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Info on Benjamin Lay

On November 12, 2017, Abington Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends approved this minute into record:

Abington Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends recognizes Benjamin Lay’s dedication to equality, and his willingness to repeatedly speak his messages of Truth to a society that was in denial about the evils of slavery. We acknowledge that Benjamin Lay used radical activism in his attempts to teach his peers to recognize the equality before God of all people, regardless of race or gender. He lived his life with integrity according to his Quaker beliefs, and he called others, especially slave-owners, to accountability.

Benjamin Lay was written out of membership at Abington Monthly Meeting on the thirtieth day, eleventh month, 1737 (which by the Quaker calendar, while the Julian calendar was in use, would have been January 30, 1738), because his zealous actions were considered disruptive. It is now known that at least two of the Friends who led the discernment about writing Benjamin Lay out of membership in the Society of Friends were slave-owners and were likely targeted by Benjamin Lay’s anti-slavery activism. Benjamin Lay was disowned decades before Quakers were disowned for being slave-owners.

We now recognize the truth behind Benjamin Lay’s abolitionist efforts. Although we may not reinstate membership for someone who is deceased, we recognize Benjamin Lay as a Friend of the Truth and as being in unity with the spirit of our Abington Monthly Meeting.

A grave marker for Benjamin and Sarah Lay will be placed in our Abington Meeting graveyard during the winter of 2017-18. Although the exact location of the grave is not known, as will be indicated on the marker, we do know approximately where they were buried.

For those who may be interested in Benjamin Lay’s cave, we offer this map.  Please note that we have not authenticated this cave, and this may be private property, although the cave can be viewed from the road.
Benjamin Lay Cave Guide & MAP

Distinguished professor and author Marcus Rediker presented two lectures at Abington Meeting, the first in February 2016 and the second in October 2017, on his book The Fearless Benjamin Lay.  A video link to the October lecture will be available here shortly.  Marcus Rediker has also written articles on Benjamin Lay for the New York Times and The Smithsonian Magazine.

In the UK, the North London Area Meeting minute, Agreed on 18 November 2017 reads as follows:  

“Quakers are proud of the times in history we have been ahead of our time on progressive social issues – but preceding those moments, there have often been long periods when we have not walked the path we would later understand to be the just one. At a time when racism seems as present and ugly as ever – both globally and nationally – and the structures of white supremacy are being defended and strengthened by powerful forces in our societies, this seems a timely moment for North London Area Meeting to reflect on its involvement in the struggle for racial justice.

North London Area Meeting recognises Benjamin Lay’s dedication to equality – and his willingness to repeatedly speak his messages of Truth. We also recognise Benjamin Lay as being a Friend of the Truth – and as being in unity with the spirit of our Area Meeting. We ask our Clerking team to write to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Abington Monthly Meeting and Southern East Anglia Area Meeting (successor to Colchester & Coggeshall Monthly Meeting) to clarify that Lay is in good standing with North London Area Meeting (successor to Devonshire House Monthly Meeting).”

The North London decision was supported by a letter from Tim Gee of Peckham Meeting (close to the now defunct Deptford Meeting where Lay attended as a Young Adult Friend), outlining how the decision would be a manifestation of three 21st century Quaker principles.

“Firstly it is a timely reminder of the Advice to ‘listen for the spirit, even if it is expressed in ways unfamiliar to you’.

Secondly it is a reiteration of the insight that every person ‘has a measure of the light’ with a recognition that then as now, our interpretation of the spirit can be distorted by privilege and hierarchy

Thirdly, it builds on the statement against racism made by Meeting for Sufferings in February 2017, by showing that for a long as racism exists – whether in society or in the Society of Friends – ‘without justice there can be no peace”.


Contributions urgently needed!

Your contributions to Abington Meeting are needed! Many thanks to the Friends who have already donated to Abington Meeting during 2017, but we ask you to please consider increasing your donation if at all possible. If you pledged a donation, please send it as soon as you are able. Our Finance Committee has determined that we are still below the mark for annual giving if we hope to meet our budget. If you haven’t donated, please remember that, even with pledges considered, we are all responsible for the upkeep and continued vitality of our Meeting and meetinghouse. As a reminder, this basic guideline was distributed earlier this year, with the hope that those who are able to give more generously will do so:

Basic Guidelines for Giving
Household with one adult member/attender:             $600
Household with two adult members/attenders:          $800
Plus for each child (to a maximum of two):               $100
Plus 1% of the amount by which a households adjusted gross income (line 37 of IRS Form 1040) exceeds $125,000.

2017-18 Children’s Programming

Children’s Programming for 2017-18:  The opening program for First Day School will be September 17th at 10 a.m. in the John Barnes Room. We hope all families with school-age children will attend, as teachers will be introduced during the program. At that time, registrations forms will be available, or click the link below to download a form.  A registration form will be needed for each child attending First Day School or Child Care (see below). The calendar for our children’s programming is also below.  If you have any questions, please contact any member of our Children’s Religious Education Committee: Tom Dwyer (acting convener), Norman Cotterell, Cherie Gerstadt, Susan Ely Greenwood, Lisa Hohenstein, Kathy Singer, Carol Moore, or Loretta Fox.

2017 Parent Letter

2017-18 Color Coded First Day School Calendar

2017-18 First Day School Registration

2017-18 Childcare Registration Form

Women’s Drumming Circle

Held monthly on a Tuesday evening, 7 – 8:30,  at Abington Friends Meeting House.
Usually held on last Tuesday, but that sometimes changes.
If interested, you need to be on our group email list.
If you could bring a drum, shaker or any kind of percussion instrument, that’s great.
However, we always have some extra.
For questions, information, directions:

“When we come into a drum circle, we enter a sacred place as community without judgment and mistrust, but with respect and compassion to heal one another and bring into focus the possibilities of who we truly are.”

All women are welcome
We ask a FREE WILL donation of $10 for space and facilitator

Casseroles & Sandwich Making

Casserole Program
If you would like to make a casserole, pans with recipes and instructions are available in the kitchen and in the vestibule. Casseroles may be prepared at home and dropped off in the large freezer in the meetinghouse kitchen.

Sandwich Making Program
Our Sandwich Making program and Mission Days for Middle School and High School age Friends will resume in December, when Face to Face is moved into its renovated space. They look forward to our sandwich donations at that time.

Videos & Highlights from our Dedication Ceremony

On October 15, 2016,  Abington Friends Meeting commemorated the people interred in unmarked graves in our burial ground, especially those of African descent, with a bronze plaque erected at its entrance.  We gathered for a Memorial Meeting for Worship as a tribute to the long-forgotten people of African descent who are buried under our care and stewardship.

Thank you to our videographer, Gordon Lewis, for capturing our event so beautifully!

Review of our Event from Montgomery News:

Preview of our Event from Philadelphia Inquirer:

Photos from the Event:

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Giant Gift Cards to Support Abington Meeting

We are currently selling gift cards for Giant food markets. The cards are sold at face value, in various amounts. Members or attenders who buy their groceries at Giant are encouraged to buy Giant cards at AMM. You then use the gift card (just as you would use cash) when you shop at Giant. Giant will contribute 5% of what you spend on groceries to the Meeting. See Barbara Chambers to purchase Giant cards.

Donations for Food Bank

Our non-perishable food basket collections are distributed at the InterFaith Food Cupboard located at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.  This food bank usually serves 100 families a week.  Each family automatically receives a pre-stocked bag with peanut butter, jelly, pasta, sauce, tuna, rice, canned fruit, corn, green beans, tea and bread. Clients also have the opportunity to make requests from a checklist of stocked items, including canned meats and vegetables, cereal, healthy snacks, condiments, soups, and hygiene products.  Paper towels and toilet paper are often requested.  Highly desired items are coffee, canned meats, mushrooms and collards and smaller bags of flour and sugar.  As you continue to generously fill the baskets in the foyer, keep in mind that the Food Bank can only use products within a current expiration date.  Our Meeting members have been very generous with weekly donations to our collection baskets for the Interfaith Food Cupboard, but staples are always needed – rice, tuna, canned vegetables and fruit, paper products, mayo, catsup, salad dressing, pork ‘n beans, and coffee.  The foyer basket contains paper bags with the request lists.  Please take one!