Homewood Friends Meeting Interchange Reports

The text of Homewood Friends Meeting reports in the Interchange are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

Winter Editions Spring Editions Fall Editions
Winter 2012 Interchange   Fall 2012 Interchange
  Spring 2016 Interchange  
Winter 2017 Interchange  
  Spring 2018 Interchange  
Winter 2019 Interchange

Winter 2019 Interchange Report

Autumn has been a very busy season for Homewood Friends, but one with spiritual deepening as well as visible progress in community building.

  • Our recently formed Homewood Friends Outreach Team sponsored a weekly discussion on Quaker beliefs, worship, ministry, and spirit led activism in October that utilized the Quaker Speak videos to stimulate thought and discussion.
  • In early November, Ministry and Counsel sponsored a wonderful day and a half spiritual retreat, “Opening to the Heart of Worship”, facilitated by Christopher Sammond of New York Yearly Meeting. Attended by 28 members and attenders, the workshop focused us on how we prepare for worship, how we center down, how to listen to each other with our whole being- body, mind and spirit, and how we can open more to each other and to the Divine during worship.
  • During late November and early December, the Meeting’s Working Group on the Arts sponsored “Displaced People”, an extraordinary collection of paintings of people from around the world by longtime attender and artist/film maker Exsul Van Helden. The exhibit in the Meeting’s Dining Room, which opened on November 18th, has not only opened our eyes and stimulated discussion but brought visitors to our Meeting House.
  • In early December, the Meeting’s Green Organizing Action Team (GOAT) was notified that we were successful in obtaining a $5,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to enable the Meeting to install a native plant and pollinator friendly garden in spring 2019. Along with cisterns that are being installed in January to collect water coming off the roof, the Meeting House will be more able to manage storm water runoff. These improvements have been made possible by Homewood’s participation in the One Water Partnership of 30 faith congregations in the Jones Falls watershed.

We would love to share our experiences with Friends interested in any of these activities.

Spring 2018 Interchange

The rhythms of our lives together flow on. We celebrated the marriage of Jack Neill, son of Rachael and Charlie Neill, and Mepi Meyers in a specially called Meeting for Worship at Homewood on December 16th, 2017. And we are preparing to celebrate the life of our long time member Noelle Zeltzman in a Memorial Meeting for Worship on April 29th at 2:00 PM. Noelle died on Friday, March 23. With her coppery hair and blue eyes, Noelle graced many of our lives over the years, particularly in her work with the children in the Meeting. Our Christmas plays continue to use splendid sets that were made under Noelle’s guidance, and at Easter, the children blew eggs and did Russian egg painting, adding rebellious vivid color to Easter that would have scandalized our grey clothed ancestors. Noelle and her departed husband, Michel, were important members of a generation of Homewood Friends that shaped the character of our Meeting.

Six volunteers from Homewood, led by Cathleen Hanson and Bess Keller, engaged 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at Guilford, a Baltimore City public elementary school, on four Friday mornings in February and March. The group introduced the practice of focused-attention meditation, which can help students with focus and emotional regulation. This pilot program was received well by teachers and students. The volunteers hope to be able to offer and expand this type of program at Guilford Elementary School in the next school year.

On April 6th, the Meeting’s Working Group for the Arts showcased the talents of two Homewood artists. This included a film by Homewood attender Exsul Van Helden, which sheds light on the experience of immigration and three short films by member Dominique Zeltzman.

  • Titled “Women between Worlds”, Exsul’s movie is a 30 minute documentary concerning the challenges faced by women who have immigrated to the United States and find themselves between cultures.
  • Dominique’s shorts have won her recognition in the Baker Awards. This set featured three wonderful videos that Dominique made that illuminate the life of her mother, Noelle who is noted above.

Winter 2017 Interchange

The Peaceable City Series is an 11-week, Quaker-led, lightly-facilitated discussion series held on Tuesday evenings at Homewood from early October to late December. Jo Brown, an artist, activist, and Friend, inspired the series and serves as the moderator. The series is sponsored by the Homewood Friends and Stony Run Peace and Social Justice Committees.

The Peaceable City series is designed to bring people together to understand the tributaries of violence, and their many remedies, and then through this understanding, to act. It is not designed to provide simple answers; rather the goal is to cultivate strong, creative, and new ways to address longstanding problems, to deepen understanding and dislodge mythologies, and to strengthen commitments to social justice action, and engagement in the city, within our Meetings. Each session of the series includes a screening of a TEDTalk, 18 minutes in length, followed by discussion. There is a different talk each evening because there is more insight to be gained from exploring the array of ideas across the series of talks, than from just a few. Topics range from gender violence to police brutality to incarceration to non-violence, with speakers from police officers to former inmates to prosecutors to protest leaders. Talks were chosen not only for their specifics and quality, but also for their readiness for adoption and local interpretation. While a number of non-Quakers have attended, the most consistent participation has been from members of our own local meetings. Nearly half of Homewood’s regular attenders have participated in the Peaceable City series at least once. For additional information about the Series, contact Jo Brown (jobrownbluesky@gmail.com).

Spring 2016 Interchange

On Sunday, January 31st, the Peace and Social Justice Committee sponsored a forum for the community on bringing Baltimore together in the wake of the uprising in the city in April. Representative Elijah Cummings spoke passionately about his own experience as an African American in Baltimore as well as the experiences of his inner city neighbors to a packed audience of 270 people in the Meeting Room. While fully cognizant of the challenging reality of institutional racism in this society, Representative Cummings conveyed a strong sense of optimism and hope that Baltimore can be a city where people care for one another and seek educational, social, and economic justice together. His talk was followed by a lively question and answer period facilitated by Barbara Bezdek and supported by a group of Young Friends who gathered questions from the audience. It was a kind of event and a level of dialogue that the Meeting hopes to continue sponsoring.

Our dear Friend and member, Mibs Pell, is moving to Peterborough, New Hampshire this spring to live close to two of her children. Mibs, an artist, teacher, healer, and all around inspiration, has touched and made better the lives of so many people at Homewood. The Meeting hosted a show of some of the artwork that Mibs has created in the last 35 years in our dining room on the lower level. Graced by the paintings, prints, and etchings of Mibs, our dining room has never looked better! No one recalls an art show hosted by Homewood, so this event was quite unique. It was a wonderful way to recognize and celebrate a portion of the legacy of Mibs.

Homewood established the Green Organizing Action Team (GOAT) early in 2015 to engage members of the Homewood Friends community, individually and collectively, in efforts to save energy, live sustainably, and respond to the challenges of climate change. Homewood Meeting has embraced the “Shared Quaker Statement: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change.” GOAT helps the community to transform the elements of that statement into personal, local, and regional action. The two points of focus this winter has been supporting key environmental legislation in Annapolis on greenhouse gas emission reduction and the renewable energy portfolio standard and an adult education workshop addressing the personal environmental dilemmas most of us face in our personal lives. Homewood’s GOAT would love to connect with similar groups at other monthly meetings. Please send an email to homewoodfriends@verizon.net if you are interested.

Fall 2012 Interchange

On September 9th, we will resume the monthly Quaker Book Club which is now in its fourth year. Additionally, we have held several meetings to weightily consider and discuss our interests in keeping our very large Meeting House or moving to another more cost effective building and location. In the end, we discovered that though it is very costly, both in money and in our time, to keep up our building, there are several practical reasons that we are attached to this old building and that our hearts can not let it go. We are continuing to explore ways to utilize and maintain our Meeting House.

Winter 2012 Interchange

In late May, we held our 3rd annual Family Weekend at Catoctin. Friends were welcome to share food enthusiastically cheffed by Debbie Kennison. Adults and children eagerly hunted for that elusive perfect marshamallow-roasting stick for cooking their own Smores over the conversational indoor fireplace or campfire where we worshipped and sang. Whether thrashing pond water with arms while swimming or paddles while canoeing, hiking or just plain talking, all enjoyed a simply fun weekend!

In July, our electricity bill was $0.00 due to all the solar power collected. On September 25th, Homewood held Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting. Especial thanks to Member Mibs Pell and the Hospitality Committee for organizing a sumptuous potluck banquet. Shirley Dodson who is Pendle Hill’s Director of Communications gave an interactive afternoon presentation, illustrating Pendle Hill’s history, current status, and enriching programs. Volunteers spoke about their enlightening Pendle Hill experiences.

Members Herb and Nancy Clark were honored by the Greater Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO) for their compassion as perpetual volunteers at a local food pantry (CARES). Homewood is a longstanding member of GEDCO which is CARES’ umbrella community organization. By writing about her spiritual journey, Member Charlotte Kennison qualified for a four-week Youth Pilgrimage, sponsored by FWCC, in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium along with 13 other participants.

Upon reading of the House and Grounds Annual Report in January, 2012, we approved to minute Member Graham Entwistle’s tremendous contributions of time and energy. In particular, he helped the Meeting to understand the complexity of foundational issues we encountered last year which resulted in the removal and laying down of a new dining room floor and plumbing repairs.

Homewood History Day will take place on March 25th when we will celebrate many of the events that have taken place over the years using quite a collection of clippings and other memorabilia. It will be a chance to welcome back some of our beloved elders. If any of you would like to attend or have items related to Homewood that you would like to share or lend, please bring or send them along for display.

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