We’re writing to share news of some exciting Quaker events in the next few months. We hope you to see you there!
February 29 – March 1 Thinking about Climate Change with John Woolman – Michael Birkel (Beacon Hill Friends House, Boston MA)
Quaker Studies is pleased to have Michael Birkel leading a Friday evening, Saturday program on John Woolman and Climate Change. We’ll meet 7-9PM on Friday 2/28 and 9:30 – 3:00 on Saturday.
As we are faced with the challenges of climate change what can John Woolman teach us?
We know John Woolman for his witness against slaveholding. But what can he say to us today? About our relationship with material goods; about living simply and in tune with creation; about rightly valuing labor; about working to bring our own community and the world to a new understanding of what is right by appealing to the pure witness in others. We will touch on as many of these themes in Woolman’s life and writings as possible by reading passages and considering implications for today. Sponsored by Quaker Studies Program
Click here to register, and for more information: http://www.bhfh.org/qsp/QSPregistrationBirkel.html
March 7-9 Climate Spring (Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Deerfield MA)
We invite you to join with Friends who are actively following the concerns that climate change raises, to hold those concerns in worship, and talk about what rises in our hearts. The reality of climate change opens us to the work of the Spirit.
We envision this gathering as a spacious weekend with time to seek a deep and shared experience of our Source. We will share insights into how prophetic climate work flows from faithfulness to that Source. We will meet each other and the holy spirit in worship. We will open ourselves to being led in new directions that show God’s transforming love for the world. We will gather in small groups, share stories, resources and our own leadings through engaging conversation. We will wait together to see how we may be led to make our concern more visible.
The Spirit’s work is evident where people move through grief and past fear, and act out of a compassion that drives ingenuity, builds solidarity and gives people persistence in their own faithfulness. We imagine a gathering that cultivates this movement, from which we leave connected, refreshed and alive.
March 15 Gathering for Extended Worship (Winthrop Center, ME)
Winthrop Center Friends is hosting a day of extended worship on Saturday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This day arose out of a sense that many are hungering for opportunities to worship together in larger gatherings. Winthrop Center will provide morning snacks and beverages. We are asking that participants bring food for a potluck lunch. Because space is limited, please register with Ann Dodd-Collins at email@example.com. There is no registration fee, although we may ask for donations on the day to help defray expenses. If you have more questions, please email Ann or call her at 207-832-6103.
March 28-30 Noticing God’s Nudges in Our Lives: The Sacred Act of Spiritual Discernment with Nancy Bieber (Woolman Hill Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA)
Our lives are full of decisions and we all want to choose wisely. Spiritual discernment is the practice of attending to God’s nudges as we navigate our lives. Using material from her book, Nancy will introduce a three-fold approach to help us listen and respond to the Spirit whose wisdom and light exceeds our own. Bring a decision-making challenge if you have one (not necessary) and learn discernment practices for finding your way.
Registration/more info: http://woolmanhill.org
April 11-14 FWCC Consultation (High Point, NC)
Participate in a series of consultations with Friends from across the branches of the Quaker tradition. The North Carolina workshop features workshops led by Debbie Humphries and Lisa Graustein of NEYM
April 19 United Society of Friends Women (USFW) Gathering (Smithfield Meeting, RI)
Theme: Take Courage: Do Everything in Love
Contact Marian Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Putney Friends Meeting is hosting a discussion with guest speaker Leslie Manning at Putney Friends Meetinghouse, RT 5, Putney, VT, on 12/8/13 at 12:00 noon. This event is free and all are welcome.
Leslie is interested to hear what Putney area folks have to say and learn where there is common ground. In a culture of sanctioned violence, certain types of violence have become increasingly unacceptable, such as domestic violence, hate violence, workplace violence and bullying and intimidation. How do we build on this and work with others for whom the Second Amendment or gun rights matter? How do we engage safe and responsible gun owners in long-term change of current laws and attitudes?
Leslie Manning is a former regional coordinator for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and serves as President of the Maine Council of Churches, a founding member of Faiths United Against Gun Violence. She serves on the Advisory Committee of Project Safe Neighborhood, a federal anti-gun violence initiative and works closely with grass roots and faith groups in Maine and New Hampshire.
Leslie is a member of Durham, ME Monthly Meeting and Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy.
Putney Friends’s Adult Religious Education Committee is hosting a discussion this winter of Margery Post Abbot’s book To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology For Today. The discussions will be held on the second and fourth Sundays of each month through April from 9:30 to 10:30 in the Putney Friends Fellowship Room.
Below are the reading schedule (from here on out) and the chapter-by=chapter discussion queries. Anyone is welcome to join the study group at any time–for one week or for several.
Study Guide Queries by Chapter
1. Waiting and Attending
When was there a time in your life when you were aware of an absence, a dull ache, a longing, or something missing close to your soul? What was that time like? What was your response at the time? How does that seem to you now?
Can you sense when there have been conflicting pulls on your life and energies? Can you sense what kinds of activities and choices deadened your spirit and what gave/gives life? What choices did you make that enriched your life?
2. The Consuming Fire
Have you ever experienced a time when your heart and your understanding were opened to God/ the Universe in a new way? What was that like? How has that changed your life?
How has delight grown in you as a result of this opening? Has fear shrunk as a force in your life? Has a new passion for caring for the world (or a tiny part of it) grown in you?
3. Sifting Through Fears
What triggers distress in you? Are you someone, like Isaac Penington, who worries when your heart is at odds with what your rational mind tells you and thus constantly prone to doubts, or is there something else which causes you to ignore the promptings of the Spirit?
When have you ignored the sense that you have acted in a hurtful way and tried to blame it on someone else? What made you do this? What was the result? What steps did you take to right the situation?
In what ways do you wait, hoping someone or something will heal your hurts? Do you find yourself feeling resentful of others who move ahead of you and are made well? What might change this?
How might you sort out Penn’s definition of waiting based on alertness for the “moving of God’s angel” from a waiting which leaves you feeling passed by and helpless? Can you imagine yourself open to the words “stand up, take your mat and walk?”
ENCOUNTERING THE SEED
5. Breaking Down the Walls
Is there a dividing wall between you and God? What does it look like? Does it have openings in it or is it solid?
Ephesians is referring to the hostility between Gentiles and Jews as to what it means to be a follower of Jesus. What might be the hostilities in your life and your community which are a barrier to peace and to right relationship between one another and with God? Can you envision “one new humanity” which is grounded in reconciliation and imagine ways this might come to be?
6. The Nature of God
Have you felt something of the divine within your own heart? What is that like? How might you describe it to others?
What causes that holy seed within you to grow? Do you take time to nourish it?
7. The Light of Christ
What role does Jesus play in your life and faith? In what way does Jesus give an image of what God is like? If Jesus is not central to your life, what person/ image/ concept most inspires you and speaks to you of all that is holy and right in the universe?
How do you explain or reconcile within yourself the existence of evil in the world?
8. That of God in Everyone
When you consider “that of God in every person,” how do you see this bit of God inside you? In what way is your life a pattern and example to others? What actions has this led you to that you might not have taken otherwise?
What tells you when you are acting out of “that of God”? What might Fox have meant about keeping oneself clean as well as keeping clear of spilling the blood of others? The priest and the Levite were faithful to the old rules of cleanliness which kept them from touching the man by the side of the road: what rules in your life keep you from acting out of compassion?
9. The Light That is in Us All
What is eternal in your theology? How would you describe this force/ person/ energy/ Light?
Where do you find your primary written source of inspiration and moral teaching?
10. Spiritual Maturity
How do you imagine “spiritual maturity”? Can you see this in yourself and in others around you? What helps you “grow up in Christ”? What might the “wisdom of the seed” be?
What kind of growth have you seen in yourself over the years? What part does community play in your spiritual growth?
11. Being Present to Others
What is the sowing and the ploughing that Matthew and Margaret Fell speak of all about? If you do not have any experience to draw upon, what might you imagine this to mean? What role do we play in accompanying one another, encouraging one another and bringing each other’s attention to the Eternal Love that is at the heart of the universe?
Does your Meeting seek to attract new people and introduce them to Quakerism? If it does, how does it explain what Quakers are all about? If it doesn’t, do you feel it should? What is your role in all this?
TAKING UP THE CROSS
12. Taking Up the Cross Daily
What is your sense of the contrast between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of words? What do you think she means when she tells us not to teach what “man’s dark heart invents”? Does her warning hold any validity in your life?
What is your concept of the Cross? What might the wisdom of the Cross look like? Does “obedience to the Cross” have any meaning in your life?
What blocks do you have around Christian theology? Does it cause you to cringe, to reject anyone who uses this language, or to label them in some way? If so, what might it take to allow you to drop your defensiveness and to be more at ease with and/ or respectful towards those whose theology seems at odds with yours?
All of us make mistakes and do harm, even inadvertently. How do you address the tension between the wrong you have done and the desire to be right with the world? What allows you to forgive yourself? To ask others for forgiveness? What part does God play in forgiveness?
14. Fleeing the Cross
Think about a time when you were upset about someone else’s actions, then found yourself treating other people similarly or behaving in the same way. What helped you to recognize the behavior in yourself? How does settling into the silence, or otherwise being aware of the Spirit, help you change your response to wrong-doing, either in yourself or in someone else?
What causes you to flee from the cross- from doing something you know is yours to do or from letting go of actions which satisfy your personal desires but damage relationships or are in some way unjust?
How do you understand suffering? Have you ever suffered as a result of your faith? How do you stand with others who are suffering?
When you experience something painful, or hear others tell of their pain, how do you respond? Or when someone hurts you, how do you react? What does the Light tell you about how you might respond?
THE NEW CREATION
16. The City of God
Early Friends knew both the City of God and the Lamb’s War as inward states and as evidence of Christ formed within the human heart. How does your experience of that which is Eternal shape your life?
What is your image of a world made right? Is there a metaphor that sums up your hopes about how humanity will live at peace in the world? If so, what is it and why does it speak to you?
The epistle of James articulates one understanding of how we might live in the City of God. Does this speak to you? How do you recognize the New Creation being formed and lived out in your life?
What is the relationship between compassion and justice? How do you experience that connection?
What tells you when you have acted justly? What did that feel like? What was the response of those around you?
When have you witnessed oppression? What was your response? Was there something different you wished you had done? What might help you respond in the way you wished?
18. Responding to Violence
What is the inward state which allows you to act peacefully even when things are chaotic around you? Has listening to the inward Guide changed your life in a way which opens you to non-violent responses to difficult situations? Where are the struggles or the cutting edge for you as you seek to live without doing violence to yourself, to others and to the world?
Is it ever right to disobey civil law? If so, under what circumstances might that happen? Are there limits to such action or provisions as to how such disobedience should be undertaken? How do you distinguish between the need for separation of church and state and the call to bring all your actions under divine guidance?
How would you (have you) discern when and how it was right to break the law? What guidelines might help you in this process? How might you speak of this to someone who objected to your decision?
19. The Wholeness of the Earth
How do you articulate your own experience of right relationship with the earth, with one another and with God? How does the potential for significant change in worldwide ecosystems change your sense of the wholeness of the earth?
Do Friends bring a distinctive perspective to care for the globe we live on? If so, how would you describe the key features of that perspective?
Humanity has developed great capacity to change the world, from generation of power to manipulation of the human gene. Are there limits to the use of our scientific and technological knowledge? Is it right to act just because we can? How might we define such limits and on what basis?
In what ways do you wait upon God? Are there certain settings which make this more possible for you?
What is your experience of prayer? What place does prayer have in your life?
How easy is it for you to set time aside during each day to listen inwardly? Do you have reminders which make you more aware that it would be helpful to stop – stop talking, acting busily, fuming angrily, etc – so that you might become more centered in the Spirit?
Have you ever been aware of God present in your life, or of being a part of the unity of all humanity, or of angels on your shoulder? What was that like for you? How did it change you?
Do you desire awareness of God in your life but feel it missing? Are you open to the possibility that this may already be true, but in a form you were not expecting? Can you imagine how the Spirit might be present in surprising ways?
22. The Hard Work of Retirement
Many people find solitude difficult, whether it be physical isolation, or simply being quiet within oneself. Is this true for you? What sense do you have of the reasons why solitude is difficult? What might make it more possible for you?
What community do you turn to when you are facing inner darkness? How do its members help you? How do you wish they might help you? How might you help make that more possible?
23. Be Gentle With Yourself
In the silence, do fears and self-doubt or shame arise? What allows you to let these go? Have you ever tried to invite the “demons” into your cave as the hermit did in the ancient story? What was that like?
In the silence can you experience that you are loved? Can you imagine God’s tenderness towards you? How might you be more tender towards yourself?
How have times of solitude satisfied your thirst for God and awareness of all that is holy? What gives your soul rest and refreshment?
TO BE BROKEN AND TENDER
24. Brokenness and Tenderness
How would you describe a Meeting which meets your deepest needs?
Does the concept of denying the self and taking up the cross hold any meaning for you? If so, how would you articulate that meaning? If not, how would you describe the experience of letting go of the ego and willingness to be faithful to the Light?
25. “Something Broken Got Fixed”
How have you experienced being broken? In what ways has that been a healing experience? Has this been a path to forgiveness, of yourself? Of others?
What allows you to stay open to the possibility of transformation within yourself? Within others? Are you willing to speak of your own beliefs and experiences? How do you support and encourage others? Are you willing to be helped and challenged?
26. Breaking the Fear of Death
Have you thought about preparing yourself for death? What has that been like for you? If not, what do you imagine such work to be?
What fears arise when you consider dying? What might break those fears?
27. That Which Must Be Broken Before Finding Peace
What might Fox mean by his assertion that “the peace of all fellowships must be broken before they come into the fellowship of the spirit”? Does this resonate at all with your own experience?
Has your faith in any way alienated you from family or friends, or impelled you to act in ways that they disagree with? What has that experience been like for you? Have you found ways to reconcile with those individuals without compromising your faith?
28. God’s Way and Human Will
How do you understand faithfulness to the leadings of the Spirit? Do the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” hold meaning for you? Could you speak to this?
How would you describe the Way that you seek to follow? What is the role of Divine Guidance in that path?
29. Being a Friend
What is at the core of your faith? Where do you find tenderness when your spirit feels broken?
How might anything which stands between you and God be broken? How might your heart become more Here is the schedule for our meetings on To Be Broken and Tender. I have also attached the queries that come from the back of the book.
The Drop-In Center in Brattleboro is collecting clothing and bedding material for people using the Overflow Shelter this winter. Putney Meeting has offered once again to act as a drop-off point for any donations Friends and others from the Putney area may wish to make. The large gray plastic bin on the porch of our Meetinghouse is the collection point. The items donated will then be picked up and transported to the Drop-In Center in Brattleboro. Please consider making a donation of clothing or bedding (including tarps) for which you may no longer have need.
Heart-Conscious Communication Workshop
facilitated by Karen Fogliatti, Ph.D.
based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg: NonViolent Communication (NVC)
What to Say When You Don’t Agree
Tired of arguing?
Learn to communicate with authenticity and open-heartedness
Imagine being able to:
* Feel competent and stay present in the heat of differences
* Be authentic while simultaneously holding the connection
* Experience no fight, no flight, no giving in
* Get to resolution you can both feel good about
* Use conflict for personal growth and to enrich your relationships
FREE INTRO: Thursday, October 17th
6:00 – 8:30 pm at the Friends Meeting House, Putney, VT
Date: Thursdays, Oct. 17 – Dec. 12, 2013, 6 – 8:30 pm
(First class can be used as a Free Intro; Can decide participation after class)
Place: The Friends Meeting House in Putney, VT (wesr side of Rte. 5)
Cost: $185-$260 (sliding scale), includes materials
Facilitator: Karen Fogliatti, Ph.D.
experienced educator, mediator, counselor
Putney Friends Meeting is a member of Friends General Conference and Friends United Meeting. Our meeting has gone on record that it supports the overall work of FUM internationally, but opposes FUM’s personnel policy that discriminates against gay men and lesbians, including married ones. Below is a recent personal letter to FUM leaders from a member of Putney Friends Meeting who participated in this Fall’s international 40 Days of Prayer sponsored by FUM. It raises important issues about both faithfulness and justice.
Dear Colin Saxton, Friends United Meeting Staff and General Board,
Thank for creating a global prayer effort through the 40 Days of Prayer this fall. More than a dozen of us participated from Putney Meeting in Vermont. I heard comments that for many of us it opened our eyes to the important work FUM does with women and children. Others were grateful for the daily practice of prayer that they have continued in their own way. I noticed differences as a Quaker from Putney Vermont, an unprogrammed meeting, in our language and concepts regarding our faith and practices in the world. The themes of “stepping into deeper spiritual waters,” “radical inclusion,” and “healing fractured relationships,” constantly lead me to our testimony of equality.
I find the FUM personnel policy as it defines marriage to be incongruent with the Quaker testimony of equality. In the reader you point out that Jesus uses the words, ”follow me.” We are reminded that Jesus was a,” fisher of people.” We read about “abiding “ in Christ. One writer shares how, “other people carry within them the breath of God.” I believe that the FUM personnel policy denies a certain class of Friends to follow, join, and abide even though they too “carry within them the breath of God.” The personnel policy hurts Friends. The policy points Friends in a different direction. If one is called to follow and abide it is unacceptable for Quakers to reject another Friend’s calling.
The personnel policy is causing suffering. The children you teach do not all identify with the heterosexual model you share in the Belize school. Equality does not mean a select few are acceptable in God’s sight. One of the highest suicide and homeless rates is among gay and lesbian youth. Throughout my hours of prayer, I have felt confusion and deep grief. I am not patient with a policy that causes suffering. Please write an inclusive policy this year. Please do not use slavery as an example. Who today would agree to taking 100 yrs. to abolish slavery?
My suggestion for your strategic priorities around leadership development is that you broaden your acceptance of all who feel called to serve. Go through the routine discernment of course. Seize the opportunity for ministry. Remember, Jesus was a “fisher of people.” There were no exceptions.
In regard to FUM’s Global Partnership; I ask you to consider creating a safe haven, a place of refuge for the very people the personnel policy has hurt. I imagine that our gay and lesbian Friends feel unwanted and unsafe among many people and places in the world. Do we dare to embrace the outcasts like Jesus did? Do we have the “faith, courage and compassion” frequently written about in the reader to stop our part of oppression? Do we Friends in Putney Vermont, Indiana, Kenya, Belize, Ramallah have the courage to open our hearts and minds to the “others who carry within them the breath of God?”
Day 39 reminds the reader that, “ you are FUM.” Therefore, as one who is FUM, I urge heartfelt equality among all Friends, in all places, at all times to do what God is calling us to do in all ways now, before more Friends suffer.
Please choose love.
How can I help?
Holding us all in the light,
Frances E. Herbert-Poma
Here is a letter to the editor that I just submitted to the Keene Sentinel. It counters a claim made by another letter writer that Ayn Rand is a strong defender of “traditional Christian values.” Given that Ayn Rand has become a major intellectual influence within the US Tea Party movement and the favorite philosopher of a recent US vice-presidential candidate, I thought it was particularly important to challenge the inaccurate notion that Rand’s philosophy is consistent with the ministry of Jesus and the values of those who are faithful to his gospel of peacemaking, compassion, and justice.
Ayn Rand and Christianity
To the Sentinel:
Whatever else one can say about Roger Brooks’s letter to the editor on Sunday, January 6, 2013, he is certainly wrong in his claim that Ayn Rand is a defender of “traditional Christian values.” She was, in fact, a militant atheist who said belief in the faith and practice of Jesus was evidence of “a psychological weakness.” Elsewhere she called his altruistic teachings “monstrous.”
Mike Wallace once interviewed Ms. Rand about her view that selfishness is the most important virtue. Their exchange is revealing. Wallace said, “You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. Other reviews have said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?” Rand simply replied, “Yes.”
Later Wallace said, “You say you don’t like the kind of altruism by which we live.” Rand replied, “‘Don’t like’ is too weak a word, I consider it evil.”
In her private journals, Rand also praised William Hickman, a convicted murderer who raped and dismembered a 12-year old girl. Why? Because of his exemplary selfishness and his ability to have “no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred.” Rand’s philosophy is the philosophy of an oppressor and a sociopath.
I am sad for Roger Brooks that he views Ayn Rand as a moral philosopher that Americans should take to heart, especially those of us who are trying to be faithful friends and followers of Jesus. Unlike Rand, and perhaps Mr. Brooks, I don’t think Jesus’ prophetic call for us to embody an ethic of compassion, sharing, simple living, and social justice is evil or monstrous. I think it is the way of personal and national salvation.
380 Water Street
Below is the announcement of the upcoming Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting scheduled for February 3. The program is to be about the growth dilemma and an ecologically integrated economy. Ed Dreby and Margaret Mansfield will be leading the discussion.
Hartford Monthly Meeting is happy to be hosting
Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting
First Day, February 3rd, 2013
The program for the day will be presented by Ed Dreby and Margaret Mansfield and is entitled,
“It’s the Economy Friends, Toward a Quaker Witness”
We’ll begin by sharing initial impressions of a short video featuring Charles Eisenstein. He views our current economic system as the product of a culture of separation run amok. We’ll then consider together the basic thesis of two new Quaker Institute pamphlets about the growth dilemma and the concept of an ecologically integrated economy, which is akin to what Eisenstein calls “sacred economics.” How might a witness on ecology and the economy become a distinctive Quaker contribution to what Thomas Berry called “the great work” of our time?
Ed Dreby and his wife Margaret Mansfield are both former social studies teachers in Quaker schools and have worked together for many years as authors, editors, and workshop facilitators on Friends testimonies, and economics from an ecological perspective. They are members of Mount Holly, New Jersey Monthly Meeting, and are also active with Friends Committee on National Legislation. Ed is also a leader of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Growth Dilemma Project, and has collaborated with Quaker Institute for the Future on several publications.
Schedule for the Day
10:00 am Meeting for Worship with Hartford Friends
11:00 am Introductions and Announcements
11:15 am Refreshments
11:30 am Program
1:00 pm Luncheon
2:00 pm Quarterly Meeting for business
Hartford Friends Meetinghouse is located at 144 South Quaker Lane, West Hartford, CT 06119. We have a lift for mobility impaired persons, who are also invited to park in the meeting driveway.
For directions, see our website: www.hartfordquakers.org
If you need childcare, or you have food allergies or need other special assistance, please contact Chris Robinson: email@example.com or 860-675-5670.