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Building Trust: With People, With Organizations

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in Past Events, Stories from the people of AVQM

We held Quaker study sessions on the theme of Building Trust.  The inspiration comes from a workshop Mylene attended at Pendle Hill, called Building Organizational Trust: Working With and Through Others.  They had the pleasure of learning from facilitator Clinton Pettus, who presented many interesting ideas as well as a well-crafted process.

In presenting what they had learned at the workshop, they repeated some of the questions and exercises Pettus used.  Interesting discussions arose around these:

  1. In what situations is trust important to you?
  2. What are some examples of people you trust, and why?
  3. What are some examples of organizations you trust, and why?
  4. What are some examples of social organizations you trust, and why?

Some of the techniques for building trust that they took from the workshop were

  • Learn to observe others’ actions without assuming their motivations
  • Support people in the way they want to be supported, not the way I want to support them
  • Attend to emotions, needs, and values before ideas, interpretations, and action

Have you tried these techniques?  How did they work?  What techniques do you use for building trust?

The report Mylene wrote about their learning gives more details, why they sought it out in the first place, and how they’ve incorporated it over the year since then.

Thank God Somebody Finally Heard Me: Some Ideas on Building Trust

Why “feeling heard” can help build organizational trust, mediate conflict, improve mental health, promote learning, and save the world… with specific ideas about how to do it

  Feel free to use the comments to share your thoughts about the questions above, the report itself, or wherever else this topic takes you.

January Quaker Study: Equality

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in Past Events

Marchers with a placard reading in part “we must consciously work”, from an AFSC article “A Letter to my White Sisters After the Women’s March”

Last Saturday, we met for Quaker Study on the topic of Equality.  Penni hosted, and prepared some food for thought in the form of quotes and queries.

American Friends Service Committee, the US-based Quaker service organization, publishes a booklet called “An Introduction to Quaker Testimonies.”  From it, we considered these queries:

  1. How do I respond to opportunities to establish personal and professional relationships with people whose backgrounds differ from mine, whether across class, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ability?
  2. In what ways do I work to change society so that everyone has equal  opportunities?
  3. How can I speak up and take action in a loving way when I see and hear  injustices?
  4. How do I “speak truth to power” in ways that honor the human dignity of people on all sides of an issue?

The conversation was informal and thoughtful, ranging over everything from the inherent rights of the Earth to whether socialist concepts can guide us toward equality.  Many people contributed ideas from their own spiritual understanding.

Stay tuned for the next Quaker Study (they are scheduled roughly once a month) and consider joining us!

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in Past Events

Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting hosted a full-day free workshop on Penal Abolition. Quakers Fostering Justice (QFJ), a branch of Canadian Friends Service Committee, offered 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)

Agenda

  • 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

Facilitators

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.

 

 

28 Aug 2017: Simplicity Discussion

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in Introduction to Quakerism, Past Events, 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 offered the opportunity to share 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?

Wed 14 June 2017: Questioning Canada 150

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in Past Events, Truth and Reconciliation

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 co-hosted a public event for discussion and reflection on these questions and more.

What Happened? 

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

Light refreshments. 

Who Organized? 

This event was 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.

Resource List

Videos

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

Images

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

Documents

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.

 

 

 

 

Welcoming LGBT2IQ+ Seekers and Friends

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in LGBT2IQ+, Past Events
portrait of George Fox with a rainbow filterWe held an evening of discussion and learning on welcoming seekers and Friends of all sexual orientations and gender identities in our faith community.  
 
Mylène DiPenta facilitated, based partly on related work they do with the Valley Youth Project, a social group supporting youth around these issues.  Mylène’s concern is especially for those who, like them, find their identity or orientation marginalized in our society.  This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, intersex, queer, and many more people.  Although it is inadequate, sometimes the term “LGBT2IQ+” is used as a collective description. Anyone interested who is or has been connected to Quaker communities is welcome to join the conversation.
 
 

Topics

  • What does it take to go beyond an intention of acceptance, to an effective welcome?  What are the unintentional things that accidentally discourage LGBT2IQ+ seekers, reducing our ability to build the beloved community and weakening our solidarity with each other?
  • What are some of the barriers to the full participation of LGBT2IQ+ people in faith communities generally, and Quakers in particular?  What can we do to reduce them?
  • How can we as a faith community work toward a world without homophobia, transphobia, and related sexualized violence?
  • How can this strengthen or weaken our struggles for peace, earth-care, and transformative justice?

Your ideas, concerns, and questions are welcome.  There will be opportunities for individual reflection, small-group conversation, and whole-group discussion.  If you have never attended a Quaker meeting for worship but you are interested in this topic, please contact us — we would love to hear from you.  We can also help organize carpooling if desired.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Resources

  1. Participant Handout
  2. Assigned Male Comics, a webcomic about gender non-conforming children by Sophie Labelle (NOTE: the facebook page is down as of May 17, 2017 due to a co-ordinated attack by white supremacists who filled it with neo-nazi imagery and death threats, and published her home address online.  You can still find Assigned Male Comics on her Tumblr page)
  3. Women and Honour: Some Notes on Lying, by Adrienne Rich
  4. Using the F-Word (Fascism), from Shifting Phases
  5. Maintaining Personal Boundaries in Relationships, by David Richo
  6. Spiritual Destiny vs. Psychological Task, by David Richo
  7. Sex, Gender, and Mental Health: with a history of 2SLGBTQ+ social control
  8. The Lie of Entitlement, by Terrence Crowley
  9. A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, by Milton J. Bennett (see also Summary Poster)
  10. Excerpt on “Accountable Communities” from The Revolution Starts at Home (Chen, Peipzna-Samarasinha eds.)
 
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in Introduction to Quakerism, Past Events
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 Introduction to Quakerism, Outreach, Past Events
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.

Quaker Ed: Roots and Fruits of Our Faith

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in Past Events
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In the Quaker Education session of May 2016, Friend Bruce Dienes created a workshop called “Roots and Fruits of our Quaker Faith.”  We started by creating individual statements of faith, inspired by John Woolman’s statement about his belief.  According to Woolman,

“There is a Principle which is pure, placed in the human Mind, which in different Places and Ages hath had different Names; it is, however, pure, and proceeds from God. It is deep, and inward, confined to no Forms of Religion, nor excluded from any, where the Heart stands in perfect Sincerity. In whomsoever this takes Root and grows, of what Nation soever, they become Brethren.”

We considered a number of other inspirational sources too — from Descartes to Nellie McClung.

Bruce asked us to consider if there was a root of our faith — the bottom line, the origin of other beliefs, the most basic idea we stand on. He then invited us to consider what nourishes that root, and what springs forth from it — in other words, what parts of our lives grow out of that principle.  He also provided a variety of supplies we were invited to use to manifest our own “plant” in the Quaker “garden.”  From blank paper and words and colouring pages and pipe cleaners, the components of our spiritual “ecosystem” became visible.

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