11:30am – 4:00pmWORKSHOP “Food – Nourishment for Body and Soul”
Cost (for food): $15.00
A presentation/demonstration by Bronwen Jones (of Plant Power) & Judy Wilmot. Prepare together, then savour, a variety of easy-to-make dishes for lunch while learning principles of plant-based diet and cooking.
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:
In what situations is trust important to you?
What are some examples of people you trust, and why?
What are some examples of organizations you trust, and why?
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.
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?
In what ways do I work to change society so that everyone has equal opportunities?
How can I speak up and take action in a loving way when I see and hear injustices?
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!
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.
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
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.
In practical terms, what does living simply mean to you? How are you living the testimony to simplicity right now?
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?
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.
Short films, radio clips, readings, responses, discussion and reflection.
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.
We 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.
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.
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)
4PM — 5PM: Tea, coffee and snacks; time for conversation and questions
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:
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.
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 Outreach Committee. If you’re a seeker or newcomer and you’d like one for yourself… well, contact the Outreach Committee!
Our display table, complete with brand new banner… and snacks.
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.
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
There are activities and events for people of all ages. “Just Being” is also an activity.
You can propose your own discussion or action group, about faith, action, service, or other topics
You can stay for an afternoon or the whole weekend
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.
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.
Contact Maida Follini 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.
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).
Attend a Meeting
Usually, 10:30AM to Noon every Sunday, in homes throughout the Valley. Note: During the COVID-19 emergency, we are meeting via Zoom. Contact us for information.
Open to the public. Dress is casual — come as you are.