Quaker House provided sanctuary and counselling for Vietnam Era War Resisters
Wednesday – March 19, 2014 – 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street
Part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations: Halifax Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
6:30 – Welcome, Quaker Historic Peace Testimony, Conscientious Objection to War – Maida Follini
6:40 – War in Vietnam, Resisters, Canada – Dick Cotterill
6:50 – Halifax Quakers & the Nova Scotia Committee to Aid American War Objectors – Richard Lind
7:15 – Personal Story – Margot Overington
7:30 – Personal Story – Roger Davies
7:45 – Personal Story – Dick Cotterill
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) began in the 17th Century as seekers gathered to connect to the Divine by quiet listening to the Inner Spirit. Quakers hold varying beliefs, some deeply Christian, while others, drawing from varied traditions of the world, are Universalist Quakers. Come and share in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Quakers in Halifax. For more information, contact Maida Follini at 435-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On February 19th, twenty Quakers and Guests attended the second in a series of sessions on the third Wednesday of each month, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Friends in Halifax. After a social time with light refreshments, we viewed a DVD “George Fox and the history of the early Quakers”, produced by the Quaker Tapestry at Kendall, Ltd. of England.
Claire Henry then introduced our guest speaker, Katie Aven who holds a Master of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology, and has served as a chaplain, and a speaker at Friends events. Katie, a member of Annapolis Valley Friends Meeting, spoke on “A Quaker view of God” and reviewed some of the differences between traditional Christianity and Quakerism: Quakers believe that each person can have direct communication with God, without the mediation of a paid preacher. There is no division between “pastors” and “laity” – all are equal in the sight of God. Therefore there is no need for a special priestly class. Everyone may, at times, be inspired to minister –women and men, older people and children; people of different races and different social classes. In Quaker practice, the people in the congregation minister to eachother, rather than receiving ministry from an authority at the top.
Without a creed and an authority to direct belief, Quakers have developed a wide variety of concepts of God. But all believe that “there is that of God in every person”, and aim to give respect to every person, regardless of differences from oneself.
Following the talk there were many questions. For example, Do Quakers believe in sacraments? What is the place of Jesus in Quaker religion? Katie Aven pointed out that Quakers do not separate life into certain ‘sacramental” acts such as the sprinkling of infants with water at a Christening, and other acts in daily living. Quakers consider all life sacramental, rather than only certain ritual acts. Infants are “baptized” not by an outer ritual, but by the spirit working within them. A marriage is a sacrament, not just at the time of wedding, but throughout the married pair’s life. The sacraments are not outward, material and confined to special occasions. They are spiritual, inward, and continuous.
Quakers strive to follow the teachings of Jesus.Faith is seen as something attested to by action, rather than by the repetition of a creed.
Diverse views of God reflect in part the different cultures in which Quakers abide. One Friend pointed out that our understandings of God also depend upon our stage of life. The views of a child will be different from that of a young adult, and these views will change as a person raises a family and proceeds through old age. The differing views held by individuals should all be respected, as each person will hold to a faith that is satisfactory for them according to their culture and their stage of life.
Many thanks to Katie Aven for her thought-provoking talk; and to Friends for handling the refreshments; and other arrangements.
The 3rd Session in the 50th anniversary series will be held, Wednesday, March 19th, on the topic: “Quakers Helped End the War in Viet Nam:. Speakers will include Richard Lind, who counseled War Resisters at “Quaker House” (Seymour Street in Halifax); Margot Overington, who assisted War Resisters in Ontario; and Roger Davies and Dick Cotterill came to Canada as War Resisters. Maida Follini will introduce the session with a brief account of the Quaker Peace Testimony. All are welcome.
Due to the weather, there will be no Meeting today.
The Spirituality Discussion Group met after Meeting on February 9, 2014, with nine Friends attending. The topic was “How does your knowledge of science affect your faith?” Among the points expressed were: Science has limitations; it deals with the material, physical world, typically omitting values, feelings and intuitive, but undocumented, knowledge. Many Friends are scientists, but recognize science’s limits. Spirituality takes different forms. One’s faith is very individual, and, a wide diversity of belief is accepted within Quakers, as one person’s view of the spiritual may differ from the next person’s view. One’s beliefs and the spiritual appear to be beyond the realm of science and often are difficult to share, as individuals experience religion differently. Some Friends come from faith backgrounds, others come from more secular backgrounds. Quaker testimony for continuing revelation provides for acceptance of new ideas, and the capacity for religious growth. The Friends’ process of waiting silently, and meditating in a group seem to provide a common ground for individuals with differing religious experience.
The next Meeting of the Spirituality Discussion Group will be held in March at a date to be announced.
I am sorry to announce that because of the freezing rain warning, we have decided to cancel Meeting for Worship and the Christmas Potluck on Sunday December 22nd. Hopefully the weather will improve by next week.
Due to anticipated snow storm, the Meeting for Worship on December 15th is cancelled.
Due to the Atlantic School of Theology’s use of our Meeting room on December 1st, Halifax Monthly Meeting will not be held. We will resume our Worship at the regular time on December 8th as well as hold our Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business following refreshments.
“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” Henry van Dyke
Visiting in the Ministry Workshop, Fredericton, New Brunswick
(hosted by the Fredericton Worship Group of New Brunswick, November 8-10th, 2013)
Thirteen Friends gathered under the hospitality of the Fredericton Worship Group of New Brunswick, at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
One facilitator for the workshop was Deborah Fisch. She travels with a minute from Iowa Yearly Meeting, Conservative, and is the co-ordinator of Friends General Conference Traveling Ministry Program. Her companion and co-facilitator was Stephanie Deakin, from Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting, working under the guidance of CYM’s Education and Outreach Committee of Quaker Education Program Co-ordinator.
We gathered on Friday with a dinner, a Worship and an opening session to find out each other’s reasons for attending and our goals for the weekend. We began to discuss ‘what is ministry’ and ‘what is visitation’.
Interesting ongoing discussion centered around ‘What does Love ask of us’ (what the phrase even means); T-ruth vs t-ruth through continuing revelation and what kinds of opportunities of the spirit can arise through visitation, either to our home meetings or by going on a visitation.
Saturday’s sessions were exceedingly interesting and engaging. After beginning with a nice, not short Worship, we dove in. New to me was the idea of “Listening in Tongues” We have heard about speaking in tongues, that is, if we cannot find words to express our spiritual journey, then the language of tongues can take us out of the realm of the verbal and into the realm of speaking spiritually. Just reading the above statement is an exercise in Listening in Tongues in that many of us find this a repulsive idea due to the things we think we know about certain groups who use this as a regular practice. However, we do it every time we engage with each other. When someone uses vocabulary we are uncomfortable with, if we are listening with love, then we translate the words into sounds that we become comfortable with. This is the Listening in Tongues experience. We grant each other the room to speak from the heart without trying to make is palatable to others before we speak, rendering it so neutral as to be lifeless.
That was the first ten minutes.
We discussed the many aspects of ministry, service, risk taking, the willingness to be wrong, intentions of the heart. We discovered that while we all thought we knew what Ministry is, we were all surprised by each other’s descriptions. We were reminded that Quakers did away with the Laity, not the Ministry.
In the afternoon, again after a Worship session, we broke into four smaller discussion groups. Each of us sat at the table where the question most interested us. Of course, we all trotted back to the center and shared. Each sharing was followed by Ministry from Deborah and then a group discussion.
Themes kept repeating and resonating: find spirit in our actions; look for the T-ruth (spirit) versus t-ruth (ego led); ministry gives and receives; we are given gifts – they are equal and important; continue to trust each other.
Practical aspects of traveling in Ministry or as a Companion were covered as well as a discussion about receiving visitors in our home meetings. We closed with worship and then hit the pub.
Sunday Friends gathered for a deep worship hour and a Go-Round on what each of us had been thinking of but had not been led to share during the hour. Coffee and then my companions and I headed back to Nova Scotia.
I was very glad I attended this workshop. I had had last minute grumpies and almost canceled. I found that I was ministered to very well in my individual concerns. I had very loving conversations with some seasoned Friends and they were true gifts of the spirit. I feel better and refreshed in my spiritual journey with the Beloved Community. As Deborah Fisch said several times, “How cool is that?”
Laureen van Lierop
Meetings for Worship
Sundays 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Atlantic School of Theology Library
Lower Level, at the back of the building down the hill.
640 Francklyn Street
Please use the car port entrance.
Meetings are fragrance-free.
Child care available.
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