Category: News

‘Quaker Concern’ through the decades

Quaker Concern has a new website – and a long and rich history reporting about Friends’ service work via the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC).

Quaker Concern then

The oldest copy of Quaker Concern still in the basement of Friends House in Toronto is Volume 2, Number 3, dating from 1976. It’s shocking to see that the cover story of this issue, about logging and mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows in northern Ontario, is still relevant today.

Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) was founded in 1931, uniting Friends from the then three different Yearly Meetings in Canada to work collectively on shared concerns of peace, integrity, equality, simplicity, community, and respect for all creation. The Quaker Reporter was established to report on the service work Friends did within CFSC, and in 1975, the publication was renamed Quaker Concern.

Articles from the earliest Quaker Concern reflect active threads within CFSC’s program work today. Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) continues to support the long struggle for justice as mercury continues to poison the people of Grassy Narrows. The Ontario and federal governments have finally made promises about remediation work to address the remaining mercury, and we must continue to hold them to account for these promises.

Quaker Concern now

In other articles from this 1976 issue we read about Friends’ concerns for peace internationally and for the treatment of people who have committed a crime. We see a powerful letter written by someone incarcerated in Toronto’s Don Jail, discussing the importance of social justice and positive change before reconciliation can truly be achieved. CFSC’s work continues to centre around criminal justice, peace, and Indigenous Peoples’ human rights, with a focus on themes like reconciliation.

We continue to send a print copy of Quaker Concern to more than 2,000 people in Canada and 18 other countries. We have now added a website to help share Quaker Concern with a wider audience.

It is fitting that the first issue of Quaker Concern on the new website features an article by Murray Thomson, who also had an article in Quaker Concern in 1976. It is a testament to Friends’ quiet and steady work for positive change. This work has achieved so much, yet it is fragile, and can easily be eroded as the conditions for just peace turn into conditions of injustice and war. So CFSC’s work remains important, and we thank everyone who has been a part of it.

Submitted by Matthew Legge in his role as Communications Coordinator for CFSC.

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CYM Clerk

May 1, 2017

Dear Friends

I am writing to let you know that Nancy McInnes, who has been serving as Presiding Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting, has felt the need to step down from this role effective immediately.  I want to express our thanks to Nancy for the service that she has given to CYM!  Nancy is happy for Friends to be in touch with her about this should they so desire, including at Western Half-Yearly Meeting later this month that she is planning to attend.

I will continue serving as Mentoring Clerk, assuming all the clerking responsibilities at this time with the support of Barbara Horvath, Clerk of Trustees and Anne-Marie Zilliacus, Treasurer of CYM, both of whom serve on the Committee of Clerks.

At this time no names have come forward to Nominating Committee for the role of Incoming Clerk.  Please hold this matter in the Light, and undertake careful discernment to see if there is anyone in your Meeting who may be led to do this service at this time or within the next year.  I have offered to CYM to extend my term of service as Mentoring Clerk for a year.  However, if this is accepted we will need to find Incoming Clerks for both 2017 and 2018.  Names may be forwarded to Heidi Dick, Clerk of Nominating Committee at

Please hold us all in the Light as we move through this transition, but especially Nancy as she moves on.

Yours in peace

Elaine Bishop

Mentoring Clerk


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Online Course, “Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways”

Canadian Yearly Meeting Education & Outreach Committee Announces its Online Courses for Spring 2017: “Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways”

Facilitator: David Summerhays (Montreal Monthly Meeting)

Friends across Canada are invited to participate in an online course that will begin in mid-May.

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 and 2016.

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.

How it will work

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 under Introduction to Quaker and Friends’ Ways.

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 by Friday May 12.

We plan to begin the course the week of May 15 at a time that will be determined based on the results of poll to be completed with registration.


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Young (Adult) Friends Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis

Preparations are underway for the Young (Adult) Friend Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis from Thursday, June 29 to Sunday July 2, 2017.

We’re excited to bring a critical mass of Young Friends and Young Adult Friends together to energize and strengthen our community and rejoice in our time together in worship, play, and good conversation. We hope to rejuvenate the Canadian Young Friends community and discern our collective path forward, asking what we want to be doing and what makes sense for us.

The gathering will welcome Young Friends and Young Adult Friends ages 13-35. Children of attendees are also welcome!

Please share this poster and spread the word. We hope as many youth as possible can attend!

For more details please contact or visit our Facebook page.

Thank you,

Young (Adult) Friend Gathering Planning Committee

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