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May 2009 Newsletter

Letter to Friends

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


Fifth Month 2009





“We are inclined to call things by the wrong names. We call prosperity ‘happiness’ and adversity ‘misery’ even though adversity is the school of wisdom and often the way to eternal happiness.”

William Penn




The Meeting’s Query for May

“How do we live in accord with our sense of the spirit of the divine in all creation?”


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 5/3/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

12:30 p.m. Potluck

Sunday 5/10/09 9:15 a.m. Ministry and Oversight Committee

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

Sunday 5/17/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

12.30 p.m. Meeting for Worship for Business

Sunday 5/24/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

Sunday 5/31/09 10:00 a.m. Singing, First Day School room

10:00 a.m. Meeting for Muffins








Minutes of Meeting for Worship for Business

Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, 19th Day, Fourth Month 2009


Present: Peggy Giltrow, Rebecca Henderson, Martha Davis, John Kretzmann, David Giltrow, Kathleen Burke, Bob Gaines, Pamela Guyer, Mary Ray Cate, Jennifer Wellington-White (Clerk), David Henkel (Recording Clerk)


The meeting began with silence at 12:45 p.m.



Third Month Minutes: The minutes for the Third Month were accepted as submitted.


Resident’s Report:

March saw 27 of 31 days occupied = $1020. Only unusual activity was the delivery and spreading of the gravel. Friends commented that the garden looks very pretty. Report is accepted.


Ministry and Oversight:

[See separate report]


Treasurer’s and Finance Committee Reports:

Bob Gaines reminded Friends of the organization of the First Quarter Income and Expense Statement.


Regarding the General Fund, the major outlays have been the IMYM Assessment and the Good Works categories. Insurance (>$2200) due in May – a slight rise – will be paid out in a way that keeps the General Fund healthy. $1100 paid out in scholarships. All of this adds up to the $2200 in the Operating Budget as of the end of this week.

We have $18-19,000 in the bank – earmarked for other purposes, but most is fungible. Friends need to know that we need donations to continue to support the flow.


Consideration has been given to dividing the insurance payments into two, as we have done.


The legal fees for the new Meetinghouse property were partly paid out of the 2008 budget.


Peggy Giltrow reported that the fundraising letter from the Finance Committee has gone out. She requested that the entire letter be contained along with the Treasurer’s report in the monthly minutes. It explains that we have committed to Good Works, and that contributions are needed to meet those and other obligations (such as IMYM assessments.)


Friends accept and approve the Treasurer’s and Finance Committee’s reports.



Communications Committee:

Bob Gaines reminded Friends that David Vaux will complete his term as newsletter editor at the end of 5th month. Bob had posted the description of the simplified newsletter, and received 5 responses about the design, and 2 offers to edit it. He recommended that

Friends accept the new, simplified newsletter format, and ask the Communications Committee to proceed with identifying the new editor.


Peace and Social Concerns:

Bob Gaines reported that Anne McLaughlin is proceeding with organization of the Mother’s Day event. Bob Gaines will set out the newly modified ‘Eyes Wide Open’ exhibit of the AFSC in coordination with that.


Building Committee:

David Giltrow delivered the report on behalf of Bettina Raphael that (1) reminded Friends of the May 10 open house (1-4 p.m.) organized by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, and (2) drew Friends’ attention to the new sound reduction work completed on the front windows in the Meeting Room. He also shared a copy of El Palacio magazine’s feature article on Ann Baumann ­–– a copy has been placed in the library. David also noted the recent digitization by the Smithsonian Institution of 5 linear feet of hard copy material devoted to Olive Rush’s life and work.

Friends accept and approve the report.


Future Planning Committee:

There was no report from the Committee. Discussion ensued about the current state of deliberations with respect to the land gift.


First Day School:

There was no report from the Committee. Mary Ray will check in with Marty Carroll regarding the intended summer First Day School program.


Worship Groups:

Martha Davis reported that Midge Cavin attended the meeting of the Los Alamos Worship Group at Marie Andrew’s house.


Rebecca Henderson reported re. Clear Light (Taos): Dyke Vermilia contracted an infection associated with heart surgery, but he has apparently improved and is returning home this week. Clear Light Friends continue to meet at Peace House.

Rebecca Henderson reported that 30 members attended the NM regional meeting drawn from Gila, Las Vegas, Durango, Taos, Los Alamos, Gallup. The next meeting will be in Albuquerque during the 3rd week in October, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Albuquerque Friends Meeting.


Nominating Committee:

David Henkel reported the following nominations (see table) for Officers of the Meeting, the Clerk and members of the Committee on Ministry and Oversight, representatives to committees of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, and the Meeting’s Joint Service Representative to take up their responsibilities in Sixth Month. The committee will continue to look for Friends willing to serve the Meeting on positions not yet filled. He also asked for clarification of the responsibilities of the Nominating Committee, in light of the decisions of the Meeting in 10th month of 2006. (Bob Gaines supplemented those minutes with more information from 7th month of 2007, and early 2008.)


Discussion ensued around (1) whether the Nominating Committee should be a standing committee, meeting throughout the year; (2) the importance of committees to prepare work to be brought forward to Business Meeting; (3) the interest of the Meeting in finding ways for everyone to be involved; (4) how to cultivate a welcoming attitude among Friends to committee service.


Meeting asked the current nominating committee (with whom Kathleen agreed to join for this purpose) to identify a proper list of standing committees, and recommendations for the specific responsibilities to be discharged by Nominating Committee. Friends approved.


Friends asked the current nominating committee to continue its work until the new structure has been agreed upon and until a new nominating committee has been selected. Friends approved… as did the current nominating committee.


Friends expressed appreciation for the work of Nominating Committee.


Meeting for Worship for Business ended at 2:30 p.m. with silence.


Respectfully submitted,

David Henkel

Recording Clerk (pro tempore)



M & O Committee Meeting

Report to Business Meeting, 4th month, 2009



M&O met in the First Day School Room, on April 12, 2009, starting at 9:15 a.m. Present were Philip Balcombe, Clerk pro tem, Michael Simon and Jennifer Wellington, ex officio.


A period of silence was followed by a freeflowing discussion of subjects ranging between matters of concern and care for individual lives. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had left my house without printing a copy of the agenda, but we managed to cover all but two of the items intended.


The Query for 5th Month, 2009 will be:


“How do we live in accord with our sense of the spirit of the divine in all creation?”


Care for Individual Lives and Matters of Concern:


There are two clearness committees currently working and, although she was unable to be present, Roxanne Seagraves had emailed me an update on their progress, details of which I shared.


A wide ranging discussion of plans for Jennifer’s recommitment ceremony in fifth month resulted in agreement that the three aspects of work to be done (clearness, organization of the occasion and Meetingwide involvement in consideration of issues of commitment and recommitment) be left for the combined committee to sort out at its first meeting, to take place as soon as practicable.


We thanked Dmitri Mihalas and Roxanne for their work on the Quakerism 101 course. The course concluded last month.


We have received a letter from Atlanta Friends Meeting approving the transfer of Kathleen Burke’s membership from their Meeting to our own. We enthusiastically recommend approval of the transfer to Business Meeting.


Roxanne has agreed to serve as Clerk pro tem of M&O in 5th month.


Dmitri has resigned from M&O. Press of work as he concludes his association with LANL, health concerns and an out of state conference, combining in the next month or so, leave him unable to give his work with M&O the attention he believes it requires. His light will be missed.


I shared with M&O my observation that, with the exception of a ride requested by one of our own committee members, no one in our Meeting has requested help from the Care Committee per se. The wonderful response to the Cornelis and Beverly Busching in their time of need resulted from personal connections and Marguerite has communicated through me in response to my offer of help from Meeting. None of the help forthcoming was organized by the Care Committee. We agreed that we should revisit the constitution of our Care Committee after a period of reflection.


A discussion of email etiquette was laid over until next month’s meeting of the committee.


Discussion of Friendly Sixes was one of the two items on the agenda that were overlooked. Two additional people expressed an interest in response to my announcement after Meeting and we will (hopefully) have groups organized by next month.


The other overlooked item was a request from Nominating Committee that M&O meet on first rather than second First Day, to allow the nomination of a Los Alamos Worship Group member to our committee. An email correspondence with members of the committee has resulted in our recommendation of the change to Business Meeting.


The meeting closed with silent worship.


Respectfully submitted, Philip Balcombe, Clerk pro tem.


Clifford M. (Kip) Corneli



Clifford M. (Kip) Corneli, age 83, passed away January 2, 2009, after a courageous battle with melanoma.


He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Clifford and Mazri Stevens Corneli; and his brother Tim.


He is survived by his wife Helen; his children Howard, Steven, and Miriam; and his grandchildren.


Kip was born April 29, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri. He served in the army engineers in Europe during World War II, then attended the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin.


He went on to farm in central Wisconsin where he also taught Spanish.


A natural draftsman and craftsman, he delighted in designing and building projects from bird houses to barns.


He loved his garden, dogs and horses, skiing and the outdoors, and music from classical to jazz to bluegrass. He was as passionate a downhill and cross-country skier as he was about taking frequent and welcome breaks for hot chocolate. He loved travel of all sorts, especially train travel, but even more, he loved flying and eventually earned his pilot's license.


A 1960s visit to New Mexico began a love affair with Santa Fe, fulfilled when he and Helen retired here in 1992.


He became interested in world affairs, politics, and the cause of peace. As a member of the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of Friends, he served as co-clerk of the Meeting with his wife. He was also an active member of the Building Committee, served on the Nominating Committee numerous times, and, along with Helen, worked tirelessly to help restore the meeting house garden. He worked for peace and justice especially with the local chapter of Veterans for Peace. He made friends naturally and easily, laughed readily and often, and judged no one harshly.


His generosity and helpfulness were equaled only by his unwillingness to complain. His passing leaves the world poorer for his kind laugh, his warm smile, and his loving nature.

Crossing Over” at Findhorn


Dear Friends, now that the editorship of our newsletter is changing, I am motivated to write any articles before the chance is gone! I’ve been wanting to share an end-of-life story since I got back from Findhorn in January. 


Alan J. was an old Findhorn acquaintance of mine from the mid-1980’s. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease fourteen years ago, in his sixties, he responded by taking a trip to Nepal, and ultimately, to setting up the Nepal Trust, which provides health care clinics to the Gurkha people of rural Nepal. The Nepal Trust became Alan’s consuming interest in his final years.


When I arrived at Findhorn, Alan was in the final stages of Parkinson’s, confined to a wheelchair, and able to speak only very slowly and indistinctly. The British National Health Service paid for two ‘carers’, who came to his home every day to cook meals and help Alan with basic needs. Because there were not enough professional carers in the local area, the NHS paid two of the Findhorn community members, each with a deep affection for Alan, to provide his care.


I went to have tea with Alan shortly after I arrived. He shared with me photos and newsletters of his beloved Nepal Trust. Just a few weeks later Alan made his transition, after falling in his home with one of his carers just a few steps away. He passed over as he had wished, at home, and with a friend, in the community of which he had been a part for more than twenty years. A doctor who was part of the larger Findhorn Association walked over to sign the death certificate.


The next day, there was a beautiful mediation and sharing in our community sanctuary, attended by Alan’s friends and his son. For the next five days, Alan (bathed and dressed in nice clothes) was laid out at home, in one of the bedrooms which was unheated and in which the window was left open to the cold late November air, to maintain a cold atmosphere. Anyone who wished to could come over and spend a few minutes sitting quietly with his remains in that bedroom, saying whatever one wished, in one’s heart or aloud. One of his dear carers remained in the house during the day, and Alan’s son from the neighboring town spent the nights sleeping in the house.


After five days, it was time for the funeral, to which many friends and family members from Scotland and England came. One of our longest-term community members had made a coffin out of a simple packing crate, which was on a dais in the front of the community hall. We started with a time of quiet meditation, followed by a video of Alan on his 80th birthday three years before, welcoming guests with a big grin to his “birthday sharing” in the hall, and cracking jokes. There was a delightful power point slide show of his life. Various community and family members spoke, and we sang some Taizé Community songs of praise and thanksgiving. At the end, the pallbearers carried the coffin out to a waiting horse-drawn wagon. We all followed the wagon into the community woods, and the coffin was lowered into the ground. Prayers were said, and a beautiful South African Zulu song was sung by all present, in harmony: Noyana, noyana… Nitini noyana, pezulu.  (“One day we will all meet in heaven.”) Everyone who wished helped fill in the dirt. As the sun set in the cold November twilight, we walked back to the community center for tea and cake, and further informal reminiscences among ourselves.


The following week, an “estate sale” of Alan’s belongings was held at his house.  Anyone who wanted could come buy something of Alan’s. Proceeds were given to the Nepal Trust.


While I realize that this type of funeral was common 150 years ago, I personally had never experienced such a simple and dignified way of saying goodbye to a beloved friend. No outside person was involved in any way. There was no mortuary. Britain allows “woodland burials” if permission has been applied for and granted. In these woodland burials, the main requirement, other than owning the available land, is that there be no marker or gravestone of any kind (although a tree may be planted to mark the spot). Even with no marker, I like to think that folks who walk by that area of the woods will find their memories going back to a remarkable man, Alan J. 

Marty Carroll


A Positive Start on Cuba

Friday, April 17, 2009 Press Release of The American Friends Service Committee


AFSC, a Quaker peace and social justice organization, is encouraged by the Obama administration’s resolve to do away with restrictions that disrupt contact and support between Cuban Americans and their relatives living on the island.


The administration’s recently announced shifts in key travel and money regulations are a pivotal first step in U.S. policies toward Cuba. For now, these changes primarily benefit Cuban-Americans with family members living in Cuba. In addition, the administration will return to 2004 regulations, which allows for sending humanitarian parcels to Cuban relatives.


Another key change will enable telecommunications services and equipment providers to solicit licensing permissions from the Cuban government, a provision that would facilitate direct contact between family members in the U.S. and relatives on the island.

According to Jorge Laffitte, AFSC’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, these measures show the Obama administration’s interest in building a fresh relationship with Cuba, and with Latin America in general.


After 47 years of restrictions and a failed embargo, these measures encourage a new relationship that may spur open, diplomatic relationships between the governments of the U.S. and Cuba, and renewed contact between the people of both nations. These positive first steps are long overdue.




Book Review


In My Youth,  from the Posthumous Papers of  Robert Dudley. 

Bobbs-Merrill Co, Indianapolis 1914. 

[Presented to the Friends Meeting Library by Olive Rush, many years ago, with the inscription “A story of southern Indiana by an old man who was born a Quaker there.”]


I am indebted to Rebecca Henderson for introducing me to this wonderful book in our Quaker Meeting library. It has often been said that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and I might add, by its title. In the case of this book, the cover is a plain blue and the title is also plain and simple. You would never notice this book if you weren’t looking for it.  However, I think this is somehow fitting for a book describing growing up in a quietist Quaker Indiana family in the middle 1800s, in a log cabin on a farm in Indiana. The family wore plain dress and spoke with the old language, and lived in a community of other Quakers (the “New Settlement”) who had wrested homes out of the virgin forest and for whom Meeting was the center of their lives.  It is full of wonderful anecdotes and descriptions of a way of life now long gone, funny stories, and the tale of the internal struggles of his parents to do the right and avoid “the Old Feller” (the Devil). 


Dudley’s noble father, in particular, wrestled with how best to shield his family from the evil influences of the World. No newspapers or magazines came to his house, and at first the family’s only response to the horror of slavery was to boycott goods produced by slave labor.  Ultimately an inspired traveling Friend from England, Benjamin Seafoam, whom the family had offered to accommodate, became true friends of the family and spoke to the father: “Doesn’t it seem rather a selfish thing for a person or company of persons to try to withdraw from the rest of the world and try to live apart from their fellow men? Wouldn’t it be better to mingle with others and try to lift them up to higher and nobler planes of living and thinking? Wouldn’t it be better, instead of trying to keep out of the way of evil, to rise up valiantly and fight it with the weapons of truth? What does thee think, Stephen?” This was the beginning of a gradual change in the father’s thinking. In the end the family subscribed to The National Era, and they sat around spell-bound as young Robert read the serialized episodes of Uncle Tom’s Cabin that appeared in the newspaper. The father became a leader not just in the Meeting but also in addressing the political questions facing Indiana.


Friend Seafoam was also instrumental in setting the family’s mind at ease about young Robert, who from his earliest years was a passionate reader and learner. There was actually a recorded minister (and major busybody) of their Meeting who came to the house and tried to convince the mother that her little son, with a book in his hand, was possessed by the Old Feller. “To read the Good book is well, but to read any other is to fall into the snares of Satan… Lo, he is already the prey of the Evil One, he is possessed, he is possessed!”  The consternation of Robert’s mother to this diatribe can well be imagined. It was Benjamin Seafoam from England who helped the parents see their son in a different light.


In My Youth was found among Robert Dudley’s papers after his death, and his friends set out to see it in print. Among other fragments included at the end was one with a few paragraphs about Robert’s returning as an old man to his boyhood community, and finding it changed beyond recognition. The old Meetinghouse, where men and women had once sat separately and “waited for the Light” was now a Friends’ Church full of music and hired preachers. Many non-Quakers had settled in what was now a bustling community of 5000, no longer called the New Settlement. Plain dress and plain speech had vanished. Monoculture of corn had replaced the old mixed farms. The old way of life had passed, even in the space of one lifetime. 


In My Youth is a delight. I recommend it highly as a very personal look at a vanished phase of our Quaker history.

Marty Carroll






Editor of ‘Letter to Friends’ Bows Out


This is the last newsletter in its current form. (See Minutes of Business Meeting for discussion of plans for a continuing newsletter in a different format.) As the outgoing editor, I wish to thank those Friends who have been supportive in recent months. It has become clear that we are in a phase when a newsletter with a range of articles is not in demand. (It may be that there is what one might call a passive demand for the newsletter in this form, but that is not measurable, and it does not ensure its continuation.) Many small Quaker Meetings have no newsletter, and with the options that we have today for electronic communication of notices, minutes etc., perhaps there will be a trend away from the conventional newsletter. That said, the new, web-friendly format may well evolve in an unexpected direction. Its content does not have to remain limited to the strictly functional items which are proposed at present. That is up to the Meeting as a whole. We should not just leave it to the incoming editor. In the meantime, the Communications Committee is very grateful to those who have offered to take on the job, and I personally would like to wish the Friend (or Friends), who will pilot the newsletter through its transition to the next stage, success and satisfaction in their task.

David Vaux



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, 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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