"The Library Book," by Susan Orlean, a discussion. Saturday June 29, 2019

Susan Orlean says:I grew up in libraries, or so it seems. My mother and I would take regular trips to the branch library near my house at least twice a week, and those trips were enchanted. The very air in the library seemed charged with possibility and imagination; books seem to have their own almost human vitality. But over time, I had become more of a book buyer than a book borrower, and I had begun to forget how magical libraries are. I never stopped loving libraries, but they receded in my mind, and seemed like a piece of my past. And then I started taking my own son to the library, and I was reminded instantly and vividly of how much libraries had meant to me, how formative they were to my love of reading and writing, and how much they mean to us as a culture. The next thing I knew, I was investigating the largest library fire in the history of the United States. The life and times and near-death experience of the Los Angeles Public Library was a story that felt urgent to tell, and gave me a chance to pay tribute to these marvelous places that have been such an essential part of my life.”

SO; let’s talk libraries!!

Discussion facilitated by Regina Baird Haag—Powell House Co-Executive Director and bibliophile!

Cost per person—including snacks and dinner; $50

add overnight accommodations on Saturday night for $30

Register by June 15, 2019

Register online at www.powellhouse.org or call 518-794-8811



The Powell House Subscription Series


As we begin to launch the second year of offering a subscription series for individuals and monthly meetings at Powell House, let’s review the specifics of the program.
The individual plan: Any individual who pays $720 is eligible to come to as many Powell House programs as they’d like for one year.

The monthly meeting plan: A monthly meeting that pays $1440 can have one person at each Powell House program for one year.
Powell house subscriptions do not include yearly meeting events or other rental group events. Examples of events that are not included are: Coordinating Committee Weekend and Monthly Meeting retreats. Events jointly sponsored by PoHo and another organization ARE included: Like QREC, or the “Creating Generous Congregations” retreat. Sometimes there is an additional charge to defray an added cost. The added cost will be charged to a subscription holder (like $20 per person for the Contemplative retreat in January, or $50 for the Dian Killian Non-Violent Communication retreat in June.)
Powell House wants to receive the name of the person who will be attending each program from the monthly meeting clerk. The monthly meeting may have to develop an internal discernment process for determining which attender will get to use the subscription at each program. This may deepen relationships and decision-making capacity within the meeting!
Subscriptions will run for one year from the date Powell House receives the fee for each monthly meeting or individual.
Please feel free to inquire about other questions or concerns you might have with Co-Executive Director Regina Baird Haag at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 518-794-8811.
Here are some testimonials from a few current subscription holders:
“The Powell House subscription plan lets me support a place that means a lot to my family, while also allowing me to attend conferences on a regular basis without second guessing. The more one attends PoHo, the better for heart and soul, and the subscription definitely encourages more frequent attendance. It also greatly simplifies the registration process. Found time! What a gift.”
Joanna Oltman Smith, Brooklyn Meeting, individual subscription holder

“New Paltz Meeting has used our subscription to send F/friends to PoHo who have never been there and to support our First Day School work by enabling those involved to attend  a weekend for  FDS teachers.  We have given preference in the subscription's  use to those who have never been to PoHo and we have not had any problems with making that qualification.  Having the subscription enables us the enrich our own worship and commitment to Quakerism and to offer a material and spiritual benefit to those who worship with us.”     
—Elise Bacon, New Paltz Meeting, monthly meeting subscription holder

"My family and I have been attending conferences at Powell House for over ten years, but until this year I only occasionally came on my own. I’m not the greatest at getting out of the house and away from family responsibilities, or spending money on myself-it feels so frivolous! This year I have learned something important about myself; having paid for conferences in advance makes it much easier for me to get out of my house and go on retreat from my daily life. When I read about a conference and find myself thinking “that sounds interesting,” or “that feels a bit out of my comfort zone, but I bet I’d get something out of it,” instead of making a mental note about it which I will soon forget, I sign myself up. I figure I might as well go since it is already paid for. Then I place it on the family calendar, carving out that space for myself. Thanks to my subscription, without intending to, I have improved my capacity for self-care by creating a new habit of giving myself permission to take a break from my responsibilities to others to be responsible for and to myself in order to learn and grow as a person and a Friend.  The conferences I have attended have helped me to gain new skills and perspectives, as well as to connect with a larger group of people from all over who are interested in doing the same. Each conference I have participated in has truly been a gift to myself.” 
                                           --Heidi Kelly, Old Chatham Monthly Meeting, PoHoCo clerk, individual subscription holder.

QUERY: Can you or your meeting benefit from greater participation in Powell House programs?

June 14-16, 2019

Life brings to each of us, experiences of anger, fear, hurt, and pain.  What we do with these is up to each individual.  Choosing to practice forgiveness can bring healing and inner peace. Forgiveness work helps us reconnect with ourselves and others in more loving ways.  Research shows that it’s great for our physical health, too!

Come, join with others who are willing to take some steps along this spiritual path.  Focus is on tools and techniques, not on therapy.  Workshop will include presentations, quiet worship, guided meditation, practicing techniques, and group and individual time.

Sue Regen, a member of Rochester Friends Meeting (Quaker), has been working in the area of forgiveness since 2002.  It is part of her personal journey.  She has led forgiveness workshops at Attica Prison, Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, Friends General Conference Gatherings 2004 to 2018, Rochester Friends Meeting, and at retreat centers in Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, and Old Chatham, New York.

Register by June 1: $280-$200/adults; $125/ages 13-22; $70/infants-12; $175/commuters

After June 1: $260/$145/$90/$195

Childcare with 3 weeks notice.



Creating Generous Congregations,  Powell House, August 16-18, 2019

Creating Generous Congregations (CGC) is an interactive and practical workshop focused on inspiring and equipping Meetings toward generosity and faithful, financial stewardship. Participants will explore the unique mission/vision of the Meeting, current trends in giving, the spirituality of fundraising, and creative ways to invite Friends into a fuller partnership in the shared work and witness of the fellowship.  As Quakers, we sometimes struggle to have conversations about giving and our use of wealth, especially as it relates to Meeting finances. The CGC workshop helps create space for authentic sharing, how we might consider new practices and offers resources to shift the culture of generosity moving forward.

“Creating Generous Congregations” was originally developed by Everence with assistance from Lake Institute.  It is available to New York Yearly Meeting through our relationship with Friends United Meeting.

Lake Institute serves the public good by exploring the multiple connections between philanthropy and faith within the major religious traditions. Its mission is to foster greater understanding of the ways in which faith inspires and informs giving – bridging academic research and practical tools for the benefit of Churches/Meetings. It is a leader in faith-based training and teaching.

Everence helps individuals, organizations and churches integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services.

Facilitator: Colin Saxton serves an Everence® Stewardship Consultant helping individuals, congregations and non-profits integrate faith and finance through stewardship services and financial resources. With a passion for thriving communities of faith, Colin also serves as an instructor for the Creating Generous Congregations. He acts as a liaison to the Friends/Quaker world and seeks to deepen connections, encourage generosity and facilitate a vision of holistic stewardship with other partners in the Pacific Northwest. Colin and his wife Janine live in Newberg, Oregon, and are the parents of four grown children. Prior to coming to Everence, Colin was a Quaker pastor, superintendent of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends and General Secretary of Friends United Meeting, an international fellowship of Quakers.                                                                          

Registration is $190 + $50 Monthly Meeting fee for the first participant from a meeting and $190 for each participant thereafter.  We strongly recommend at least two Friends attend from each meeting.

Commuters & Campers: $150 for the first participant from a meeting, $100 for each thereafter.


 March 29-31, 2019

Dear Friends,

In each of our Friends Meetings—regardless of the form of our worship—there are Friends to whom God has given a heart for this particular people; this particular community.

Such Friends feel called to walk lovingly alongside individuals and encourage them in their spiritual development.  They also hold a concern for the wellbeing of the Meeting as a body. Each Friend brings gifts to the ecosystem of the Meeting. Those with specifically pastoral gifts find laid upon their hearts the health of the whole, and they express this calling in a variety of ways which may include vocal ministry, spiritual accompaniment and encouragement, pastoral care, teaching, conflict resolution and facilitating the ongoing connectedness of the Meeting community. They hold “the big picture”.

Pastoral ministry is alive among Friends, whether or not we recognize it by that name.

For the past several years New England and New York Yearly Meetings have been working to find new ways to support Friends called to pastoral ministry. Last year, we expanded our definition of “pastoral ministry” to include all those Friends who are alive in this work.

 “They Gathered Around” will be a weekend retreat for—and of—such Friends, called into pastoral ministry (by whatever name), for mutual encouragement and growth.  The title—“They Gathered Around”—is a reference to the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who gathered, quite literally, around him and then discovered that their work was to engage in beloved community with one another.

Who might your meeting send to join this retreat?

Event Information:

They Gathered Around:  A weekend to encourage Friends called to pastoral ministry

Powell House Retreat and Conference Center, Old Chatham, NY,  March 29-31 

Register: $280-200/adults  www.powellhouse.org


 About the workshop facilitators:

Emily Provance a member of Fifteenth Street Monthly Meeting in New York Yearly Meeting, is called to a ministry of hearth building–that is, she feels called to the work of creating a home for Friends, a community rich with opportunities that are so nourishing that each of us can then turn around and minister in the world, fully fed.

Nia Thomas is a member of Northampton Friends Meeting (Massachusetts). She has served on staff of New England Yearly Meeting since 2010 leading retreats for youth & adults. She is passionate about creating peer circles for critical conversations which deepen the life of local meetings.

Hilary Burgin values creating opportunities for people to know one another more deeply. She formerly worked as the Young Adult Engagement Coordinator for NEYM, supporting young adults in community-building and monthly meetings in practicing welcoming and outreach to young(er) folks. She is the current Executive Director of Quaker Voluntary Service.

When you consider the ecosystem of your Meeting (and regardless of formal role):

  • Who in your meeting holds a continual concern for the well-being of the Meeting as a body? In other words, to whom has God “given a heart” for your people?
  • Who walks alongside individuals and/or Meetings and encourages them in their spiritual development?
  • Who in your meeting do Friends turn to when there are difficulties to untangle? Who do people confide in, trusting their guidance and care?

We hope these Friends will be able to participate in this weekend-long gathering. So that we may host the Friends you may recommend, and to help us understand their experience and gifts, please send their names, a brief description of their gifts as you see them, and their contact information to either:

For NEYM: Honor Woodrow, Clerk of NEYM Ministry & Counsel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For NYYM:Steve Mohlke, NYYM General Secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please feel free to contact us at the emails above if you have questions, or if we can offer further support with your discernment.

In faith and hope, the planning committee for “They Gathered Around”:

Honor Woodrow (Clerk, NEYM Ministry and Counsel, Framingham Meeting, MA)

Regina Baird Haag (Co-Executive Director of Powell House, Old Chatham Meeting, NY)

Steve Mohlke (General Secretary, NYYM, Ithaca Meeting, NY)

Noah Merrill (Secretary, NEYM, Putney Meeting, VT)

Powell House is the conference and retreat center of the 

New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Powell House
524 Pitt Hall Rd
Old Chatham,  NY
phone  518-794-8811
fax     518-794-8815
Adult Program 
Youth Program