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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.