Halifax Friends Meeting (Quakers) Celebrating our 50th Anniversary Presents

SHARON MACDONALD, Cultural and Social Historian

“An Alternative Voice to the Pro-War Rhetoric in Early 20th Century Nova Scotia:  Mary Russell Chesley”

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014,  6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street
Everyone Welcome.  Light refreshments served.



Sharon MacDonald, Ph.D.

Cultural and Social Historian, Sharon MacDonald has written extensively on women’s organizational culture and volunteer labour in Nova Scotia, particularly in wartime.  Her work on quilt and hooked mat history and her personal interest in social issues has led in unexpected ways to more trans-national research, culminating in a dissertation on women associated with Gandhi and the Indian independence movement.

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. The Halifax Friends Meeting was established in 1964. Quakers hold varying beliefs, some deeply Christian, while others, drawing from varied traditions of the world, are Universalist Quakers. Quakers are alive and well today, working throughout the world for Peace, Justice, Equality, and Care for the Earth.  For information, contact Maida Follini at 435-3784 or follini@ns.sympatico.ca


melMel Earley was the speaker at our October 15t, 2014 session, celebrating Halifax Friends’ 50th anniversary.  Meeting at the Dalhousie University Multifaith Centre,

Mel talked of his experiences with Habitat for Humanity’s  “Global Village” program.  In this program, international volunteers work alongside local families in need, to build housing in communities around the world.  Mel has assisted in building homes in Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Macedonia. In the last five countries, he was the team leader, supervising international volunteers and local workers.

Mel, who grew up on a farm in Ireland where the family  built their own houses and farm buildings, enjoys hands-on work with tools. Having retired from a career in the insurance business, he has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity since 2007.

Following the program, Friends had many questions and were impressed by the effectiveness of this organization as it brings together volunteers from developed nations and local inhabitants who pitch in and participate in raising homes in their own communities.

Among the group of Friends in the audience we were pleased to see Mel’s wife Liz, daughter Helen, and young granddaughter, Lucy.   Corrie Douma coordinated the refreshments, helped by Marie Welton, Claire Henry, and Sylvia Mangalam.

The next 50th Anniversary session will be held on Wednesday, November 19th at the Multifaith Centre.  Sharon MacDonald, Ph.D., will give a talk entitled  “An Alternative Voice to the Pro-War Rhetoric in Early 20th Century Nova Scotia:

Mary Russell Chesley”.   The public is invited. For information, call 902-435-3784.

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Halifax Friends Meeting (Quakers) Celebrating our 50th Anniversary Presents

Habitat For Humanity

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street

Speaker: Mel Earley

Download flyer (PDF)

Program:  6:30 p.m.  Welcome & Light Refreshments

7:00 p.m. Speaker – Mel Earley

8:00 p.m.  Questions and open discussion with the audience

Mel Earley grew up on a farm in Ireland where everything was done by human or horse power.  “We built all our own farm buildings and houses.”  Mel says “I love building and fixing up old houses. I once bought a derelict house in England and did it up, because we couldn’t find a place to rent in the town. In 1983 we build a log house near Halifax from trees from our own woodlot. I have also renovated a few old off-shore fishing vessels and recycled them as cargo vessels.”

Following  retirement from a career in marine insurance, Mel volunteered for Habitat for Humanity which builds decent homes for the working poor, one family at a time. He did his first international “Global Village” build in Honduras  (2007) and trained to be a team leader. He has led teams on builds in the  Dominican Republic (2008), Guatemala (2009), Costa Rica (2010), Ethiopia(2011 & 2013), and Macedonia 2014).

His next build will be in Addis Ababa in January, 2015.  Habitat for Humanity homes are a “Hand Up”, not a “Hand out.”

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. The Halifax Friends Meeting was established in 1964. Quakers hold varying beliefs, some deeply Christian, while others, drawing from varied traditions of the world, are Universalist Quakers. Quakers are alive and well today, working throughout the world for Peace, Justice, Equality, and Care for the Earth.  For information, contact Maida Follini at 435-3784 or follini@ns.sympatico.ca


Jessica Metter, a long-time attender of Halifax Monthly Meeting, passed away on May 18th , 2014 after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. Jess is survived by her husband, Steve Bornemann, two daughters, Rebeccah and Sandra (Julien), son, James (Laura), grandchildren, Micah and Felix.

Jessica was born on December 11, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Joseph and Rose (Kronish) Metter. Jess’ father died when she was still young, and she grew up as an only child with her mother, Rose. In spite of limited financial circumstances, Rose exposed Jess to music and the arts. Jess valued solitary walks along the shore, time spent in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walks through the Botanical Gardens, quality teachers, and plenty of music. She became an accomplished pianist and taught music at some periods of her life.

Jess and Steve were teenagers when they met and in 1967 they were married and moved to Canada at the time when so many other young Americans were leaving the United States because of the Viet Nam War. They began their family life here in Halifax, later moving to Vancouver. Professionally, Jess studied and practiced as a speech-language pathologist. She was also an active volunteer in the Society for Promoting Environmental Conservation, the Dunbar Planning Committee, and the Granville Seniors’ Centre in Vancouver. In retirement, Steve and Jess returned to Halifax, where they were nearer their children who lived in the east. The Ecology Action Centre became central to Jess’ volunteer life here and she also became a member of the Nova Scotia Basketry Guild. She appreciated and loved to explore a variety of crafts. She also loved the outdoors, foraging for berries and mushrooms, and becoming informed about nutrition and health.

Jessica’s spiritual life began in Orthodox Judaism and went on to include Quakerism and Eastern religions. She practiced Tai Chi and Buddhist-based loving kindness. She spent many hours organizing and typing up an account of a Halifax Friend’s years of Peace Activism, and arranging for this record to be preserved in the Nova Scotia Public Archives.

Another interest of Jess’ was the development of a hospice here in Halifax. She was a member of the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax and was knowledgeable about death and dying issues. She facilitated a session for Friends on personal directives, sharing her own directive as an example. In addition to practical considerations, Jess’ directive reflected her personal approach to life and death. Her directive opened with a statement her mother made, not long before Rose’s death:

“I look well. I feel well, I eat well.

Be good. Do good.

Enjoy whatever life is left to you.

Be well, be well and spread the good word.

Jess’ directive closed with a poem by American poet Mary Oliver:

“When it is over, I want to say: [in] my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

With quiet dedication, Jess enriched the life of Halifax Friends and the lives of many others. She will be lovingly remembered.


The Terry Fox Run will be held on Sunday, September 14th, beginning at Point Pleasant Park; therefore, the streets approaching the Atlantic School of Theology will be blocked off. Meeting for Worship and the Spirituality Discussion Group will be cancelled for this week.


In June and July, in celebration of our 50th Anniversary as a Meeting,  Friends from Halifax Monthly Meeting took Field Trips.  On June 25th, we visited the Halifax Urban Farm, on the corner of Robie Street and Bell Road. Friend Jason Hofman volunteers there to run the composting program, and Halifax Monthly Meeting has contributed funds for the Farm.


On July 18,

Friends held a Family Picnic at Sir Sandford Fleming Memorial Park on the Northwent Arm.



The Quaker Family Picnic will be held Friday, July 18th from 4 to 6 p.m. at Sir Sandford Fleming Park (the Dingle).

The change from Thursday to Friday is because rain, wind and thunderstorms are predicted for Thursday, while Friday is predicted to be sunny and warm.

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The Field Trip to the Community Urban Garden is postponed until Wednesday, June 25, on account of rain.


Visit the Canadian Friends Service Committee’s “Commemoration of War” page for information and resources on the commemoration of war.


Fifteen people filled the program room at the Multifaith Centre on Wednesday, April 16th, for the fourth session celebrating Halifax Monthly Meeting’s 50th Anniversary.

Speaker Michael Bradfield, Ph.D. (Economics), retired professor from Dalhousie University, spoke on “Poverty: What Can We Afford?”  Bradfield is secretary of The Face of Poverty, a coalition of faith groups which includes Halifax Monthly Meeting, with the mission of abolishing poverty.

Bradfield described poverty as built into our  current economy.  A regressive tax system requires lower income families to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do wealthy families.  And the focus on lowering taxes for the wealthy and reducing government debt results in inadequate government services.

Among solutions are: changing taxation to a progressive system – one which requires a higher tax rate for those with higher incomes, a lower rate for those with lower incomes, and no taxes for the lowest income people.  This could be done by depending less on sales taxes, which burden the poor more than the rich, and property taxes which hurt the middle class, while depending more on progressive income taxes.

Raising the minimum wage would also raise many families out of poverty.

Perhaps the most effective and simplest solution would be to provide a Guaranteed Basic Income for every adult. This would allow everyone to live without having to depend on Social Service, and  the Food Bank.  Since it would be only a basic amount, there would be an incentive to work to gain goods beyond the minimum. As people worked, their  Guaranteed Basic Iincome would not be taken away. But as they reached a higher income,  they would contribute taxes, so that as they earned a higher income, taxes would  return the equivalent of the Guaranteed Basic Income to the government.

Many political leaders of both the Liberal and Conservative wings have promoted the Guaranteed Basic Income, including Pat Moynihan in the U.S. and Robert Stanfield in Nova Scotia.

By returning to the former taxation rules for taxing Capital Gains,  and Estates, and by using Income Taxes rather than property and sales taxes, there would be enough funds to provide a Guaranteed Basic Income for all, and practically eliminate poverty.  Such a change would have to have solid political support in order to overcome the resistance of the wealthy classes who now receive most of the income in Canada.

Refreshments for the evening were arranged by Corrie Douma, Jessie Tellez and Ree Brennin, and provided an enjoyable snack while those attending discussed the talk.

Halifax Friends Meeting gratefully appreciates Michael Bradfield’s sharing with us his expertise.

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