Montreal Quaker Meeting top right bird logo
 
Montreal Quakers
 

 
Montreal Quaker Meeting Logo
 

Montreal Quaker Meeting

Newsletter

 
View of a sunset over a river

This bright season is the time of the Seed.  Life springs from small flecks and pellets as they burst out of slumber and reach for the sun.  Year after year, this is an ordinary miracle.

 

Our experience of the Inner Light is the foundation of our lives as Quakers. We believe that all people share this sacred spark. George Fox called it “that of God in everyone.” It has also been called “the Spirit”, “the seed of Christ”, or “the Seed of Light.” Acknowledging that this Seed exists in all of us changes the way we see each other.


We Quakers often use the word “Light” to name this divine element.  And yet, the word “Seed” gives us clues about how we grow spiritually.


Like a Seed, the potential to grow is within us and draws us into the divine. The blueprint, the path, is already there.  The Seed is ours to nurture. As we dwell in it, we grow towards the Light. 

 

Because we share in this growth and unfolding, we respect and join in the spiritual journey of others. Quaker values and testimonies have grown and evolved out of shared growth over time. The inner life of individual Quakers, and the common life of the Quaker community, is dynamic. Responding to promptings of the Seed, we look to the past, we stand in the present, and we reach to the future.

 
 
 
 
 

By Sonora Grimsted



 

Sowing and Seeing

By Wendy Eberle

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

To teach is to disseminate: words, ideas, texts. But for any seed to take hold, it must find itself in hospitable terrain. For a student to be open to receive they must feel safe. In truth the students are the first seeds to scatter in the classroom ecosystem.

 

“I see you,” I tell them on the first day: the joke is they can’t hide their cellphone use, or fall asleep, without my noticing. But my real point is, I see their light. Tired or alert, engaged or inattentive: they matter. “See” lies at the heart of every seed.

 

I am sowing the seeds of worthiness. Some students struggle to show up at all; when they straggle in I tell them I am glad to see them. A classroom is a diverse ecosystem. A smile, a nod, a laugh make it thrive as much as speech. They don’t have to get good marks or even hand in the work to be of value. Even those who don’t pass the course may send up new tender shoots as their self is warmly seen, may take away some seeds of insight to sow afield. 

 

Germination will come in time, as long as that light within is seen.

 

A Rousing of the Mind to the Contemplation of God

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

 

Come now, insignificant man, fly for a moment from your affairs, escape for a little while from the tumult of your thoughts.  Put aside now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in him.  Enter into the inner chamber of your soul, shut out everything save God and what can be of help in your quest for him and having locked the door seek him out.  


Speak now, my whole heart, speak now to God: ‘I seek your countenance, O Lord, your countenance I seek.


Come then, Lord my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you.  Lord, if you are not present here, where, since you are absent, shall I look for you? On the other hand, if you are everywhere why then, since you are present, do I not see you? But surely you dwell in light inaccessible.  And where is this inaccessible light, or how can I approach the inaccessible light?  Or who shall lead me and take me into it that I may see you in it?  Again, by what signs, under what aspect, shall I seek you?



Come then, Lord my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you… Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I seek, because I can neither seek you if you do not teach me how, nor find you unless you reveal yourself.  Let me seek you in desiring you; let me desire you in seeking you; let me find you in loving you; let me love you in finding you.’

 

Seed of Community

By Wendy Sturton

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

A few years ago, a seed of Quaker community was planted in francophone Quebec.  Growth was slow but sure. The movement of the spirit, like breath, as Sébastien Garant writes below, supported this evolution in many lucky chances and coincidences.  


Jean Louis Demers had been reading and thinking about Quakerism for years before he had time to act on his interest.  He expressed the desire, after visiting Montreal Meeting a few times, to start a francophone worship group in Quebec City.  William Blizzard, an attender present at that time, had connections to the Anglican Church.  He put Jean Louis in touch with the Anglican archbishop in Quebec, who generously made the Archbishop’s chapel next to the Cathedral available once a month for a Quaker meeting.


Jean Louis gathered a few people together to attend those meetings.  He often sat with one other person, Clara Grouazel, or alone, yet steadfastly held on to his purpose.  It took the pandemic, and the opening of contacts through Zoom, to gather together a community of Francophones living in various towns who might not be able to attend a meeting in person, but who for one reason or another are attracted to Quakerism.


David Summerhays gave a Quaker 101 course to a number of these people who enthusiastically received explanations about the Quaker way.  This course encouraged attenders to find deeper communion with their own inner Light, and with each other.


Although the beautiful Anglican chapel had harbored the first meetings, Jean Louis and Sébastien Garant relocated the meeting to Lévis, in a more accessible community café. Supported by local churches, this café offers food and a warm place to those in need.  Here in a side room, silent worship takes place once a month, close to the sounds of life in the café.  This seems right to all.


Attendance in person has risen.  A regular monthly zoom meeting for worship in French has grown. Bilingualism has increased in regular Montreal Meeting sessions, online and in person.  The new community, which retains its connection to Montreal Monthly Meeting, is filled with insight and joy.  Below you will find a number of articles written by their members, witnessing to their spiritual evolution.  

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

Extract from my journal

By Aline Demers

 

On this beautiful bright morning, after reading the chapter on inner peace in Jacques Philippe’s book If You Knew the Gift of God, I decided to center myself in a search for inner peace. The author quotes Etty Hillesum among others: "Our only moral obligation is to open up vast peace-filled spaces within ourselves, and to extend them bit by bit, until this peace radiates out towards others. And the more peace there is in living beings, the more there will also be in this overheated world."


This search for inner peace, this opening up of a cleared space (I like this expression) will become my quest. I like this way of describing the process. It is concrete, universal, and it brings together several spiritual currents, including that of Thich Nhat Hanh who spoke to my need so clearly and led me to peace.


In fact, according to Jacques Philippe, the spiritual testament of Jesus, his ultimate goal, is to ground the believer in peace. That suits me well because that's my wish. I choose to make it a personal priority. I quote the author: "God is an ocean of peace and whenever we are in intimate union with him through prayer, our hearts finds peace."

 

 
View of a sunset over a river

Spring Purple by Juliane Beck

 

Testimony

By Jean-Michel Pionetti

 

For a little over a year, I have been living in the Lower Saint Lawrence, where I resumed work as a psychosocial worker. A scientist by training, after more than twenty years of research and teaching in biology, I turned my attention to philosophy and psychology.  My first action was to write a book on beliefs (all beliefs, not just religious!)  entitled Ostinato… homo: credo. As I worked through my reflections, these themes emerged:  the Omnipresence of the ‘Spirit’; its active involvement in our thoughts; and how it communicates with us.

 

But in this period I didn't yet know anything about the Quaker Way.  I stumbled on it almost by chance in my reading. As I learned more, I saw in this particular spiritual current a kind of communication proceeding from the human essence... the soul. 

 

I took steps to contact Quakers in Quebec.  I was encouraged to register for the first French course of six meetings (through Zoom, fall 2021) organized by David, a Quaker animator from Montreal. This was a revelation to me. Genuinely friendly exchanges, the discovery and exploration of Quaker worship, the practice of openness to communication in silence all encouraged my ongoing spiritual search.   I want to learn more about this peaceful and inner Quaker Way. 

 

On November 7, I had the opportunity to move beyond the computer screen and take part face to face in a Meeting for Worship in Quebec City with participants both local and from Montreal. This encounter was rich in spirituality. The social dimension makes it possible to connect purely spiritual experience with the concrete experience of people. This links spiritual experience and personal development. In this spirit of personal engagement I began this testimony with a description of my activities as an individual in society. 

 

A subsequent Meeting for Worship on Zoom (November 16) further enriched me with practical lessons on the spiritual dimension we can encounter together in silence.  

 

My journey continues. As for many, my journey is still personal, even solitary. But sharing the Quaker Way has given my search a more cordial character. More social too, in the noblest sense… a search shared by a people waiting, listening to that Spirit… who dwells within us.

 

Meditation on the Holy Spirit
(A follow-up to my text of February, 2022)

By Sébastien Garant

 
View of a sunset over a river

Scylla Sweeps Up by David Millar

 

“The primary purpose of a spiritual ritual is to attune to the greater whole (whatever we may call that) to make contact with Its presence within our deeper levels of consciousness and know ourselves as belonging within this greater whole; and to adjust our choices in life, based upon what that connection and knowing reveals to us.” (P. MaryMoon, Faith and Practice, Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, © 2011, no 1.26, p. 16.)

 

In both French and English, the sense of the word “spirit,” or “esprit” is broad enough to signify intelligence, the soul, humor—and even a ghost! But in the original language of the Acts of the Apostles, which was Greek, how is the Holy Spirit referred to?


There its name is given as “hagion pneuma”, which means “holy breath, sacred breathing.” In fact, in his French translation of the Bible, André Chouraqui uses the term “holy breath” to refer to the Holy Spirit. 

 

Primary meanings of the Greek word pneuma are “breath, respiration, wind.” From these meanings other implications arise: “place of our inner life” (think of how air fills our lungs and gives us life), “living being,”  “spirit”, etc.  We find traces of the Greek word pneuma in the structure of English and French words such as “pneumatic” and “pneumatique”, both of which mean “filled with air, functioning with air.” Also, the French and English word  “respiration” is closely related to the words “esprit, spirit”. Their common root is, in fact, the latin word spiritus which means : “breath, air current, respiration, soul, spirit”, etc.

 

The point of this brief linguistic overview is not to define the Holy Spirit, which is an inexpressible and inexhaustible mystery, but rather to illustrate the meaning of the term which the first Christians used to name it:  the Holy Breath.  As I wrote in the Newsletter of February, the Greek language never lost the vision of spirit as breath. From this perspective, the Holy Breath is no longer an abstract being, but a breath in which we are submerged and which we inhale, just as we are submerged in Earth’s atmosphere which we also inhale. In the final analysis, the Holy Breath is as necessary to our interior lives as the atmosphere is to terrestrial life. 

 

Simultaneously in and around us, the Holy Breath travels between one person to another, just like the molecules in our atmosphere.  That’s the way it was at Pentecost (Acts, Chapter 2) and the way it is now at a prayer meeting. To receptive individuals, the Holy Breath communicates divine life and movement. The detailed effects of this presence are unpredictable but always wondrous: on the morning of Pentecost, the Holy Breath permitted many people (coming from Asia, Africa and Europe) to break down language barriers and differences in origin to create a community which would soon carry the name of “Church”—in Greek,  “ekklêsia”, “assembly, meeting”. 

 

“The greater whole.” Now, as at Pentecost, we pray together to become more aware of the Holy Breath.  Its presence enfolds us, fills us and circulates among us from one person to another.  Inspired by it, we act together to shape and beautify the world. The effect of its presence is always a wonder. 

 

The Seed is Home

By Leigh Smit

 

“I cannot help but shed tears when I write about The Seed. For many years I covered up my own, until I found Buddhism. This is where I learned that the Buddha is in each of us, that we all have good seeds which must be continually watered. We also have bad seeds which must be left unnourished, especially when they come to surface.


 I tell you this because I could not understand The Seed in Quakerism without this background, or one without the other; I cannot separate the two. They are similar, though distinct. 


Attending meeting has since expanded my understanding of The Seed and has created a bridge between my ancestors and me. I now have a deeper sense of this Seed that I share with them and with you. I now see it as something to be cherished, that must not be covered up. I see it not only as something that must be watered, but also as the place of beauty from which I must continuously and deliberately choose to act.


Knowing this, I can learn to listen and act with the same courage as you can and do, the immense bravery and kindness that you do, that my ancestors did and still do, and I can continue to be a light for myself and others in this world and in this way. 


The Seed as spoken about in Buddhism and Quakerism is where I can always turn to find the right path, a home to return to when I am lost. 

 
 
View of a sunset over a river

Spring Greens by Wendy Sturton

 
 

A Dragonfly at Canadian Yearly Meeting of Quakers

By Margaret Slavin Dyment, 2002

Faith and Practice 3.27

 
View of a sunset over a river

"Dragonfly" by Rhubarble is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=openverse.

 

“In the last meeting for worship, as we said goodbye, a little girl (Jane) came along our row and offered a peek inside a brown paper bag, apparently empty.  Each nice Quaker looked inside, willing to enter an imaginary game —only to discover a real live dragonfly, clinging to the side of the bag.  As Friends rose to thank one another and God and Canadian Mennonite University and the Programme Committee for our wonderful week together, she continued her ministry to every person in the room: small girl, brown paper bag, apparent emptiness, dragonfly.”  By Margaret Slavin Dyment, 2002


The above is contributed by Claire Adamson, who writes:


This would not happen on Zoom. The mystery of the currently unknown keeps us searching for meaning, truth, and relationships. Thanks to Jane for her courage and to Margaret for her wonderful writing.

 
 
View of a sunset over a river

Apple trees by Wendy Sturton

 

What I Learned at Haverford

By Martin Hébert*

 

For three years, I lived on the island of Utopia. Like the naive traveler at the center of many utopian novels, I set foot on this island without really knowing what awaited me there. The customs I encountered shook my preconceived ideas at every turn. For me this island was Haverford College, a university college in the Quaker tradition located on the outskirts of the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. I had the privilege of starting my teaching career there in the early 2000s. I cannot adequately express the immense gratitude I feel towards my colleagues of those years, who dared to trust a newly hired 27-year-old doctoral student. I am also grateful to them for guiding me in the discovery of a conception of education that has stayed with me since then. Like many travelers who visit Utopia, I eventually found myself faced with the choice of staying there or returning to my world. I made the choice to return.  However, my stay in Utopia profoundly transformed me. I appreciate this opportunity to explain why.


First, let's clarify this reference to utopia. The reference is intended to be neither naive nor cynical. I have devoted my adult life to the study of utopianism. The utopian ideal offers us the possibility of seeing and experiencing the world differently, of destabilizing the received ideas that were instilled in us from childhood. But utopia is also a horizon towards which we walk without ever really reaching it. In that sense, I am not idealizing Haverford. Anyone who lives in utopia long enough understands that the reality and complexity of human relationships overwhelm and confuse any attempt to live according to a preconceived pattern. Moreover, the wisest among us have understood that the achievement of this ideal is perhaps not even desirable. Utopia, said Cioran, is the death of history. But this reminder in no way diminishes the contribution of these utopian islands that allow us to experience a different world, if only for a limited time and in a specific place. Although the Haverford project has malleable contours which evolve according to the times, in its essence the same fundamental project animated the creation of Haverford in 1833 which constitutes its mission today.


Let's be concrete. Flyers for student recruitment claim that the Honor Code, updated and voted on by Haverford 's student body each year, is central to the life of this institution. This is true,  insofar as this document sets out the main principles that should guide the relationships between people on campus and beyond. In particular, it proclaims the importance of placing trust, benevolence and respect at the foundation of how we relate to others. That's all very well, but it's not the standards expressed in that code that stood out to me. After all, such standards are now quite widespread. Rather, what has stayed with me to this day is the humanism underlying these norms and how it was understood on a daily basis. It's easy to see a strong imprint of the institution's Quaker heritage. But not feeling myself learned enough to draw point-by-point parallels between the two, I will content myself with giving an account of the naive discovery that I made of this humanism through my daily life as a professor. It was more than enough to shake the foundations of my understanding of education.


Landing on the island of Utopia is often a tumultuous experience. In my case, it was a whirlwind of international relocation, the many bureaucratic steps necessary to settle into a new life, "orientation" sessions that bombarded us with information aimed at making us understand the workings of a complex institution in a few hours, and a frantic race to get my first lessons ready on time. My real first contact with the uniqueness of this institution occurred the day when the Chair of my department informed me that at Haverford the exams were not proctored by the professors. “You mean there are assistants watching?” I replied. "No, no one is watching," she told me simply. “If the students realize that someone is cheating, it is their responsibility to remind that person that they are breaking a bond of trust. But no person in authority monitors the exams.” Also, I soon learned, we could give timed home exams. This means that students are then responsible for respecting the time allotted for a given exam. If they go over the limit, no one will know. “That's not quite true ,” replied my Chair when I made this observation to her, “they themselves will know, and therefore will know what their grade is worth.”


Even today, I cannot help but see the contrast between this approach and the surveillance mentality  of most other academic institutions. All my life I had experienced scrupulously supervised exams, rigorously monitored by people who made sure that we would not take a minute more than the allotted time. The presupposition I had absorbed was that we were all guilty from the outset, that only these external controls could serve as a bulwark against a chaos of cheating, plagiarism and dishonesty. I realize today to what extent this presupposition at the heart of the notion of “academic honesty” as it is inculcated in many institutions is deeply harmful. At Haverford , I discovered another way of approaching the question, a vision where trust, free will and conscience are placed at the heart of pedagogy. People who didn't cheat understood unambiguously that their integrity was the result of their choices, judgment, and values, not a fear of repression. People who cheated without getting caught (because there were, of course…) also entered a moral journey that would sooner or later put them face to face with themselves and their actions. But all this took place with respect for the autonomy and conscience of each and every one, in an ethos that presupposes our ability to recognize injustice, even when it is we who commit it.


This first contact offered me a key to understanding my role as a teacher that blew up my previous frameworks and which, I hope, has remained with me to this day: pedagogy and disciplinary surveillance do not mix. How can we participate in the development of people's autonomy if we do not leave them the possibility of making truly autonomous choices, if we remain there to look over their shoulder to see if they are behaving in the desired way?


Understanding this lesson given to me by the Quaker universe destabilized me. I was able to see, over the course of three years, how the principles that guided this pedagogy extended into a multitude of domains in university, civic and personal life. I was also able to see its limits, since it is based after all on the assumption that all people will apply a degree of introspection and reflection to the choices they make or do not make. But it is unreasonable to expect utopia to be perfect. What it has to offer us is an opportunity to get out of the ruts created by our own "common sense". In this, my time at Haverford was one of the most formative experiences of my life.
   
    
* Martin Hébert is a full professor in the anthropology department of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Laval University.

 

 

Seed of Courage

By Wendy Sturton

 
View of a sunset over a river

Paul Robeson, National Portrait Gallery, London

 

A “seed” was recently planted in me when I watched some movies in the Black Quaker Lives Matter series.  


Until this opportunity to learn, I knew little about the courage and determination of these black Quaker heroes and heroines. It seems they were inspired rather than inhibited by the obstacles they faced. They chose action rather than spiritual and physical annihilation.


And that is the seed for me, this spiritual call to courage in seemingly impossible circumstances.


The life of Paul Robeson was presented last in the series.  Robeson tweaked the words to “Old Man River”, written by white lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, so that they more authentically reflected the feelings and experience of his race. To hear the sound of human resilience, listen to him sing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEQEeNhtosg 


Robesons’s athleticism and beauty, intellectual prowess, dramatic achievements, musical genius,—all this made a great impression on me.  The film we watched was made by DEFA, the official East German film production company.  It emphasized how Robeson befriended artists and ordinary people in Communist countries, where he was received with respect, and how this made him vulnerable to attacks by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities.  For long periods he was not permitted to sing or act, shut out of American cultural life.  Throughout this exclusion he never denied his friendships or his belief in socialism.  


Robeson’s Quaker connections were more historical than actualized in his own life.  His family origins were passionately Quaker, related through his mother to the Bustill and Douglass families.  Both families were significant in the Quaker movement and in the history of the United States. 


Echoes of Quaker values are everywhere in Robeson’s behaviour and legacy.  In spite of the persecution and racism he endured, he retained his friends of all races.  He never advocated violence. He was an artist-activist and Pan-Africanist committed to Black liberation worldwide.  His life was a beacon, obscured by the dirty politics of his time, but more and more recognized and admired as time goes on. 


Read more about Paul Robeson in this article written by Quaker Dr. Harold D. Weaver Sr., organizer of Black Quaker Lives Matter.  

https://www.theblackquakerproject.org/post/happy-123rd-birthday-paul-robeson-homage-to-a-beleaguered-leader

 

BOOKS :  Reviews and Comments

 

Occasionally this book column will present a few new things to read and comments on titles of interest.  All suggestions are welcome.

 

Jean-Louis Demers

 

 

Geoffreyjen Edwards, Plenum: The First Book of Deo

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

Our friend Geoffreyjen Edwards, a regular attender at our francophone online Zoom meetings and in presence at Lévis has just published an English work of science fiction entitled “Plenum: The First Book of Deo”. Congratulations Goeffreyjen! The novel is available in Kindle format and on other digital book platforms as well.  The print edition will soon be available.

 

Vanu Francoeur is a novice in the Kinship of the Suffering God, a religious community whose mandate is to seed new stars within a stellar nursery. Vanu feels confused about hir neutral gender, and is also conflicted in hir relationships, especially with hir own sibs. An encounter with an exotic outsider stirs up a storm of conflicts within the usually quiet community. Vanu discovers that the authoritarian culture of the Kinship has deeply troubling flaws. In protest, zhe and hir sibs are drawn towards a dramatic resolution deep within the fires of a star, with consequences that could stretch across the decades and centuries to come.


https://www.metapsychosis.com/plenum/#:~:text=Plenum%3A%20the%20First%20Book%20of%20Deo%20is%20the%20first%20book,Milky%20Way%20called%20the%20Humanitat

 

About Geoffreyjen: https://www.geoffreyjenedwards.com/about-geoffrey-edwards 

 

 

Laure Waridel, La transition, c’est maintenant. Choisir aujourd’hui ce que sera demain, Montréal : Écosociété, 2019, 376p.

 

Review by Elaine Champagne

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

Laure Waridel is a well known militant on environmental issues.  Co-editor of Pacte pour la transition  https://www.lepacte.ca/ and co-founder of Équiterre https://www.equiterre.org , ecosociologist and now professor at UQAM, she is offering here a book which encourages us to embark on or progress in our transition toward a social economy and ecology.  From the outset, the author adopts a position which connects us with the earth rather than dividing us from it with dualist language :  “We are the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil which nourishes us,” she reminds us, referring to this quotation of  David Suzuki. However the transition will of necessity go far beyond modification of our daily behaviour—although she also refers to these everyday gestures.  She foresees further a revision of our social constructs—visions of the world, beliefs, habits.  A new economic and social paradigm must emerge from the crisis we are living through.  It will be, for example, essential to adopt a more authentic view of our economy, one which takes into consideration the environmental and social costs implied in our interactions with our surroundings. The necessary ecological transition must promote a new way of understanding ourselves as humans, a reconsideration of our relations to others and to the world we belong to.  The implications of this change affects finances, waste management, food, and how we inhabit the earth collectively.


Books about ecological issues are numerous, but this book by Laure Waridel touched me deeply. Many of my questions were answered, information was relevant and enlightening, the explanations detailed and clear, recommended action within our reach.  Although readers are made aware of the urgency of the warning, the tone never descends into blaming.  On the contrary, the model proposed is understood to be relational and the proposal ends with an astounding yet perfect verb:  to love. Rather than retreating into fear, the proposed transition can be understood as one which calls for relationship, education, solidarity; a solidarity already implicit, according to the writer, in our Quebec culture.  This is not a book to be missed. 

 


Denis Delâge and Jean-Philippe Warren, Le piège de la liberté. Les peuples autochtones dans l’engrenage des régimes coloniaux, Montréal : Boréal, 2019 (2nd edition), 431p.


Review by Elaine Champagne

 
View of a sunset over a river
 

Denis Delâge is professor emeritus at Laval University, a renowned specialist in the history of the First Nations in Canada. Jean-Philippe Warren holds the Chair of Quebec Studies at Concordia University. The two men join here to illustrate for us a clash of world visions and its impact: the progressive dissolution of the indigenous cultures of the Northeast of North America (we speak of cultural genocide) caused by French colonialism, then British. “This book seeks to identify the repercussions for indigenous peoples of the transition from the Ancien Régime to the liberal regime. (13) However, the vision of “freedom” on both sides was envisaged according to social and political perspectives devoid of common references and constructed in radically distinct epistemologies – modes of knowledge.


The sweeping series of events presented by the authors shows how liberal modernity sadly trapped the First Nations, gradually stripping them of their territory and seeking to erase their identity. The book instructs readers in an engaging way: not only do facts and their contextualizations help to better illustrate past events and issues related to them, but the picture as a whole allows us to better understand ourselves today as the societies which have unconsciously inherited these social and power dynamics. After examining freedom as understood by people viewed condescendingly as pre-Columbian “savages”, the essay compares the freedom offered by European royalty, which in the end can be seen like an uncompromising yoke.


Colonialism established trade (according to the liberal model) and private property, as well as a mercantile conception of work, according to views of dominating assimilation, where no place was granted to mutuality or authentic reciprocity. The results were devastating – we are only just beginning to measure them. How will we commit ourselves today, lucidly and concretely, to moving away from the patriarchal model in our relations with the First Nations? Will we begin to recognize their richness, to let our ways of knowing be shaken up and to walk together so that reconciliation is one day possible?


A demanding but amazingly liberating book.

 
 
View of a sunset over a river

Nature's First Green by David Millar

 

News and Events

 
 

Discussion on the theme of simplicity

 

On April 3, the Quaker group from Geneva offered a Zoom discussion in French on simplicity, led by Mariel Mazzocco and Édouard Dommen.

 

A text by Édouard Dommen on this subject (1997) is available in English at this address: http://www.trilogies.org/sites/default/files/contenu/documents/dommen_quaker_simplicity.pdf 

 

Mariel Mazzoco's book (2021): https://leblog.bayard-editions.com/religieux/rentree-litteraire-eloge-de-la-simplicite#more-2623 

 

 

Diversity and Inclusion in Quaker Congregations

 

On April 30, May 7 and 14, an online workshop entitled DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN QUAKER MEETING is being held. This workshop is offered in partnership with CYM Education & Outreach and the Woodbrooke Quaker Learning Institute.
https://quaker.ca/news/workshop-on-diversity-inclusion/

 

https://pendlehill.org/events/pendle-hills-reading-group-may-2022/

 

https://pendlehill.org/events/transformation-stories-altering-books-and-awakening-the-newest-you/

 

https://quno.org/sites/default/files/timeline/files/2022/Program%20Review%202022.pdf?emci=87a28dbb-6eba-ec11-997e-281878b83d8a&emdi=356257ec-0bbc-ec11-997e-281878b83d8a&ceid= 1075512

 

 

Land acknowledgement:

On Sunday, May 15, Montreal Meeting began discussions on how we wish to formulate a land acknowledgement, in the context of a parallel process taking place at Canadian Yearly Meeting. Emma Mckay  is assuming leadership at these discussion sessions, which will continue during weeks to come. 

 

 

Workshop day:

 

On June 4, a day of workshops will be held in Montreal, organized by The planet invites itself to parliament, Mouvement d’éducation populaire et d’action communautaire du Québec (MÉPACQ), Climate Reality Project Canada and the Student Coalition for an Ecological and Social Change (CEVES) in collaboration with local transition groups in the region.

 

Details and registration:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdSQUUNVamrzCbGm6zsJMlhuHa-ezDndn1K2f4dS-rd0_DiYg/viewform 

 

Worship Sharing with Quaker Earthcare Witness and Friends General Conference

 

May 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. (in English)


Details and registration:
https://quakerearthcare.org/event/worship-sharing-with-quaker-earthcare-witness-and-friends-general-conference-4/

 

 

Saint-Lawrence Regional Gathering


On Zoom on May 27 and 28 (mainly in English)
Details:
https://stlawrence.quaker.ca/2022/04/23/next-rg-program.html

 

 

A visit to Quebec.

 

Three members of the Montreal Assembly traveled to Quebec City to visit the affiliated Quaker group that has been active there for three years. Worship was followed by a friendly meal on a cool but beautiful day.

 
View of a sunset over a river

In the photo, in front of the La Mosaïque café in Lévis. From left to right in the background: Sébastien Garant, Michael Pedrewski , Geoffreyjen Edwards, Wendy Sturton. Front: Clara Grouazel, Elaine Champagne, Jean-Louis Demers, Victoria Stanton, David Summerhays.


 

List of Contributors

Co-editors:
Jean-Louis Demers
Sherezada Ochoa
Wendy Sturton

 

Translators:
Jean-Louis Demers
Wendy Sturton

 

Special Thanks to:

Claire Adamson

Juliane Beck

Elaine Champagne

Aline Demers

Wendy Eberle

Sébastien Garant

Sonora Grimsted

Martin Hébert

David Millar

Juan Nino

Jean-Michel Pionetti

Leigh Smit

 
 
 
 

To contact the Newsletter Team please email us at newsletter@montreal.quaker.ca

 
 

  Older

  Back to Updates