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in Events, Public Updates, Truth and Reconciliation

Welcome to the inaugural “Learn and Act” newsletter of Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee.  Each quarter, we plan to share ideas about how we can learn and take action together toward true reconciliation between Friends, others in Canada, and Indigenous Peoples. Please join us in opening ourselves to the journey of reconciliation.  Any questions or suggestions?  Please submit your suggestions on our Committee’s page, or  the committee.

Learn: Decolonization and Land Acknowledgements

One of our favourite resources this month is a 2016 interview with Anishinaabe comedian and writer Ryan McMahon.   In this 7-minute segment on CBC’s “The 180”, McMahon talks about the relationship between decolonization and reconciliation, how well-intentioned kindness can distract us from hard questions about land, and why land acknowledgements are a bit like telling someone you stole their truck.

Act: Discrimination in Child Welfare

Looking for a simple action you can take right now to fight discrimination against First Nations children? This Sunday’s event in Wolfville includes a film screening, talk, and petition to the Canadian government.

“SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12 1 p.m. Room 241, Beveridge Arts Centre, Acadia University, Wolfville.  Film, speaker. 

Have a Heart! Join the fight to end discrimination against First Nations’ children. Watch Alanis Obomsawin’s compelling documentary HI HO MISTAHEY that explores education as a basic human right. In support of national “Have a Heart Day” guest speaker Darlene Copeland Peters, Prevention Co-ordinator for Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services, will share local conditions for Indigenous children. Room 241, Beveridge Arts Centre, 1 pm, Free.  A petition that calls upon the Government of Canada to comply with recent Human Rights Tribunal ruling regarding the systemic shortfalls in First Nations child welfare will be available for signing.  INFO: ”  The event is also on facebook.

 

Edited: Mar 27 to reflect change to a quarterly schedule (from original monthly plan)

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in Events, Introduction to Quakerism, News, Public Updates
Meet the Quakers poster

Click for print-quality version of poster

On World Quaker Day 2016, Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting invites you to join us for an introduction to the faith and practice of the Religious Society of Friends.

Details

  • October 2, 2016, 3pm – 5pm
  • Manning Memorial Chapel, Acadia University Campus, 45 Acadia St., Wolfville, NS

What’s Happening?

3PM — 4PM: Introduction to unprogrammed Meeting for Worship “in the manner of Friends

4PM — 5PM: Tea, coffee and snacks; time for conversation and questions

Why Go?

Would you like to know more about how Quakers can have a service with no appointed minister? Or what it’s like to be part of a spiritual community that has a 350-year tradition of gender equality, is queer and trans positive, and works to end war, colonialism, and climate change?

Join us to talk about the role of spiritual community, and ask all those questions about religion you’ve never asked — or never gotten a satisfactory answer to. We may not have the answers, but we welcome inquiring spirits to ask those questions together.

Resource people will be available to speak on various topics of concern to Quakers, in keeping with our traditional testimonies:

  • Simplicity
  • Peace
  • Integrity
  • Community
  • Equality
  • Sustainability

You’re welcome to come for either part if you can’t stay for both. Bring snacks to share, or just bring yourself.

If transportation or childcare would be helpful, please contact us to make arrangements.

See or share the event on Facebook

Quakers at Acadia’s Club Extravaganza

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in Events, Introduction to Quakerism, News, Public Updates
Mylene standing at the Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting's table during the Club Extravaganza

Mylene standing at the Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting’s table during the Club Extravaganza

Bruce Dienes and Mylene DiPenta set up a table at Acadia Student Union’s Club Extravaganza last Wednesday night. The event was well attended, and a number of people stopped by our table to chat. Our new banner was finished in time for the event — you can see it in the photos (photo credits are to Bruce, naturally…). We also have a fresh batch of information packages for new attenders. If you’re a member of attender and would like to have some on hand to give away, contact the . If you’re a seeker or newcomer and you’d like one for yourself… well, contact the !

Our display table, complete with brand new banner.

Our display table, complete with brand new banner… and snacks.

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in Events, News, Public Updates
AFG's 40th birthday cake

Soy milk, organic peanut butter, and sugary, chocolatey cake with frosting. It must be a Quaker potluck…

Atlantic Friends Gathering wrapped up yesterday for another year.  Annapolis Valley members and attenders were in the thick of it, as always!  Mandalas were created, generous amounts of food were shared, and activities ranged from structured workshops to naps on the beach to the ever popular “Friends and Family Night” variety show.

Rachel and Penni telling stories and showing a slide show about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Rachel, visiting from Canadian Friends Service Committee, and local Friend Penni lead us in considering action to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Kamila on melodica, Daniel on interpretive dance, Marilyn and Jupiter watching with unbridled joy

Daniel, from Hamilton Monthly Meeting, and Annapolis Valley Quakers Kamila, Marilyn, and Jupiter commune with the Lord of the Dance during family night.

See the full slide show on the AFG website.

AFG: New Session Added, Program Leaders Announced

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in Events, News

Joe Michael (guest speaker) and John Houston (facilitator) have been confirmed as presenters for AFG.  Annapolis Valley’s own Penni Burrell has also added a late-breaking additional session to Saturday’s schedule, called “You’re Quakers… STAND UP”:

“Penni Burrell will give a presentation looking at examining three steps in order to respond to the call as a Quaker to injustice we witness directly. How do we decide what, if anything we can and should do when we encounter something that is clearly contradictory to our values – such as a racist comment? This process is primarily based on the wisdom and guidance of Monica Walters-Field, and the Quaker process of eldering, as voiced most relevantly and recently by Keith Maddock.”

The full schedule and registration info are available on the AFG website

Presenters, Program Leaders, and Assistants

Joe Michaels photo

Guest Speaker:  Joe Michael

A respected Elder of the Indian Brook, Nova Scotia, Mi’kmaq nation,  Joe Michael is a retired RCMP member who worked for 25 years to advance restorative justice and healing circle principles throughout Nova Scotia. Since his retirement, Joe Michael has been active in advancing aboriginal culture and tradition as a Mi’kmaq Elder & Pipe Carrier.

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Facilitator:  John Houston

John Houston was born in 1954 and spent the first years of his life in the Canadian Arctic in Cape Dorset on Baffin Island. His early involvement in Inuktitut and Inuit culture has influenced his entire life.He served for five years as Art Advisor to the Pangnirtung Cooperative printmaking project. With his mother, the late Alma Houston, he founded the Houston North Gallery in Lunenburg,and the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society.As a film director and producer, Houston has specialized in films showcasing indigenous stories and culture.

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Guest Speaker: Rachel Singleton-Polster

Rachel grew up on Vancouver Island in a Quaker family active in Western Half Yearly Meetings and other Friends’ gatherings. Since her youth on the west coast, Rachel attended university at Mount Allison in New Brunswick, and enjoyed worshiping with Sackville Friends there. After her studies in Human Geography there, she worked for Friends at the Quaker United Nations Office in New York. Presently, Rachel serves the Canadian Friends Service Committee out of Toronto, where she assists on programs related to Indigenous Rights, Peace, and Justice.

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Carol Bradley

Carol is a member of Annapolis  Valley Friends Meeting and lives in Windsor, Nova Scotia.   She is a professional appraiser and community developer.  Her interests include sustainable community, the environment, and climate adaptation.  She is active in municipal and provincial politics. Carol enjoys pets, and arts and crafts.

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Bruce Dienes

Bruce has three areas of specialty: Computer consultation,  Photography,  and Community Psychology. Earning his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois, Bruce has extensive experience with community development and has worked with agencies such as Chrysalis House, Juniper House, and Apple Tree Landing Children’s Centre. He currently teaches part-time at Mt. St. Vincent University, and is a trainer of peer  counselors. He is a member of Annapolis Valley Friends Meeting.

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Maida Barton Follini

Maida is a member of Halifax Friends Meeting. Born in Connecticut, she is  a dual U.S./Canadian citizen. Receiving her Ph.D. from Clark University in Clinical and Rehabilitation Psychology,  Maida worked with deaf and blind students. Retiring from the Atlantic Provinces Resource Centre for the Hearing Impaired in Amherst, NS, she moved to Dartmouth. Her avocation is writing, and she is a member of the Evergreen Writers Group.

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Sara avMaat

Sara grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, and now lives in Lakeville, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia.  She is a member of the Antigonish Worship Group of Halifax Friends Meeting. Sara is a physiotherapist who works with children and the elderly.   In 2010 she spent three months in Palestine and Israel as a volunteer accompanier. Sara is also an artist with a degree from NSCAD.

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Marie Welton

Marie was born in Ontario and moved in her teens to Vancouver.  She is an X-Ray technologist who has worked in Canada and Nigeria, as well as being a coordinator in a wide  range of volunteer bases.  She is a mother, grandmother and feminist who has been taking courses in religious studies at Dalhousie University.  Marie has been attending Halifax Friends Meeting since 1997.

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Edith Hoisington Miller

Edith lived in Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and New York before moving to Canada with her husband Michael R. Miller.  Joining Quakers while living in Montreal, the Millers were among the founding members of New Brunswick Friends Meeting. As a long-time Friend, Edith has been involved with many aspects of Quakerism, helping to organize Gatherings, attending Yearly Meetings, and participating in advocacy for First Nations. Edith is a free-lance writer, with articles in Performing Arts & Entertainment,as well as other publications. She also writes poetry, and enjoys jazz and jazz dancing.

Michael R. Miller

Michael is a composer & pianist and professor emeritus of music at Mt. Allison University.  Among his many compositions are “A Mass for Peace”  and “A Peace Cantata”. Now living in Fredericton, Michael  is a member of New Brunswick Friends Meeting. Active in Quaker affairs, he has been a facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence program, helping men in prison, and has volunteered in the John Howard Society.

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Kenna Creer Manos

Kenna grew up in Vancouver, received a PhD from Dalhousie University, and then taught for four decades at the remarkable Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  She now teaches, as a volunteer, at the Friends School in Costa Rica, where she belongs to the Monteverde Monthly Meeting.  In Halifax for six months every year, she attends the Halifax Monthly meeting, and enjoys her five grandchildren, especially in the garden.  Kenna’s poetry has appeared in many Canadian and American journals.

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John Calder

John is a member of New Brunswick Friends Meeting.  He retired after many years of teaching high school English in the public schools.  John has served Friends in many roles – as Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting; as board member of the Quaker United Nations Office in New York City; and as an onsite coordinator in Pendle Hill, the Quaker study centre in Pennsylvania. John lives in Long Reach, New Brunswick.  

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Nancy Turniawan

Nancy is a community artist who works with multi-generational groups and uses natural materials to create mandalas and other forms to inspire people, and foster group cohesiveness. “My creative energy springs from the awe I experience immersed in the natural world. I enjoy nature’s materials, seasons, and light as my  inspiration.  I search for ways to integrate environmental stewardship into the materials and processes use to create art. I delight in multi-generational, collaborative art making.” 

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Ellen and Keith Helmuth

Ellen is clerk of New Brunswick Monthly Meeting. She and her husband Keith ran a farm near Woodstock for many years. After retiring from farming, they lived in Philadelphia for ten years where Ellen was the Administrative Assistant at Friends General Conference and Keith managed a bookstore. On returning to Woodstock, NB, they have established a small publishing company, Chapel Street Editions. As clerk of New Brunswick Monthly Meeting, Ellen has worked to ensure communication and fellowship among the 7 groups in three provinces that make up the Monthly Meeting.

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Barbara Aikman

Barbara has worked for the past 20 + years as a coordinator for adults with intellectual and mental health disabilities living in the community.  She served the Friends World Committee of Consultation (FWCC) for 10 years, and was clerk of the program committee and served on the naming committee, was on the search committee for the recent executive secretary of the section of the Americas. She  attended the World Gathering in New Zealand in 2005. Barbara has worshiped with many Meetings in the USA from all traditions. She is spiritually renewed with time in nature.

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Mylène DiPenta

“My earliest organizing work was against sexual violence and globalization. I was active for 10 years with a Halifax-based coalition mobilizing white people against white privilege and racism. These days, I teach my trade (electronics repair) to community college students in the Annapolis Valley, which is also the home of the Meeting I attend. My current passions include supporting the empowerment of rural queer and trans youth via the Valley Youth Project and building cross-issue alliances of reconciliation & solidarity. I use gender neutral pronouns (they, them). For fun, I walk away into the woods for days at a time, carrying as little as possible.”

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Marilyn Manzer

With an M.A. from McGill U. and a Bachelor of Music Education from Acadia U. plus decades of experience in performing, teaching and organizing music productions, Marilyn has made notable contributions to the musical arts in Nova Scotia. Along side of her music career, she has taken leadership roles in the Religious Society of Friends, serving as Recording Clerk for Canadian Yearly Meeting, and giving the Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture at the 2011 CYM. Marilyn is a member of Annapolis Valley Friends Meeting.

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Penni Burrell

Penni was born in Toronto and has lived in a wide variety of locations. Engaging with social justice issues as a social worker and community member. She moved to Nova Scotia 12 years ago, and considers the Annapolis Valley to be her long sought ‘home’. Her interest in social action sprang from her white parents’ example as they testified against racism. Penni finds following Spirit through Quakerism allows her to follow social justice in an authentic manner that she has found missing with many other groups. For six years Penni was a member of the Quaker Indigenous Rights Committee, engaging with Wabanaki regional events. She represents Quakers nationally on KAIROS’ national Indigenous Rights Circle. Locally she is a member of the Community Health Board, focusing on food security/local hunger.

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Mel Earley

Mel, who was born and raised in Ireland, emigrated to Canada in 1975. He was in the marine insurance business before retiring in 2009.  Mel has gone on extensive volunteer expeditions with Habitat for Humanity, building houses in Latin America & Ethiopia, and taking a leadership position supervising groups of volunteers.  He has also visited Palestine as a volunteer accompanier. Mel is a member of Halifax Friends Meeting, and has served as Halifax’s delegate to Canadian Yearly Meeting and Representative Meeting, as well as being a member of CYM committees.

Come for the weekend, or for the day.
See you at AFG May 20-23

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We have arranged a full program including guest speakers, and members from our three Atlantic Friends Meetings.  Interspersed with programmed sessions are meal breaks, stretch breaks and longer free times. Sunday evening will be a cheerful noisy talent show for young and old. Enjoy sessions at your own choice, or enjoy your own communing with nature or Friends. Please feel free to enjoy the Weekend in your own way!

Location and Dates

Camp Geddie: a Church camp near Merigomish, NS
about 18 kms from exit 27 of Hwy 104.
Victoria Day Weekend, May 20 to 23, 2016
Friday Evening – Monday at Noon

Directions, details and registration at http://atlantic.quaker.ca/afg

Hope to see you there!

 

Good Friday: Walk With the World

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in Events, News

Cross, shroud, and crown of thorns

The Wolfville Area Inter-Church Council sends us this update about an upcoming event.

“The cross of Jesus’ crucifixion is a [world-wide] symbol of human suffering. Traditionally, Christians have gathered on Good Friday to remember the death of Jesus. This year, all of the partners in the Wolfville Area Inter-Church Council (including all local congregations and L’Arche Homefires), will act to remember the suffering that exists all around us, and to pray for compassion. Those within and beyond the community of faith are invited to Walk with the World. As we move together, we will stop at familiar local sites such as Wolfville School, the Food Bank, the Methadone Clinic, the Post Office, the Anvil Pub, the RCMP/Fire Department and Town offices, and the L’Arche Hall, offering words of hope and healing.

The Walk with the World will begin at the Acadia Chapel at 11:00 a.m. and conclude at St. John’s Anglican Church, 164 Main Street. Our WAICC Good Friday Worship will begin at St. John’s at 1:00 p.m.

ALL ARE WELCOME”

Bruce Dienes will offer a reading on behalf of the Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting.

May 20-23 2016: Atlantic Friends Gathering

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Save the dates of the May long weekend — Friends from the Atlantic provinces and beyond will meet once again for a weekend of shared company and spiritual renewal.

Where?

Atlantic Friends Gathering is an annual event linking members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from across Atlantic Canada.  We gather at Camp Geddie, a Presbyterian Church camp on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. The spacious grounds, with nature trails and a spectacular beach on the Northumberland Strait provide a natural setting for renewal of our individual and group spirit. 

What?

This year the themes include “Sharing the Spirit in Our Lives” and “Actions to Assist Healing Between First Nations and Settlers.”  The programme is not finalized yet, but previous years have included film screenings, nature walks, discussions on spiritual and social justice topics, games, storytelling, dancing, and of course Meeting for Worship. As in previous years, there are no compulsory activities — and there may be kayaks and canoes available to borrow. The healing atmosphere of being in a welcome nature retreat offers an opportunity to open ourselves up to whatever we feel lead us.

 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Attend Atlantic Friends Gathering

  1. There are activities and events for people of all ages.  “Just Being” is also an activity.
  2. You can propose your own discussion or action group, about faith, action, service, or other topics
  3. You can stay for an afternoon or the whole weekend
  4. This event is especially well-suited for those who are new to Quakers; there are lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn from experienced Friends, participate in Meeting for Worship, or just enjoy the spirit and the place. 
  5. This event is especially well-suited for those who are experienced with Quakers: co-create the programme by bringing your knowledge to a discussion, meet others who share your concerns, and maybe even be the person a newcomer is looking for.

More Info

Contact for more info or to propose a Special Interest Group.  You can also check last year’s AFG website to see example activities and registration details.  Signup for email notification (at right) to get this year’s info as soon as it’s published.

Announcements Coming Soon About…

  • Registration
  • Cost (but a sliding scale will be available)

Ethical Dilemmas in Synthetic Biology, Sept 4th

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in Events, News

Ethical Dilemmas in Synthetic Biology: a presentation by Annapolis Valley Quakers
Information and discussion open to all.

Wednesday September 4, 7-9 pm

NSCC Kingstec Campus, 236 Belcher St. Kentville Room C278
Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/2TJXg

For background info download this PDF document: www.bit.ly/SynthBioKit
Contact:

Below is a brief extract from the document referenced above. For full details, read particularly section three of the above linked document.
The document includes extensive references and links to relevant web sites.

Synthetic Biology: What is it and what is the range of views about its role?

Synthetic biology is the use of computer-assisted, biological engineering to create new biological systems and forms of life that do not exist in nature.

In 2011, a U.S.Presidential Commission defined synthetic biology as “an emerging field of research that combines elements of biology, engineering, genetics, chemistry, and computer science… [It relies] on chemically synthesized DNA [a building block of all living cells], along with standardized and automatable processes, to create new biochemical systems or organisms with novel or enhanced characteristics.”

Proponents of synthetic biology see its potential for developing new materials (e.g., a synthetic version of spider silk), foods (providing food in quantity in developing nations), medicines (e.g., production of an anti-malarial drug), energy sources (e.g. biofuels from algae), ways to remedy pollution (eg. detecting arsenic in water sources), and new means of computing. The military-industrial sector also sees potential weapons applications.

Those who are cautious about synthetic biology direct attention to what is absent in its development. They are concerned about what artificial organisms might do unexpectedly, since they have not yet existed in nature. They are concerned about the social justice aspects of synthetic biology: will the benefits of synthetic biology be distributed equitably among poor nations as well as wealthy ones? Will patenting of life forms lead to monopolistic control of benefits? Will large amounts of public funds be spent on unproven technology?

The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology, developed by a broad coalition of organizations from around the world (including the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches) begins with:

Synthetic biology, an extreme form of genetic engineering, is developing rapidly with little oversight or regulation despite carrying vast uncertainty. To protect public health, worker safety and ecosystem resilience, it calls for risk research and development of alternatives, a robust pre-market regulatory regime, strong enforcement mechanisms, immediate action to prevent potential exposures until safety is demonstrated, ongoing monitoring for unintended consequences, immediate action to prevent potential exposures until safety is demonstrated…a ban on using synthetic biology to manipulate the human genome in any form, no commercialized or released (building blocks) without full disclosure to the public of the nature of the organism and results of safety testing, and … a  moratorium on the release and commercial use of synthetic organisms and their products to prevent direct or indirect harm to people and the environment (until government bodies, international organizations and relevant parties implement strong precautionary and comprehensive oversight mechanisms).

Marilyn Manzer receives 2011 Valley Arts Award

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Marilyn Manzer was nominated for the 2011 Valley Arts Award because her contribution to the cultural life of the region has been consistently strong for over 25 years.

See http://www.deeprootsmusic.ca/artsaward.php for more details.

Marilyn Manzer gives Keynote talk at CYM

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in Events

Marilyn Manzer delivered the 2011 Sunderland P. Gardner lecture on “The Moral Economy” to a full house at the Fouuntain Performing Arts Centre at King’s Edgehill School on Wednesday, August 10th. In describing her life-long journey of concern on this issue, she wove together threads of economics, history, philosophy, music and beauty and presented an alternative vision to our current greed-based economy. The lecture is published as a Canadian Quaker Pamphlet. See also http://www.quaker.ca/Publications/SPG/ for the audio.

Celebrating Peggy Hope-Simpson

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On Saturday, April 23rd, we held a celebration of Peggy Hope-Simpson on the occasion of submitting her nomination to be considered for the Order of Nova Scotia.

Click on the pic to see in more detail. Click that one again to see it larger…

Atlantic Friends Gathering is coming!

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Check out the AFG web site at http://atlantic.quaker.ca/afg for more information about the Atlantic gathering of Quakers over the Victoria Day weekend at Windhorse farm Conference Centre. Please register in advance ASAP! Click for the one-pager AFG poster 2011   Spread the word! Invite your friends!