Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice
a Quaker Community in Sparks, Maryland


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Newsletter of the Gunpowder Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

NOTE: for full version of the newsletter, including meeting minutes, go to the resources page of this website where newsletters are archived



12th MONTH

Sun 12/31   9 AM Bible Study (see announcements for more information); 10AM Meeting for Worship; FDS


Sun 1/7           10AM Meeting for Worship; FDS*; 11:15AM Coffee Social; letter writing

Sat 1/13          9AM Silent Retreat, simple lunch; Contact: Anita Langford 410-560-3395    

Sun 1/14         10AM Meeting for Worship; FDS; 11:15AM: FORUM: On the Spiritual State of the Meeting See announcements for further details.

Th 1/18             6PM Spiritual Formation, Large Group   

Sun 1/21           10AM Meeting for Worship; FDS; 11:15 AM Business Meeting

Sun 1/28         9AM Bible Study; 10AM Meeting for Worship; FDS; 11:15 Richard Rohr Study Group

 *See announcements for further FDS details




How does my life witness to my Quaker faith?

In what ways do I reach out to new attendees and encourage their exploration of Quakerism as a spiritual path?

How does our meeting convey Quaker faith and practice to the wider community?  


What do we mean when we repeat Fox’s admonition to “Let your life speak”? This simple sentence reminds us that it is our lives, not our words, that speak most reliably about who we are and what we believe. Our lives are our ministry, not the specific acts we think of as “official” ministry, such as speaking in meeting, following leadings, or carrying out our roles on committees. Jesus teaches us not to hide our lights; but to let them shine – as the gospel song would have it, “every day, every way.” Outreach in this broad sense is not something we think about and plan; rather, it simply happens as we walk our paths in the world, lighted by “that of God” within us.

Advancement and outreach are natural and integral aspects of the Quaker way of life. Realizing that we are all children of God means that there is an infinite opportunity to search for God in our relations with others. Our fellowship begins, grows, and is nurtured in home and meeting. It reaches greater fulfillment as we carry our love of God and humankind to our relationships with persons in the wider community of which our Meeting is a part, with members of other Meetings, and with all persons whom we meet.

Outreach is not a monologue, but a dialogue - an adventure undertaken in the spirit of a musical improvisation with many instruments. Take time to learn about other people's experiences of the Light and, as you learn, give freely from your own. Respect the experiences and opinions of others, but do not be afraid to say what you value and to speak with conviction. Welcome the diversity of culture, language, and expressions of faith among Friends and members of other faiths.

Outreach also includes being open to others who may be tentatively “reaching in” to explore the Quaker faith. The sense of welcome is expressed in countless small details: the coffee is warm, the biscuits are good, the potluck is plentiful, and people say “hi.” Most importantly, when someone walks in and asks, “What do Quakers believe?” it is the meeting’s task to be sure that they are likely to get a well-informed answer from anyone they might approach. 


Let all nations hear the sound by word or writing. Spare no place, spare no tongue nor pen, but be obedient to the Lord God; go through the world and be valiant for the truth upon earth; tread and trample all that is contrary under.... Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you.

George Fox, 1656

 Outreach is simply the process of making Quakerism available to those who are seeking, to those who may find value in its process. Whether these people become Quaker is of no consequence to the person who conducts true outreach. True outreach is an act of spiritual hospitality. It is an act of service to others to find and take what they need so they can find that of God in themselves and others.

Barry Crossno, 2005

Outreach is the natural result of the second great commandment that we love our neighbors as ourselves. It grows out of the spiritual attitude of caring and can take many forms, limited only by our imagination.

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Outreach Ideabook

We dimly see that this Gospel, before it has finished with us, will turn our lives upside down and inside out.  Our favorite Quaker vice of caution holds us back. We have much more to learn before we are ready to teach. It is right that we have much to learn; it is right to recognize the heavy responsibility of teaching; but to suppose that we must know everything before we can teach anything is to condemn ourselves to perpetual futility.

George B Jeffery, 1934




FORUM: ON THE SPIRITUAL STATE OF THE MEETING, JANUARY 14TH: This annual gathering helps us prepare for the writing of our Spiritual State of the Meeting report which will be submitted to Baltimore Yearly Meeting in the spring. Ministry and Counsel suggests that this year we use the following queries during our worship-sharing. The queries were offered by the BYM Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee to guide our reflection on our experience.

  • What are your greatest joys as a Meeting? What leadings does your Meeting feel most strongly? What challenges and troubles are you facing? In what ways is the Meeting less than you might wish it to be?
  • How does your Meeting nurture the spiritual life of members and attenders? How deep are your Meetings for Worship? Are Meetings for Business held in a spirit of worship?
  • Over the past year in our country we have become increasingly aware of those things that divide us rather than those that unite us. Many “isms” (e.g., racism, nationalism, ageism, sexism) and political-ideological issues (e.g., environment, social justice, women’s rights, refugee crisis, immigration, etc.) have come to the forefront. In this contentious environment, how has your meeting explored those issues that divide us and/or attempted to listen across the divide?

WORSHIP AT SHEPPARD PRATT: To inquire about worship at Sheppard Pratt, contact Jon Acton at: 410-832-7670 or 410-802-9655.

DIRECTORY OF CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTED BY GFM: Adair Clarke has compiled an extremely organized and informative directory of charitable organizations to which Gunpowder Friends Meeting contributes.  It will be published on our website in the coming weeks. The newsletter will report when it becomes availabl




BYM’S WOMEN’S RETREAT:  JANUARY 26-27, Pearlstone Retreat Center (Reisterstown, MD)

Leaning into our Light on Gender, Race & Sexuality. Registration for the 2018 Women’s Retreat is now open!. The Women's Retreat is open to women age 14 and up (14-17 year olds must have a sponsor on-site). The registration includes opportunities for leading a workshop or facilitating worship-sharing. Scholarship support is available and may be requested when you register. Registration closed on January 10, 2018. To register, go to

PLAYING IN THE LIGHT:  February 23-25, Godly Play/Faith & Play Training for Quakers: Sandy Spring Friends Meeting. This powerful way of being with children can transform your First Day program, For more information visit:

TAX BILL: Write your Congresspersons to register your concerns about the tax bill:

Request no cuts to Medicaid, SNAP, or Social Security disability benefits.

NORTH KOREA:  Support FCNL’s efforts to prevent war with North Korea:

LETTER WRITING: Now that the new year is upon us, we ask you to reach out and personally thank your member of Congress for a piece of legislation that they supported or a conversation they were willing to have this past year. Express your commitment to staying vocal and engaged on matters close to your heart in the coming year. Let your lawmaker know that you want to work with them. As letter writers and FCNL meeting contacts, you know that staying in touch with Congress is critical to advocacy, and this is your opportunity!  Sample letter:

QUAKER WELCOME CENTER: Is now open! Learn more:

NEWSLETTER: Read MAJR’s newsletter, here:

MAJR General Meeting: Wednesday, January 24, 6PM-9PM, including potluck supper.



Each month, the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) selects a brief reading on racism for inclusion in Meeting newsletters. This month, the WGR presents an excerpt from “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” by author, Michael Eric Dyson.

“Beloved, what you see happening among us is not best understood as black-on-black crime.  Rather it is neighbor-to-neighbor crime.  … You are right, however, about those proportions.  Ninety-three percent of black folk who are killed are killed by other black folk.  But 84 percent of white folks who are killed are killed by other with folk. … Where’s the white-on-white crime rhetoric?  Where are the rants against white folk ruining white culture with their murderous ways?

“White folk commit the bulk of the crimes in our nation.  And, beloved, it might surprise you that white folk commit the most violent crimes too.  …  White folk consistently lead all other groups in aggravated assault, larceny, illegal weapons possession, arson, and vandalism.  [Other statistics follow.]  The white-on-white mayhem is profound, yet no one speaks of it in racial terms.” (pp. 148-149)…”

The BYM WGR meets most months on the third Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Locations vary to allow access to more Friends.  If you would like to attend, on a regular or a drop-in basis, contact clerk David Etheridge, [email protected].



            Gunpowder Friends Meeting

14934 Priceville Road, P.O.Box 737, Sparks, MD 21152-0737; Phone 410-472-4583
Rebecaa Richards  [email protected]
Financial Contributions: mail to Alan Evans, treasurer, at above P.O.Box
Email for Newsletter Submissions: Claire Hartman  [email protected]
Address, phone, email, personal updates go to Meredith van den Beemt at [email protected]
Handicap accessible – ramp available; hearing loop for those who are hearing challenged