Category: News

Canadian Yearly Meeting Online Courses: ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’ & ‘Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways’

Canadian Yearly Meeting Education & Outreach Committee Announces its Online Courses for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018: ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’ and ‘Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways.’

Facilitator(s): David Summerhays (Montreal Monthly Meeting) and potentially a new facilitator* if registrations warrant!

Friends across Canada are invited to participate in online courses that will begin September 2017 and January 2018. Both courses are tentatively scheduled to take place in September and January, but are dependent upon interest (registrations) and the availability of instructors. Registrants are asked to choose their ideal dates and course(s) of preference when registering, which will assist Education and Outreach Committee with scheduling the courses.

Introduction to Quakers and Friend’s Ways

The course will address the early history of Friends, the history of Friends in Canada, the experiential nature of Quaker faith, the role of the Meeting in Quaker life, Quaker testimonies and their origin, and how our Quaker community nurtures how we live, work, worship, and transact business. This course was previously offered in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Although created to meet the needs of more recent attenders seeking to learn more about Quakerism, we believe that even longstanding members could benefit from this course. We welcome inquiries from anyone who would like to learn more about Quaker ways, with priority given to Canadian Yearly Meeting Members and Attenders.

Quaker Faith and Practice

This course explores the experiential understanding of Quaker faith and practice, as presented in the foundational book Faith and Practice of the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, first published in 2011.

David Summerhays of Montreal Monthly Meeting, adapted the original course into an online course in collaboration with the authors. The course was originally prepared by Marjory Reitsma-Street, with assistance of Gale Wills and Catherine Novak, all Friends living in Victoria, B.C.

Marjory and Gale have doctorates from the University of Toronto, and are retired Professors in Social Work. Gale has served as clerk in local and national Quaker committees, while Marjory has concentrated on music and other service close to home. Catherine recently completed a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, works in digital marketing and communications (in addition to being a mother), and is currently serving on the Canadian Yearly Meeting Publications and Communications Committee.

The ‘how’ of online courses

Participants will meet once a week for six weeks using either video conferencing or audio conferencing technology. If you are unfamiliar with conferencing technology, don’t worry, the facilitator and the Education and Outreach Committee are committed to making participation in the course as easy as possible for everyone.

Participants will be asked to do a short reading before each of the sessions. These readings can be viewed anytime at the Education Page under ‘Introduction to Quaker and Friends’ Ways’ and ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’. The course will include worship, active exercises, reflections from readings, and the application to one’s own life of what is learned.

How to Sign Up

The course is free of charge. To indicate your interest: please click here to register. The registration process (including a availability poll) will assist us with determining the course times.

CYM warmly welcomes any donations you are able to give. Canadian Yearly Meeting, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa ON K1S 2L1. To donate by credit card, call the CYM office at 1-888-296-3222.

What previous course participants are saying about the online course experience

The course “was very meaningful to me. I have been circling the Quakers for a few years now and it helped me decide that it’s right for me.”

“The real thing that made this course meaningful was the connection I made with other friends.”

“I had an opportunity to communicate with Friends I did not know and that was worthwhile. A younger Friend seemed to appreciate my knowledge.”

“As someone who is new to Quakerism, I found the outline very informative. I appreciated the conversation with others, as it prompted a wider perspective of the topic under discussion and also allowed me to see some of the variety of the Quaker culture beyond the meeting I have been attending. My meeting was interested in my experience of the course.”

“The big Ah-Ha’s for me were around understanding what waiting in the light means for me, and what that sense of being connected to God means for me.”

“I encountered different ways of thinking about what was discussed that lead to different possible answers.”

What previous course participants are saying about our current facilitator

“I think David has a real gift. He started and ended on time. He was able to move us along, without me feeling hurried. He asked open-ended questions, which moved the discussion to the most interesting places.”

“He kept the flow going without impeding discussion. David was also very conscious of assisting those having technical/language difficulties.”

“He has a welcoming and non-threatening approach and was very clear that he thought of himself as a participant eager to learn as much as everyone else from the experience.”

“David did a great job making the space safe and promoting discussion. I didn’t feel overly academic which was just fine by me.”

*E&O is currently seeking and reviewing applications for people interested in facilitating these already well-seasoned courses. Interested persons are welcome to send a cover letter and resume to with the title “E&O Online Course Contractor” in the subject line.

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REGISTRATION OPEN: Quaker Study Weekend in Ottawa: ‘Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends’

Registration is now open for Friends wishing to attend this year’s annual ‘Quaker Study’ session hosted by Ottawa Monthly Meeting on October 13-15. This year’s workshop, ‘Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends,’ is facilitated by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta.

All Friends are invited to attend a weekend-long Quaker Study workshop hosted at the Ottawa Meetinghouse.

The workshop will explore historical and ongoing Palestinian nonviolent/ popular resistance, and support/ involvement by Israelis and by Quaker, Jewish, and other international organizations.

“The weekend will focus on experiences – ours and those of Palestinian, Israeli, and International activists – through film, unpublished interview excerpts, and personal sharing… and explore our own responses to the query, ‘Friend, what cans’t thou do?’” explains Maxine.

“I hope that F/friends will come away with a heightened sense of our power – as internationals with a commitment to nonviolence – to contribute to a just resolution in Israel-Palestine through actions in support of existing nonviolent Palestinian-led and Israeli initiatives, as we feel led.”

Workshop costs are covered by Education and Outreach Committee and there will be billeting available for Friends to attend. Quaker Study is normally held at Canadian Yearly Meeting gathering and is this year being hosted by Ottawa Monthly Meeting.

Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups are asked to please share information about the workshop with members and attenders.

The deadline for registration is September 30th.

The event poster includes is a detailed workshop schedule.

Registration forms are available here. (Please include a note for the workshop organizer regarding any experience in Israel and/or Palestine, whether you’ve attended any of her book-related presentations (2010 – 2016) and/or have read Refusing to be Enemies.)

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Call for Submissions for The Canadian Friend Fall Issue: ‘Reflections on the Fallow Year’

Calling all Canadian Quakers to submit your artwork, articles, poetry, reflections, photography and news for the next edition of The Canadian Friend! The fall issue’s theme is ‘Reflections on the Fallow Year’.

Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) will not meet all together as a gathered community in 2017, choosing instead to have a “fallow year” from the annual CYM Gathering (CYM-in-session).

The decision was initially considered for financial reasons, but quickly took on deeper meaning: to take the opportunity for rest and renewal, to focus on nurturing community in its different forms, to explore new opportunities for Spiritual growth, to gain fresh perspective on our practices and ways of doing business:

“A fallow year does not mean an infertile or moribund one, but instead connotes rest and renewal. We can consider 2017 as a ‘sabbatical.’ From biblical times the idea of Sabbath, the seventh day, was a day set aside for the nurture of the soul, when the people were called from their own work to do God’s work on God’s day, which belongs to God. In working the land, the people were under obligation to obey this call in the same way for the fallow year – usually every seven years – which was also seen as a Divine message that the land should rest, ploughed and harrowed, but not planted.” (CYM Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Council)

The Fall 2017 issue of The Canadian Friend invites you to share your reflections on the fallow year, and the spiritual practice of taking time set aside for rest and reconnection:

  • What can we as the Canadian Yearly Meeting community of faith learn from our fallow year?
  • Have you ever taken an intentional period of time set aside from daily life for the purpose of renewal – a sabbatical, retreat, or break due to burn-out? What was your experience, and what new insights did you gain?
  • What is your experience of community among Canadian Quakers, and what has this meant to you? Have you had a new or particular experience of community during this past year?
  • What can the Biblical practice of taking time for Sabbath, for sabbatical, or to lay fallow teach us today?
  • Have you had a new experience or discerned new awareness as a result of CYM’s fallow year?

Deadline for submissions is September 25th (note the revised deadline).

All submissions are welcome. (Don’t forget visual content!) Send your contribution to:

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Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, The Canadian Friend

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What Canst Thou Say: A Podcast

What is a Quaker anyway? What draws people to Quaker meetings, and what keeps them there?

Six Quakers in Manitoba recently got together to answer those questions and talk about their experiences with The Religious Society of Friends.

You can listen to their stories in “What Canst Thou Say,” a special podcast hosted by Lara Rae. “What Canst Thou Say” is part of an oral history project that Winnipeg Monthly Meeting has embarked on to document more about Quakers in Manitoba.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Announcing New Canadian Yearly Meeting Editor

Future and current CYM Editors Timothy Kitz and Reykia Fick

Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) is delighted that Timothy Kitz has accepted the role of CYM Editor (maternity replacement).

Timothy is an attender of Ottawa Monthly Meeting and brings rich experience to the role (more on that below). In his one-year contract as editor, Timothy will be responsible for producing The Canadian Friend and uploading content to the website.

Timothy will begin on September 18, although he has already begun to get oriented to the role. He will have a period of overlap with the existing editor, Reykia Fick. Timothy and Reykia will work together on the fall issue of The Canadian Friend (deadline for submissions: September 25).

Introduction to Timothy

My name is Timothy Kitz, and I’m excited to come onboard as the CYM Editor. I see both The Canadian Friend and as forums where Canadian Friends can discern what the Spirit is saying today, and as practical means by which we can knit ourselves together as a community across a vast geography. That’s important work; please help me as I help it happen.

As for who I am, to start with, I’ve been an attender of Ottawa Monthly Meeting for about six years, with a few months at Toronto Monthly Meeting before that. A visit to the Worship Group at the Possibility Alliance in Missouri – a permaculture community living joyfully without petroleum and electricity – was my first crucial contact with Quakers.

I grew up in and have spent most of my life in the Kitchissippi watershed, the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation. I’ve worked and volunteered with several non-profits, which has seen me working with people with intellectual and physical disabilities, as well as homeless and Indigenous folks. I’ve also been part of three intentional communities.

More recently, I’ve failed as a market gardener and have decided to focus on playing with words – AKA, free-lance editing, something I’ve done on the side for four years. I’m a big music nerd and I make experimental comics for fun. I’m at least as inspired by Socrates, anarchism, and the Dao de Jing as I am by Jesus of Nazareth and John Woolman.

Submissions? Web posts? Comments / questions / suggestions? You can reach Reykia or Timothy at

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