This year’s Plenary Speakers for our Annual Meeting will help us explore Clearness Committees, what it is like to be brown in America, and a Quaker response to the Holocaust. You don’t want to miss a night!


Thursday, July 23, 6:30pm — Pre-Yearly Meeting Retreat featuring Paul Buckley on “Clearness Committees”

Clearness Committees have been used by Quakers almost since George Fox climbed Pendle Hill. Originally, this was a body of Friends who met with a couple that intended to be wed in a meeting for worship to determine if the couple was clear of other promises or obligations. In many yearly meetings, this practice has evolved into a loving and supportive exploration of the couple’s readiness to take on the responsibilities of marriage. Later in our history, clearness committees have been formed to similarly explore an individual’s readiness to take on the responsibilities of membership in a monthly meeting. More recently, clearness committees have been used to help an individual become clear on a variety of questions: to test a concern, to test a perceived call to service or ministry, or to seek guidance in times of change or difficulty. This short, on-line retreat will present some suggestions and guidelines for setting up and conducting formal and informal clearness committees.
Paul Buckley is a member of Community Friends Meeting in Cincinnati. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Quaker history, faith and practice; and has presented numerous workshops, short courses, and retreats to meetings from across the spectrum of Friends. When possible, he travels in the ministry urging spiritual renewal among Friends. His most recent book is Primitive Quakerism Revived: Living as Friends in the Twenty-First Century.
Friday, July 24, 6:30pm — USFW Lecture featuring Elizabeth Newby, “A Migrant with Hope” 

We are living in a time of increased racial divide in this country. I am a brown woman, a woman of Mexican American heritage, and one who knows and has experienced prejudice and racial discrimination. My life as a young girl was far from representative of American experience, for I belonged to a minority of a minority. For thirteen years I lived in the back of a 1942 Army surplus truck, which served as a home while my family followed the annual harvest of cotton, sugar beets, cantaloupe, etc. back and forth across America. Recentlythere have been so many de-humanizing things said about my culture and our assimilation into the American culture that I feel it is important to speak about my personal experience in the hope of helping others understand my people.


I also want to share about my spiritual journey. I was born into a Roman Catholic family,but was reared as a Southern Baptist. I am now a Quaker. Through times of both doubt and assurance, I have developed a faith that has sustained me during the most difficultcrises of my life, as well as the most contented times of my life. There have been times when I felt the absence of God as doubts came upon me, and I have had many questions. There have been other times when the presence of God has been so near that I felt God holding me, surrounding me with love. I know that the only way I have been able to survive many of the experiences through which I have been has been because of God’s support and guidance.


Elizabeth Salinas Newby was born in Texas, and reared in Kansas. For most of her childhood she lived and worked as a member of a migrant farm worker’s family. She graduated from high school as one of the first migrants to reach that level of academic achievement in Kansas, and began her college career in Wichita, Kansas at Wichita State University. She met her husband, Jim Newby, and was married in Wichita in 1969.


Elizabeth completed her under graduate education in Communications, Public Relations and Counseling Psychology at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and did her graduate work at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She has worked in the areas of mental health, education, social work and counseling, in clinics, hospitals, public schools, and in the Department of Social Services (DHS) as a child abuse investigator dealing with trauma and sexual abuse cases of children and the elderly.


When her husband accepted a call to serve the Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines, Iowa, Elizabeth was appointed Executive Director for Latino Affairs for the State of Iowa by then Governor Vilsack. When she and her husband moved to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, she worked in the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration, doing case management and counseling with immigrants, guiding them through the immigration court process and coordinating needed services.


Elizabeth came to Cincinnati in the spring of 2016 when her husband became the Minister at Cincinnati Friends Meeting (Indian Hill), Ohio. Currently Elizabeth is a Parent Educator and Counselor primarily for Hispanic families. In brief, she says, “My life goal is to live a meaningful and purposeful life serving those who are living on the fringes of society…the persons that our society has labeled as “expendable” or “untouchable.”


Elizabeth is the author of one book, A Migrant With Hope: A Memoir of Peril and Promise (Smyth and Helwys Publisher), which was released in February of 2020, and the editor of two other books, A Philosopher’s Way (Broadman Press) and Between Peril and Promise (Thomas Nelson Publishers). She is featured in two book anthologies, Immigrant Women, American Culture: An Anthology of Civilization Texts, and A Certain Kind of Perfection: An Anthology of Quaker Writers. In 2002 she was awarded the Passport to Prosperity Award from the Iowa Council for International Understanding.


Elizabeth and Jim have one daughter, Alicia Marie Clark who lives near Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband, David. For relaxation she likes to play golf and spend time at her home, Newbeginnings, on the coast of North Carolina.

Saturday, July 25, 6:30pm — Peace Lecture featuring Paul Moke on “The AFSC and the Holocaust”

The AFSC and the Holocaust: Pathways of Conscience in Vichy, France, 1938-1942


This lecture examines the legacy of the American Friends Service Committee in Vichy, France during the early stages of World War II.  It focuses on the stories of AFSC leaders and fieldworkers who took different stances in their interactions with Marshal Petain’s pro-Nazi government.  Those in leadership positions collaborated with fascist officials on a non-partisan basis in order to move food supplies across battle lines for child feeding operations.  Fieldworkers, largely female, secretly worked with the underground to smuggle Jewish refugees out of concentration camps in defiance of traditional Quaker norms. The moral choices that the key figures in this story faced raise important questions about the boundaries of Quaker neutrality during the Holocaust as well as the theme of anti-Semitism in certain elements of the Friends community. 


An updated and expanded version of the Quaker Lecture at Wilmington College last February, the current presentation explores more fully the work of female agents working undercover in France during the war as well as the connections between AFSC workers and other religious groups that resisted the Nazis in France, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.  The analysis sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of the AFSC’s relief work during the war, the contributions of its employees to a mega-narrative of the Holocaust, and possible lessons for Friends as they seek to improve the rights of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities today.  


Dr. Paul Moke is Professor of Political Science and Criminal Justice at Wilmington College. He is the author of Earl Warren and the Struggle for Justice and numerous articles on the history of the American Friends Service Committee. A graduate of Wilmington College, he earned a J.D. from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati.


REGISTER NOW to receive the ZOOM link that gives you access to all three of these sessions! All events are FREE and open to the public.