Annual Session 2020
1. Growing Our Meetings: Learn about resources for growing your local meeting and share experiences. Eileen Stanzione, Clerk of Patapsco Friends Meeting in Ellicott City, MD and Victor Thuronyi, clerk of Growing Our Meetings Working Group.
2. Quaker Testimony: Inward Truth, Outward Witness; Giving Spiritual Depth to the Testimonies we sometimes call SPICES. Jim Fussell has undertaken extensive study of the 20th century emergence of “Spices.”
3. “There is a Spirit”—Contemplative Art Responses Through Music and Mandalas. Kenneth Boulding’s sonnets, based on the last words of James Nayler, were written during World War II when courage, faith, and hope to love were challenged daily. Contemplative reading of the sonnets will prompt expression through mandala making. Participants will experience inward journeys manifested through outward responses. No prior experience necessary. Marilyn Clark has used mandala making as a contemplative form for decades and recently presented a workshop at Pendle Hill.
4. Conversations with the Other: Talking with People with Whom You Disagree Politically. Our political system is broken. Besides political work that needs doing, we must also work toward a better sense of community. This interactive workshop will explore one path toward that goal: learning how to communicate better with people with whom we disagree. This is not advocacy but communication. J.E. McNeil is an attorney with decades of experience talking with diverse people.
5. Praying for the World (and a little yoga). Overwhelmed by the news? Here’s a way to hold it all gently in the Light. Starting with a little yoga to prepare us, we will use Rex Ambler’s Experiment with Light to pray for the world. Debby Churchman is a yogi, praying and working for the world we seek.
1. Experiment with Light: Enriching Our Spiritual Lives: Experiment with Light (EwL), a guided meditation developed by British Quaker Rex Ambler, allows us to deepen our spiritual lives, and experience some of the quality and intensity of early Quaker worship. We will discuss Ambler’s ideas, participate in EwL, share our experience, and consider implications for our lives today. Susan Russell Walters, a member of Homewood, has led EwL for 11 years.
2. Anger, Guilt and Shame: This workshop, based on a course taught at Earlham School of Religion, will explore the emotional dimension of being effective and loving moral agents inside our communities. A reading resource list will be provided in advance of the workshop and afterwards. Windy Cooler is the 2020 Pendle Hill Cadbury Scholar and convener of the BYM Pastoral Care Working Group.
3. Love Across Differences, But First We Do Our Homework. Impoverished Tea Partiers voted for and love the president. How can this be? We’ll summarize Arlie Hochschild’s [UCal-Berkeley sociologist] book reporting five years’ field research of poor residents in Louisiana, and NY Times’s Tony Horowitz’s 2016-2018 saga Spying on the South. We’ll then shine healing light on ourselves, not them. Michael Cronin has ten years of research in this field.
4. Investing Our Gifts. By understanding our own strengths and deepening our awareness of others’ gifts, we create the potential for seeing beyond differences and appreciating the richness of diversity. We will use story-telling, journaling, small group sharing, and art to explore how to more fully stand in our strengths and to more consciously create the beloved community. Nancy Jo Steetle is a certified Life Coach specializing in career and leadership development; Martha Baer is a certified Strengths Coach and clerk of Annapolis Friends Meeting.
5. Diligent Love for Native Communities in the 21st Century. In this workshop, Friends will examine persistent narratives about native people, the imperfect friendship shared by eastern Quakers and Tribes, and leadings from Spirit about our American Indian neighbors. Abbey Compton serves on the BYM Indian Affairs Committee and is co-clerk of Religious Education at Herndon Friends Meeting.
1. CLM - Spiritual State of Meeting Reports and Worship During a Pandemic. Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports are an invaluable window into the connection among Friends. The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee wants to learn what is working and what is not in the process of preparing the SSoM for your Meeting. Is it joyful or just a burden? Do you need new ideas, a different process? Greg Robb and Rebecca Richards, Co-Clerks of Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee.
2. Are We Really So Different? Using poetry, we will explore this question through discussion and sharing. Can we find commonalities with those we consider different? What do the poets have to say? Please feel free to bring your own poems, but this is not required. Debbi Sudduth and Sheila Kryston, retired therapists from Goose Creek Meeting, have been listening and sharing about differences for years.
3. Reparations: Friends’ Role in the Unexpected Vision of Healing Our Racial Divides: Slavery, Jim Crow, red-lining, mass incarceration and other myriad racial injustices have changed; racial inequity has outlasted generations into the present. This workshop invites Friends to consider our roles—individually, in Meetings, locally and nationally. Is there a “win-win” vision to repair and renew? Working on reparations together provides us the opportunity to bring peace to our world by understanding and beginning to heal the effects of past wrongdoings. Phil Caroom is a retired judge but still trying to do the right thing. Peirce Hammond first embraced reparations in 1969. Clinton Pettus has led an effort to help define what reparations may look like for the Yearly Meeting. Marcy Seitel is an educator, conflict resolution practitioner, and clerk of various Friends endeavors.
4. Quaker Testimonies: The 350-year history of BYM: This session covers the 350-year history of BYM, especially highlighting the 50 years since 1970. Jim Fussell
5. Thomas Kelly: Reflection on Life from the Center: After a devastating personal crisis, Thomas Kelly had “the experience of Presence seeking him.” He wrote out of his experience in words poetic and powerful about living Life from the Center. Participants will be invited into close reading of selected passages from Kelly’s work, utilizing the Lectio Divina method. Those passages will have come from the pamphlet Life from the Center, published on quakerthomaskelly.org. Both Sarah Bur and Kathleen Wilson are Homewood Friends.
1. CLM - Listening Session: How Do Monthly Meetings Address Conflict and Abuse? What alternatives exist? Conflict and abuse in Friends’ communities must be addressed in safe spaces. We will identify processes Monthly Meetings currently utilize and processes they might add to develop an annotated list for Friends to employ. (Note: This is not a group for airing individual stories.) Michael DeHart has 30-years experience in Friends Schools and is now a psychotherapist.
2. Faith Matters to Congress, So How Do I Lobby More Strategically? Join for tips and discussion about faith-based advocacy: building interfaith coalitions, knowing where your member of Congress is most poised to make a difference, and taking action in a way that has the greatest legislative impact. Ashley Wilson, Grasstops Advocacy Manager at FCNL, spent 7 years at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice (organizers of Nuns on the Bus).
3. Racism 101: Having the Courage and Faith to Get Real About Race. You’ve heard the talk all around about anti-racism. You think that maybe you should be more involved, but you’re already busy. Or maybe you felt turned off by someone’s comments. Or you don’t quite know where to start. This workshop is a safe opportunity to begin that journey. Facilitated by Donna Kolaetis and others from the Working Group on Racism.
4. Energy Choices for a Sustainable Future. Gasoline burning in our cars is now the #1 carbon emission in the USA caused by individuals. The government cannot fix this 10-billion dollar per day business that spends millions on politicians and propaganda. But individuals can. EV’s on the market today are better, faster, cleaner, quieter, safer and now cost less to buy, operate and maintain. Bob Bruninga is author of Quaker Institute for the Future book Energy Choices—Opportunities to Make Wise Decisions for a Sustainable Future.
5. Teaching Quaker Testimonies in RE, Adult Ed., and Quaker schools and colleges—Jim Fussell
6. Growing Our Quaker Community through Philanthropy. Quakers have a long history of making foresighted gifts that meaningfully impact their communities for decades. This interactive workshop will focus on those stories of giving, monthly meeting successes, and solid steps and strategies to help ease the stress of fundraising within your community. Mimi Blackwell, JD, Friends Fiduciary Corporation Planned Giving Program Manager, has been supporting the F(f)riend and fundraising efforts of Quaker organizations for more than 15 years.
1. CLM - Change Groups: How Are They Going at Your Local Meeting? BYM has made a commitment to becoming an antiracist faith community. In this session, Friends who are helping their Local Meeting become an anti-racist faith community will share with each other what they are doing and how they are addressing the challenges they encounter in the effort. David Etheridge is clerk of the BYM Working Group on Racism and Peirce Hammond is clerk of Growing Diverse Leadership.
2. Stopping War One Person at a time: Meet Peace Direct. Learn about Peace Direct, an international organization started by Quakers that works with local people to stop violent conflict and build lasting peace. We support partners building peace in 12 countries and advocate at the UN and in Washington DC. We believe everyone can be a peace-builder. Bridget Moix, our plenary speaker, is US Executive Director of Peace Direct and has worked for more than 20 years on international peace and conflict issues.
3. Experiential Perspective Regarding the Well Being of Persons with Changing Cognition and Alzheimers. Friends will exchange views on how love and faith supports the person living with changing cognition and the care partner. Participants will experientially understand how a person living with changing cognition receives communication. Care provider techniques will be presented. Protective factors that slow down Alzheimer’s will be discussed. Larry McNeely is an Alzheimer’s researcher and family counselor.
4. Clerking Workshop for Past, Present and Future Clerks. Clerking is awesome. We bring to clerking our best thinking, our hopes, our faith—all with Friends we know and care for. What does spiritual discernment look like? How do we include everyone? Prepare? How can others help? Let’s share our experience, wisdom, and questions. Marcy Seitel is clerk of BYM Interim Meeting and eager to encourage others to take on the spiritual work of clerking.
5. Answering the Call: Earth Justice and Quaker Faithfulness. How do we find personal and collective courage in light of climate crisis and environment justice? Exploring the ways Quakers can access sources and resources to act. Barb Adams is our BYM Rep to Quaker Earthcare Witness and seeks ways to engage and explore opportunities to address our relationship to our planet.