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


 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)

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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