Gaza pinwheels

Blowin’ in the summer wind.
Here’s the explanation.
This display from the 2015 sessions of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends is timeless.




Time for Yearly Meeting

Oops! At least it wasn’t the R that fell.

Like many other Yearly Meetings in North America, ours holds its annual sessions in August, these days gathering for nearly a week on a college campus. It’s a powerful time of faithful work on business decisions and administration, worship, Bible study, inspiration, fellowship (often around food), music and dance, and friendships old and new.

The golf carts are a popular way to get from one end of campus to the other, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. The volunteer drivers, I might add, are usually well into celebrating their inner child.

Rare books and files

It’s a big cabinet with protective doors. I love the smell of old books when they’re opened.

The library in many Friends meetinghouses may have a few shelves like this. From a similar bookcase in Ohio I once borrowed Joseph Besse’s 1753 two-volume A collection of the sufferings of the people called Quakers, for the testimony of a good conscience from the time of their being first distinguished by that name in the year 1650 to the time of the act commonly called the Act of toleration granted to Protestant dissenters in the first year of the reign of King William the Third and Queen Mary in the year 1689. Alas, we don’t have that one in our collection – those big books are a genealogical treasure. We still have plenty for a serious scholar or bibliophile to engage. It’s likely that many of the authors visited Dover as travelling ministers.

Who was it who so meticulously wrapped and cataloged all these and more so many years ago?

Look what we did 50 years ago

Found stashed in the gallery upstairs.

We’re getting ready to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the erection of our meetinghouse in June 1768. It’s our third and went up in one day, like an Amish barn-raising nowadays. The big sign stashed in the gallery upstairs announced a play one Friend wrote and the rest of the Meeting performed in honor of the 200th anniversary. Yes, poet John Greenleaf Whittier’s parents were married in our meetinghouse.

Gallery window

The second floor of the Dover Friends meetinghouse was originally a gallery — or balcony — that we closed off in the 1950s to conserve heat in the worship room below. One half of the space has since been converted into classrooms, but this side is used mostly for storage.

Taftsville Mennonite

Mennonites had a vital influence over the early Quaker movement, largely through their General Baptist connection to England. Like Friends, they maintain a pacifist witness and simplicity.

In fact, the first Mennonite congregation in North America — in Germantown, Pennsylvania — initially worshiped with a Quaker Meeting as one. By tradition, it introduced the first anti-slavery statement among Friends, who were slower to accept its call.

Unlike the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, there are few Mennonites in New England.

Taftsville Mennonite, in a former schoolhouse in eastern Woodstock, Vermont.