Table of Contents

News 20 July 2010

Spiritual Companions Working Group, July 20, 2010 at NYYM

Met in person at NYYM. I was not organized enough to put together a conference call. Present were: Karen Reixach, Jens Braun, Sharon Hoover, Deb Wood, Sarah Rozard, Autumn Star and Nadine Hoover.

Friends Peace Teams had a lovely luncheon presentation on Monday, July 19, 2010 at NYYM with about twenty people present. Lillian Vega Ortiz from Guatemala was present with Margaret Lechner from Peacebuilding en las Americas as well as Autumn Star, Sarah Mandolang, Nadine Hoover, Deb Wood and Sharon Hoover.

Our Working Group met at dinner on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at NYYM. We remembered the history of 2007 when Nadine Hoover requested that Friends Peace Teams take under its care the ministry of Friends outreach to Indonesia and the Conscience Studio activities in the U.S., which the latter could provide life to the form of “Every Meeting a Center of Peace.” The former was approved; the latter was not.

Over the past two and a half years, the Indonesia visitation has taken a great deal of time and the work in the U.S. was not that active. The Conscience Studio was basically an occasional workshop on listening to one’s conscience and writing personal statements of conscience. In some ways this was a way to introduce Indonesians to Quaker practice without proselytizing. In the last few weeks, Conscience Studios were added to the Indonesia Initiative budget lines. Nadine was thinking of the past arrangement. We needed a place to record costs for those workshops in Indonesia, but it probably was more motivated by the rise of the conscience work in the U.S., which if remembered correctly was specifically not approved by the Friends Peace Teams Council. In the Indonesia Initiative, we understand that everything we do in Indonesia, we also do in the U.S. In the U.S. we do Alternatives to Violence Project workshops under AVP-NY, Inc., but there is not a real organizational home for the rest of the work we do in the U.S.

In acknowledging this, Nadine has registered the Conscience Studio name as a sole proprietorship, set up a SAN (a number of a publishing company) and purchased ten ISBNs (numbers for individual books to put the in Book in Print). From now on we are clear that the work in Indonesia is under Friends Peace Teams and the work in the U.S. is under Conscience Studio. Conscience Studio has no tax exempt number, which Dan Jenkins particularly likes and encourages. Dan Jenkins, Bill Galvin and John Calvi have agreed to advise the Conscience Studio. The Spiritual Companions Working Group has expressed a desire to remain one group meeting monthly to provide oversight to both entities, since the work itself is and has been completely integrated and mutually informing from the start.

As of this week, Nadine’s daughter, Sarah, has been married and Nadine has completed construction and insulating her house. The house is clean and in order so that rent covers the taxes, utilities and expenses. Funds are quite low and there are few savings. After NYYM, Nadine has $39 in her bank account and about $300 in her pocket, but she did three massages Saturday night and one Sunday morning before she left for another $240, which is enough for now. Nadine will do massage for one week in August, November, December, January and April and that should be enough. Friends have offered hospitality to release Nadine to write. Non-tax deductible donations to Nadine Hoover as a released Friend may be sent to Nadine Hoover, 90 W University St., Alfred, NY 14802.

State of writing/production priorities at the present:

Anyone who would like to support Nadine to write this year may send a check made out to Nadine Hoover, 90 West University Street, Alfred, NY 14802.

Offers of service:

Content collaborators will be contacted for each project. Practicing Spiritual Community is a particular priority for the fall with Karen and Friends in Philly; Conscience is a particular priority for the spring with Jens and Friends in NY.

Nadine Hoover’s Travel Minute received a five-year renewal at NYYM, recognizing her ministry in the U.S. and Indonesia. Spiritual companions were present with her on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. The travel minute was read:

Dearly Beloved Friends,

We send our greetings and hold you in our hearts. We appreciate hearing your news.

We commend our Friend Nadine Hoover to your care. We value her gifts of ministering to villages in the U.S. as well as Indonesia. She has a warm heart, a gentle smile and a laugh you cannot forget.

She carries with her our faith in the Living Spirit to give life, joy, peace, and prosperity through love, integrity and compassionate justice among people who live in simplicity, equality, liberty and non-violence.

We acknowledge that human destructiveness, clearly tragic on a human scale, is miniscule next to the great Life-Giving Power of the Divine. Through conscience every person has an inward knowledge of and compulsion to act in accord with what is right and true. We are delighted to connect with communities of faith and conscience around the world.

We are grateful for all the letters, donations and invitations to visit sent to Friends Peace Teams, 1001 Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104 for this Quaker service and witness.

In faith and love,
Suzanne Blackburn, Clerk of Alfred Friends Meeting
Ruthann Bradley, Clerk of Farmington Scipio Regional Meeting
Heather Cook, Clerk of New York Yearly Meeting

Nadine Hoover presented on the floor of NYYM. She began by singing:
“Spirit, I adore Thee. Lay my life before Thee. How I love Thee.”

Nadine Hoover then reported that the Inward Guide is always present—that amazing Power and resource that is beyond all. When the needs feel like they outstrip the resources, then our body chemistry changes and we go down the wrong track. When we are in tune with that Great Power that is beyond all else, we realize that although many acts are absolutely tragic on a human scale, they are small next to the every-burgeoning Source of Life.

Tuning in to this Great Power takes discernment. Beyond personal tests of discernment, Friends also have our unique test of corporate discernment that adds ballast that can carry us far out into open seas.

This ministry is a product of the steady faithfulness of a large number of people, named and unnamed. Some are from New York Yearly Meeting—Jens Braun, Autumn Star, Pamela Hawkins, Fred Dettmer, Karen Reixach, Naomi Paz Greenberg, Deb Wood and Sarah Rozard (formerly Mandolang, she’s newly married)—and others you may or may not know—Pamela Haines (PhilYM), Tom Martin (SCYM), Gay Howard (PacYM), Val Liveoak (SCYM), Cecelia Yocum (SEYM) among others. These people serve as spiritual companions for Friends Peace Teams’ Indonesia Initiative and for Conscience Studio here in the U.S. The quality of the connection with all of the people present here makes a big difference in this ministry.

And we are traveling out into unchartered waters.

The Indonesians are comforted and shocked to hear about our many ways we are faithful, including our work under Conscience Studio:
The eight-minute video on the Declaration of Conscience and writing a personal statement of conscience on the web and DVD.
Setting up a website for the Declaration of Conscience, also in your Mosher Fund bag at the bookstore, which you may sign if you are a U.S. resident and conscientious objector to war.
Working on a Universal Declaration of Conscience for people globally.
Completing the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Advanced Manual on Trauma Healing that is now ready for publication and scheduling three workshops a year in the U.S.
Setting up Conscience Studio as a publisher for our materials.
Yielding to the terrifying, life-changing, liberating and fruitful experiences of following our conscience in our personal lives.

And we witness many blessings in the Indonesian communities we visit as part of this NYYM ministry, which was taken under the care of Friends Peace Teams in 2005:
With the help of Rachel Brett, QUNO Geneva, and Janet Hough, NYYM, the refugees of Barak Induk, Sei Lepan, N Sumatra were able to stake claim to the land they are on and become recognized by the government.
Active AVP workshops have been set up in three areas: East Aceh, North Sumatra and Central Java and seven schools for young children based on developmental play, AVP and peace in Aceh, Sumatra and Java.
Designer and builder, Peter Watson (Aotearoa/NZYM), was supported to train craftsmen in a traditional woodworking village of Jepara, Central Java to make developmentally appropriate wooden blocks and toys.
NYYM supported three young adults to travel in work with these Indonesian communities, one of whom is a ceramic engineer, Nicholas (Dosch) Rozard, to greatly improve Indonesian’s experimentation skills in developing cheap ceramic water filters and two others, who you’ll hear from directly in a moment.

Nadine shares John Calvi’s concern about Friends allowing current media to shape not only our information about, but also our perception of the world. Many of the larger personal donations to her work come from military families. When she asked them why, they reply that they see the underbelly of the military and it is even worse than she reports. An AVP facilitator in Central Java invited her to his village that’s become an extreme, fundamentalist Islamic community that took her in and could not hold their prejudices in the face of positive personal experience. After a day and a half the conservative elder wanted his picture taken with Nadine. In East Aceh, many people including AVP facilitators from Alue Merah said that if the war comes back it will come back from Alue Merah, but they are too militant, fragmented and difficult to communicate with to organize workshops. So since travel was freed up in Aceh as of this year, Nadine went directly there and was warmly welcomed. Beware of insidious enemy-making in the media.

We do all of this work as volunteers. Nadine’s livelihood comes from offering massage therapy. At the encouragement of her spiritual companions, she is only planning to work about six weeks in the coming year and to accept hospitality from Friends to release her to dedicate most of her time to writing as well as attending to this ministry. If you would to support her in your area for a while in the next year or two, please let her know.

She then asked Autumn and Sarah to talk briefly about their experiences.

Sarah Rozard reported that on her recent trip to Indonesia she learned about water filters while translating for Nick Rozard. They were dealing with people coming out of isolation because of war and who do not share a language with most Europeans. When someone doesn’t have the English and the ideas are new, then they don’t understand the idea and will not be able to translate them. Research and development of water filters was a whole new idea. Without the right ideas, research and development are out of the picture. To support the ceramic filters, they really needed the ability to bridge the language and conceptual piece and put it together with people who are smart enough and dedicated enough to use and keep it for the people. That is what Sarah and Nick Rozard worked on while in Indonesia.

Autumn Star reported that she found that she learned the most in life by exploring who she was through making connections with beings around her. She was honored to have had the opportunity to share part of herself with friends in Indonesia and to be so blessed as to travel with someone with so much wisdom and knowledge as Nadine Hoover. Going to Indonesia was an incredible experience for her. By going across the world and finding another part of her family, she learned about the parts of herself that live and breath in other places. She truly believes that we are all connected, and that we are all parts of one in Living Spirit, and the only way to learn who we are, is to learn and share with other beings in this world. She then read a poem that she wrote after saying goodbye to her friends, Mislan and Ida, with whom she spent two weeks in Barak Induk Refugee Camp in North Sumatra.

On the way out the door
I slip and fall
deeper into your heart
soaking up the love
raining from your eyes
I smile my goodbye
saya kembali

They all then sang the ending verse of a song that has touched the Indonesians deeply, knowing that we have known struggle also.

“And I have a hammer. And I have a bell.
And I have a song to sing all over this land.
It’s a hammer of justice. It’s a bell of freedom.
It’s a song about the love between my brothers and my sisters,
all over this land.”