2017 FGC Gathering information

The Gathering is a week-long Quaker conference organized by Friends General Conference (FGC) each year around the time of July 4. It offers a wealth of opportunities for workshops, socializing, making music, attending informational sessions, and so much more. It has robust programs for teens and children. It meets on a college campus in different parts of the U.S. and Canada in different years. Anywhere from 800 to over 1,000 Friends participate.

The 2017 Gathering will be held at Niagara University in Lewiston, NY. The theme is Ripples Start Where Spirit Moves. An exciting feature at the Gathering will be the celebration of 100 years of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), with workshops, a plenary speaker, and a party. The dates of the 2017 Gathering are July 2 – 8, 2017.

For more information, see FGC’s website.

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Becoming Vibrant Elders in Our Emerging World – Pendle Hill retreat Dec 9-11, 2016

The Great Turning:  Becoming Vibrant Elders in Our Emerging World

A weekend with Lynne Iser and Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

As we approach the second half of life, the question of “What gives our life meaning?” reemerges as we naturally consider the legacy that we are leaving for future generations. In this experiential workshop, based on the work of Joanna Macy and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, we will uncover the unique gifts that our years of life experience provide along with the opportunity to grapple with what is happening in our world. We will explore the idea of the Great Turning, recognizing that old systems and institutions are breaking down and that new possibilities are emerging, while honoring our own life experience, interests and passion.

We invite you to take this opportunity to decide how you want to go forth into this time of your life.

Full information

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Updated LEYM Policies & Procedures now available

A new version of LEYM’s Policies & Procedures Manual is now on LEYM’s web site.

It includes added committee descriptions and a couple of minor edits. For easy reference, you can print it out (back to back), 3-hole punch it, and
put it in a binder.

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Kendal retirement communities seeking Quaker board members


Good morning.  Besides serving as Clerk of Kent Friends Meeting in Kent, Ohio, I also serve on the Board of Directors for both the Kendal Corporation in Philadelphia and that of its newest affiliate, Kendal at Home.  Currently, Kendal at Home is looking for new board members who are strongly rooted in Quaker values.

As you may know, the Kendal Corporation is a Quaker affiliation of twelve campus-based, Class A life-care retirement communities on the East Coast and in the Midwest.  Traditional life-care communities are designed for individuals who wish to live independently in a campus-based community setting, with the option to move to assisted living or skilled nursing care when they are no longer able to live independently.

Kendal at Home is also based on this type of life-care agreement, but with one crucial difference:  the goal of Kendal at Home is to keep the member living independently in their own home as long as possible.  Then, if the member is no longer able to live independently, he or she may move to assisted living or to skilled nursing as part of their life-care contract.

All Kendal affiliates, including Kendal at Home, operate according to Quaker values and principles, including consensus decision-making.  Currently, the majority of Kendal at Home members live in the Northeast Ohio area.  However, we are in expansion mode, with new members joining in central and southern Ohio, and, in conjunction with the broader Kendal Corporation, with plans to expand nationally.  It is an exciting time to be associated with Kendal at Home.

Kendal at Home is looking for new board members who are strongly rooted in Quaker values.  Candidates may be members or attenders of Friends Meetings.  Career experience in business, finance, social services, health care, and education is strongly valued.  We are committed to building a board that includes qualified individuals from diverse racial, ethnic, gender, lifestyle, and geographic backgrounds.  The Kendal at Home Board meets five times per year, approximately every other month, and board members are also asked to serve on at least one board committee, depending on their expertise.  The board physically meets in Westlake, Ohio, but we currently have board members who live in different parts of the country and who actively participate via technology.

If you or anyone you know is interested and qualified please contact either Georgia Anetzberger, chair of the Kendal at Home Board Development Committee, at ganetzberger@aol.com, or me via personal email at rgmelecki@earthlink.net.  I will be out of the country and “off the grid” for most of the second half of October, but can return your contact after I return at the end of the month.  Thanks.


Richard Melecki
Clerk, Kent Friends Meeting
Kendal at Home Board of Directors
Kendal Corporation Board of Directors

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Fall 2016 Bulletin Available

The new Bulletin has been posted on-line.

Open Bulletin

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Arthur Larrabee Workshop on Quaker Process & Clerking March 4, 2017 at Michigan Friends Center

Green Pastures Quarterly Meeting will host a workshop on Quaker Process & Clerking with Arthur Larrabee on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Michigan Friends Center. Friends in Lake Erie Yearly Meeting are invited to attend. Arthur is highly regarded by Friends all over the country as a consultant and teacher on Quaker decision-making and clerking. Details will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date. There will be a cost, which includes a payment for materials and lunch, approximating $40.00, depending on the number of attendees. Contact Geoff Brieger at gottfriedbrieger (at) sbcglobal.net or 248 547-3073 to let him know if you would like to attend.

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Waiting on God: An Interfaith Conversation – Pendle Hill Dec 2-4, 2016

Facilitated by Rebecca Mays, Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, and Rabbi Marcia Prager

The expectant waiting at the core of Quaker practice is an important element in all of the Abrahamic traditions – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. At this fallow time of the year – Advent in the Christian liturgical calendar – we gather together as people of faith(s) to explore how focal figures in each of the Abrahamic traditions (Mary, David, and the Prophet Muhammad) can illuminate our own spiritual experiences of “Waiting on God.” Three facilitators from each of these traditions and experienced in interfaith conversations will guide us as we seek together to deepen our listening, open our hearts to hear and accept the message God has for us, and ready the spiritual soil for nurturing the gift to maturity.

When we wait expectantly, we are preparing ourselves to receive an answer; the waiting period serves as a time of preparation. It is a time of active engagement and active listening, a spiritual practice of deepening discernment and faith and often a time of facing perplexing questions and difficult, even hurtful, situations.

In discussing key texts, we will share personal stories of our own experiences and views, share practices of “waiting for God” in our own lives and dialogue about the differences in the three traditions that can help or hinder our own practice. In increasing our understanding of the differences, we hope to deepen our own spiritual practice with less misunderstanding and greater respect.

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Visioning and Creating a Moral Economy – conference at Pendle Hill with George Lakey

A conference for inspiration, education, networking, and action. Co-sponsored by Quaker Institute for the Future.

>> SAVE THE DATE: December 1-4, 2016.  <<

Pendle Hill pamphlet #405The election will be over, and no matter who wins, progressive people of faith will be called to continue the work of building the Beloved Community. We will still face increased corporate power on a global scale, precarious Wall Street financial meltdowns, widening wealth and income inequality, the criminalization of poverty, the scorching of our planet, and resource wars, among other threats to the common good and true democracy. The health of the natural world and the well-being of our species depend on our participating in the Great Transition away from an extraction/domination economy based on perpetual growth and towards a sustainable political economy focused on ensuring that basic human needs are met.

George LakeyGeorge Lakey, lifelong nonviolent activist, direct action strategist, author and recently retired Swarthmore professor, will share findings from his new book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right-and How We Can, Too. He describes how mass social movements moved the Nordic nations from elitist-governed, class-based societies with high rates of poverty, insufficient jobs, and neglect of basic needs to the positions they occupy today in terms of social well-being and the global happiness index with universal health care, free college education, and a surprisingly high level of entrepreneurship.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring this event or obtaining more information, please e-mail moraleconomy@pendlehill.org, or phone John Meyer at 610-566-4507, ext. 129.

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Films on natural & affordable habitation (transition towns) at Michigan Friends Center Fall 2016

The Michigan Friends Center in Chelsea, Michigan (near Ann Arbor) is holding a series of free movies & discussions on natural and affordable habitation on Fridays from 7:00 to 9:00. Topics to be addressed include:

o How can we use building technologies to make our homes ecologically and economically responsible?
o What are the alternatives to conventional construction?
o Who are the people who choose different dwellings?
o What is it like to live in these places?
o How have people overcome the barriers to change?

Co-hosted by Transition Town Chelsea

Flyer with schedule and additional information

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Minute Regarding State Sanctioned Violence from Fellowship of Friends of African Descent

Minute as a PDF file

The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent at its 2016 Annual Gathering approved the following minute for public circulation to Friends and concerned communities worldwide:

The Fellowship of Friends of African Descent is a 25 year old Quaker organization that supports the spiritual nurture of Quakers of African descent and provides opportunities for the sharing of our concerns. As those of us in the United States witness the media portrayal of high profile police violence and the resulting racial tensions, we are moved by our compassion for our communities to call for action that will lead to justice and respect, particularly for black men but also for black women and children in America. We stand with those who have identified bigotry, structural racism and state sanctioned violence as historical and continuing sources of senseless suffering and death among our people.

We grieve the loss of any human life, including the lives of police. However, the presence of the police too often seems like an occupying force designed to protect and serve an invisible elite instead of protecting those who reside in our communities. We also recognize that the violence and tragic killing of innocent civilians have touched so many in our communities. We believe that these evil forces cannot be overcome through retribution and retaliation, and can only be overcome through respect, resources and love. Jesus taught us that the love of God and our neighbor is the greatest commandment.

The problems of racism, militarism and violence that we face are rooted in the deeper, less recognized sicknesses of materialism and greed. From the slave trade and plantation economies of the American south to the terroristic subjugation of Jim Crow to the modern-day profits of miseducation and mass incarceration, racial stereotypes have been used to mask and justify the exploitation and denial of economic human rights to people of African descent. As a result, these communities are under-resourced, as is evidenced by the lack of jobs, healthcare, quality education and decent housing. In the absence of real opportunities for employment and economic self-sufficiency underground economies rise up in our communities to fill the gap. People in these economies are criminalized and
prosecuted even though they are only seeking to provide enough resources to support their families. We realize that we cannot have a meaningful conversation about ending racial oppression without also addressing classism, joblessness and wealth inequality.

In response to these realities, we, as Quakers and as people of African descent call for the following:

1. PEACEFORCE. The training, support and employment of a “peaceforce” consisting of police officers and community based peacekeepers, none of whom are armed. The peacekeepers will be local residents who have the community relationships and street credibility (especially with young people) to cultivate the capacity and inclination for the use of non-violent methods for de-escalating conflict. [Returning citizens are an important resource for this work.]

2. PEACE CENTERS. The development and support of ‘peace centers” in our communities which will provide safe havens and educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for young people in our communities. Quaker Alternatives to Violence trainings can be redesigned to be rooted in the cultural experience of African people. These centers will also function as spaces where Quaker worship and values can be modelled and developed.

3. COMMUNITY TRAINING. Police training will be ongoing and consistent including sub-conscious bias training that is not just academic but rather is community based. Police departments need to revamp their training so its members are trained to deescalate potentially dangerous situations and are not expected to “shoot to kill” in every situation they consider dangerous.

4. DISARMAMENT. Promoting the disarming of our communities (including segments of the police force responsible for minor offenses) through the elimination of handguns, rifles and automatic weapons. We realize that this goal is long term and will require a cultural shift from our current reliance on violence to solve social problems. However, we believe that we are all safer without guns than with them.

In the words of the poet, Nikki Giovanni, “Black love is Black wealth.” We as Quakers of African descent are making a personal commitment to these ends and invite others to join us in this effort. We call on Friends’ organizations to use some part of our substantial corporate investments to support this work.


The gathering was held August 12-14, 2016, at Arch Street Friends Meetinghouse in Philadelphia.

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