Atlantic Friends Gathering Leaders 2019

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Ellen Helmuth, Clerk, Atlantic Friends Half-Yearly Meeting

Ellen lives in Woodstock, New Brunswick with her husband, Keith and son, Brendan. The Helmuths were part of the founding of New Brunswick Monthly Meeting in 1980. Ellen has served as a past clerk of New Brunswick MM. and is serving as the first Clerk of Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting. She has served on CYM committees, and is active with Atlantic Friends. She loves gardening, sewing, quilting, putting puzzles together and spends a LOT of time in the kitchen. She is committed to strengthening the bonds of faith in the Quaker community.

John Calder: AFG Master of Ceremonies, has been part of the Atlantic Friends community for decades and has read widely on the history and testimonies of Friends. He has worked and studied at Pendle Hill for two years, and has served on the committee that supported the work of the Quaker Office at the United Nations

Daphne Davey, Registrar, has been a Friend since the age of 14, and is still discovering life, Quaker or other. Daphne is Clerk of Prince Edward Island Allowed Meeting. She works full time on a volunteer basis (writing, editing, administration, and much more) for non-profit organizations, including local and national charities for therapeutic riding, and her local watershed group — among others.

Maida Follini, Program Coordinator

Maida’s mother and grandmother were Quakers. Joining Cambridge, Mass., Meeting, in 1960, Maida attended Meetings in Maryland, Connecticut and New Brunswick before moving to Halifax and joining Halifax Monthly Meeting. Her daughter Beth is a member of Forest Hill Meeting in London, U.K. and her son Charles attends Halifax Meeting.  A retired psychologist, Maida’s interests include natural history and Quaker history.

Nathalie Brunet: Meals Coordinator

Nathalie is a member of the Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting, and attends St. John’s, Newfoundland, Worship Group. She is a junior high science teacher who loves hiking, gardening, knitting, playing the recorder and foraging for wild berries and mushrooms. 

Renata Woodward, Meals Assistant

Renata is the head staff person at the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, a major Atlantic Canada Non-Governmental Organization focused on Protected Areas. She is involved with land issues relating to the Passamaquoddy First Nation.

Dick Cotterill: Site Manager

Dick lives in Truro, NS and is a member of Halifax Monthly Meeting. He is a director of the Truro Homeless Outreach Society which owns and operated ‘Hub House’, a fifteen bed, low barrier homeless shelter in Truro. Dick is also a member of the Canadian Friends Service Committee where he serves on the program committee, “Quakers Fostering Justice”.

Vince Zelazny: Children & Youth Coordinator

Vince joined New Brunswick Monthly Meeting in 1995. He has worked as an ecologist and protected areas planner for the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. He has four granddaughters who are his heart’s delight, and as a lifelong student of forests and wetlands he revels in teaching children what he knows about nature. He is currently the Clerk of New Brunswick Monthly Meeting and the President of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick.

Roger Davies: Session #1 Leader: Sharing Our Ecological Journeys.

Roger supports refugees through sponsorships, friendship, and tutoring. He has served with Canadian Friends Service Committee and acts as treasurer for Halifax Monthly Meeting. He is a retired educator, working mostly with people in desperate circumstance —  he has taught in a prison and an alternative school for youth who left school.  He also taught Ecology and Religion at St. Mary’s University. Roger’s interests include boat building, poetry writing, kayaking, and photography.  He is blessed to have in my life his soulmate, Helen Lofgren.    

Joanna Bull & Meghan McMorris, Guest Speakers: Session #2: The Work of the Ecology Action Centre.

Joanna has been working as the Ecology Action Centre’s Volunteer Coordinator since 2013. Joanna is deeply inspired by the beauty of the natural world, and is motivated to do her bit for environmental and social justice. Her academic background is in Linguistics and Language Studies, and she volunteers as a teacher with the Art of Living Foundation in her spare time. She loves to sing, play the guitar, ride her bicycle, meditate, dive deep in conversation, and devour fresh local strawberries in the summertime.

As the Community Energy Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, Meghan is focused on bringing climate change down to the level of peoples everyday realities, and finding ways to come up with accessible solutions for climate change for all. Meghan has a BA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters of Development Practice from the University of Waterloo. She has extensive experience in qualitative research methods and community-based research. With work experiences ranging from working in the welding department of an automotive factory, to becoming an entrepreneur and consulting on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Meghan brings a unique perspective to her work that is fundamentally grounded in the relationships she has built, and that she continues to build.

Verena Tan, Guest Speaker: Session #3: The Canadian Friends Service Committee. Verena is the program coordinator for the criminal justice program at the Canadian Friends Service Committee. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Verena studied and worked in Melbourne, Australia, lived briefly in Vancouver and New Orleans, and moved to Toronto to complete a Masters of Social Justice Education. Verena in her work has focused on community legal services and legal aid, and advocating for marginalized people, those with disabilities and mental health issues. Growing up in New Zealand, Verena loves nature, hiking, and misses the ocean.

Judy Loo, Guest Speaker: Session #4: Global biodiversity expert, and Board Member of ACORN, the Atlantic Canada Organic farmers group and member of a Family Farm Cooperative.

Maria Antony: Coordinator of Fun Activities

Maria came 21 years ago from Germany.  She attends Annapolis Valley Quaker Meeting. This year she is working on her dual citizenship. 

Meeting for Readings: Leader: Keith Helmuth: Select a favourite reading with focus on Nature & the Environment.

Keith Helmuth has had a long association, both personal and professional, with books and reading. He has been a bookstore manager, a college librarian, the Publications Coordinator of Quaker Institute for the Future, and is now the publisher of Chapel Street Editions. At one of the early New England / Atlantic Friends Gatherings in the 1970s, Keith and Hobart Mitchell introduced “the Meeting for Reading.” Atlantic Friends have continued this tradition of thoughtful sharing.

Session 6: History of the Food Action Committee. Leader: Sylvia Mangalam

Sylvia says: I have always been interested in food,  gardening and farming.  Although I majored in cultural anthropology at Cornell, I found time to raid the orchards, and share food with people downtown, and finish the Nutrition sequence also. I have been a farmer at least 2 times in my life. I was one of three founding members of the Food Action Committee of the Ecology Action Centre.

Sharing Food: the Primal Frontier: Leader: Nathalie Brunet. Food is more than just nourishment for the body. It can be emotionally nourishing as we participate in a common meal.

Session 7: Guest Speaker Cameron Fraser, Canadian Yearly Meeting Secretary: the Secretary’s Role in Supporting the Work of Canadian Friends.

Michael Miller and Marilyn Manzer: Co-ordinators of Family & Friends Night:

Individuals and small groups may put on any kind of performance they choose: stories, poems, skits, songs, instrumental music, magic, or even a nature talk.

Michael Miller, Professor Emeritus, retired from his position teaching music composition at Mount Allison University and moved to Fredericton, where he continues composing. A long-time Friend, Michael’s interests include prison visiting, writing, and his grandchildren.

Marilyn, Sylvia and Nathalie, 2018

Marilyn Manzer has been involved with Quakers for 45 years, first with Halifax Meeting, then with Annapolis Valley Meeting, and more recently with Canadian Yearly Meeting. She has attended all Atlantic Friends Gatherings except for two. She works as a music teacher in Wolfville Nova Scotia.

Bruce Dienes, IT and Web Support

Bruce grew up in a Quaker family and has been a member of Meetings in England, Australia, Canada and the US. He served as Clerk of Canadian Young Friends YM, Clerk of Young Friends of North America, Clerk of Annapolis Valley Meeting, Clerk of CYM Representative Meeting and has served on various CYM committees. He was a leader in the FGC High School Program for 10 years as workshop leader, counsellor and coordinator. He has a background in Community Psychology and teaches that as well as courses on Masculinities and on Motivation and Emotion at Mount Saint Vincent University. He currently runs a consulting business working with not-for-profit organizations and small to medium businesses, customizing training for organizational effectiveness and community empowerment. He has also been operating CAPFLEX Networking, his IT business, since 1999, and currently hosts the CYM and AHYM web sites. He has a life-long interest in photography, which continues to bring him joy!

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