overall our sense was that this is an exciting time to be a Quaker and break open those patterns that need to be rebuilt. We are moved by the recognition that this is all of our work. We hope to bring back from NEYM the courage to be vulnerable at FMC as we provoke each other to love more completely.
FUM withholding policy and the Minutes passed – what happened?
Discernment about the FUM withholding policy was charged. Some of us found ourselves praying for the Meeting and wanting to rise to name the pain in the room. One FMC Friend expressed concern about a “those people” mentality and have even heard it said that, “they’re not really Quakers.” He appreciated the sense at NEYM that we have a clearer intention to connect to something bigger than just FMC.
I encourage you to read the NEYM actual minutes when they arrive. Briefly, what felt like a breakthrough this year was that they named the pain the FUM sexual ethics personnel policy causes, especially for those of us who are LGBTQ+, and charged NEYM to initiate conversation with FUM leaders about this pain and request a change in the policy. Where NEYM remained divided was about NEYM’s role in supporting the choice some Meetings (including FMC) are making to withhold money. This will certainly be important for us to understand and decide how to move forward.
Finances/Staff – Resources “Resources are not ours to hold back”
Being at Sessions amid the conversations about resources, staffing and budget echoed, for some of us, the discernment that FMC is in the midst of. Are we aware of the many ways FMC’s money is put to work at NEYM? What can we learn from NEYM about staff as resources in their discernment regarding budgeting? A few individuals stated their intention to bring these thoughts forward during FMC business and threshing sessions.
Pearls of Wisdom
It was noted that there were many stirring invitations and pearls of wisdom. Here are just a few:
Provoke one another to love & belonging
Break patterns of domination
Unconform, Re-member, Re-embody
What would it be like if we lived as if the truth is true?
In addition to the above themes, we all we uplifted in different ways. Reconnecting with old friends, camping on the land, gently being invited more deeply into faithfulness, the joy of the coffeehouse, the presence of the Ramallah Friends School and attention on Israel/Palestine, the music, vespers, and 6:30am programmed Meeting are only some of these. One Friend noted: “I wish there were more people from FMC there; we’re such a large meeting I felt we were underrepresented.” Another noted: “I feel hope, and want the critical mass I feel moving to be real. These are interesting times.”
Quaker culture is changing and we want FMC to be a part of the movement towards change. In order to continue these conversations, we who attended are hopeful to organize more ways to share with you the rich experience that was NEYM Sessions this year. There will be a report at Meeting for Worship for Business in September. In addition, please keep an eye out for other opportunities to hear more from those of us who attended.
First Day School and Teen Worship Begin Again on September 8.
This year First Day School will focus on the theme of Quaker Testimonies. Each month we will explore a Friends Testimony and will have a Godly Play/Faith and Play story lesson, a lesson centered around a book, and having people visiting from the meeting and beyond.
The outline of the year comes from Melinda Wenner Bradley, the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Melinda developed this outline for her meeting, West Chester Meeting in Pennsylvania. The core teachers this year will be Beth Fuller, David Smith, Patti Conty, and Paul Dobler.
Teen Worship will begin on September 8 too. The format of the time together is going to be similar to last year. Time for worship around a query and/or reading a short piece from Spirit Rising followed by time for check in. The teachers this year are Andrea Condit, Elise Springuel, and Nancy Bloom.
Parents of First Day School youth and Teen Worship are invited to meet during the Meeting for Worship on September 8. FDS parents will meet with me in the Friends Room and I will answer questions and talk about the new year. Teen Worship parents will meet in the Parlor with Andrea and go through a similar format for Teen Worship and talk about their hopes for the coming year.
Attached is a tentative Family Activities/Youth Programs Calendar. I am currently working on the details for the events and more information will be forth coming. If you have ideas or suggestions, please let me know.
I want to highlight two things:
Fall Community Breakfast September 8, at 9:00 am in the Friends Room. Come eat breakfast and hear about the educational opportunity for the whole family!
Fall Camping Trip September 27-29: We will do a fall camping trip at the Maddocks farm near Taunton, MA. Come down for one night or two nights or just Saturday. The Meeting is invited. The weekend will be child/youth-centric! The schedule is still being worked on, but the main focus of the weekend is to bond and be with each other. There are limited options to sleep inside. We will take turns cooking and cleaning up. We ask for contributions of $10/individual or $25/family for the weekend towards food costs. But please don’t let costs keep you away.
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. https://groups.google.com/d/forum/fmc-parents. 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.
Our nursery is booming with children and they are wonderful. Several of my regular teen workers and regular volunteers cannot work as much as they used to and there is more of a demand for weekday evening volunteers while parents are in committee meetings.
This fall, I need childcare volunteers on:
First Monday of every month
Second Tuesday of every month
Second Thursday of every month
Third Monday of every month
Fourth Monday of every month
This is one way to contribute towards the meeting community in order to alleviate childcare costs for the meeting and keep our children in a safe, loving environment. Plus our little children at meeting are pretty adorable. If you are interested, please let me know. The process to get screened to work with children is pretty simple and easy.
On Sunday July 28,Elaine Emily gave a workshop at our meeting on Exploring Eldering. The workshop focused on: “In well-functioning meetings someone is always actively doing the work of eldering irrespective of whether it’s named or not. What is eldering and what does it mean to be an elder? How is spiritual formation as a foundation of eldering expressing itself today? What is in process now in regards to the word and the role?” Here is the recording of that workshop: https://vimeo.com/352157153
A Worship Garden
At the June Family Worship we gathered to consider the theme, “Worshipping Together, Seeds and Weeds.” We sang songs and then read Frog & Toad: The Garden. We considered how silent worship can be like taking care of a garden. Then we created our own worship garden with blooms bursting out all over.
Join us for the first Family Worship of the new school year on Sunday, October 6, in the Friends Room at 10:30 am. All are welcome whether you come with a child or not.
FMC Committees and Concern Groups Open to All
Are you new to FMC? Are you interested in how the committees work? Are there issues you care about that you’d like to join with others at FMC to discuss? Please reach out to learn more and to visit a committee or concern group meeting:
This 5-week course will delve into Quaker practice, history and prophecy. We meet on consecutive Sunday nights 6:30-8:30 pm starting October 6 through November 3, 2019. This series will offer sculpted discussions on worship, decision-making and testimonies. We will explore how the Quaker spark ignites us to transform our lives. We will consider Friends such as Mary Fisher the first Quaker to arrive in the US colonies (1658) and Bayard Rustin, a famous Quaker gay civil rights organizer (1968). We look forward to seeing you—full participation is encouraged but not required. Everyone’s ideas are important whether you are new to the Quaker Way or whether you’ve practiced it for 50 years. For those who register we will order a Quaker pamphlet called the Gathered Meeting, as a reading for the course. Please prepare by reflecting on these queries:
What moved Friends to testify even during persecution?
How do worship, personal decisions, and spiritual life interact in our lives?
What ways does community witness for justice in these turbulent times?
Facilitators—Minga Claggett-Borne and Veronica Barron
Elders—Jan Nisenbaum, Jonathan Vogel-Borne, and Patricia Wild
10/6 What happens in Quaker Worship?
10/13 What Moved Early Friends?
10/20 How do the Quaker Testimonies Speak through us?
10/27 How do Quakers make Decisions?
11/3 How the Light Transforms Conflicts among Friends
The New Clerks Team
Ian Harrington is serving as Co-Presiding Clerk, Jonathan Vogel-Borne is serving as Assistant Clerk, and David L Myers is serving as Recording Clerk for the whole new year (through June 30). Six Friends are sharing the other Co-Presiding Clerk position. The rotation is as follows:
September and October – Jan Nisenbaum
November and December – Minga Claggett-Borne
January and February – Debby Colgan
March and April – Ariel Maddocks
May – Patricia Wild
June – Liz Moore
The Meetings for Business in Worship are scheduled for the Meeting House at 1:15 pm on the second Sunday of the month: September 8, October 13, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8, April 5 (to avoid Easter), May 3 (to avoid Mothers’ Day) and May 17, and June 14 and June 28.
Contacting the team is easy though, as an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will get to the right people.
Meeting for Business in Worship
Sunday, September 8, from 1:15 to 3:30 pm in the Meetinghouse
Please join us in the Meetinghouse for our first Meeting for Business in Worship in the new fiscal year. The agenda has not yet been set, but the September meeting is usually a time to hear reports from the New England Yearly Meeting Sessions and from committees on their upcoming work. Ian Harrington will be the presiding co-clerk, and Jan Nisenbaum is serving as the other co-clerk in September and October. Beginning with this meeting, there will be a Simple Lunch on Meeting for Business in Worship Sundays. Potluck meals will not disappear; they will be scheduled for this year soon. For further information contact the clerks at email@example.com.
Fall Community Breakfast
September 8, from 9:00-10:15am in the Friends Room
Open to All! Visitors Are Especially Welcomed! Food provided but non-starchy potluck contributions will help complete the buffet. Come hear about educational opportunities at meeting for wee ones to adults this fall!
Sponsored by Ad Hoc Adult Education Working Group, First Day School/Youth Programs and Fellowship & Outreach Committees.
Threshing Session #2 on Staffing Discernment
Sunday, September 15 from 1:15-3:15pm in the Meeting House
Join us as we gather to continue our discernment on FMC staffing. This session is a continuation of our efforts over the past year to deepen our understanding of FMC finances and to explore ways of reducing expenditures and increasing revenue. At this session we will continue our conversations on our continuing budget deficit and its impact on our staffing model. We need your prayerful presence, your creative thoughts and your voice at this important conversation. Please come as we continue our discernment to ensure FMC has a stable and sustainable financial future. Childcare will be provided.
Pastoral Care at FMC
Our FMC Community of Hope provides the following types of care and support to individuals within our community:
Friendly visits to someone’s home or a visit to someone in a hospital or nursing home
Accompaniment to a medical appointment
Preparing and/or delivering meals
Conversations to assist in determining the need for a Support or a Clearness Committee
Supportive visits and listening presence during a challenging life experience
Sending cards on behalf of FMC
If you, or someone you know within our FMC community, might benefit from one of these care and support activities, please let us know. You may reach the program by emailing your request to PastoralCare@fmcquaker.org.
Simple Lunch Needs Additional Helpers
The almost-weekly Sunday Simple Lunches started in November 2015. Participation these days is usually large and always appreciative. The Lunch Crew has a number of very fine cooks, and gets a lot of help from lunch-eaters in setting out chairs, rinsing dishes, and putting away tables. Sometimes we are a little short-handed in the cleanup department—running the dishwasher, putting away leftovers, clearing the serving table, washing pots and pans. We invite Friends to consider joining us occasionally to do your preferred activity: cooking, putting out food and dishes, welcoming, running the dishwasher (great fun and training is available to supplement the written instruction sheet). Contact David L Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking Database Apprentice
Put your database experience to work in support of a good cause! FMC urgently needs a person to learn our Filemaker Pro database that has been developed and maintained by one person over the last 9 years. David Myers, also known as the simple lunch guru, is a really cool guy. Find him in the kitchen any Sunday and check out this opportunity!
RSWR Stamp Program
Save your used postage stamps to raise money for Right Sharing of World Resource’s work and mission.
Send in Your Stamps! The stamp program now accepts stamps of all issue dates and countries, both used and unused stamps, sheets of stamps, albums or boxed collections of stamps. Please follow these guidelines.
It is once again time for CPR/AED certification at Friends Meeting at Cambridge. American Heart Association certified training will be provided by CPR Boston, a division of Carney Hospital. If you attended our last certification you know we learned a lot and had a good time.
This year’s certification will take place at FMC on Saturday, October 26th, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the Friend’s Room here at FMC.
FMC’s biannual CPR/AED certification for FMC staff is open to the community. Pay as you are led and able; a suggested donation of $25 will cover the cost of training for one person.
To participate, please reply to me only no later than Friday, October 11th and I will place you on the list. I need to supply the trainers with a list of attendees prior to the training.
Member Roger Webb died on June 10, 2019. A memorial meeting for worship to celebrate his life took place on July 13, 2019. His obituary appears here.
Severyn Ten Haut Bruyn died peacefully at home on Sunday evening, May 26, 2019.
A memorial meeting for worship to celebrate Sev’s life will take place on October 12, 2019, at 2:00pm followed by a reception. Donations of sweet and savory snacks for the reception are welcomed.
Christa Frintner and Clark Reddy are delighted to be getting married under the care of Friends Meeting at Cambridge and welcome the community to attend the ceremony on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 2:00pm.
Tapestry by Marina Rothman. Her latest tapestry from the Migration series Integration is on display at the great tapestry show entitled Impact: Climate Change September 8 through 15. For gallery times contact Belmont Gallery of Art located in Homer Bldg in Belmont Center, 19 Moore St, Belmont, MA 02478. The artists’ reception is on Sunday, September 15, 1:00-3:00pm.
Welcome member Lucie Jarkovska, her sister Jana Jarkovska, Emil Kotula (7), and Ota Kotula (3) who are visiting FMC for a month. Please be sure to say hello when you see them!
Lucie writes:”I will have Emil and Ota with me and they plan to visit Museum of Science or Aquarium, we will be hanging out at Cambridge playgrounds so you may also join us for all those fun activities or give us tips on what else we can explore and experience. I will have my sister Jana with me and we will share childcare and will be working – I on my projects at UMASS and my sister preparing for concerts she will have at a Flute festival and in NYC introducing contemporary Czech women composers.
I will be very happy to share with you all the news about how different activities that I started in Boston or even at FMC developed. Some of you may remember the topic I have worked at and recently the article on The European Union as a child molester: sex education on pro-Russian websites finally came out (I know, things in academia take a long time). I go on with the book project, with support of Czech Quakers I did the reading for kids in the public library and with several Czech and Slovak authors and illustrators we are now preparing a book on Czech and Slovak women similar to Goodnight stories for rebel girls.
Where are the Events?
You will find announcements for all current FMC events on the FMC website, fmcquaker.org on the home page. You can also see a whole page all FMC current events by clicking on the image above, or by clicking this link. 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 email@example.com, who is your friendly website master and newsletter editor.
Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR), an independent Quaker organization which gives grants to marginalized women in Kenya, Sierra Leona, and India is hiring for a full time Executive Assistant/Development Associate. The position will initially be based from southern New Hampshire, but then can mostly be done remotely. The job description is here and other information about RSWR is on their website here.
Our Theme for the Year
What Does Love Look Like in Challenging Times?
September 1: “The Spirituality of Interfaith Worker Justice”. Yessenia Prodero of Massachusetts Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
September 8: No Forum. Fall Community Breakfast begins at 9:00 am. Food provided. Open to All! Newcomers are especially welcome.
September 15: “Visioning Beloved Community through Collage”: Mary Spitzer.
September 22: To be announced.
September 29: Extended Worship: No forum.
The 2019-2020 Quaker Voluntary Service Fellows arrived in Boston Friday, August 30. I thought you might like to know who they are. Their bio’s are in the attached document.
They are a wonderful impressive group of young people. I look forward, as you will, to meeting them all. They will come visit your Meeting soon.
Margy Carpenter, Co-Clerk of the Local Support Committee
Cambridge Friends School 5K Race
Sunday morning, October 6, 2019 Early-Bird Registration Closes September 6!
CF5K is a race with fun for the entire family. Hosted by Cambridge Friends School, this race includes a Kids Fun Run followed by a 5k run/walk that will be professionally chip timed by RaceWire. Guaranteed tech shirts to all participants pre-registered by September 19, 2019, prizes to top finishers, and post-race festivities for all!
Beacon Hill Friends House Wednesday, September 25 to Friday September 27 from 8:00am-7:00pm
The Ayni Institute’s influential Momentum Training has helped launch nationwide grassroots movements. Intro to Movement Strategy is a 3-day training for organizers and activists working towards social justice who want to think more strategically in their work. It will introduce participants to the concepts of movement ecology and seasonality. We will cover the basics of theories of social change and strategy, with the goal of helping participants find their role and timing within social movements. We will also explore the common barriers and opportunities for major collaborations. Advance registration is required; see event page for details and pricing.
Hope to see you soon!
Emily Savin (pronouns: she/her)
Beacon Hill Friends House
6 Chestnut St., Boston, MA 02108
office: 617-227-9118, cell: 617-520-4424, www.bhfh.org
* * Wednesday, August 28, 7:30pm: “Come Hell or High Water“: A Climate Justice Film Night and discussion featuring Alex Ponte-Capellan of City Life/Vida Urbana. Learn about the intersection of climate crisis, racial justice, and housing and how you can get involved in climate justice campaigns here in the Boston area. Suggested donation $5-$20.
Wednesday-Friday, September 25-27:Intro to Movement Strategy with the Ayni Institute The Ayni Institute’s influential Momentum Training has helped launch nationwide grassroots movements like Cosecha, Sunrise Movement, and IfNotNow. We’re delighted that Ayni has chosen the Friends House as the location for their next “Intro to Movement Strategy” training! Advance registration is required; see event page for details and pricing.
Forums are informal devotional discussions, usually with a leader and about a particular topic. They meet in the parlor and are designed to help those who attend prepare for meeting for worship. All are welcome. Forums provide good opportunities for new members, attenders, and visitors to learn more about our Meeting and what issues are of concern to the Meeting, and to get to know other individuals in the Meeting. Childcare is provided beginning at 9:15.