News March 2016

Quaker art exhibition held in Montana

Thirteen Quaker artists were featured in an art exhibition titled “Quaker Artists: An Exhibition of the Quiet Faith.” The exhibit was hosted by Carroll College, a private, Catholic liberal arts college in Helena, Mont.; the show opened in the Carroll Art Gallery on January 26 and ran through March 3.

One of the organizers of the show was Brent Northrup, a Quaker who teaches communications at Carroll. “Word spread slowly through the Quaker faithful in the region, and gradually the Quakers realized what a rare opportunity this might be,” said Northrup.

Iloilo Jones, also a Quaker and an artist, was the curator and helped to gather the artwork. By early December, 13 artists had submitted works from five states: Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico. The organizers were interested in the relationship between faith and creativity, asking “When people of a common faith stage an art show, will their faith be discernible in their art?”

The exhibition was free and open to the public, and included abstract paintings, baskets, woven rugs, quilts, watercolors, handmade Ukrainian eggs and ornaments, and photographs of various meeting members.

FWCC World Plenary in Peru

FWCC World Plenary in Peru. ©Vanessa Julye

The Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting gathered in Pisac, Peru, on January 19–27. The World Plenary Meeting, formerly called the Triennial, is a time for Quakers from all over the world to gather as representatives of each of the four sections of FWCC: Africa, Asia West Pacific, Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

Over the course of the 2016 World Plenary, more than 320 people from 37 countries, 77 yearly meetings, 8 independent monthly meetings, and 2 worship groups met to consider the theme “Living the transformation: creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God (Romans 8:19).”

During this time, among other events, there was a focus on business to be done. There were four consultations, each focusing on a specific topic: developing leadership among younger Friends, encouraging membership and religious formation, addressing governance and meeting requirements for FWCC, and furthering the Kabarak Call for Peace and Ecojustice.

During the time spent on ecojustice, there was discussion about how frequent to hold the World Plenary. A change to at least once every ten years, instead of every four years, was part of the proposed constitutional changes for FWCC. Environmental factors were part of that decision, but the financial burden and the desire to have other ways to bring Friends together were also very important. This, and other changes in the governance, are an attempt to keep the environmental impact of the World Plenary to a minimum.

During the time spent on leadership among younger friends, an international committee of young adult Friends was formed with the task of tightening bonds among the young adults in all of the sections. Young adults made up a third of the participants of the World Plenary, and did a lot to help plan and carry out the gathering.

During the consultation concerning living ministry and communities, the time was spent sharing ideas for building spiritual communities.

There was also plenty of time for worship, and it took on many forms. There was singing in many styles and languages.

The next World Plenary does not yet have a date. It will be in the next seven to ten years.

FLGBTQC mid-winter gathering unexpectedly canceled

The annual mid-winter gathering of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC) was unexpectedly canceled this year. Just weeks before the event was scheduled to take place on January 15–18, the group was informed that the chosen venue was no longer available to host them during the requested dates.

In response to the news, interested Friends organized several regional mini-retreats instead. FLGBTQC meets twice a year as a group: once in the summer as part of the Friends General Conference Gathering and a second time during its mid-winter gathering.

During planning for the mid-winter gathering, FLGBTQC worked with South Central Yearly Meeting (SCYM) to hold the event at Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, Tex. However, near the end of last year, the camp was requisitioned by the U.S. government to hold almost 600 undocumented immigrant minors. FLGBTQC attempted to find a new space, but was unable to find a space that met their high standards for accessibility. The opportunity to gather in smaller regional gatherings and spend time learning about the immigration process was encouraged instead.

Regional retreats took place in three U.S. cities: Philadelphia, Pa.; Seattle, Wash.; and Madison, Wis. The Philadelphia retreat saw a turnout of more than 30 Friends, mostly from the northeast and mid-Atlantic with a few from Canada and Scotland. They spent part of their time together discussing immigration issues in an immigration justice workshop with local activists. They also took a group trip to the African American Museum of Philadelphia in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Seattle retreat gathered 20 Friends who spent some time visiting a immigration detention center in Seattle.


Courtesy of Chestnut Hill Meeting.

In early January Historic Fair Hill (HFH) announced the appointment of Jean Warrington as the organization’s new executive director. HFH is a peace-making urban green space and nonprofit community organization located in North Philadelphia, Pa.

Warrington’s term marks the first time the organization has hired a full-time executive director. With this position, HFH is hoping to expand the existing programs (community gardens and mentor programs with the local public schools) offered to its neighbors in North Philadelphia.

Warrington briefly served as interim executive director in 2015 and before that was the part-time program director. She has been involved with the organization for ten years, serving and promoting its work in a number of ways.

Fair Hill Burial Ground was recently featured in a December 2015 Friends Journal article: “A Continuing Miracle in North Philadelphia” by Jean Hurd, who details the history and recent work of the organization.

Warrington is an active member of Chestnut Hill Meeting in Philadelphia, Pa. She is a graduate of Friends’ Central School, and holds a bachelor’s from Swarthmore College and a master’s in social work from Wayne State University.

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