Join us for a Peace Testimony Workshop

Join us for fellowship & personal reflection:

Peace Testimony Workshop
Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14
Illinois Yearly Meeting
McNabb, IL

In 2006, the ILYM Peace Resources Committee developed a workshop aimed at deepening our individual and corporate understandings of Friends’ historic Peace Testimony and contemporary expressions of it. Join us!

The Peace Resources Committee of today invites Friends to gather at the Illinois Yearly Meeting Grounds for a day of storytelling, worship sharing, and personal reflection. The retreat will begin on Friday afternoon, April 12, with Friends encouraged to arrive beginning at 4pm. Explore the grounds, settle into your bunk, catch up with good F/friends, explore the recommended reading (see below), and enjoy a shared meal in nearby McNabb. Those not able to overnight are invited to arrive Saturday morning, ideally by 10am. The workshop will conclude in the early evening, culminating in each Friend authoring their own Peace Testimony. Friends are equally encouraged to stay over Saturday night and attend worship with Clear Creek Friends on Sunday, April 14, as a culmination to your retreat weekend.

We ask that those excited to participate RSVP by Monday, April 8: email PRC clerk Breeze Richardson at The day will be free to all who wish to attend, with the opportunity to overnight at Clear Creek House or the cabins (a $5 donation per night is requested from those desiring overnight hospitality). Our shared midday meal on Saturday will be potluck.

We look forward to spending the day with you!

Recommended Reading:

In advance of gathering, we invite you to explore the Peace Testimony Workshop Advance Readings. Nothing is required, but exploration is welcome. In order to have some shared knowledge among those who gather, we specifically suggest the following. Paper copies will also be available upon arrival.

“A Declaration From the Harmless and Innocent People of God, Called Quakers, Against all Sedition, Plotters, and Fighters in the World…. Presented to the King Upon the 21st day of the 11th month, 1660.”
Download here:

“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” by Reverend Martin Luther King
Download here:

Sharing apple recipes and step-by-step directions for applesauce

As promised, here are a few resources that were shared during the weeks Friends worked together planning the Preserving Apples workshop, including recipes, storybooks, and step-by-step directions.

Applesauce 101
Download the step-by-step directions that walk through our workshop, complete with photos to show what things look like along the way.  Enjoy!

Danish Apple Cake
shared by Cathy Garra
This is a no-bake desert which depends on having good apple sauce. Best made the night before or on the morning of the day you plan to serve it.

Apple Cake
shared by Grayce Mesner
Remembered from a past Among Friends, this recipe is being shared by special request (and thanks to the recipe-keeping of Cathy Garra).

Rain Makes Applesauce
shared by Maurine Pile
Generations of Maurine’s family have read this children’s book, written in 1964 by Julian Scheer. She wrote PRC: ” I would like to recommend this book ; a favorite in my family.”

If you have any apple themed contributions, please consider adding them in the Comments section below. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, how might we prepare apples in celebration of our community? What apple stories might be shared?

Building Community: Making Applesauce

Author: Breeze Richardson, with assistance from participants

The day met all my expectations. “Seeking Peace: Preserving Apples” was a day filled with stories, observations of life, teaching, learning, sharing, creating, and accomplishment. We were 13 Friends gathered from a diversity of Meetings, staring down 3.5 bushels of apples, with boxes of jars heaped on the counter. Three of us were visiting McNabb for the first time (all three said they’d see us again soon, recipes were exchanged, and we have Mariellen Gilpin to thank for inviting them to join us for this extraordinary event). Some of us had plans to use this new knowledge towards canning projects in the future. Others remembered walking through these steps when they were small children and enjoyed reminiscing about those days. The tools needed to get the job done have changed very little in the time span between those decades.

The day was documented in photographs & wonderful reflections of the day. You can click through images (including descriptions) at our Flickr page, and here are a few favorites:

Sharing stories while chopping apples

Urbana foodies team upWe made remarkable applesauce

Thank you to Tanners Orchard for donating the beautiful apples, to Kay Drake for the loan of equipment and the donation of jars, special thanks to Grayce Mesner for all her wonderful support making this workshop happen, and of course my deepest thanks to Beth Schobernd for facilitating the day. All the steps to making amazing applesauce can be found in our photos.

Lastly, the words of those who participated in the day really moved me. I’ve asked all of them to comment here with their reflections, but also wanted to share just a bit of what I am so grateful to have received from them in the days that have followed since our time together.

From PRC member Mark McGinnis of Upper Fox Valley:
I had a great time. I intend to make two applesauce cakes with the bounty, one for the Lake Forest/Upper Fox Thanksgiving Dinner and one for the Blue Island/Upper Fox Thanksgiving Dinner.

From Mariellen Gilpin of Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting:
I usually go to worship via taxi, and as it happened, one of my favorite drivers took me to the meetinghouse this morning. His name is Glenn. He is an enormously kind-hearted soul, and I presented him with a pint of Quaker Applesauce and told him the story of how it came to be. We were twelve ladies [and our dear Friend Mark], and almost-four bushels of apples, and we’d cut ’em up and taken out the bad spots in an hour and a quarter, and had a good time doing it. Three Friends, foodies all of them, came from Urbana and brought me along, and we had a wonderful 5 hours total in the car, plus the seven hours of apple-ing, and we heartily agreed we’d had a wonderful day. We are eagerly looking forward to Food Preservation 102 — just say the word!! The other 3 Friends had never been to a yearly meeting event before, and are very enthusiastic about how much fun we had.

From Yelena Forrester of Pittsburgh Friends Meeting, but a recent transplant to Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting:
I had a wonderful time at the event; thank you so much for making it possible. It was the first time I’d ever taken part in (or even seen) the canning process.

From Pam Timme of Oak Park Friends Meeting:
One of the quarts is destined to go to Oak Park Meeting next week for our potluck/Direction of the Meeting gathering. It was a wonderful and very educational day. Christina and I both enjoyed it very much, and also enjoyed getting back to peace of the countryside. It was a fun and hardworking, yet relaxed group.

From Elizabeth Mertic of Evanston Friends Meeting:
glad that I came the nite before and was able to relax in the quiet of the farm and share the easygoing company of Debie Smith; excited to be able to stand on my feet in front of the hot stove while stirring and monitoring when the water in the canners reached the boil; very pleased that three new Friends participated; grateful to have the chance to be with Beth, Grayce, Mariellen since we all are old timers at ILYM activities.

And from Debie Smith of Evanston Friends Meeting:
I sampled the applesauce three different ways; adding cinnamon and heating up; adding cinnamon and eating cold; and eating the unsweetened applesauce right out of the refrigerator. All three ways were delicious. AND each time I ate my applesauce I remembered our time together making it, as well as where the apples came from. I am really looking forward to more canning in my future with other friends/Friends.

Elizabeth and I made the most of the experience. We drove to McNabb together Friday afternoon, enjoying both conversation and the gorgeous trees and country scenes along the way. We arrived in time to take a long walk together, before settling into the Clear Creek Meetinghouse for the evening. What a welcoming and beautiful home.

I enjoyed every part of our applesauce and canning experience: meeting, cooking with and eating with new Friends; eating Beth’s delicious cookies; learning my way around the kitchen and the canning process; preparing the jars for canning; scrubbing pans; stirring apples on the stove (and slowly becoming more adept at doing so without burning myself so often); milling the apples; filling jars with applesauce; heating lids; putting the lids on the jars; putting the jars in the canner and timing the process; removing the jars to cool and listening for the “pop” to know they sealed. AND eating our collectively made treasured applesauce the next day. All of this – and we had the joy of learning and cooking and eating and cleaning together.

Being in the kitchen with friends and family is one of my greatest joys. Our time together in McNabb added to my collection of joyful kitchen experiences.

Oh, yes, as Elizabeth and I walked out the front door of the meetinghouse to head back to Chicago, we both paused as we were struck by the silence. You could feel and “hear” the silence.

Coming next: Some wonderful apple recipes were shared during the planning of this Peace House on the Prairie workshop – we’ll get them posted here soon.

Seeking Peace: Preserving Apples

Saturday, October 13
10am – late afternoon/early evening
Illinois Yearly Meeting Meetinghouse & Kitchen
McNabb, IL

THIS JUST IN: Peace Resources Committee is thrilled to announce the generous contribution of apples from Tanner’s Orchard of 740 State Route 40, in Speer, IL. We will be gifted all we need for the workshop, so come join us for a day of learning and fun! (posted 9/14)

Thanks to the gracious planning assistance of Beth Schobernd, Grayce Mesner, and Mariellen Gilpin we – the Peace Resources Committee – invite Friends to gather at the Yearly Meetinghouse for a day of storytelling and apples. This is a Peace House on the Prairie program, the first of many we hope to facilitate. The day will include:

– apple prep* with worship sharing around several apple-themed queries
– period of sterilizing jars and cooking apples
– an exploration of an assembly line process
– queries while the apples simmer
– processing apples with Foley mills
– processing apples with blenders/food processors
– boiling extra jars
– filling jars
– possibly learning about other ways to preserve apples (at least a small demo)

*apples will be prepared for processing with Foley mills and food processors, so some apples will be washed & cored while others will be washed, peeled, chopped and freed of seeds.

The day will proceed at its own pace. The goal is to share knowledge, learn more about each other and this fruit, listen to each other’s stories and walk away having made a delicious treat for ourselves and our loved ones. Especially in this year of drought, let us celebrate food and our access to it. This is an opportunity for us to build & deepen our community; we who haven’t yet been taught, we who desire a refresher, and we who want to share past experiences of preserving apples.

There are about a dozen Friends who have already expressed interest. We ask that those excited to participate please RSVP by October 1: email PRC clerk Breeze Richardson at  This will ensure we arrange appropriate hospitality, purchase enough apples, and confirm the necessary equipment. The day will be free to all who wish to attend, with the opportunity to overnight at Clear Creek House. Our shared midday meal will be potluck.

Friends are encouraged to bring the following items:
– a paring knife/peeling knife
– cutting board
– preferred mixing bowl
– your personal Foley mill, food processor, or blender*

*If a participant wants to know more about these options we can provide additional details about what might be used. Some of those attending are purchasing needed equipment both for use in this workshop and future personal use with these new learned skills.

We will provide:
– enough apples to provide multiple quarts of applesauce to each participant
– sugar, cinnamon
– jars and lids
– some structure and queries to get us started…

The day will begin in the Meetinghouse Kitchen, and possibly expand to the outdoors if the group is big enough to divide into smaller worship groups & some want to prep apples outdoors (at the possible risk of attracting bees).

There is a need for some Friends to gather Friday evening or earlier on Saturday morning to wash down counters, sweep, and clean the necessary pots and accessories. Thanks to Beth and Diane who are kindly taking inventory of cooking pots and appliances during Fall Work Weekend.

We look forward to spending the day with you!