Interest Seminar descriptions for 2020 Virtual Gathering

See the adult schedule to see sessions at a glance.

A Vision from 2050 – Looking Back on Covid19 and Climate Change

Friday, June 19 – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the ones you cannot live within.” – Ruha Benjamin

It’s the year 2050, thirty years after we faced a global pandemic, economic collapse, and impending climate chaos. Where are we now? How did we get here? In this workshop, Hayley will guide us through an exercise in radical imagination, where we sit with the possibilities of building a new society, one based in solidarity, cooperation, and interdependence. She’ll also share about the exciting and motivating work that’s happening right now around the US on some of the most pressing issues of our time and how to get involved through her lens as Communications Coordinator with Quaker Earthcare Witness and as an activist on local climate issues in Santa Fe, NM.

This workshop is inspired by an article Hayley wrote in the most recent edition of Western Friend.

Presented by Hayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare Witness

Climate Crisis

Friday, June 19th – 2 to 3 p.m.

This year, Friends are invited to address the action minute on climate crisis approved by InterMountain Yearly Meeting in June of 2019 – [MINUTE 20190614(d)]. We have asked four Friends to share the experiences of their monthly meetings in responding to the purposes of this minute and the opportunities available for action. After 30 minutes of sharing from those Friends who are directly involved, there will be 30 minutes of open discussion about actions we can take and shared resources for making this more possible.

Led by Peace and Social Concerns Committee

Digital Quakers

Thursday, June 18 – 1 to 2 p.m.

As we’ve adjusted to life during a pandemic, many Friends have become more comfortable using online communications tools. We would like to offer an opportunity for attendees to share their experiences of the impacts of these changes on their Quaker communities. We also want to hear people’s visions and hopes for potential future uses of these tools for Quaker communities of various types and sizes.

Led by Mary Klein of Western Friend and Polly Washburn, Virtual Community Coordinator of this year’s IMYM gathering

Engaging with AFSC in the time of COVID, Repression and Rebellion 

Thursday, June 18 – 12 to 1 p.m.

This will be an interactive session.  What is your Meeting up to in the realm of social justice?  Matt Leber, Assistant Regional Director for the AFSC US West, will share about how AFSC is working with Monthly Meetings & Churches in the West, our AFSC Liaison program, and how we can work together to create the change we want to see in the world. 

Experiment with Light 

Thursday, June 18 – 6 to 7 p.m.

Friends have asked, “What helped the first Quakers get through the challenging times of those early days?” British Friend Rex Ambler did some research and put forward a format for group experience he called “Experiment with Light.” This gathering consists of a guided meditation for individual focus and a worship sharing opportunity in a small group setting.

Led by folks from the Santa Fe light group.

Exploring Quaker Mysticism

Friday, June 19 – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Summary:  Rufus Jones defined mysticism as the response of the individual to a personal encounter with God within her or his own spirit. Traditionally Quakers seem reluctant to talk about aspects of mysticism, but there are rich descriptions in our literature.

This workshop will include a presentation and discussion on the history and definition of Quaker Mysticism including George Fox’s awakening experience of the “ocean of light and love,” as well as spiritual experiences described by other Quakers. It will include a comparison of mystical experience, which differs somewhat in various religions and the occult. We will also talk about Divine Requiring, which is a divine message some receive that requires a specific task to be accomplished. We will ponder why some experiences seem more life changing or illuminating than others.  We will also discuss signs we may receive when we are on the spiritual path and how those signs seem to lessen when we stray from the path. The workshop will include silent worship, discussion and presentation, and worship sharing.

Suggested Reading: Early Prophetic Openings of George Fox, a pamphlet printed by The Tract Association of Friends, reprinted in 1999; A Language for the Inward Landscape: Spiritual Wisdom from the Quaker Movement by Brian Drayton and William P. Taber, Jr; and Mysticism and the Experience of Love by Howard Thurman, Pendle Hill Pamphlet 115.

Presenter/Convener: Allen Winchester, Clerk of Santa Fe Monthly Meeting

FCNL’s Legislative Priorities for Nuclear Weapons Policy

Thursday, June 18 – 6 to 7 p.m.

Anthony Wier, FCNL’s Legislative Secretary Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending, will lead off with a legislative update on FCNL’s nuclear policy advocacy, followed by a discussion about possible developments around this issue and opportunities to take action.

Led by Anthony Wier, FCNL Legislative Secretary for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending; Jeff Pudlo, Program Assistant for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending

Friends Couple Enrichment

Friday, June 19 – 4 to 5 p.m.

Want to strengthen your relationship? Build communication skills? Come join us for a taste of Friends Couple Enrichment  –

We will offer an introduction and brief sampler of what Friends Couple Enrichment (FCE) is all about. Couple Enrichment events help couples celebrate their relationship’s joys and strengths, and develop skills to deepen and improve them. Come find out what it’s all about!

Led by John and Debbie Humphries, members of Hartford (CT) Friends Meeting, who have been leaders with FCE since 2015.

Friends In the Arts Storytelling ~ Three Minute Tales

Friday, June 19 – 4 to 5 p.m.

This is an age-old practice among friends and families taken online in which we all listen as a story is told, in this case a brief and meaningful personal experience. In this workshop we will create a family or ring of stories, a garden of shared memories to cherish.

Here are the rules:

      1. You must be in your 3 minute story. [ active, watching, dreaming ]
      2. Each storyteller will share a short interview with the facilitator prior to their telling for introductions and clarification. 
      3. The host will give timekeeping reminders so it will be easy to…..

Keep Within 3 Minutes. If time allows, you might tell a second story.

Rather than high drama, think of a simple, meaningful event; a childhood adventure; a dream; a surprise; a celebration of joy, sorrow or concern; a mysterious or hilarious episode; something that has lingered in memory and longs to be told. No verbal comment will be made on the stories other than initial questions for clarity from the facilitator and hints from the timekeeper. Afterwards, other participants will give sounds of appreciation. And then on to the next story!

PRIOR PREPARATION:  Those considering this interest group can click here for some interesting and fun materials related to 3 Minute Tales. They may also email Caroline at with questions about the workshop.

Led by Caroline Rackley, Quaker House Santa Fe.

“How does the creative spirit fare with thee?”

Thursday, June 18 – 11 to 12 p.m.

When we were all reviewing the FCNL policy book, “The World We Seek,” last year with an eye to updating it, I was dumbfounded to discover that there was absolutely no mention of music, art, drama or the humanities! In essence, “the world we seek” will be a paradise of economic and social justice – but it may be silent and gray. Friends have long had a tension between piety and quietism and the fruits of the creative spirit. Annals of yearly meetings contain accounts of Friends being read out of Meeting for attending a dance.

I propose that we use a worship-sharing approach to explore the roots of this historical tension and consider its implications for our lives today. It has implications for community-building, acting on our testimonies and, in the most basic sense, our freedom of expression.

Presented by Tom Vaughan

Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

Friday, June 19 – 6 to 7 p.m.

This prayer is a gift from the Haudenosaunee People (The Iroquois Nation), words of Thanksgiving with ancient roots dating back to when the Great Law of Peace was brought to the people by the Peace Maker, the Iroquois prophet, statesman, and lawgiver, who counseled an end to warring between the tribes.

60 minute presentation.

Presented by Laurie Roberts

Migration and You

Thursday, June 18 – 2 to 3 p.m.

The Migration Action Committee, MAC, of Pima Monthly Meeting would like to learn about what actions other meetings have been led to take around issues relating to people in migration.

For Pima Meeting, partnership with other groups has been a blessing, one leading has been the creation of a bond fund that has enabled many people to be freed from Immigration Detention to be with family and friends as their cases go through the court system.

Proposed Group Agenda:

  • Listen to participants experiences around standing in solidarity with people in migration.
  • Share MAC’s hopes and where Spirit has led so far…
  • Questions and discussion, share contact information
  • Worship

Presented by German and Bea Quiroga, Pima Monthly Meeting

Moving Toward the End of Life with Integrity

Friday, June 19 – 2 to 3 p.m.

Many of us operate under the idea that we can live to be 95 without any loss of abilities or wellness and then die in our sleep.

We hope to share our thoughts and have discussion in areas including; living with diminishment, visions of living well as we age, facing diagnoses of life threatening illness and how we interact with the medical system, and thoughts around death and dying, hospice and palliative care. Our goal is to encourage more integrity in our approach to the end of our life.

Presented by Penny Thron-weber (Mountain View Monthly Meeting) and Cynthia Smith (Moab Monthly Meeting)

New Mexico: Land of Enchantment or Toxic Wasteland?

Thursday, June 18 – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

A Power Point will be presented:  New Mexico, Land of Enchantment or Toxic Wasteland?  This session is about the proposed high-level nuclear waste from commercial nuclear power plants that would be transported by rail nationwide and dumped in SE New Mexico. These large quantities of plutonium and other radioactive materials will remain highly toxic even in minute amounts for hundreds of thousands of years.

There will be robust discussion with knowledgeable people present. There will be worshipful silences. A Minute from Albuquerque Monthly meeting inspired and informed this work. There is a sensible solution possible if enough people are educated about the scope of the situation.

Presented by Carol Merrill, Albuquerque Monthly Meeting

Poetry Heals

Friday, June 19 – 1 to 2 p.m.

An expressive poetry writing workshop for all ages and abilities. We will practice writing about who we are from our hearts. Using groups poems, collaborative poems and poetry games, we will collect a tool kit for handling stresses and aiding discernment. Molly Wingate felt called to create Poetry Heals and has used Quaker practices to develop its programs, methods, and organization.

Presented by Molly Wingate, Colorado Springs

The Power of Enough

Thursday, June 18 – 2 to 3 p.m.

“What is essential? How much is enough? How can we balance our use of time, energy, and “things” to free us for action to do God’s work and to contribute to right order in our community? Through personal reflection, discussion and worship sharing we will explore queries to discover our power of enough. Jackie Stillwell, General Secretary of Right Sharing of World Resources.

Presented by Jacqueline Stillwell, the General Secretary of Right Sharing of World Resources.

Racial Equity in Our Meetings — A Facilitated Discussion

Friday, June 19 – 6 to 7 p.m.

In this conversation, participants are encouraged to share about their experiences and the resources they have used to engage in racial equity work in their Meetings or in the Yearly Meeting. We will explore what is working and where we need support. We will also explore a continuum (used by FGC) for becoming an actively anti-racist Meeting. The facilitators will poll participants on resources most needed or requested and will offer additional opportunities to connect during this year.

Facilitators: Amy Rowland, Carol Clinkenbeard, and Paula Rhodes
Mountain View Friends Meeting

Resisting Empire:  The Book of Revelation as Resistance

Thursday, June 18 – 4 to 5 p.m.

Wess Daniels, IMYM Friend in Residence and keynote speaker

IMYM Friend in Residence C. Wess Daniels will present an interest group based on his book, Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance.  Rather than the common interpretation of Revelation as a description of the End Days, Wess interprets this text metaphorically as a call to action and divine empowerment to face and overcome Empire.

Jesus lived in a time of Empire that brought poverty, oppression, inequality and scapegoating.  What advice does the Book of Revelation give us about building a social movement to recognize, resist, survive and transform Empire?  How do the language, rituals and stories of capitalism, dominance and exceptionalism:

∙      Shape our desires by the kind of story we see ourselves a part of (if we are the good guys and “they” are the bad guys then we will see our actions as benevolent)?

∙      Shape what we believe is possible (and what is impossible)

∙      Dull our senses so that we are not aware of the suffering of our neighbors?

∙      Drive us towards seeing the “sacrifice of others” (or scapegoating) as a necessary part of what we do in order to maintain the peace?

∙      Distract us by excitement, sensationalism, and spectacle that feels good to be on the inside of but keeps us from actually knowing what is going on?

Ordering Resisting Empire
For those who would like to order their copy before the Gathering, C. Wess Daniels’ book “Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance” is available  through his website: Resisting Empire. His earlier book, “A Convergent Model of Renewal” can be ordered through FGCQuakerBooks.
Read more notes from C. Wess Daniels regarding this discussion.

Way Will Open: Quaker Center in Transition

Friday, June 19, Noon

Presenters:  Bob Fisher and Susan Wilson, Quaker Center Co-Directors

Quaker Center is embarking on a 10 – 12 week discernment process. We invite you to join this process in the spirit of worship, to reflect on the following queries:

    • How can Quaker Center best live our mission in these times?

Quaker Center seeks to nurture the spiritual growth and faithfulness of Friends and others, while strengthening Quakerism and its witness in the world.  We offer programs and personal retreats exemplifying Friends’ testimonies of community, integrity, simplicity, peace, and equality. We strive to live in right order with all creation, especially with the redwood forest that sustains us here in the Santa Cruz mountains.

    • What does that look like post COVID?

Co-Directors will share the financial, health and safety concerns Quaker Center is facing as general guidance for our shared discernment. We will also share our hot-off-the-press 2021 Program schedule!


Seeking Solutions: Immigration

Friday, June 19 – 7:30 to 9 p.m.

A documentary by Adrian Montgomery and Polly Washburn of Mountain View Meeting

It seems like much of what passes for civil discourse these days is two people who claim polar opposite viewpoints yelling at each other. The notion of “both sides” implies that there are only two solutions for any problem facing us today. As Seekers of Truth, we believe there are a spectrum of solutions, and we think exploring that spectrum could be beneficial to all citizens and politicians. For our first film, we took on one of the most contentious topics of the day in the USA: Immigration.

We spoke with 9 people with various relationships to immigration. One of them is Hannah Evans of FCNL. We are grateful that several people from Mountain View and Boulder meetings contributed financially and in other ways to help make the film happen.

The film is 60 minutes, followed by a Q&A session. You can read more about the film and see a trailer here. You might also be interested in a set of short videos we made with AFSC about the four women in sanctuary in Colorado.

Friday evening 7pm

Sweet Home Monteverde

Saturday, June 20 – 7 to 9 p.m.

This film traces the journey of nine Quaker families from rural Fairhope, Alabama, who, during the Korean War, immigrated to Costa Rica, a country that had just abolished its army. The film follows them to the mountaintop village they named Monteverde and documents their environmental stewardship, their creation of the largest cloud-forest reserve in Central America, their pioneering work on ecotourism, their early clarion calls to fight climate change — and the legacy of their activism as passed down to succeeding generations of Monteverde Friends School students.

More details about the film and screening at IMYM here.