Margaret's Testimony against Death Penalty Expansion in NH on Jan 31

Several people from Monadnock Meeting went to Concord Tuesday to hear Margaret testify against death penalty expansion. The upshot of the hearing was that the bill was "tabled", which in the US means it was put aside and probably won't be brought to a vote of the whole legislature.

Sheila Garrett's Pilgrimage Journal, Part 5

I actually wrote this a few days ago but didn't get a chance to send it out till today.

Dear f/Friends- I'm writing this in the Haymarket cafe in Northampton, MA where I will soon meet my housemate Mary Link and head back to Ashfield on the last leg of my 3 1/2 month journey. The trip to Earlham School of Religion for a two week Intensive - Quaker Public Ministry is all I'd hoped for and more.

I still have a final assignment for the class which includes summarizing my travels and then I will prepare a presentation which I hope I will be able to offer you. As a second hour some time in the near future - Monadnock first. If there is someone who would like to help schedule it, please get in touch and we can check our calendars.

I'm going to send a few of my favorite photos from this last leg of my journeying.

This one is from the MLK Day quilting session I was part of in Boston. Got in from IN at 8 am and went straight to JP for this. I was exhausted but it was really fun. Met lots of wonderful people. I even got to teach Elizabeth Warren how to tie this quilt together! We made a dozen quilts in one day! Obviously, they weren't the quality we usually go for but good practice to do some quick ones.

Quilting for MLK Day Cambridge

Occupy Amtrak


Hopewell Friends Meeting, Indiana
This was my home-away-from-home meeting when I was a student back in 2009 - 2001, plus some current ESR students I brought with me to visit this time. Jestimore, in the red shirt, a current student, is from Kenya.

Henniker Quaker Candlelight Carol Sing Tonight 7pm 12-16

From Weare Meeting:

All are welcome to our annual candle-light service, tonight, Friday, December 16, at 7:00 pm at the Henniker meetinghouse.  Bring finger-food if you like, to contribute to  the post-singing potluck,  Bring a stick of firewood if you can.  Or just come, and sing!

-- brian drayton
Henniker Meeting House (Weare Monthly Meeting)

More Pictures from Sheila

6. These are the Earlham students who I traveled with to School of the Americas Watch.
6. These are the Earlham students who I traveled with to School of the Americas Watch.

7. Some of the Koinonia crew at School of the Americas Watch
7. Some of the Koinonia crew at School of the Americas Watch

8. Jen Carter, Gainesville MM (2nd from the right)  at Occupy Gainesville's nightly General Assembly, two nights before Thanksgiving.  They were planning their Thanksgiving Day event.  I offered them some ideas for non-competitive games.
8. Jen Carter, Gainesville MM (2nd from the right)  at Occupy Gainesville's nightly General Assembly, two nights before Thanksgiving.  They were planning their Thanksgiving Day event.  I offered them some ideas for non-competitive games.

9. Tracy Booth, member of Portland MM and winter resident of Stuart, FL, introduced me to Jonathan Dickinson.  His story is a great testament to nonviolence and faith.  I always love to learn stories of Quakes who did amazing things I never knew about.

9. Tracy Booth, member of Portland MM and winter resident of Stuart, FL, introduced me to Jonathan Dickinson.  His story is a great testament to nonviolence and faith.  I always love to learn stories of Quakes who did amazing things I never knew about.

Thanksgiving Letter from Sheila Garrett

11/23/2011 :

 Dear F/friends - Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I am feeling nostalgic for the cold.  Sorry, I promise I will appreciate the warmth as I think of you all in the snowy north land.

 The past two weeks have been filled with worship, work and activism.  Being at Koinonia has been the fulfillment of a long-held dream.  If you've ever thought to visit there, consider this time of year as they can use lots of extra hands from end of October through till Christmas.  I worked in the bakery, making granola, packing pecans and date-nut bread, baking pecan pies and, hardest of all, making dark chocolate pecan bark!  I truly met my match in facing my chocolate addiction.  The chocolate pecan bark is delicious and it was everywhere.  They left packets of it in the house  where I slept, a little welcome gift, and for our morning coffee break there were big bags of both milk and dark bark.  I even started eating the milk chocolate to keep from getting sick of the dark stuff.

 Meals were similar to Meeting School fare, home raised meat and veggies plus whole grains or pasta and lots of great home-made deserts.  I helped cook one meal and helped with clean-up often.  I also worked in the pecan orchards, picking up sticks in front of the harvester, and worked both in the sorting room where we picked shells out of piles of pecans on a conveyor belt and with the nuts when they first arrived at the plant, even climbed into the hopper to push them down for the folks sorting out sticks and bark.  That was my most adventurous job!

 Worship is held in the chapel every morning as well as on Sunday and other times.  I attended often.  There were also devotions at every meal, including reading of a Psalm.  They decided to read all of them, including the really yucky ones to be reminded that the Bible can be challenging as well as comforting.  Lots of food for thought and conversation.  

 I had wonderful times with folks of all ages.  One new f/Friend is Elli Castle, a long-time Quaker who lived at Koinonia for ten years in the mid eighties to nineties.  She is herself an octagarian.  Her husband, now deceased, was David Castle, who was pastor at First Friends in Richmond, IN, and resident of Koinonia.  There's a great group of interns here as well as community members and workers who live nearby and lots of visitors.

 At the end of my stay I was involved in two majors direct actions, one at Stewart Detention Center in Lumkin, GA, one of the biggest detention facilities in the US, and SOA Watch (School of the Americas, aka School of Assasins) at Fort Benning where countless Central and South American dictators and soldiers have been trained in terrorist tactics.  Both of these actions involved voluntary acts of civil disobedience, trespassing.  Before I left New England, I promised my new house mates I would not get arrested so they wouldn't have to deal with the consequences.  It was a good idea.  I confess I was tempted in both cases, but remembering this time back in 1980, getting arrested at The Women's Pentagon Action, brought me to my senses.  I won't say I won't ever do it again, but probably not.  

 I traveled to SOA Watch with a group of Earlham College students who were camping at Koinonia.  It was great to be with them.  I sure do have an affinity for teens.  They are awesome!  I hope to see them when I go to ESR in Jan.  I will be taking a two week class on Quaker Public Ministry with Steve Angell.

 I left Georgia with another college group who stayed at Koinonia, these were from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.  They gave me a ride to Gainsville where I have stayed three days and am meeting my nephew, a student at Florida Univ., to drive to Boca Raton for Thanksgiving with my sister and family.

 I plan to be back up north around Dec. 15, possibly for caroling at Weare Meeting but I don't know.  I do give thanks for all the friends I have from Maine all the way to southern Florida.  Blessings to all,  Sheila

Occupy Quaker

Quakers in Britain have expressed active support for Occupy London Stock Exchange.


Our Meeting is considering linking up with occupiers in our neighborhood,
but it's sometimes hard for Quakers to take quick action.

Here is a site that monitors Quaker involvement in the Occupy movement:


Sheila Garrett's Pilgrimage Journal, Part 4

Permaculture - Koinonia-style

This is just one of the many gardens here. Behind me is a swale, designed to catch rain and water the tree, a peach, I think.  Just behind my right shoulder is a little fig tree and by my right elbow is a canna.  Did you know you can eat canna flowers?  I had one in my salad last night.  I front of me in the terraced bed are strawberries ( in November!), fennel, basil, Egyptian walking onions and much more.

Ellie, a Quaker from, hmm, not sure, who lived here ten years and is back visiting says she only scraped ice off her windshield once in her whole time here.

Permaculture - Koinonia Style

North Carolina Mountains:
North Carolina Mountains

Sheila Garrett's Pilgrimage Journal, Part 3

Sheila's Piligrimage Journal, Part 3

Some grains of salt, musings and stuff from incredible connections with strangers.  Am I blessed?  Sure looks like it from here. xxx, Sheila

Each step of this journey is somewhat unexpected.  I feel very blessed to have been taken in by strangers and to have been with friends as well.  As I sit I remember to take time to pray, especially since I didn't share prayer time with Susan (Williams -  who took me in when Frances got the flu).  We talked about meditating together but it just didn't happen.  One very interesting part of my visit with her was our discussions of faith.  She doesn't 't think of herself as espousing any particular faith but if she did it would be Hinduism.  She has spent time in southern India and has a son in law who is Hindu.  She's also a student of Taoism and is familiar with Sufism as well.  I'm amazed that my intentions to do interfaith visitation have happened so spontaneously.

11/5,6  I spent two days and one night with Connie and Bob Garner, members of Branon Friends Church.   I had emailed the contact on the BFC website and Connie and Bob offered hospitality, southern style!  They welcomed me into their house, fed me awesome food (the best cherry pie ever), took me to meeting/church at Branon Friends Church in Yadkinville and drove me around showing me Bob's family place and the back country roads.  I realize that I've longed to do this for years, ever since I traveled through the south on my way to FL, wondering what life was like off the highways.  Now I know some really wonderful people who have welcomed me back any time.  We did a little referencing of biblical passages about welcoming strangers and other things, like Cor. 'many gifts one spirit,' when Connie was saying she could never do what I was doing and I said she was doing what I couldn't do.  It was great to be talking Bible talk in an easy friendly way.  As Connie and I hugged goodbye in the bus station I said, 'You know that part where it says something about maybe the strangers are angels? Well it didn't say that the people welcoming the strangers might be angels,too!'  We both almost cried and both said 'I love you .'

An excerpt from an email to Frederick - I never got to Celo tho' I did talk a couple of times with folks at AMS and w. Gib Barrus.  Because  Frances had the flu I just couldn't swing getting up there, close as I got.  I spent  two days with Susan Williams in Hendersonville being very well cared for and making a new friend.  She's thinking about moving back up north so we may see more of her in the future.

AND I did go to Branon Friends Church in Yadkinville and spent two days in Statesville with a couple, Connie and Bob Garner, members who took me in and held me lovingly.  It was amazing.  After two short days we got very close.  It was a mutual ministry that is rare and beautiful. I hope some time if you come down you can meet them and go worship there.

Connie and Bob dropped me off at the bus station in Winston-Salem.   While waiting I spoke with a man who told me he was homeless because he'd been in prison.  He asked me could I help him and I offered him food.  Gave him almost half my bread and the muffins Susan made.  Tried to give him p'nut bitter but he didn't want it.  I laughed and teased him about needing protein.  We had a good exchange, talking pretty normally and he said it's hard because people won't do that, just get scared and want to get away from him.  He was unusually calm for someone homeless, in my experience, didn't seem mentally ill or anti- social or pushy.  I wonder how much of my 'luck' is just treating people normally, engaging them as I would anyone, not acting suspicious or defensive.  I imagine that might be refreshing if one is used to being rejected.

 I took the overnight bus to Cordele (thru Atlanta) where I was picked up by David,  another guest from Koinonia.  I will be here at least till SOA Watch and then probably go to Florida.  Hope to be back up north for Xmas.

11/7.   5 AM Sitting in the Atlanta bus station waiting for priority boarding to Cordele.  It's dirty, crowded, cold with bright fluorescent lights and the worst food I 've had in ages.   I was eating horrible breakfast and there was a young guy sitting at the same table with his head down sleeping.  The woman from behind the counter came out and hassled him and a couple of other guys who were using chairs and sleeping up next to the wall.  She told them to sit up, that I was eating.  After she left, i leaned over and said, 'Sorry you guys, it wasn 't bothering me.'  The one sitting next to me said, 'No problem', like he appreciated that I spoke to him.  It felt good to reach out and empathize.  It's such a grim environment, it's good to be able to just say something nice.  

Greyhound is a pretty level playing field, leveling everyone down to the bottom - cold metal chairs, lines of people waiting for the next bus, piles of suitcases, bags, yellow plastic cones, flashing game machines and lots of yawning, tired travelers, more black than white.  I enjoy and note my white, upper middle class, northern white privilege, sensing that the caution and visible fear that Susan expressed as well as the totally white make-up of the Brannon Friends church speak of a part of the south I cannot really know.  I get to be the naive northern WASP progressive who isn't intimidated by interacting with folks in the bus station. I'm just tired and grubby like everyone else.

A slight unleveling was that I paid an extra $5 for priority seating so I didn't have to stand in line for an hour.  Sat talking for about half an hour to a young  African-American man who was curious about my IPad.   I told him about my journey, explaining a little about Quakers.  He asked me a bunch of questions, seeming to be confusing Quakes with Amish.  I assured him I don't ride around in horse and buggy.  I told him about Quakers opposition to war and to slavery but that not all Quakes were as good on that as some people think.  I did tell him about John Woolman refusing to wear cotton, eat sugar, etc.  It was neat to have that chance to tell some stories.