Among Friends: December 2016

This month, Friends are invited to register for the Spiritual Deepening program’s e-learning course beginning in January 2017. Plus – register for the Friends Council on Learning’s upcoming Faith and Play™ workshop, and learn more about a new opportunity for Quaker religious educators through the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative.

News and resources from the world of Friends for the December edition of the Vital Friends eNewsletter of FGC. 

Support Children’s Spiritual Lives through Wonder and Play

The Friends Council on Education is offering a Learning in the Light workshop for First Day School educators and others in Philadelphia on December 8th and 9th. From the FCE website: “This training workshop will guide Friends school educators and others to use a resource that helps children find words and images for expressing their experiences of spirituality and wonder in their lives.” The workshop is limited to 15 participants, so register now!

Deepen Your Spiritual Journey Online in 2017

Take part in the Spiritual Deepening program from the comfort of your home or office in 2017! Participate in a small group experience online with facilitator Rachel Ernst Stahlhut from January 9th to March 3rd, 2017. 

Calling all Writers and Editors!

Are you a writer or editor? Are you a Quaker religious educator? Could you help create a resource to share what you know? A new project seeks Friends interested in developing, writing, or editing concise articles on topics useful to Quaker religious educators. Articles will be sent to subscribing Friends by email. This is the work of individual Friends, with support from the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative. For more information, visit the QREC website.

An earlier version of this update attributed this project to QREC. The project in need of writers and editors is the work of individual Friends, with support from QREC. FGC regrets this error and has revised this update to correct it. 

New England Yearly Meeting Records Donated to UMass Amherst Libraries

The UMass Amherst Libraries are pleased to announce the recent gift of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (NEYM) Records. The Libraries’ department of Special Collections and University Archives will partner with the Archives Committee of the NEYM in on-going documentation of the meeting and its constituent bodies, preserving the Meeting’s distinguished past as well as its present and future activities.

Quakers, also known as Friends, have a long and dynamic history in New England. When they first arrived in the region in the 1650s, Quakers presented both a radical alternative and a significant challenge to Puritan orthodoxy. As a relatively small but distinctive community, Quakers have espoused an egalitarian ethos rooted in the Quaker concept of inward light, which has led Friends into passionate advocacy for the abolition of slavery, gender and racial equality, and opposition to all war.

One of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthly meetings, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society of Friends. Like other yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, New England Friends divided over doctrinal issues in the 1840s into separate meetings known as Gurneyite and Wilburite, and they remained apart for a century before the rifts were healed.

The New England Yearly Meeting Collection contains the official records of the NEYM from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings, and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the monthly meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties Quakers suffered for not following testimonies).

The Collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and notes from several individual monthly meetings.

The UMass Amherst Libraries will host a public exhibit of the New England Yearly Meeting Records in January, 2017. In the meantime, the collection is open to researchers, and digitized selections from the collection are available in Credo, UMass’ digital library portal.

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