Special Interest Groups (SIGs) listing

The SIGs are listed below, with details, where they have been received.

Latest details, event Zoom links, and time (in your time zone) will always be in the CYM2021 Planner.

If our team resources permit, some of the information below may be updated.


Monteverde Friends School
What does CYM do? What inspires us about CYM?
Kitchen Table Climate Conversations


Healing the World, One Wound at a Time: CDCA In Nicaragua
Climate Action: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Campaign
Financial Software for Quaker Meetings


Friendly Parenting & Caregiving: Sharing Our Lived Experience
End of Life: Considerations and choices for a spiritual legacy
Re-engaging with our tradition

Monteverde Friends School

The Monteverde (Costa Rica) Friends School and the Canadian charity, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Education Foundation (MEF) that has provided us with scholarship grants, are applying to offer a Special Interest Group (SIG) at the 2021 Canadian Yearly Meeting.

We hope to share the story of how 40 Friends from Fairhope, AL, USA came to Monteverde in 1950-51 after four young men in the group had served prison sentences because they refused to register for the US peacetime military draft and they did not wish to pay war taxes. While only a small number of their group are still alive, their message and their testimony are carried on as the Monteverde Friends School (MFS) provides bilingual, K-12 education based on Quaker values.

We would like to share the recent documentary, Sweet Home Monteverde with those who attend CYM for Friends to watch, if they like, in the days just before the yearly meeting starts. The documentary tells the story of the group of Friends got to Monteverde after learning that Costa Rica eliminated its military in 1949 (and hasn’t had it since) in order to invest instead in education and healthcare. It tells how these Friends grew to get deeply involved in offering a school and in restoring and preserving Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity. The documentary also goes beyond that, to present current-day students of the Monteverde Friends School and their involvement in protecting the environment as well as the school’s embrace, under the care of the Monteverde Friends Meeting, of Friends’ values.

Against the backdrop of the documentary, during the hour of the Interest Group, we would like to present the perspectives of some Canadian Friends who volunteer with MFS and what has inspired them to do so. Depending on the date of the session, we hope to include Susie Smyth Washington, Kenna Manos, Kay Chornook, and Don and Liz Tanner, all longtime visitors and supporters of the school, to share what brings them back year after year.

It is our hope that offering this Special Interest Group will strengthen bonds between our school and Canadian Friends so that we might join in ventures in the future, as the pandemic allows, such as:

  • Offering exchange programs for MFS and Canadian students to spend a term or a year at each other’s school.
  • Encouraging Canadian families to consider a year spent in Monteverde where their children might attend MFS (space allowing, we have been very full)
  • Now that we are all familiar with Zoom, finding ways for our Meetings or school classes to interact with Canadian Friends
  • Exploring MFS further by visiting our web page, www.mfschool.org


The Monteverde Friends Meeting approved the following minute of support for our offering this SIG:

“The Monteverde Friends Meeting in Monteverde, Costa Rica, fully supports the application by the Monteverde Friends School (MFS) to offer a Special Interest Group at this year’s Canadian Yearly Meeting. The school has been part of our Meeting for 70 years, and is a major expression of the Quaker values of our community. For many years, we have enjoyed the volunteer efforts of a number of Canadian Friends. We encourage CYM to allow MFS to provide a Special Interest Group to broaden our connections with Canadian Friends.”

In addition, Cowichan Valley Monthly Meeting has approved a minute of support, as requested by Steve Abbott.

Contact Information: 

Ellen Cooney, Monteverde Friends School Outreach and Development,

Susie Washington-Smyth, Monteverde Cloud Forest Education Foundation,

End-of-Life considerations and choices for a spiritual legacy


June Etta Chenard


Workshop Description

As Quakers, we may wish to consider our spiritual legacy, and seek to understand how our lives might speak to future generations.


This SIG will encompass:

a short worship time centred on the topic of our spiritual legacy;

an introduction of the topic through excerpts from our Testimonies, Advices and Queries, and Faith and Practice;

small group reflections, with queries;

reports back from the small groups;

I will also very briefly tell about the many documents I have for the practical end-of-life planning considerations, and offer to send copies later, as might be requested.

a short worship-sharing time; and

a brief period of silence.


Bio Notes

I first led a workshop on end-of-life concerns in 2004 for Pelham Executive Meeting, where I am a member, and we met weekly for several weeks. Since then, I have led other such workshops and presentations, both for Quakers and for various groups. I have also been recognised as a Quaker chaplain for end of life concerns, and I have also served as a Hospice Niagara (HN) volunteer for almost 12 years, where I have been recognised as a member of the June Callwood Circle of Volunteers. ”



Sunday, June 13, 2021 via ZOOM

  1. New business
  2. a) We approved a minute of care and support for June Etta Chenard regarding her offer to lead two Special Interest Groups during CYM in Session, August 2021, to wit: End of life considerations and choices for a spiritual legacy, and Art as a grief healing activity in this pandemic time—as required by the CYM Program Committee. The Clerk will forward this minute to Daniel Allen, member of the Program Committee.


Kitchen Table Climate Conversations

From Lyn Adamson. 

We will offer an introduction to this method of engaging family and friends, neighbours and colleagues, to the urgency of climate action in a supportive environment. Currently ClimateFast (an organization I work with) offers training and facilitation tips for this type of outreach and education. Research shows that many people are concerned about the climate crisis but most either don’t know what to do about it or assume other people are taking care of the issue. Our aim is to inform and engage small groups of people through dialogue. We include sharing of values and feelings (hopes and fears) and a problem-solving brainstorm session that helps people think through what can be accomplished at both the personal and the political levels through community projects. We can’t solve a crisis without understanding what it is and what kind of action is required. The climate crisis is truly an existential crisis. Through our efforts Friends can make a difference to the future. More information and resources are available at the websites for climate conversations [https://climateconversations.ca] and For the Love of Creation (a Kairos initiative) [https://fortheloveofcreation.ca/]

Toronto MM 2021.6.2.3. Update on Kitchen Table Conversations Project

(c) Minute of support for Climate Conversations SIG at CYM


Lyn Adamson would like to present a Special Interest Group (SIG) on Climate Conversations at the Online CYM Gathering to be held in August. Friends wanting to present or facilitate a SIG are asked to obtain a minute of care and support from their monthly meeting. Lyn has prepared the following description: [as above]

We minute our support for Lyn to lead a Special Interest Group on Climate Conversations at the August 2021 Online CYM Gathering. We ask the Clerks to forward this minute and the SIG description to the CYM Program Committee Clerk.

(d) Minute of support for SIG on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty at CYM

Lyn also requested support for second Special Interest to facilitate Friends’ discussion on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. We minute our support for this second SIG and express our appreciation for Lyn’s work.


Hosted by Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg.

Healing the World, One Wound at a Time: CDCA In Nicaragua

Led by Becca Mohally Renk, a sojourning Friend from Sandpoint Monthly Meeting in Idaho, USA, living in Nicaragua.

Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has stripped away the bandages to reveal societal wounds, impacting most those who live in poverty. Since 1994 the Center for Development in Central America has been addressing these issues in Nicaragua. Come find out what we can do together to heal the world…one wound at a time.


Sandpoint Friends Meeting

1025 Alder Street

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864


30 May 2021


Greetings to Friends in Canadian Yearly Meeting:

Sandpoint Friends Meeting is delighted to support Becca Mohally Renk’s request to lead a virtual interest group at your Annual Session this year. Becca grew up in our Meeting and we have been following her work and adventures since she moved to Nicaragua twenty years ago to work with the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA).

Becca has given excellent presentations many times to our Meeting when she comes home to visit. In addition, she and her husband Paul were Friends in Residence at North Pacific Yearly Meeting in 2013 where they presented an informative and very moving talk about their work in Nicaragua. Since the onset of Covid-19 worldwide, Becca has given numerous virtual talks to Quakers around the Pacific Northwest to raise awareness of the many aspects of the CDCA’s work, from supporting organic farmers to operating a medical clinic that serves a very poor population.

We are sure that Becca’s talk about sustainable community development in the context of Covid-19 and climate change will be interesting and informative for Canadian Friends.


In peace,

Judith Clarke, Clerk


Climate Action: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Campaign

From Lyn Adamson. 

We welcome Friends to a discussion about how we can drastically reduce emissions to 7% per year, as called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We will introduce Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Campaign (https://fossilfueltreaty.org)

by showing the following short (5-minute) film clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0chj3XaDhU&t=3s. Then we will follow up with a go-around discussion with Friends that includes what people are doing in the communities where they live.


Financial Software for Quaker Meetings

Dan Cooperstock will present a bit of history about his business Software4Nonprofits.com, talk about the Quaker principles he applies in the business, and show its two products for churches and charities. DONATION, written originally for Toronto Meeting in 1994, and updated continually since then, is for tracking donors and donations and issuing tax receipts in accordance with all of the CRA’s complex requirements. It has almost 9,000 registered users, including 6 Canadian Quaker Meetings and as many U.S. Meetings. ACCOUNTS, for the more general bookkeeping, including simple and completely automated fund accounting, was introduced in 2012. It has over 1,400 registered users, including 5 Canadian Quaker Meetings and one in the U.S.A. This SIG could also be an opportunity for existing users to share questions and opinions about the software.


Toronto MM 2021.7.4.1   Minute of support for a Special Interest Group (SIG) at CYM

Dan Cooperstock would like to present a Special Interest Group (SIG) on Financial Software for Quaker Meetings at the Online CYM 2021 Gathering to be held in August. Friends wanting to present a SIG are asked to obtain a minute of care and support from their monthly meeting. Dan has prepared the following description: [as above]

We minute our support for Dan to present this Special Interest Group at the August 2021 Online CYM Gathering, and ask the Clerks to forward this minute and the SIG description to the CYM Program Committee Clerk.



Friendly Parenting & Caregiving: Sharing Our Lived Experience

Hosted by Maggie Knight


How does your Quaker faith and practice affect how you parent?

How do you share the domestic and childrearing labour in your household? How has this changed over time?

How has parenting affected your leadings to social witness?

How has parenting affected your leadings in paid work?


This Special Interest Group offers a space for parents and caregivers to come together and share their experiences, recognizing that we do not always have a critical mass of parents and caregivers of younger kids locally in our Monthly Meetings. This SIG will focus on the experience of Friends who are currently parenting younger children, but welcomes the participation of Friends of all ages, regardless of whether you have or have raised children.

2021.06.05 VIMM supports Maggie Knight in developing and presenting a Special Interest Group titled Friendly Parenting & Caregiving: Sharing Our Lived experience.  We offer any care that we might be able to provide as she does this service.  Approved.

CYM Contributions Committee

“What does Canadian Yearly Meeting do?”

“What inspires us about CYM?”


Contributions Committee‘s mandate is to encourage members to financially support Canadian Yearly Meeting.  Some Friends ask: What is Canadian Yearly Meeting?  What does CYM  provide that our local Monthly Meeting doesn’t?  What are we being asked to donate to?

In this SIG we’ll share basic information about our national organization and how it supports the work of Canadian Friends as a whole and our individual Monthly Meetings.  Even experienced Friends may not know of all the work which CYM does.  Participants in the SIG will have an opportunity to speak about their own experiences. What is precious and inspiring to you?

Contributions Committee


Re-engaging with our tradition


Held by CYFYM and open to all of CYM.

Hosted by Steve Ginley and Zaley Warkentin.