Fall 2019 Stirrings

Greetings from Michigan. This Fall it’s a joy to be among Friends here in North America. In this post I’m sharing some highlights from traveling ministry and Quaker service; photos too are interspersed. As this web site is periodic for updates, I also would point readers to two Facebook pages: Sink Down and Rise Up about traveling ministry, and an artist page about creative life.

In October, I participated in the Steering Committee Meeting of Quaker Earthcare Witness held at Pendle Hill Center (Wallingford, Pennsylvania), where my official contribution was as a QEW representative for Lake Erie Yearly Meeting. One of my personal joys was meeting some Quakers who share a path to honor our indigenous ancestors, as well as Friends who regularly center the wisdom of First Nations in their lives. In this direction, please read Stanley Chagala Ngesa’s article “Quaker Christianity in Kenya” from Friends Journal, October 2019.

Fall 2019 QEW Steering Committee Meeting at Pendle Hill Center (Pennsylvania).

Related to QEW, I’m happy to share that my article published in its newsletter BeFriending Creation. “Listening to Roots, Walking in Beauty” conveys the concern of Right Relationship in the traveling ministry that I carry under the care of Kalamazoo Monthly Meeting and, as endorsed through July 2020, Lake Erie YM. The piece draws upon ministry among Friends of Britain YM, between August to September, especially extended visitation with Southwest Cumbria (Swarthmoor) Area Meeting.

From November 9 to 10, Oberlin Monthly Meeting (Lake Erie YM) received this ministry for an after-dinner discussion and in First-Day worship. The fellowship was deep as a small group of Friends entered into worship sharing about our condition of living amid climate breakdown. We left with renewed spirits about how we use our bodies to honor the Earth, including a question from the Fall 2019 QEW Epistle by the Steering Committee: “What has to die in us so that Earth can live?”

Early morning at Kendal at Oberlin, home to Oberlin Monthly Meeting (Ohio).

This weekend after Thanksgiving, which also is observed as a National Day of Mourning, I will be with Ann Arbor Monthly Meeting (Lake Erie YM) from November 30 to December 1. I expect to join both Meetings for Worship, and to give a presentation at the Environmental and Social Concerns Committee. The presentation will share news from the traveling ministry and roles for Lake Erie YM. One item is from Friends of Britain YM engaged with Action for Bhopal: a call to learn about ongoing harm from a chemical disaster 35 years ago, and to discern a present response arising from North America toward related companies headquartered here.

In closing, I’ve been Light holding many of you among whom I’ve traveled and served, Light-holding our individual and corporate lives. That we all listen to the Light as we seek ways forward amid much brokenness in the world. That we hear the call to faithfulness, and be true to that which is put on our hearts. I often turn to the Prayer of Courage, which I carry with me after a brief visit in 2018 to the interfaith and reconciliation center Corrymeela in Northern Ireland. ‘Croi’ means ‘heart’ in Gaelic. You’ll find the poem below the photo.

Ballycastle Beach, Northern Ireland, near Corrymeela Centre. September 2018.

Courage comes from the heart
and we are always welcomed by God,
the Croi of all being.

We bear witness to our faith,
knowing that we are called
to live lives of courage, love
and reconciliation
in the ordinary and extraordinary moments
of each day.

We bear witness, too, to our failures
and our complicity in the fractures of our
world.

May we be courageous today
May we learn today.
May we love today.
Amen.

Programs: July – Sept. 2019

Descriptions published July 15, 2019.
Public programs except where noted with an asterisk (*).
Also seeEvents & Journeys“.

*July 25 – 28. “Sink Down and Rise Up: Spirit-Led Action for Sustainability.” Co-led with Sam Milford (Pittsburgh MM). Lake Erie YM annual sessions. Bluffton, Ohio.
……….As the climate crisis overwhelms many of us, there are Friends across the world arising to this great challenge with hope. We will explore the spiritual root of Quaker action for sustainability while learning about practical responses from Friends Meetings. We will envision where change is possible. The workshop leaders are FWCC representatives for LEYM.
……….The session will open with silent worship and reflection on the query: How do we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Spirit amid extreme harm done to the Earth and humanity? With a brief introduction, resources on sustainability will be provided from FWCC and the traveling ministry of Mey Hasbrook.
……….Materials will be discussed in small and large groups. A simple arts activity will be offered to augment reflection and discussion. The workshop will conclude with worshipful sharing.

August 3 – 8. “‘A New and Living Way’: Transformation through Right Relationship.” New England YM annual sessions. Castleton, Vermont. Given over two evenings, Aug. 5 & 7.
……….In the book of Hebrews,one counterpart to “provoking one another to love” is the statement that through Jesus Christ there is “a new and living way” (10:20). This way is a process of spiritually rooting and sustaining ourselves.
……….Love arising from the Light/ the Seed/ the Jesus Way transforms us toward Right Relationship with Creation. The path bares the heart and connects concerns. Along this path of nourishing one’s calling and community, renewal arises as both gift and responsibility.
……….The workshop will “sink down” deeply into this year’s theme through spoken ministry, queries, worship sharing, breakout groups, and a simple creative activity. Wisdom will be woven from First Nations as well as Quaker ancestors and contemporaries.

August 20. “Transformative Earth Care: 18th-Century Benjamin Lay for Today.” Talk & Thoughts discussion at Bolton Friends. Britain YM.
……….How one spiritual ancestor’s example of faithfulness speaks to the condition of modern Friends. A time to query, create, and invite the unexpected from a radical Quaker root that honors the whole of Creation through spirit-led, sometimes spectacle-creating and even “unapproved” actions. Drawing upon the 2017 biography The Fearless Benjman Lay.
……….Also given July 1, Quaker Earthcare Witness Center, Friends General Conference Gathering. Grinnell, Iowa.

August 31. “Traveling Roots, Arriving at Courage: Creative Change for Climate & Community.” Swarthmoor Hall. Ulverston, UK.
……….This series may be attended separately or in sequence; non-Quakers are welcome. The first workshop from 11am to 12:30pm speaks about the courage to transform our relationship with climate through community by traveling Quaker plus complimentary spiritual roots. The second session from 2:30pm to 4pm explores these roots through a hands-on creative processes that becomes part of Mey’s growing arts installation In Relation.
……….Some materials of interest on courage: Dorothy Nimmo’s epic poem, A Testimony to the Grace of God in the Life of James Nayler 1618-1660; the Courage prayer read from worship at Corrymeela, peace and reconciliation community in Northern Ireland.

September 13. “Sacramental Living for Sustainability.” Friendly Fridays discussion at Oxford Friends, Britain YM.
……….This path bares the heart, connects concerns, and “provokes one another to love”. The discussion explores “a new and living way” brought to us by spiritual ancestors and modern Friends.
……….Some materials of interest: Margaret Fell’s “Epistle to Convinced but not yet Crucified Friends” (1656) with reference to Hebrews 10:19-25; also Jonathan Dale’s messages on Social Testimony (1996 Swarthmore Lecture; Pendle Hill Pamphlet #360) .

June 2019 Details

CANCELLED
Women & Grandmothers: A Benefit – June 8th

UPDATE 6/1 — CANCELLED. Please share this announcement with any lists that have promoted the expected program “Water & Grandmothers” to be held at Kalamazoo Friend Meeting. Due to low confirmations, this event has been cancelled.

KFM’s Discussion Hour on Sunday 6/9, from 9:30am to 10:20am followed by worship at 10:30am, will be on the same topic and introduce the Women and Water Coming Together Symposium, https://www.spiritofthewater.org/.

For anyone who wishes to support the WWCTS as an indigenous-grandmother led campaign, please visit their web site for its current online auction. Also, there is the option to attend this year from August 4th to 8th or sponsor another person to participate.

For Kalamazoo neighbors, you are most welcome to join the conversation on 6/9. We also may do something smaller scale at that time for fundraising.

UPDATE (5/25): RSVP is encouraged to ensure that the event still takes place. A minimum number of confirmations are needed by 6/1 for the event to go forward as planned. Email meymdhATgmailDOTcom or text/ call (313) 389-6866. Participants are able to attend part of the program; please indicate this request in your RSVP.

Hosted by Kalamazoo Friends Meeting (Quakers), this program focuses on the importance of water and efforts of indigenous grandmothers to awaken all of us to the need to honor and protect water. Details are given throughout this post.

CO-PRESENTERS are special guest Panoka Walker from Monroe, Michigan (pictured above) with Mey Hasbrook of KFM (pictured below):

Panoka Walker is of mixed French and Anishinabe descent from the Deer Clan, her traditional name is Waabiskaa Waa waash keshi, White Doe. Panoka strongly identify with her Indian roots as a traditional storyteller, song carrier, hand drum maker, and traditional crafts women.  Encouraged by her elders after years of apprenticeship inside the sacred circle of life, Panoka is a facilitator of women’s ceremonies. She also teaches workshops and group presentations to adults and youths. Panoka member United Plant Savers, The Gathering Society and is affiliated with the Mother Earth Water Walkers who bring awareness to the Water, the Lifeblood of the Earth. Panoka is the proud mother of two beautiful daughters being brought up in the traditional way. She along with her husband Denny, Deer Walker, and daughters make their home in Monroe, Michigan.

Mey Hasbrook travels in the ministry under the care of Kalamazoo Friends Meeting (see traveling minute). Mey carries a message about Right Relationship: how care of Earth and humanity are interconnected. She also is an artist; her new mobile installation In Relation is growing through this message with events among Friends and the public. Mey serves as a volunteer representative of Friends World Committee for Consultation for Lake Erie Yearly Meeting and also on LEYM’s Earth Care Committee. She identifies as mixed-blood descent with Celtic Irish and Cherokee ancestors.

ENTRY will be free with DONATIONS invited and a SILENT AUCTION held to benefit the indigenous, grandmother-led Women and Water Coming Together Symposium (www.spiritofthewater.org).

The PROGRAM is interactive and builds one part upon the next: a brief water ceremony, an introduction to the indigenous and grandmother-led WWCT Symposium (spoken and video), creative activities (weaving and mobiles), and experiences from symposium participants including a Quaker perspective. Here’s a schedule overview:

  • 12:30pm Welcome & Silent Auction Round 1
  • 1pm Program, part 1
  • 2pm Break & Silent Action Round 2
  • 2:20pm Program, part 2
  • 3:10pm Break & Silent Action, Final Round
  • 3:30pm Program, closing circle
  • 3:45pm Auction results
  • 4pm Departure

The Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts with its campaign “The Art of Peace and Justice” is a co-sponsor. This event is the last in KFM’s series “Justice, Environment, and the Arts”.

May 2019 Details

Details here for the Justice, Environment, & the Arts series hosted by Kalamazoo Friends Meeting (Quakers), 508 Denner St., for May 9 to 11.

* The flyer is here.
* Events are on Facebook.

“In Relation”

A mobile-arts installation by Mey Hasbrook

  • May 9 & 10, 5pm – 8:30pm
  • May 11, 10am – 6pm

Info tables

Programs: May 9th

5:30pm -6:30pm. “Mahatma Gandhi’s Mentors and Disciples: The Philosophy and Practice of Nonviolent Earthcare.” A presentation by environmentalist Tom Small. Lower level.

Professor Emeritus, Western Michigan University, Tom Small will trace the principal influences on Gandhi’s practice of nonviolence and earthcare, including Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin, and Gandhi’s two mothers, his biological mother, Putlibai, and his spiritual “mother,” TheBhagavad Gita. His many notable followers include Vinoba Bhave (Land Gift movement), Arne Naess (Deep Ecology), E. F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful), Sunderlal Bahuguna (Chipko movement), Martin Luther King, Jr., Satish Kumar (Soil, Soul, Society), and Vandana Shiva (Seed Satyagraha). We’ll also touch upon the many parallels between Gandhi’s principles and practice and contemporary native American activism.

Tom is co-founder of the Kalamazoo Area chapter of Wild Ones and co-author of Using Native Plants to Restore Community, now in its fourth printing. He is a former clerk of the steering committee for Quaker Earthcare Witness and a current member of the QEW Publications Committee. He is a founding member of Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War .

7pm – 8pm. Worship sharing with KFM Clerk Kathy Ossmann. Upper level. A brief introduction to the series that includes worship sharing, “a form of worship that helps us listen to each other in a deeply spiritual, loving, and prayerful way.” A query about the series’ theme will be shared, which is informed by the art campaign “Peace and Justice” with co-sponsor Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts

Programs: May 10

5:30pm-7pm. Arts reception. Upper level. Snacks and hot drinks.

7pm – 8pm. “A Quaker View on Connecting Concerns: Right Relationship, Justice, & the Environment.” Discussion with Mey Hasbrook. Upper level.

Mey will speak about how Right Relationship has become a focus in her daily life, artwork, and traveling ministry among Friends. This approach recognizes and respects how caring for the Earth is bound up with caring for human community. Poetry likely will make an appearance.

An artist and community organizer, Mey currently travels in the ministry among Quakers under the care of Kalamazoo Friends Meeting. She has created and exhibited visual arts in Michigan since 2012, Peru (2015-17), and England (2018). Her path in community arts began as a poet in 2006, and she has been with Friends since 2007.

Programs: May 11th

11am to 11:45am. “Introduction to Potters for Peace” with board member Steve Smith (Angola, IN). Upper level.

Professor Emeritus, Defiance College, Steve Smith will speak about how Potters for Peace came to be founded in response to war, how its work is carried out alongside women in indigenous communities, and how it’s impacted him personally. He’ll be with us for the day selling Nicaraguan pottery to benefit the nonprofit (see photo below).

Steve produces functional, decorative and sculptural works in clay, steel and stone. He has exhibited in major regional and national exhibitions since 1974. He also has trained local potters on-site in Chile, the West Bank of Palestine, Belize, and Nicaragua. 4 Corners Gallery and Studio is his base in Angola, Indiana.

12pm to 12:15pm. “Solving the Climate Crisis – 20 images in 7 minutes” with Dana Mains (Fennville) of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Upper level.

This concise slide show is based on the Pechakucha design (patented by architects Klein & Dytham in Tokyo in 2003).  Translated “chit-chat,” akin to visual Haiku, this presentation style keeps it short and sweet. 

Dana Mains is a mother, climate activist, educator, and permaculture enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Environmental Policy and Behavior in 2000, and now lives with her family in the Allegan forest. She volunteers as chapter lead for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Kalamazoo (MI-6th district).

12:30pm to 3:00pm. Monthly meeting with Citizens’ Climate Lobby Kalamazoo. Lower level. Join CCL for a meet and greet (12:30pm), a live-stream guest speaker (1pm), and its local chapter meeting (1:30pm). For more details, visit CCL on Facebook.

2pm to 3:00pm. Family & School-Aged Youth (6+) Event with Dana Mains (Fennville) of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Outdoors (under balcony by parking lot). Art and story time! Mobiles will be decorated and a reading given from Gaia and the Golden Toad: A Tale of Climate Change.