Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Newsletter from the YAFS of NYYM

Now you know!

A newsletter for Young Adult Friends, and Families,
of New York Yearly Meeting

February 2013

Greetings Friend!

There is so much going on this spring!  I am excited to share it with you!!
March and April bring opportunities to gather as a Yearly Meeting.  The first, March 2, is Meetings for Discernment.  This is a time to gather in extended worship.  Some of the worship is on queries that have been raised.  Some is open worship.  This March it is in Brooklyn.  Please read the description in the section about my upcoming travels
Spring is coming!!  April 5-7 is Spring Sessions in Locust Valley, NY.  That is on Long Island.  I highly recommend this weekend.  (see my description in the list of where I will be traveling) It is a great way to see what happens in the Yearly Meeting business and committees.  Please consider putting both events on your calendar.
Also, Please consider coming to the Creativity and Spirituality weekend at Powell House!  It is a very special weekend where you can create using a wide number of modalities, and we will meet together to connect the work to a deeper spiritual journey.  There is Financial Aid available!

Do you have something you would like to share with YAF and Families in NYYM?  I would welcome photographs, artwork, poetry, essays, haiku, meaningful quotes and passages, you name it!

I hope you are staying warm, dry and healthy.  Spring is coming!

Gabi Savory Bailey
Young Adult Field Secretary, NYYM—nyym.yafs@gmail.com


  • What is YACC?

  • Where has Gabi been? Where is she going?
  • Upcoming conferences at Powell House and Pendle Hill
  • Spotlight on a committee, Spiritual Nurture Working Group
  • YAF Spotlight on Anthony Smith, New Brunswick MM, NJ
  • What is going on with other YAF and Families in NYYM?

What is YACC?  

The Young Adults Concern Committee (YACC) is a committee of NY Yearly Meeting.  It is the committee that oversees the Circle of Young Friends (CYF) and the retreats they plan.  YACC also plans the CYF activities for Summer Sessions each year.  This committee is one way that Young Adults can find voice in the Yearly Meeting.  YACC meets regularly throughout the year on the internet, and also in person at Summer Sessions, and one other annual meeting.
Currently sitting on this committee are: Lucas Braun- Old Chatham MM, Rosie Stillman—Montclair MM,  Audrey Jaynes—Montclair MM,  Jenny Pronto Adirondack/Ithaca/Poplar Ridge MM,  Anthony Smith—New Brunswick MM, Alanna Badgley—Poughkeepsie MM, Barbara vonSalis (coopted member) Brooklyn MM.  If you have any questions, ideas or concerns please contact a member of YACC.  You can also contact me to put you in touch with YACC.  Are you interested in getting involved with YACC?   Contact me at nyym.yafs@gmail.com.

Where have I been?  Where am I going?

December and January are quiet for me.  I have been reaching out to individuals, and preparing myself for future travel.  Here are some of my plans for the future.  Please note:  these are subject to change, and I will try to keep people updated as possible. 

January 25-27  Coordinating Committee Weekend and Young Adults Concerns committee (YACC) at Powell House

February 2 Supporting the ministry of a Young Adult Friend by serving on her clearness committee.  Clearness committees are a gift of Quakerism that are often overlooked.  If you are sitting with a concern, you can contact your MM, or me, and we can talk about options for calling a committee  of Friends to hold your concern, ask deepening questions, and support you in finding clearness on way forward.  I love clearness committees!

February 8-10 Visit to Adirondack MM in Glens Falls, NY.  There will be a gathering of YAF and Families on Saturday evening.  On Sunday anyone in the area is welcome to worship at 10:30.  I am hoping to bring the message to worship.  If you have never experienced a programmed worship, this would be a great opportunity.

February 22-24 Co-Facilitating the Creativity and Spirituality Weekend at Powell House.  This is not an official function of my position.  However, it is a great time to get to know people and discover gifts in each other.  Please join us!  www.powellhouse.org.

March 2 Meetings for Discernment- Brooklyn MM

Meeting for Discernment is an ongoing experiment of the Yearly Meeting in deep listening. It allows us as a Yearly Meeting to listen for the movement of the spirit in our Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups. We meet twice a year in extended worship over the course of a day, held in prayer by a body of elders—once at Silver Bay’s Summer Sessions, and once in the winter or early spring at locations around the Yearly Meeting. Meetings are asked to appoint members to attend but all are encouraged to come. Worship can become deep; one Friend described his experience thus: “The very experience of sitting together for several hours builds trust. By the middle of the afternoon messages often come from tender places of uncomfortable Truth.”

Although the first intent of the Meeting for Discernment is listening for the concerns and joys of our monthly meetings, it also allows us to sense ourselves as a Yearly Meeting body and supports our prayer life and presence in the world. A Friend says: “I often struggle with long periods of worship. My mind wanders, my body hurts. I do it because it deepens my spirit enabling me to walk over the earth answering that of God in more than the usual number of people. In the days following Meetings for Discernment I find that I’m more joyful and have a greater sense of well-being.”

Out of worship we respond to queries formulated by the steering committee on Meetings for Discernment. For our March 2 session (at Brooklyn Monthly Meeting), our morning queries will focus on monthly meetings: What are your dreams, yearnings, and hopes for your meeting? What is God calling your meeting to become? For the afternoon session we ask friends to explore these queries: What are your hopes, leadings, and expectations for our yearly meeting as a gathered body? What work is God calling us to do together that we cannot do separately?

March 17 Albany MM.

April 5-7 Spring Sessions, Locust Valley, NY (That is on Long Island).  Truth be told, I love Spring Sessions.  It is a low commitment way to see what is happening in the Yearly Meeting.  I get to catch up with People that I have not seen since Summer, or Fall.  I get to dabble in the committees, and Coordinating committees with no commitment to joining.  I do not have the same expense as summer sessions, and less time commitment, but I still walk away connected to the wider Quaker Body.  Also, I get to stay with other Friends who I may or may not know yet, for Free!  I LOVE staying with Friends and seeing them at home, and getting to know them.  It is another gift of travelling, and knowing each other in different ways.  If you have not been to Spring Sessions, please consider going.  Financial Aid is available.

April 26-28 Farmington Scipio Spring Gathering, Pan Yan, NY.  This is a GEM of a gathering.  I never knew it existed!  What fun for individuals and families!  It is held at a camp in the Central Finger Lakes.  Anyone is welcome.  There is time to worship, fellowship, and sessions on different things.  I do not know what this year is.  There is a great Youth Program.  My whole family loves it.  I have met wonderful people there.  Camping is available.  If you live in Farmington Scipio RM, or want to see what I am talking about, PLEASE consider going.  There are usually a good number of YAF there, as well as families.  Kids love it!

May 10-12 Leading a Family Weekend at Powell House  This is a Powell House opportunity for the WHOLE family. During this weekend we will look at what tools Quakerism gives us as families and individuals to help us in our daily life.  Through story, art, role playing, discussion, small groups, worship and active participation of people of all ages, we will be exploring tools like holding someone in the light, worship/centering, simplicity, clearness committees/discernment and others.  We will create a “toolbox” that families and their members can use. There will not be childcare at this weekend, as the children will be part of the sessions with the adults.  There will be time for parents to talk about their experiences as well.  More info is coming!
  I am so excited for this opportunity for families to do meaningful Quaker work together!  My 2 year old will be there!  Will you and your family?

July 21-27 Summer Sessions, Silver Bay.  This is the annual NYYM Sessions held at Silver Bay on Lake George.  It is a residential gathering for people of all ages where we do our YM business, fellowship, speakers, Junior Yearly Meeting, committees, interest groups, swimming and activities, and worship.   There will be much more information coming up soon.  If you love Summer Sessions, tell people!  If you want to know more, contact me for information. Nyym.yafs@gmail.com.

Would you like me to come to your Meeting, or Region?  Would you like someone to support the work that is already being done there?  I am eager to travel to do a program, support an existing program, or simply sit and listen.  Contact me at nyym.yafs@gmail.com

Upcoming Powell House  and Pendle Hill weekends 

Winter Wonderland, February 15-17
Come play with family and F/friends during an unprogrammed weekend. You'll be sojourning at Powell House. We will feed you at regular intervals and be here to answer questions . . . but otherwise, your time is your own.
Sound good?
Who knows what the weather will be, but you might want to go cross-country skiing, ice skating on Lea Pond, snow shoeing, sledding, walk to the bird sanctuary, reading, doing puzzles, playing games, just sit in front of the fire with a cup of something warm. Remember to bring your own equipment for skiing, skating, etc.
Cost: One person, $60/night; Two people, $100/night; Family, $150/night. Includes all meals and snacks. Look carefully at all of the options for registration.

Creativity & Spirituality, February 22-24, 2013
Co-lead by many creative and Faithful Friends!
If art leads you to a deeper spiritual journey or your spiritual journey leads you to be more creative, or if you just want to explore the relationship between creativity and spirituality, this retreat is for you.
Through all the forms of creativity we find opportunities for deepening our spiritual journey. In a creative community we will delve into the interrelationship between creativity and spirituality through a variety of art forms: quilting, weaving, sculpting with clay, painting with watercolors, knitting, crochet, or photography. Each area will be led by a specialist, and the time will be rich with worship and creating. The weekend culminates with a whole group sharing of our creative process and our creations.
This weekend has become one of our most popular so in 2013, we're offering a 2 house retreat and adding musical expression as a venue. Do you enjoy singing? Do you like to "jam?" We have some wonderful musicians ready to come and create, so come join us. Bring your instrument and see what Spirit brings together.

Qualities of the Spiritually Alive, March 8-10 with Philip Gulley.
What do the spiritually alive have in common? What traits and qualities transcend religions and cultures? What makes someone spiritually alive and healthy? Join Phil Gulley for a weekend at Powell House, and explore together the characteristics of spiritual "aliveness." More and more people are moving away from organized religion, but identify themselves as spiritual people. What does it mean to be spiritual, but not religious? How can our Quaker meetings attract those who are spiritual curious or hungry?
Beloved Indiana author and Quaker pastor Philip Bulley has become the voice of small town American life. Guilley is the author of 16 books including the acclaimed Harmony series of novels chornicling life in the eccentric Quaker community of Harmony, Indiana and the best-selling Porch Talk series of inspirational and humorous stories. He is also the author of the recently released theological book, If the Church were Christian, and is co-author of the books If Grace is True and If God is Love, written with James Mulholland.  Phil regularly gives speeches, sermons, and readings, and also conducts workshops throughout the country.

Shakers & Quakers March 15-17 2013
Who were "Shaking Quakers? Shakers have long been connected with Quakers. Why? Earliest members were often called “Shaking Quakers” because of the ecstatic nature of their worship services, not because of a relationship with the Society of Friends. Members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing identified themselves as “Believers” in the formative years. Now called the United Society of Shakers, or simply “Shaker,” they have created a unique material legacy in their earthly quest for spiritual perfection.

Like the Quakers, Shakers believe in personal communication with a God who was both male and female, and in the ability to find and give voice to the Inner Light. Those expressions often took the form of hymns and songs, as well as rhythmic swaying and "dancing" when the spirit moved them. For Shakers, work and worship are synonymous – leading each Believer to his/her temporal and spiritual Light.

During this weekend we will explore the roots of Shakerism and what connections exist with Quakerism – both historical and contemporary. Participants will also share in song and movement, Shaker-inspired meals, and a Shaker meeting. An optional Sunday afternoon tour at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village is planned.

Sharon Duane Koomler and Jerry Grant share a combined 50 years of Shaker scholarship and a special affection for Shakers – both past and present. Sharon has spoken and published on Shaker design, and has a particular interest in the individual call to spirituality as manifested in testimony, song, and art. Jerry is the Director of Research and Library Services at the Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, NY. Jerry lectures on a wide variety of topics and has special interest in Shaker printing & publishing

Work/Messiah Sing. March 29-31 2013
This weekend has become a favorite of many F/friends and families. Whether you come to work, work and sing, work and play an instrument, or work and provide the audience for the choir - there's a place for you! We'll have childcare for the younger ones while we work. The music: We will do Part I of Handel's Messiah on Friday evening; Part II on Saturday evening, ending with the "Hallelujah Chorus;" and Part III on Easter morning. To make it happen, you need to bring your own instrument. If you have a score, bring that too. We've had people playing violins, violas, cello, flute, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, trombone, trumpet, and piano plus soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.The work: Doug Stalker, PoHo Property Manager, will coordinate the work portion of the weekend. There are always lots of things to do inside and out to get Powell House ready for the spring and summer. Let us know you are coming and what skills you bring, and we will let you know if you can bring any specific tools with you. The food: Jacki Gray, creative cook, will prepare sumptuous food throughout the weekend. Her massage chair will be in residence, too.

Women's Weekend, A weekend just for women! April 12-14, 2013
Annie Patterson, Rise Up Singing

Our souls long to be fed and nurtured, but our lives are often so busy and filled with outward noise that we forget how to listen to the deepest place within our hearts.  Singing can take us right there - to that innermost place that cries out to be held and loved. Writing our thoughts, without judgment, can lead to a place of deep healing within us. This weekend is all about women, taking time to feed and nurture our spirits and enjoy being together in the process! Come prepared to sing and worship together, and devote some time to listening to our inner voices through writing. We will spend much of the weekend singing songs from Rise Up Singing. We'll meet in small groups for shorter, but just as rich, time to write together on Saturday afternoon. Annie Patterson has played a central role in helping to create a quiet revolution of group singing in the US and abroad. She is co-creator, along with her husband Peter Blood, of the iconic songbook, Rise Up Singing, now it its 22nd year. Rise Up Singing has sold over a million copies around the world. A member of Mt. Toby Meeting, NEYM.

Quakers & Shamanism April 19-21
Tara Lindsay, Kate Smith, Brian McGuire and Kelli DeFlora.
Anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and psychologists have all studied shamanism whose origin dates back centuries. Practiced throughout the world, but most especially in Asian, South American, and Native American cultures, shamanic practice does not replace individual religious disciplines and traditions but transcends them and brings practitioners face to face with what it means to be "spiritual." In addition to quiet time for reflection and time in nature, the weekend will include three key components of Shamanic practice.
The Shamanic Journey is a way of finding answers, information, healing and knowledge, as well as guidance or help with one’s personal life. Through drumming, rattling, and smudging, the facilitators will provide "an opportunity to open yourself to receive the wisdom of the universe and live in a more connected way to the earthly and heavenly forces that are guiding your life."
The Fire Ceremony is an active and uniquely potent ceremony designed to give participants the opportunity to make significant changes in their lives. Focused on the work of the South, of release, this deeply experiential ceremony utilizes deep drumming and focused movement to create a supported, intentional space for growth and transformation.
The Healing Circle, as its name implies, is an oasis of healing modalities encouraging participants to slow down, reflect and take better care of themselves. Through the sound of singing bowls, the scent of essential oils, the healing touch of Reiki, the cleansing smoke of smudging, this ceremony is a quiet, yet tangible, invitation to purify your energy field.

Upcoming Family Weekend May 10-12—SAVE THE DATE!  

This is a Powell House opportunity for the WHOLE family. During this weekend we will look at what tools Quakerism gives us as families and individuals to help us in our daily life.  Through story, art, role playing, discussion, small groups, worship and active participation of people of all ages, we will be exploring tools like holding someone in the light, worship/centering, simplicity, clearness committees/discernment and others.  We will create a “toolbox” that families and their members can use. There will not be childcare at this weekend, as the children will be part of the sessions with the adults.  There will be time for parents to talk about their experiences as well.  More info is coming!
  I am so excited for this opportunity for families to do meaningful Quaker work together!  My 2 year old will be there!  Will you and your family?

Upcoming Pendle Hill weekends

Clerking Feb 8 - 10, 2013 Deborah Fisch and Deborah Shaw
Develop your clerking skills with two Friends with years of experience clerking their monthly and yearly meetings.
 John: The Quaker Gospel Feb 17 - 21, 201Doug Gwyn         
With Quaker and biblical scholar Doug Gwyn, explore Jesus’s conversations with such figures as Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the blind man, Pontius Pilate, and Mary Magdalene, and see how early Friends experienced these conversations.
 Quakers and the Song of Songs Mar 8 - Mar 10, 2013 Michael Birkel
How did early Friends respond to the lyrical and erotic Song of Songs – the biblical book of love poetry?
 Liberation: A Quaker-Jewish Dialogue Mar 10 - 14, 2013 Marcia Prager and Rebecca Mays
Explore the richly textured themes of freedom, liberation, and commitment that arise from Jewish and Christian stories, enriched by a Quaker context.

There are funds available to help make conferences possible!  PLEASE contact me, Helen Garay Toppins ( office@nyym.org) or the clerk of your Monthly Meeting to find out how to get financial assistance.  Questions about Transportation?  Let’s talk.  I bet there is a solution!

Spotlight on a Committee: Spiritual Nurture Working Group

The Spiritual Nurture Working Group is an informal group of Friends carrying a concern for nurturing the spiritual life of Friends within monthly meetings, quarterly/regional meetings, and within the yearly meeting as a whole.  The Working Group has sponsored a retreat series, Feeding the Fire, at Powell House, and most recently helped to organize a joint NYYM/NEYM retreat on eldership at Woolman Hill.  Members of the Working Group are being called into intervisitation, leading retreats, and accompanying Friends traveling in the ministry or in service.  The Working Group gathers once a year for a retreat for worship and spiritual sharing, and meets when possible at yearly meeting sessions. Anyone with an interest in spiritual nurture is encouraged to participate. Lu Harper (luharper@gmail.com) or Anne Pomeroy (apomeroy10@gmail.com) can provide additional information.

Spot light on a NYYM Young Adult Friend:
Anthony Smith, New Brunswick, MM

How did you come to Quakerism and why did you stay?
I was introduced to Quakers in high school; I had a teacher who is an active Friend. I don't remember how I found that out, but I did. We became close, and I became interested in Quakers through my history class. I never got around to going while in high school, but early in college, a voice spoke to me, saying, "If this Iraq War thing starts, you should go to Meeting." It started a few days later, unfortunately; I found the Atlanta Friends Meeting and went that next Sunday, and kept going. It wasn't that they had all the answers; it was that they were struggling with the questions, with witnessing against war while remaining decent.

What Quaker work have you done, or do you do?
I feel like I wear so many Quaker hats nowadays. At the three meetings I've attended for an extended period (if not joined), Atlanta, St. Louis, & New Brunswick (NJ), I'm always a member of the Peace & Service Cmte, or it's equivalent. I've also been the FCNL liaison at each of those meetings. Currently, I'm a member of Peace & Service in New Brunswick, as well as a Trustee. I'm the YACC for NYYM (so many letters!). I'm currently active w/ FCNL as well, one of 6 NYYM reps.

What is a gift of Quakerism for you?
Quakerism has, more than almost anything else I've done, been a consistent means of promoting inner serenity. But deeper than that, it's the gift of faith. It's not always an easy path, but being a Friend and among Friends has helped me gain a clearer spiritual orientation as I try to become closer to God and pursue peace within and without.

What is a challenge of Quakerism for you?
We are - or can be - very insular. While there are some positives to that - I place more trust in Quakers than I would others - it also means that we don't reach nearly as much as we should; I think it's a main contributor to our lack of diversity.

What do you do for FCNL?  What do you love about it?  How did you start working with them?
With FCNL, I'm on the General Committee (Board of Governors) and the Policy Committee. (Please take part in the Policy Statement Review over the coming months!) I love a lot of things about it: I've made several YAF friends through their annual meetings. Far beyond that, though, no matter what's happening in Washington, FCNL is always talking about something they can do, have done, or that's on the horizon. No situation is too bleak or hopeless. And they reach out to all, regardless of party; there's always something we can work on together. I've also learned some pretty good Quaker business practice from the Policy Cmte. I was nurtured into FCNL by the Atlanta Meeting, which offered support for me and others to attend FCNL's Annual Meeting in 2004(ish). AFM's Social Concerns Cmte supported me in my interests with them consistently over the years. It was actually through that, and my participation w/ the Social Concerns Cmte, that I ended up joining the Meeting.

What’s going on with YAFs and families in the Yearly Meeting?

15th Street MM- Friends under 40 (anyone is invited) meet once a month after Meeting for Worship, choose a local eatery (inexpensive preferably) and walk to lunch.  It is a very informal gathering, for fellowship and food.

Brooklyn MM- Young Adult Friends meet for a potluck once a month at the home of one of the YAF from the meeting.  There is time for food, worship and fellowship.  At least once a year there is also a gathering in the old Quaker cemetery in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, for a picnic, and sometimes worship.  They also organize hikes, and other excursions outside of the city.

Ithaca area MM -- YA Friends gather once a month at Burtt House, a property owned by Ithaca              Monthly Meeting, in Ithaca.  They have a potluck and fellowship.

Rochester MM family worship--This is a monthly opportunity for semi-programmed Worship for people of all ages.

Brooktondale worship group--This group is under the care of Poplar Ridge Monthly Meeting.  They meet the first Sunday of the month at either the home of one of the members or at a community center.  People of ALL AGES are welcome. The format will be very simple. It will start with a query, prayer, scripture, poem or song to help lead us into worship together.  Then we will sit together and share as led until 5PM.

Princeton area worship group --Friends gather at the home of one of the members for worship once a week.

NJ/AFRM family worship and potluck--This fall, five families with children ranging from 18 months to high school age, met for worship sharing, a potluck and fellowship.  We had the worship sharing in the nursery, all we welcome to participate.  The younger ones of us popped in and out.  It was a great opportunity to meet other families, and get to know each other a little better.  We hope to do it again.

All Friends Regional Meeting Arts Day--All Friends Regional Meeting experimented with forging and nurturing friendships among Friends across the region and generations by conducting an Arts Day at Chatham Summit Monthly Meeting one late Saturday afternoon and evening in April of 2012. It was a resounding success with 48 children and adults attending, many of them young families. Artists from various meetings oversaw mini-workshops in sculpting, fabric construction, origami, book-cover making, and beaded jewelry making.  A show and tell, potluck and singing finale capped off a very enjoyable arts day. One parent said she felt like she had been on vacation and a child asked if we could do it every week!
 Have something great happening in your neck of the woods?  Let Gabi know!  If you have questions, or are interested in any of the opportunities listed above, contact Gabi Savory Bailey (nyym.yafs@gmail.com) and I will get you the information.  There is good stuff happening in our Yearly Meeting, Let’s hear it!!

Do you have ideas for this newsletter?  I love feedback!  Do you have photos, drawings, stories, news items, jokes, quotes?  Send 'em over! nyym.yafs@gmail.com
Inhale Love.
Exhale Gratitude

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