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April 2009 Newsletter

Letter to Friends

Newsletter of the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends


Fourth Month 2009





“Justice Bennet of Derby was the first that called us Quakers, because I bid them tremble at the word of the Lord. This was in the year 1650.”

George Fox




The Meeting’s Query for April

"How do we avoid commitments beyond our strength and light?  Are we careful how we choose to use our time and energy?"




Calendar of Events

All events take place at the Meetinghouse, 630 Canyon Road, unless otherwise noted. Meeting for Worship is held every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Childcare and First Day School are provided during the 11:00 a.m. Meeting. The South Santa Fe Worship Group holds Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on the top floor of 1730 Camino Carlos Rey.


Sunday 4/5/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

12:30 p.m. Potluck

Sunday 4/12/09 9:15 a.m. Ministry and Oversight Committee

10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

Sunday 4/19/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business

Sunday 4/26/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room






If you wish to have an item included in the calendar or contribute a notice, article or review to the newsletter, please contact the Clerk of Meeting. Thank you.

Minutes of Meeting for Worship for Business

Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 15th Day, Third Month 2009


Present:  Kathleen Burke, Bob Gaines, Beverly Busching, Martha L. Davis, Rebecca Henderson, John A. Kretzmann, Allison P. Martinez, Peggy Giltrow, David Giltrow, Guthrie Miller, Pamela Geyer, Michael Simon, David Henkel, Jennifer Wellington-White, Ann McLaughlin, Marguerite Kearns.


The meeting began with silence at 12:50 p.m.


Minutes: Friends approved the January and February minutes of 2009 with minor changes from the Clerk and a clarification from Philip Balcombe relative to Nominating Committee. It was also noted that newsletter editor David Vaux only serves through the end of April, which includes the May newsletter edition. Because Recording Clerk Marguerite Kearns will not be available in April because of medical leave, David Henkel volunteered to fill in.


Nominating Committee: Committee members continue reviewing positions to fill or request individuals to continue with their present responsibilities. M&O Clerk is high on the list as a position to fill. Also under consideration is changing the meeting date for M&O from the second First Day to the first First Day of the month. There’s a need to evaluate responsibilities and determine which ones are appropriate for learning and others which require service by more experienced Friends.


Recording of Members: Under consideration is a plan to be more diligent about making sure new members complete a basic information form which is filed with the Meeting’s permanent records. The information form is under review and there’s the possibility of it being posted online this spring.


Ministry and Oversight: The query for Fourth Month is: “How do we avoid commitments beyond our strength and light?  Are we careful how we choose to use our time and energy?” Philip Balcombe is serving as pro tem M&O Clerk in April and Roxanne Seagraves will serve in May while the Nominating Committee addresses the vacancy of M&O clerk. The memorial minute prepared for Kip Corneli and read by Ford Robbins at the memorial service on February 14, 2009, in Santa Fe will be forwarded to IMYM and published in the SFMM newsletter. Resident Kathleen Burke’s proposal for a midweek meditation, 5:30 p.m., in the Meeting House garden during the warm weather, was reviewed by M&O and referred to business meeting where it was held to be addressed more fully during the Resident’s Report. Other highlights of the M&O report include: the winding down of Quakerism 101 (expected to conclude in March); expressed concerns about the extent to which Christianity has an influence in Meeting; and the reconstituting of Friendly Sixes groups. A discussion of email etiquette was laid over until next month's meeting of M&O.


Worship Groups: South Santa Fe Quaker House continues with the ongoing third Wednesday of the month offerings of a simple supper. Email newsletters about the South SF Quaker House can be sent on request. The Los Alamos worship group continues meeting the second and fourth First Days. Eight people attended recently, with the acknowledgment and celebration of a baby recently born to a couple who attend regularly. Clearlight Worship group in Taos meets at the Peace House with eight or nine regular attendees, according to Rebecca Henderson and Peli Lee. Recording Clerk Beverly Busching encouraged more awareness about the status of individuals participating in worship groups who are members of SFMM.


Newsletter: No one has stepped forward at this time to take over the job of newsletter editor from David Vaux when he completes his more than two years of service in this capacity. If anyone is considering taking on the responsibility, Bob Gaines will be glad to answer questions.


Building Committee: Twenty more copies of the Olive Rush art catalog are now available for sale in the Meeting House library at $20 per copy. The purchase was made in preparation for the May 10th Historical Santa Fe Foundation tour scheduled during the Santa Fe Historic Foundation Week, 1-4 p.m. Of the three storm windows ordered for the Meeting House interior, two have been installed––in the library and children’s room. One has been held aside for the Meeting Room. Upgraded heating systems under consideration include: (1) forced air (2) a highly-efficient wall heater in a different location (3) in-floor radiant heating. Friends accepted the written report of the Building Committee which highlighted most of the above topics discussed.


Future Planning Committee: The deadline of March 31, 2009 set for the conditions associated with the land gift was extended to address the lack of completion of details. Representatives of the Meeting (Clerk, Recording Clerk and Treasurer) signed the extension. Conversations with adjacent neighbors continue about the proposed use of the donated land, with the hope that the extension of the contract to September 30, 2009 is sufficient to determine the next steps. The formal report of the Future Planning Committee noted: “This supplemental agreement specified that if the Santa Fe Friends Meeting was not able to use the land as agreed upon, it would return the gift of land to the donor.”


First Day School: The “joyfulness” of the participation by young Friends in the life of the Meeting was noted.


Resident’s Report:  Noted at the close of Meeting was the fact that this First Day is also Kathleen Burke’s birthday. She reported that the guest apartment was occupied 22 of 28 days which adds $1,030 to SFMM in revenues. The participants in the AA meeting held at the Meeting House have volunteered to help spread three yards of gravel and install a clothesline. The goal is to cover the circle and the path to the Ramada’s front door. Friends approved the Resident hosting and scheduling a weekly garden meditation, focusing on an outreach to people in the local community. The invitation is expected to read: “Drop in to connect with your Divine Self and Nature.” The start date is still to be determined, most likely on a Tuesday or Thursday, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Friends approved the creation of what was termed a “midweek meditation.” The Resident will also solicit feedback from overnight guests to determine what works for them and what does not work in an effort to improve the quality of the Meeting’s hospitality.


Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Bob Gaines pointed out the breakdown of donations to date, the total cash in the bank and totals in various funds (see attached report) with special emphasis on the paragraph at the bottom of the page including IMYM contributions based on membership and the fact that abbreviated financial reports for ten months of the year necessitates more detail in the remaining two months. An insurance payment of $1,050 is due in April. The IMYM assessment of $4,275 was paid on March 9, 2009. As of March 11, the General Fund contained $2,048 and the total cash in bank was $16,821. Average monthly General Fund expenses (excluding Good Works) in January and February were $870. Utilities averaged $350 per month. There was the ongoing discussion about the level of donations not being as high as last year, something which will be noted at the rise of Meeting as well as in individual messages to members and attenders expected to be sent by mail. Friends accepted the Treasurer’s Report as presented.


Peace and Social Concerns: Ann McLaughlin announced the Mother’s Day peace event scheduled for noon, May 10, 2009, at Warehouse 21 with a ten to fifteen minute talk by Dottie Indyke, executive director of Creativity for Peace, a program based in Santa Fe that brings adolescent girls from Palestine and Israel out of the violence and conflict of their communities to New Mexico for a three-week program. The program has received considerable notice after the death of a Palestine young woman, a participant in past summer programs in Santa Fe, who died in the recent hostilities in Gaza. See


Following Dottie Indyke’s presentation, there will be a peaceful procession to the Railyard Park with a BYO picnic. There is no cost for the event. In the event of rain, the events will take place inside Warehouse 21. Musicians and performers of all ages are being sought for the procession. Participants can bring banners, noisemakers such as drums, kazoos, chimes, gongs, bells, etc. Peace symbols are also welcome. Sponsors may set up tables at Warehouse 21 or at Railyard Park to display information, banners, signup sheets and so on. Also sought is participation by youth bands, musicians, poets, mimes, artists and performers who would also like to present their work indoors at Warehouse 21 prior to noon or following the picnic in the park. For more information, contact Ann McLaughlin at 505-699-7130 and 505-995-9655 or


Friends approved extending insurance coverage to this event, if needed.


Also noted was the local organizing effort for Quakers in the Arts.


The effort to support the repeal of the death penalty was acknowledged, especially Governor Richardson’s invitation for citizens to go on the record concerning this issue. Friends approved a Minute to present to the Governor during the scheduled Open House at the state capitol on Monday, March 16, 2009: “The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) request that Governor Richardson sign legislation (Bill 285) repealing the death penalty in New Mexico.” David Henkel and Marguerite Kearns will present the Minute to the Governor.

Meeting for Worship for Business ended at 2:10 p.m. with silence.

Respectfully submitted, Marguerite Kearns, Recording Clerk


Young Friends of South Side Santa Fe Quakers


South Side Santa Fe Quaker Worship Group is ready to welcome younger Friends to meeting.


Wee Friends, aged from birth through pre-school, will be cared for in the a room set up for their needs unless parents prefer they stay in Meeting for Worship. If possible (but this is not required), call 471-2288 if you think you might need gentle childcare.


School age Friends will join us in Meeting for Worship and, when led, go to the quiet activity nook in the meeting room to color, draw, do puzzles, play quiet games or read books that speak to Quaker values.


If you have additional inspiration to share about children’s programming,  

please call Nichoe at 438-4368 or email




Internship Opportunity

at the Ben Lomond Quaker Center


The Ben Lomond Quaker Center is pleased to announce an internship opportunity for an individual or couple who are led to provide service to The Religious Society of Friends and Ben Lomond Quaker Center while developing meaningful skill and experience in nonprofit management and conference center operations.


What is Quaker Center?


Ben Lomond Quaker Center is a retreat and conference facility located in the mountains outside Santa Cruz, California. It encompasses about 80 acres of second growth redwoods, streams and trails. It offers workshops throughout the year which are of special interest to Friends and like-minded people. As a busy conference center, Quaker Center hosts a wide range of activities including group retreats, seminars, youth camps, and personal retreats.





Book Review


The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse (available in the Santa Fe Public Library)


This is a difficult book. Not because it is hard to read––Carse writes engagingly and very clearly. Rather, it is difficult because part of his thesis is subtle and difficult to grasp. (At least, it was for me.)


Belief, says Carse, is not religion. Belief is "the place where we stop our thinking." Belief "thrives on conflict" and "depends on the clarity and restricting power of its surrounding boundaries." Belief has to be defended against those who don't believe. Carse points out that there are over 200 significant Christian creeds, and "not one of those creeds has succeeded in closing down debate over proper belief."


"Quite simply, being a believer does not in itself make one religious; being religious does not require that one be a believer."


Carse's account of belief is wonderfully clear and wide-ranging across cultures and religions. (Carse was for 30 years Director of the Religious Studies Program at NYU.) It's when he turns to the nature of religion that the difficulty begins. If religion isn't the same as belief, then what exactly is religion?


Carse says that scholars of religion have given up trying to define religion, and he can't define it either. The only shared characteristic of the "great" religions that he sees is their longevity. No other human institution––no empire, nation-state, or even ethnic culture––approaches the longevity of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


Something must account for that longevity, but Carse is cautious in attempting to ascribe reasons. This is where I found the book difficult but also quite challenging. Carse offers several suggestions for how to think about religion. The ones I liked were that it is like "a vast work of poetry," that it is like an on-going conversation about meaning (Why am I here? Why is there something and not nothing?), and especially the title of his last chapter: "For the Recovery of Wonder".

Bob Gaines


Messages and Announcements


  • Friends are reminded that M & O maintains a Meeting Calendar. Please contact Ford Robbins (505-466-7665) to schedule use of the Meetinghouse for your event. This will help avoid conflicts and will allow Meeting to maintain security of the premises.

  • Friends who know someone who would like to reserve a stay in the guest apartment are asked to have the potential guest(s) contact the resident (505-983-7241) directly to make the booking, so that she can know exact dates as early as possible and coordinate reservations. If there is a change in plans, this also should be communicated directly to the resident by the guests.

  • Junk no more!  Your excess calendars, greeting cards, and old magazines can help

women prisoners to maintain connections with friends, families and the outside world.  Just call Audrey Miller at 424-1208.  She'll pick up your donations and get them to the women.  Thank you!

  • Friends and attenders are reminded that Michele Chrabot collects brown paper grocery bags for recycling at the Santa Fe Food Bank. They may be given to her after 11 o'clock Meeting for Worship or placed in the designated bag in the Meetinghouse kitchen.



Some Key Meeting Contacts

Santa Fe Meeting Websites:

Ministry and Oversight Committee: (for personal or meeting-wide concerns, and needs for pastoral counseling) Philip Balcombe, Clerk of M&O in March, 466-2982; Joan Spencer, 984-2217; Dimitri Mihalas, 474-0870; Jennifer Wellington, 438-9399; Michael Simon, 989-3817; Roxanne Seagraves, 438-3714

Meeting Clerk: Jennifer Wellington, 438-9399

Meeting Resident: (to book accommodation in guest apartment, to schedule use of building, or to report building problems, etc.) Kathleen Burke, 983-7241,

Recording Clerk: Marguerite Kearns, 505-753-9760

Treasurer: Bob Gaines, 466-1746 Please mail financial contributions to Treasurer, Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 630 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe NM 87501, or put in “birdhouse” box. Thank you!

The South Santa Fe Worship Group telephone number is 471-2288, and the email address is

The Committee on Conscientious Objection meets as needed. For information please call Howard Shulman, 984-9908. (For special December meeting see Messages and Announcements above.)

For a complete list of committees, see the Meeting Directory. Friends and attenders can request a copy at any time, either 'printed on demand' and mailed to you or sent to you electronically, i.e. as an email attachment. For hard copy please contact David Vaux (, 505-454-9352) or to receive by email contact Bob Gaines (, 466-1746). In either case please specify whether you want the local Santa Fe directory or the outside Santa Fe directory, or both.



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