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in Events, Quaker Education

On Sat. Oct. 21, 9am – 4pm, we are excited to host a full-day free workshop on Penal Abolition. Quakers Fostering Justice (QFJ), a branch of Canadian Friends Service Committee, are offering this workshop across Canada.

Why is our criminal justice system based on punishment?

Why do we harm people when we could be healing them?

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West

What is Penal Abolition?

Penal abolition seeks to shift from punishment to justice that is restorative, transformative and healing – for victims, perpetrators, and society.  It is not only about prisons; penal abolition seeks to eliminate the punitive mindset which pervades all of society, by transforming harmful approaches to ones that are healing.

Read more in QFJ’s flier From Harm to Healing: Transforming the Justice System

How Does This Relate to Nova Scotia?

To learn more about conditions for those incarcerated in Nova Scotia, here are some resources.  Please note that these describe experiences of violence and abuse.

Solitary confinement, costs of phone calls, and effects on mental health (El Jones, Halifax Examiner)

Access to health care in NS jails (Anne Farries, Chronicle Herald)


We will:

  • Use videos, discussions, and small-group exercises to learn about QFJ’s work on penal abolition
  • Explore alternatives to punishment
  • Learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for justice work
  • Connect local people and organizations concerned about the need for change.
  • Map our path to doing justice to ourselves, to faith-based and broader communities, and to our world.

You can read about a similar workshop that QFJ recently offered in Calgary.

Workshop Goals

  • Define penal abolition
  • Survey what’s happening in the justice system right now, and what’s working and not working
  • Summarize the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and their impact on justice work
  • Learn about alternatives to punishment
  • Consider justice in our relationship with ourselves, our Quaker community, and beyond

Who Is This For?

All who are want to  build a more socially just world are welcome.  While QFJ’s work is based on Quaker ways of thinking and doing, and the workshop itself will make reference to that, this will not be a meeting for worship.  For more information about Quakers in general and Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting in particular, see especially our Welcome page and About page.


  • Sat, Oct. 21, 2017
  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 441 Upper Canard St., Port Williams, Nova Scotia (15 min. from Wolfville)
  • FREE
  • Please bring a potluck lunch item to share as you are able

Download an invitation poster (PDF) for printing or sharing


Dick Cotterill is a member of Halifax Monthly Meeting and Quakers Fostering Justice. He also sits on the board of the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, is a member of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, and volunteers in Truro with the John Howard Society.  

David Summerhays is the clerk of Quakers Fostering Justice.  He is a member of Montreal Monthly Meeting, and has participated in Circles of Support and Accountability’s restorative justice program for 5 years.

For More Information

Contact Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting by email hidden; JavaScript is required or phone (902-679-3743), or message us on facebook.



in Events, Truth and Reconciliation

[Download a printable copy ]

Welcome to the third edition of “Learn and Act,” the newsletter of Annapolis Valley Quakers’ Truth and Reconciliation Committee.  In this issue we invite our readers to attend Acadia’s Mawio’mi and to learn about the issues it raises.  Want to know how rewarding it can be to attend events organized by Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities working together?  See our Update below about Marilyn Manzer’s experiences at Grand Pré 2017.

Act: Oct 4-5 Mawio’mi at Acadia

Circle of Hope Mawio'mi LogoAcadia University is hosting its 8th Annual Mawio’mi (Mi’kmaq for “gathering”) in Wolfville, Wed Oct 4th and Thurs Oct 5th.  The theme is Circle of Hope. The event, co-hosted by Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services, intends to raise awareness of and honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, men, children, and two-spirit people.

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee will be there – please join us!

There are many events happening during the two-day Mawio’mi, including ceremonies, feasts, a reading by Mi’kmaw poet laureate Rebecca Thomas, a restorative justice workshop, and a storytelling evening. There are also activities aligned with the Moosehide Campaign, and the Sisters in Spirit Vigils co-ordinated by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.  Check out the schedule for a full listing.  All events are free and open to the community, and children are welcome.

Learn: Sisters in Spirit, Moosehide Men

Planning to attend Acadia’s Mawio’mi?  Want to get up to date on some of the campaigns and issues that will be discussed?  Follow the links below to learn more.

Sisters in Spirit

Grandmother Moon logo from Native Women's Association of CanadaSisters in Spirit” is the name of a national movement honouring and bringing awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).  It is co-ordinated by Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), which promotes the “social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women”.  People across the country are invited to organize events on October 4th.  The goals include honouring the memories of those who have been lost, and providing support to families who have lost a loved one.

The Sisters in Spirit campaign started in 2005 as a “research, education, and policy initiative driven by Aboriginal women” about “the alarmingly high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.” The project supported NWAC in developing a database of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, documenting the experiences and recommendations of their families, promoting families’ effective access to justice, and publishing learning resources and reports.

The campaign uses the Grandmother Moon logo shown above, in connection with a poem of the same name.

Grandmother Moon

You know all women from birth to death
We seek your knowledge
We seek your strength
Some are STARS up there with you
Some are STARS on Mother Earth
Grandmother, lighten our path in the dark
Creator, keep our sisters safe from harm
Maa duu? Mussi cho


Moosehide Campaign

The Moosehide Campaign “is a grassroots movement of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Men who are standing up against violence towards women and children.”  They invite men to wear a square of moosehide to pledge their support, engage in a fast on October 5th, and take action against sexual violence in their lives.

The Moose Hide Campaign was started by Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven, in 2011.  During a hunting trip along the “Highway of Tears”, a stretch of highway in northern BC where many women have been murdered or gone missing, they “harvested a moose and the daughter was preparing it when they had a moment of inspiration to tan the Moose Hide and cut it into squares for men to wear. The inspiration came from the land, from the loving relationship between the father and the daughter, from the stretch of highway where violence has taken so many loved ones, and from the spirit of the moose.”

Moose Hide Campaign Logo

The Moosehide Campaign invites men to take a stand against sexual assault and harassment by promoting gender equity, healthy relationships, and positive ideals of masculinity.

Moosehide patches are available for order.  The campaign website also has many resources. You can also read more about how they seek accountability to Indigenous women and why men specifically are invited to fast.

Update: Enjoying a Mi’kmaw-Acadian Cultural Celebration

Tipis illuminated by coloured light at Grand Pre 2017In our last newsletter, we encouraged people to attend a Pow-wow, and many did!  Here’s an update from Truth and Reconciliation Committee member Marilyn Manzer, on her experience at the Grand Pré 2017 celebration.

 “In August I attended an amazing celebration honouring the Acadian and Mi’kmaw cultural sharing that began 400 years ago. It was held at the Grand Pré National Historic Site, which commemorates the Acadian settlement that was located there until the British deportation of 1755. I volunteered during two days and attended concerts in the evenings. I loved the event and would have attended even more if I could have! This was part of my effort to facilitate reconciliation with First Nations, along with serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee that brings you this newsletter.

The outdoor event included a fabulous art show on a “street” with 58 tents where Acadians and First Nations folks from across Canada were selling their art and crafts. There were concessions selling Acadian and Mik’maw food. Some had free samples of traditional foods like fry bread. There were also organizations giving out information on community programs and projects and places to visit. There were many big tipis where Mik’maw people were demonstrating crafts such as birchbark canoes, quill art, hide tanning, and beadwork. There was a story-telling tipi and others sharing cultural information. Acadian people presented lectures, panel discussions, performances, etc. in a big round “rendezvous” tent.

The huge main stage featured many, many amazing Acadian and Mik’maw performers, both well-known and not-so-well-known, playing in front of an art and light show from noon til 10:30pm daily. My personal favourites were La Baie en Joie, a troupe of young Acadian dancers from Saulnierville NS, Bernie Francis, a Mi’kmaq linguist and singer-songwriter from Membertou First Nation, Edith Butler, a well-known Acadian folksinger from New Brunswick, and Don Amero, a Métis/Acadian singer-songwriter from Winnipeg. The lawn next to the Evangeline statue contained tents and a stage to facilitate Mik’maw cultural demonstrations, including a 5-hour powwow scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Saturday poured with rain and the powwow was moved to the gym at Acadia University, but still was well-attended and very exciting. There were many dances with Mik’maq in traditional regalia (which was highly artistic and beautiful) and a half dozen different singing and drumming groups that took turns playing for the dances. Spectators were invited to join the dancing and many did. The rain stopped in the evening and “The Relatives” were obviously a popular dance band.  I joined many others to dance in front of the stage.

Thousands of people came and I personally recognized only a few – which is unusual for me at local events. I totally loved it.”

Sept 1-2: Join Us at the Millbrook Powwow

in Events, Truth and Reconciliation
Have you ever wanted to go to a Pow-wow ?  Are you an experienced Pow-wow go-er and want to share the experience?  Want to learn about Mi’kmaq culture, support Indigenous artists and businesses, and join in living the Treaty relationship of Peace and Frienship, but not sure how to start?
Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee will be attending the Millbrook First Nation’s Pow-wow (near Truro) this Labour Day Weekend. This is a free and public event where Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous people from all over, as well as non-Indigenous members of the public, are invited to share in friendship and celebration. We will be co-ordinating drives to the performance series on Friday evening Sept 1 and the Pow-wow drumming and dancing on Saturday afternoon Sept 2 for anyone in the wider community who would like to join us.  No Quaker bonafides required.  Invite your friends!

Pow-wow Details

The Pow-wow continues Saturday evening and Sunday as well. Admission is free. There are vendors on site and areas where you can pitch a tent for a multi-day stay.  The organizers shared this message about how to participate respectfully:
“The protocols are pretty straight forward. No alcohol and drugs. Only dancers in the dancer arena unless otherwise stated, such as intertribals and etc. There is very little contest that happens at our gathering. This is to entertain the crowd that we have coming to our pow wow. Always ask a dancer for a picture before hand. Most importantly show respect to others and enjoy the day.  Pow wows such as ours and many others … [are] for everyone to enjoy. Come and bring a friend or many. Enjoy the sights and sounds. We have vendors and demonstrations happening also. There is no admission fee!

Trip #1: Friday Evening, Sept 1

Singers, songwriters, storytellers, musicians
  •  6PM: Richard Gloade We’kopekwitk, NS (Singer, Songwriter)
  •  7PM: Gerald D. Gloade – We’kopekwitk, NS (Finger Style Guitar)
  •  8PM: Gerald R Gloade – We’kopekwitk, NS (Storyteller, Night Sky)
  •  9PM: Tia Wood — Saddle Lake Cree Nation, AB (Singer, Miss Manito Ahbee)
Departing Wolfville 4:30PM (and other points as arranged).  
Return time to be arranged by participants.

Trip #2: Satuday Afternoon, Sept 2

Pow-wow Drums and Dancers
1PM: Grand Entry
Afternoon: Drums and Dancers (return time flexible)
Optional: 2 hr break during afternoon to visit Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail
On Saturday afternoon, we will arrive in time for the Grand Entry of drums and dancers at 1PM.  
For those who are interested, we will also arrange for a side trip during the afternoon to the Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail.  This is a 75-minute interpreted walking trail located a short drive away, at the site the oldest known human habitation site in the northeast of the continent.  The ancestors of today’s Mi’kmaq lived there over 10,000 years ago. You can learn more in this episode of Land and Sea: The Mi’kmaq journey.
Departing Wolfville 11:00AM (and other points as arranged).  
Return time to be arranged by participants.

To Join Us

Arrange transportation by Friday at Noon by 
  • emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required or 
  • calling Mylène at 902-582-1771
  • Let us know whether you need a drive or can offer a drive
  • Don’t forget to pack a lawn chair or picnic blanket!

Mon Aug 28: Simplicity Discussion

in Events, Introduction to Quakerism, Quaker Education, Quaker Study Committee
As summer draws to a close, we tend to turn our minds to organizing ourselves for our upcoming busy time. What is simplicity in this complex society? What do Quakers have to offer?

Stairs leading to the second floor of Northampton Friends’ meeting space. Published in Friends Journal.

Quakers historically have no creed:  we are not required to accept a formal set of beliefs. We do, however, recognize guidelines to the way we live our lives known as “testimonies.”
The Quaker Study Committee is offering the opportunity to share your thoughts and views about the Quaker testimony of simplicity in an evening of facilitated discussion.
When Mark Burch delivered a Quaker Study series on Simplicity to the Canadian national gathering in 2014, he asked these initial questions, which we will use to get the conversation going:
  1. In practical terms, what does living simply mean to you?  How are you living the testimony to simplicity right now?
  2. What difference do you think the decision to live simply makes in terms of issues like environmental sustainability, peace, the priority you give to spiritual development, the quality of your family life, your own well-being?

Simplicity Discussion

  • Monday August 28 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • At Penni’s in Kentville
  • Call 902 678 1229 or email hidden; JavaScript is required for directions, questions, or to arrange carpooling
  • All are welcome!

Wed June 14: Questioning Canada 150

in Events, Public Updates, Truth and Reconciliation

Update June 20: All the videos, images, and other resources we used during the event are free online; you can now download the complete list in PDF form, share it on facebook, or scroll to the bottom of this post to peruse.

full-size poster PDF

What does the Canada 150 campaign celebrate?  Whose perspectives are represented? How does it affect the self-image of those of us who see ourselves as Canadians, and how does it affect relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of this land?  What are your questions about what this means and what we can do, individually or together?

Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting is co-hosting a public event for discussion and reflection on these questions and more — we hope you’ll join us. 


Wednesday, June 14, 7PM


Theatre Auditorium, KC Irving Centre, Acadia University (building 32 on the campus map — then head downstairs)

33 University Ave., Wolfville 

(nearby meter and street parking is free after hours)

What Will Happen? 

Short films, radio clips, readings, responses, discussion and reflection.  

Light refreshments will be served. 

Who Is Organizing? 

This event is organized by settlers (non-Indigenous peoples) from Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting and Horizons Community Development Associates, with support from Acadia University’s Community Development Program, in order to help each other unsettle our thinking about the birth of Canada.

Have Questions or Need More Info?

Contact Horizons:

  • email hidden; JavaScript is required
  • (902) 542-0156

Or Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee:

  • email hidden; JavaScript is required

All are welcome. RSVPs to help us plan for the right amount of food, and donations to help cover costs, are welcome but not necessary. Any surplus will be used to support future Truth and Reconciliation-related events.  

Resource List


Canada, I Can Cite For You 150 (2:25, Christi Belcourt, 2017)

  • Published by Onaman Collective, Feb 3, 2017

Lament for Confederation (6:15, Dan George, 1967)

  • “Has Anything Changed? Revisiting Chief Dan George’s Iconic ‘Lament for Confederation’”
  • By Janet Rogers, published on CBC.ca, May 5, 2017

What Does Canada 150 Mean for Indigenous Communities? (25:31, CBC, 2017)

  • CBC Radio One, The Current, March 16, 2017 interview with Lilian Howard, Christi Belcourt, and Eric Ritskes

Wabanaki People of the Dawn (25:50)

  • Part 1 of a 3-part documentary published on the website of NS Office of Aboriginal Affairs


Mi’kmaq History and Map

Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience (Exhibition by K. Monkman)

In Halifax in October, 2018

Peace and Friendship Treaties

Originals at the NS Archives; high-resolution scans are on their website

Alternatives to Canada 150 Logo

Jay Soule’s logos are available on clothing, stickers, etc.

“Colonialism 150” logo products available from Eric Ritskes; proceeds to the Onaman Collective’s Indigenous Tattoo Gathering


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Questioning Canada 150: Event Organizing Collective

Questioning Canada 150 was an event held on June 14, 2017  in Wolfville to discuss and reflect on Canada 150 and the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The event was organized by settlers (non-Indigenous peoples) to help us unsettle our thinking about the birth of Canada.





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 email hidden; JavaScript is required 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: email hidden; JavaScript is required”  The event is also on facebook.


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

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.


  • 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

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 email hidden; JavaScript is required. If you’re a seeker or newcomer and you’d like one for yourself… well, contact the email hidden; JavaScript is required!

Our display table, complete with brand new banner.

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

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

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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.  


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.” 


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 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.


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.”


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.


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.


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

in Events, News

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

in Events, News


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.


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

May 20-23 2016: Atlantic Friends Gathering

in Events, News

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.


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. 


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 email hidden; JavaScript is required 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)
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: email hidden; JavaScript is required

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

in Awards, Events, News

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