Monday, August 28, 2017

IRELAND July 2018

This is the last call to join a small group of us visiting Ireland in July 2018 - at the annual sessions of Ireland Yearly Meeting in Limerick, and before and after, exploring countryside, culture(s) and history.

The itinerary is in three parts: before, during and after yearly meeting. I hope that you will be able to join me for the whole time, but it's also possible to join for one or two parts. 

First part: July 9 - 18, 2018

  • Join Friends for meeting for worship in Cork  
  • West Cork: Clonakilty, Rosscarbery, Baltimore, Skibbereen and Bantry
  • Limerick, established by Vikings in 812 

Accommodation will be in hotels in Shannon, Kilkenny, Horse & Jockey, Waterford, Cork, Bantry and Tralee. 

Second part, Ireland Yearly Meeting, July 18 - 22

Ireland Yearly Meeting's annual sessions will be in Limerick, at Limerick Institute of Technology.  As guests at the yearly meeting, we will spend time in worship and conversation with Irish Friends. It's an opportunity to appreciate the rich 350-year-old history of Friends in Ireland, and to enter into the spirituality of this diverse group.
Accommodation will be in a student village. 
Connections being made over tea at yearly meeting
Third part, July 22 - 30
When yearly meeting ends, we will head northeast, pausing to refuel at Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall, Co. Offaly, crossing the border near Newry to Moyallon, near Portadown. We will visit: 
  • Belfast

Accommodation. For five nights we will stay in self-catering accommodation at Moyallon Centre, Co. Armagh, where we will have sole use of the facility. On the other nights we will be in hotels in Derry, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo and Shannon, Co. Clare.

Getting there

All parts of this itinerary begin and end at Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland. There are currently direct flights to Shannon from:
- Boston (Aer Lingus)
- New York JFK (Aer Lingus and Delta)
- Newark (United Airlines) and
- Philadelphia (American Airlines)
Look for a flight that connects through one of these cities.


Part 1 July 9-18 the south and southwest: $2,900 

Part 2 July 18-22 Ireland Yearly Meeting, Limerick: $520

Part 3 July 22-30 the north and west: $1,720

What's included

  • All accommodation 
  • Three meals each day
  • Travel within Ireland. Two of us who have years of experience driving manual (stick shift) cars on the left side of the road will be your volunteer drivers
  • Attendance at the residential sessions of Ireland Yearly Meeting(bring a traveling minute or letter of introduction from your Friends' Meeting)
  • Entrance fees, tips
  • Advance reading materials.

What's not included

  • Airfare to Shannon
  • Travel insurance
  • Some of the more popular tourist destinations. This is an opportunity to explore parts of Ireland that aren't easy to reach by public transportation or tour bus. So no Blarney, Cliffs of Moher, Dublin or Glendalough. If you want to visit places not on this itinerary, consider doing so before or after we meet. I can advise you on how to get there to or from Shannon.

I am currently serving as interim pastor of Reedwood Friends Church in Portland Oregon. Last year I was interim pastoral minister at West Richmond Friends, in Indiana. As a Quaker, inevitably I see things through that lens, and that shapes our conversations. But you don't have to be a Quaker to join in! Maybe one of you loves to sit through business meetings and the other doesn't, and needs to escape for a few days.  If so, here's a handy map to Bus Éireann's routes. Look for the  'Expressway Coach Service" lines radiating out of Limerick, to see where you might want to visit.

I have co-led Quaker pilgrimages for adults and Young Friends on two continents, and have organized several international visits to Ireland and Northern Ireland. I have an interest in landscape, architecture and art; in the ways in which some communities can live together in the midst of significant cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, while for others the stress is too great. Irish Quakers have a remarkable capacity to stay united despite the challenges of national border, theologies and history. I feel happily at home among Irish Friends and hope that my friends there will quickly become your friends.

Last call to sign up

The hotel accommodation is now booked. However, we can squeeze one or two people into the vehicles, and I will do my best to get rooms for you if you would like to join. Please email me at margaret at or message me on Facebook. A non-refundable deposit will secure your place. You will be able to pay the balance by installments.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Association of Friends gathering at Friends of the Light, Traverse City, Michigan

The garden at Friends of the Light

Some of us arrived on our 400 mile journey from different parts of Indiana a day early, in time to do sightseeing, so I led a small group to Empire (National Park Office and Sleeping Bear Dunes the easy way, by car up Pierce Stocking Drive. We ended the journey in Glen Arbor (Cherry Republic.)

On the Saturday morning I repeated the expedition, starting this time in Leland and Fishtown, and then south to Glen Haven. Members of Friends of the Light took others to a wonderful restored Victorian mansion and garden on 6th Street, via a coffee shop.

Glen Lake, from Pierce Stocking Drive, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Clinch Marina, Traverse City

On Saturday afternoon we - Friends from Bluff Point, New Castle, Friends of the Light, Muncie, Raysville, Richmond First Friends and West Richmond, gathered at Friends of the Light for a Bible study by Janet Scott on Mark's Gospel. 

Those who were not part of the Steering Committee meeting that followed went for a walk or joined me on a tour of the early history of Friends in the area: Round Top Cemetery in Maple City, the former Pleasant Grove/Maple City meetinghouse (now St. Rita's Catholic church), Long Lake Church (sadly they have dropped 'Friends' from their name) and the site of Lone Tree schoolhouse (the first Friends meeting in Traverse City) and the site of the home of evangelists Phebe and Amos Kenworthy.

Friends of the Light served a pizza and salad dinner and we went into the second session of bible study with Janet Scott.  

On Sunday we attended worship at Friends of the Light, where there were hymns accompanied on the psalter, concertina and a wooden base instrument from the Afro-Cuban tradition. Many of us went out to Minerva's for brunch at the historic Park Place Hotel, and then said goodbye, with hopes to repeat the experience within the next eighteen months.

The original Long Lake meetinghouse on Cedar Run Road

Quakers moved from Indiana into northern Michigan after the Homestead Act. From dates on gravestones there is evidence of Friends being in the Maple City area from 1868. The first recorded meeting for worship was a decade later.

Long Lake Monthly Meeting was set up under the care of Winchester (Indiana) Quarterly Meeting in 1880. Evangelists set out from this farming settlement to  railroad and logging communities, and meetings were established at Lone Tree (later Traverse City, 1894) and Pleasant Grove (Maple City, 1895.)  Five other meetings did not survive, partly because logging communities were transient.  Maple City Friends Church lasted until 1918, and Traverse City Friends Church until 1987.

Friends of the Light's history is of two worship groups that came together:

In 1986 Joe Kelly heard a call to be a minister. He and others from Long Lake Friends Church began meeting on Sunday afternoons in St. Rita's Catholic Church, the former Maple City Friends meetinghouse. They took the name Pleasant Grove Worship Group, which was the historic name of Maple City Friends Meeting. The worship group was under the care of Long Lake Friends.

Joe also started a worship group at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City for people in recovery and/or with mental health challenges. After learning about the history of early Friends, the group named itself Friends of the Light.

In 1990, at the invitation of Indiana Yearly Meeting, Friends of the Light relocated into the empty Traverse City Friends meetinghouse and began caring for it. Recovery groups started using the property and other community groups and churches followed.

In 1994 the Pleasant Grove Worship Group relocated from Maple City to the Traverse City Friends meetinghouse. Later that year, Friends of the Light and Pleasant Grove Worship Group merged as one monthly meeting under the name Friends of the Light. 

Friends of the Light is now part of The New Association of Friends.

The presiding clerk climbs the dune