Michigan Friends Center (MFC) in Chelsea, Michigan

Past Programs

Meeting for Worship in the manner of Friends
Second Sunday of every month / 10am
no cost

Under the auspices of Ann Arbor Friends meeting, a Quaker worship group met in one form or another since the early days of the Friends Lake Community and Michigan Friends Center. In the past it was coordinated by Isabel Bliss, then Bill Bliss, then John Deikis carried on the tradition as coordinator.

This has been laid down. If you would like to become part of the formation of a new worship group, email us.

Friday Film: Two Rivers
7:00-9:00 pm Friday, November 8, 2019
Donations appreciated. Please register in advance if possible
Community — Film

Two Rivers is an award winning film that documents the true story of a Native American Reconciliation group that began in a couple’s home in Northern Washington State. . It tells the story of how people from different worlds have created profound, lasting friendships, because they were willing to adopt an open attitude, experiment with new ways of connecting, and learn to speak, listen, and act from their hearts.

Two Rivers teaches important aspects of American history that are becoming increasingly unfamiliar to Native American youth, and even today are largely unknown to European Americans A human story with large implications, it appeals to both whites and Natives who want to learn more effective means for connecting and healing their wounds, as well as to any individuals or groups interested in understanding racism and divisions of all sorts More about the film can be found at http://www.tworiversfilm.com/.

Friday Film: Paris to Pittsburgh
7:00-9:00 pm Friday, October 25, 2019
Donations appreciated. Please register in advance if possible
Sustainability — Film

From coastal cities to America’s heartland, Paris to Pittsburgh celebrates how Americans are demanding and developing real solutions in the face of climate change.  And as the weather grows more deadly and destructive, they aren’t waiting on Washington to act. More about the film can be found at https://www.paristopittsburgh.com/.

Writings of Nature and Spirit
7:30-9:00 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2019
Donations welcome.
Spiritual Development – Book Discussion Groups – Nature/Outdoors – Writing & Poetry

Join us for a fourth annual evening of sharing favorite poems and nature writings. Each winter we’ve had rewarding discussions of our favorite writings that explore the ways awareness of Nature hints at Spirit (or divinity, or Yahweh / God / Allah, or Source, or whichever term is most meaningful to each of us) in ways that evoke the deepest and most sustaining mystery of our being. The setting of MFC, in the natural setting of the Friends Lake property, inspires our awareness of the restorative power of Nature for our ongoing work for peace, justice, community and sustainability, as we celebrate the center’s 25th year in 2019.

We invite everyone to join this midwinter discussion. Invite your friends, and bring your own favorite poem(s) and short prose statements, to share with the circle. We’ll have refreshments, and pass the basket for contributions to the center’s ongoing operations.

Winterfest! Fundraiser
7:30-9:00 p.m. Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Ann Arbor Friends Meetinghouse
Suggested donation $15/person, $25/family.
Spiritual Development – Music

Gemini, twin brothers San and Laz Slomovits, nationally known for their music for children and families, return to the roots of their music — the classic songs of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, etc. Come hear songs like “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowing in the Wind,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and many more — and sing along with them!

Fine multi-instrumentalists (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and a variety of folk flutes and hand percussion) San and Laz add extra spice to the show with acapella versions of a Motown song, one by the Beatles, and even one by Janis Joplin! Rounding out the show, they include a few of their own original songs written in the style of the 60’s, as well as traditional songs associated with that era. This the music San and Laz grew up on, and they’ve put together a tribute / celebration concert of this quintessential music.

We will meet at the Friends Meeting House in Ann Arbor to enjoy an evening performance by musicians Laz and San Slomovits and their friends.

Web of Health: Connections with Environment and Well-Being : Friday night film series
7:00 pm Friday evenings Sept 28, Oct 5, Oct 12, Oct 19, Oct 26, Nov 2, Nov 9, and Nov 16, 2018
Donations welcome.

Through the film showings and group discussions, we explore the ways in which human health factors are intertwined with our environment and may be supported by nature-centered living conditions. We will seek to bring out representative issues that add new dimensions and pose provocative questions in addition to more familiar topics at the environment/health nexus. Co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea.

September 28 – We begin with the historical perspective of Radium City to understand how young women who were not informed about the hazards came to harm from radioactive material nearly 100 years ago.

October 5–In Defense of Food, Micheal Pollan tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” See why old-fashioned balanced eating habits of natural foods are often superior to ever-changing modern dietary advice.

October 12 – Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead chronicles the voyage of Joe Cross across 3,000 miles and 82 lost pounds for a natural solution to his rare autoimmune disorder, ending up with the opportunity to help another person like him.

October 19 – The Grounded tells the story of film director Steve Kroschel's personal discovery of the benefits of Earthing and how it affected him and others in the small town of Haines in the rural wilderness of Alaska.

October 26 – From Generation Zapped: “A WiFi classroom is like the inside of a microwave oven set at very low power.” What's wrong with that? What kind of field have we been playing in? Watch with us.

November 2 – Science writer Ed Yong relates in The Microbes Within Us the amazing story of how our microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, and may hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

November 9 – Chemical Exposures and the Brain: The Flint Water Crisis and More is the proceedings of a Harvard Forum panel, discussing various chemical agents in the environment and their cognitive effects.

November 16 – The Beautiful Truth tells both the bad and the good of it: Pharmaceutical solutions and other substances can be a dead end, whereas diet and wholesome environment can promote healing

Getting Municipalities to Pass Bee Ordinances with Lynn Fox
7:00-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Donations welcome.

Pollinators are vital to our food system - 85% of flowering plants depend on pollinators for reproduction. There are many factors that contribute to bee population decline – the varroa mite, pesticides, stress due to transporting bees across the country for pollination. Learn how to approach local governments to encourage passage of an ordinance that allows beekeeping.

Book Conversation: “Drawdown” edited by Paul Hawken
7:00-9:00 p.m. Thursday, December 7, 2017
Donations welcome.
Sustainability – Book Discussion Groups

What do we do about climate change besides worry or argue about it?  Michigan Friends Center is sponsoring a discussion of a timely new book which describes dozens of proposed ways to reduce, halt, or reverse the effects of human activities that contribute to the warming of our planet.  Each proposal is given a two- or three-page chapter of the book and rated according to its expected effectiveness.  Join us, gain insights, and contribute your thoughts and opinions.  A limited number of copies of "Drawdown" will be available through the Chelsea District Library in advance for participants.  Co-sponsored with Transition Town Chelsea.

Dignity v Rights: Exploring the Practical Effects of Constitutional Principles in US and German Prisons
7:00 Thursday, February 15, 2018
Donations welcome.
Peace and Justice – Social and Political Activism

This presentation addresses “how we do prisons” in the US and Germany and the Constitutional backdrop that informs practices, architecture, and policy—what we very generally would call “prison conditions.” As the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world the US is "exceptional" in its use and abuse of incarceration as punishment. Michigan incarcerates more than 58,000 individuals, only 10,000 fewer than the entire country of Germany (68,000 in a population of 80 million). What accounts for this difference historically? What can we learn from it as we seek to change our practices?

Conversation about how and why we use prisons to punish and what advocacy/resistance strategies and state-based reforms are in motion in the current moment.

Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice, and Sustainability
7:00-8:30 Monday evenings: June 25, (no meeting July 2,) July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, 2018
Sliding-scale fee of $30, $45, or $60 (as able) to cover book and other course costs; pre-registration required.
Sustainability – Peace & Justice

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. claimed that whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly -- peace is not possible until we recognize how interrelated we are.

This six session discussion course helps participants to develop systems thinking skills in order to see those connections. We will examine entrenched assumptions that reinforce unhealthy practices and systems. Together, we will envision a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world, discover practical actions we can take toward that goal, and inspire each other to become leaders in our own spheres of influence.

Each session is based on a set of readings from the NWEI course book, with rotating facilitation by course participants. This course is hosted by Michigan Friends Center and offered in partnership with the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.

Please register at https://seeingsystems2018.eventbrite.com or contact the Michigan Friends Center office (manager@mfcenter.org).

The six sessions will be:

June 25 It’s All Connected: We usually attempt to solve problems analytically -- by breaking them down looking at the parts. In order to more effectively interpret and solve complex problems, systems thinking helps us to employ various perspectives to look at the whole.

July 9 Peace Talks: Peaceful communication is essential to constructive conflict transformation and thus crucial when addressing topics of peace, justice, and sustainability. We will practice activities that promote effective and nonviolent communication.

July 16 Justice for the Whole Community: In this session we explore environmental justice in four different ways: who climate change impacts, who has access and rights to water, whose community we deposit our waste in, and how the way we grow our food affects the people closest to that process.

July 23 Peace and Sustainability in the Midst of Conflict: As climate changes around the globe, it is likely that conflict will escalate, impacting humans, animals, and other participants in the natural world. In this session we read stories of hope and change, even in the face of oppression, injustice, and formal/undeclared warfare. How can we regenerate our shared world?.How can we visualize and build the inclusive, equitable community in which we want to live?

July 30 Responding to Structural Violence: As Dr. Paul Farmer has said, sometimes people are oppressed, and “neither culture nor pure individual will is at fault,” but “historically given (and often economically driven) processes and forces conspire to constrain individual agency.” Using the communication skills from Session Two, we will work to listen and understand someone else’s experience, perhaps from the readings in the book, and to recognize our own experiences with privilege. While structural violence takes many forms, we explicitly address structural violence in these readings by taking a closer look at race and economic inequality.

August 6 Now What? Co-creating Living Peace: Practice, Engage, Allow, Create, Emerge – the first letters of these words spell “PEACE”. Using this framework and the network of relationships we have been developing, we will think about how we can use what we have learned to make a real difference for good.

A World of Health : Connecting People, Place, and Planet
7:00-8:30 Wednesday evenings: March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11, April 18, 2018
Sliding-scale fee of $30, $45, or $60 (as able) to cover book and other course costs; pre-registration required.

A healthy environment is essential for human health and well being. This six-session discussion course helps participants explore the connections between the health of our communities and the health of our planet. You also learn about the limitations of the current medical model and the places where our personal health intersects with the environment—from our food and homes, to our communities and society. Together, we will discover actions that promote good health and in turn, promote a healthier environment.

The six sessions will be:

March 14 Redefining Health: Good health is something we all strive for, so how might we go about creating the conditions that create it? This session explores how we defi ne health and how that understanding informs our individual and collective well-being.

March 21 Eating Well: Most people agree that eating well is a foundation of good health. This session explores the impacts of the industrial food system on personal, collective and ecological health as well as addresses the health impacts of food packaging and toxins in our foods.

March 28 Cleaning House: Those living in industrialized societies now spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, much of that at home. We look to it as a safe haven, but recent studies suggest they may not be the safe refuges we think. This session brings to light the toxins in and around our living spaces and everyday household items, considering ways industry and government can eliminate toxins in consumer products. Ways to reduce exposure to household toxins will be explored.

April 4 Building Healthy Communities: Many health problems may be traced not only to what we eat, but also to where we live and how our urban design impacts health. What health impacts do big box shopping centers have on local communities? The readings in this session examine how issues of proximity to major roads and industry, urban and suburban sprawl, and access to amenities and green space impact our overall well-being.

April 11 Curing Consumption: The authors in this session look at health within the broader context of a consumer culture. Readings explore the life cycle of “stuff ” and its impact on human and ecological health and consider more sustainable and healthy alternatives.

April 18 Healthy Planet, Healthy Self: This session considers health within the broader context of Earth’s dynamic and life-sustaining ecosystems. The readings explore the importance of biodiversity, the health of the oceans, climate change and the interplay between the forces of nature and our individual and collective health.

Each session is based on a set of readings from the NWEI course book, with rotating facilitation by course participants. This course is hosted by Michigan Friends Center and offered in partnership with Transition Town Chelsea.

A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World
7:00-8:30 Thursday evenings: October 19, October 26, November 2, November 9, November 16, [no meeting Thanksgiving week], November 30, 2017
There will be a sliding-scale fee of $30, $45, or $60 (as able) to cover course costs; pre-registration required.

In this six-session course we will:

Each session is based on a set of readings from the NWEI course book, with rotating facilitation by course participants.  This course is hosted by Michigan Friends Center and offered in partnership with Transition Town Chelsea.

Botany of FLCC with Amanda Klain
7:00-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Donations welcome.
Spirituality – Wilderness Awareness

Join us for a slide presentation of pretty photos showcasing the diversity of plants found at Friends Lake Cooperative Community. Botanical survey results for the past year will also be shared. The focus will be on the native plant species’ and not just the showy beloved trilliums and irises, but also the vastly overlooked and under-estimated beauties of the woodlands and wetlands. This presentation is a gift of voice to the plants as communities and essential contributors to the vital web of life that we are a part of.

Film Series: Climate Change: Issues and Responses
7:00-9:00 Thursday evenings: September 7 , September 14, September 21, September 28, October 5, October 12, 2017
Donations welcome
Sustainability – Film

This six-week film series highlights some of the major contributing factors to global warming and examines actual ways that people may address them as challenges to be overcome.  Interspersed with the weekly film selections, we will lead short presentations and/or group discussions about our responses here in the Chelsea area and beyond.  Series hosted at Michigan Friends Center and co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea.  Six Thursdays from September 7 through October 12.

Home on the Earth Film Series
Friday 7-9 pm: Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Nov. 4, Nov, 11, Nov. 18, and Dec.2, 2016
Donations welcome .

Natural and Affordable Habitation, a film/discussion series that explores:

September 30, 2016 – Garbage Warrior tells the story of how Mike Reynolds' earth ship community came to be: the vision, philosophy, and architecture, highlighting the mulitple political challenges they endured along the way toward fulfillment of their dream.

October 7, 2016 – First Earth boldly sweeps through history and geography around the world to explore the rich varety of cob and earthen home dwellings, in a presentation supported by several environmental and social commentators.

October 14, 2016 – Sampler of Alternative Homes shows us a variety of homes and the creative people who built them using solar design and environmentally low impact materials, including abobe, straw bale, earth sheltering, papercrete, earthbags, hybrid and recycled containers.

October 21, 2016 – The Ghastly Tragedy of the Suburbs finds James Howard Kunstler at his most entertaining and caustic, describing what he calls “the greatest misallocation of resources in human history”. Follow that up with How We Live, a report by MacNeil/Lehrer about how Burlington, Vermont turned to cohousing as a solution to spiraling costs of housing.

November 4, 2016 – Living Large shows the extremes of the McMansion trend, while Passive House Revolution pushes the envelope (literally) to minimize energy footprint with super-insulation.

November 11, 2016 – We The Tiny House People takes us through some of the most compact home spaces, the enthusiasm of the people who choose to live within them, and the rapidly expanding cultural movement surrounding them.

November 18, 2016 – Youth involvement... First, 88 Days from Ground to Green is the story of how Greensburg, Kansas rebuilt their school (and the whole city) using ecological construction after a devastating tornado. Then, see in Solar Decathlon how students from around the world competed to construct their solar house designs on-site on the Washington Mall.

December 2, 2016 – Blueprint for the Future captures the vision of renowned arhictect Paolo Soleri for cities with nature-based design principles to enhance human life while minimizing ecological impacts, and a prototype called Arcosanti built in the Arizona desert.

Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics, and Sustainability
Wednesday evenings: March 23, April 13, April 27, May 11, May 25, and June 8, 2016
There is a $60 fee to cover course costs; pre-registration required.

In this six-session course we will explore the interconnected nature of food systems and our relationship to them; examine the impact our food choices have on our health, the health of others, and the health of the planet; and consider the ethical and polical implications of our current food system and our personal food choices. Each session is based on a set of readings from the Northwest Earth Institute course book with discussion led by local facilitators.  This course is offered in partnership with the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice,  Chelsea Community Kitchen, and Transition Town Chelsea.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016: The First Bite The global food web has become increasingly complicated with the industrialization and globalization of our world. Session one explores the interconnectedness of food and our relationship to it, and previews the topics that will be explored in the rest of the course. Facilitated by Richard Andres, Tantre Farm.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016: Politics of the Plate Session two focuses on the global gelpolitics of food systems, including hunger, subsidies and externalized costs. What are the connections and what can we do to bring about more equity?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016: A Healthy Appetite This health-focused session examines how our current food system affects the health of our selves and our loved ones. Topics covered include GMOs, lifestyle diseases, soy, organics and pesticides. Facilitated by Diana Dyer and Yael Dolev.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016: Just Food Our eating choices often have hidden ethical implications. Session four explores the ethical and justice considerations of what we eat and how it's produced, including factory farming and humane meat, fair trade vs. free trade and human rights violations in Florida's tomato farms. Facilitated by Jane Pacheco and Stephanie Willette.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Eating for Earth Session five discusses how climate change affects food supply and how our current food production system contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. Facilitated by Patrick Zieske and Jan Wright.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016: Hungry for Change This solutions-focused session looks at some exciting things others are doing and what we can do to affect change.

Council of All Beings Workshop with Claire Maitre
9:00-5:00 Saturday, April 23, 2016
Cost: $55, partial scholarships available based on need; pre-registration requested.

Participants will be guided to deepen their relationship with the natural world through spending some solitary time in nature, creating a mask to help them adopt the persona of another being, and using their imagination to foster compassion for all of our fellow beings with whom we share the biosphere.  In doing so, we will open ourselves to resources of courage, endurance and creativity which are available to us in the web of life.  We will play together, giving ourselves over to the moral imagination of the child within to become more conscious of the commonality of our fate as life on this planet.  We will build trust among us and a deeper sense of community in preparation for taking action in defense of Earth and future generations.

Claire Maitre will facilitate this workshop. Since 2001, she has received training with Joanna Macy in the Work That Reconnects, the name given to the body of experiential workshops pioneered by Dr. Macy and friends that serve to reconnect us with the web of life and with each other so that we might better serve the healing of our world.

Fairy Doors: Create and Connect
10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2016
Suggested $5 donation for individuals, $15 for families

Do you believe in fairies? Do you have a desire to connect with nature? Then join artists, families, and nature lovers alike for a fun filled day of creating and connecting.

Join us for light breakfast and an orientation at Michigan Friends Center followed by a nature walk where we will collect items and select a tree to install our finished fairy doors. Then we will come back to construct our unique fairy doors and enjoy a few fairy tales. Once completed, we will spend time installing and admiring the fairy doors.

Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A book conversation with the Michigan Friends Center
at Chelsea District Library
6:30 Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Donations welcome

The Michigan Friends Center will lead a facilitated discussion of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver on the subject of food, health, and the environment.  You can pick up your copy of the book approximately a month in advance at the library.  In her book, Kingsolver tells the story of her family's move across the country to a new life of more sustainable healthy food -- by establishing their own farm and by obtaining all their other food from local sources.  Along the way, her story informs us about the merits of local food, concerns about the conventional industrial food system, and impact on our environment and our health through the choices we make.  Participants in the book read will also be invited to continue with a longer course offered in six sessions during the spring called 'Hungry for Change' for a deeper examination of related food issues.

This program will take place at and is co-sponsored by the Chelsea District Library, at 221 S. Main Street in Chelsea.

Why Civil Resistance Works
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
7:00 pm

In her book Why Civil Resistance Works, Erica Chenoweth argues that nonviolent campaigns for political change are more successful than violent ones. A video of a talk by the author will be shown and a discussion of her research results will follow.

Family Ecstatic Dance
Saturday, May 2, 2015
3-5 pm dance, 5- 7 pm potluck dinner

Ecstatic dance is an opportunity for open expression and exploration in a nonjudgmental environment. Come and dance (or lie on the floor and listen) to a range of music compiled by Matt Demmon. All ages welcome! Please bring a dish to pass for potluck afterward. Feel free to contact Heather McRae-Woolf with any questions. 

Suggested donation: $10/individual, $15/family.

Earth Day Celebration
2:00-4:30 Saturday, April 18, 2015
Donations welcome

Thomas Princen will discuss the trials and tribulations of teaching transition at a time when there is no single body of literature and certainly no consensus on what "the transition" is or will be. He will draw on his research on "ending the fossil fuel era," localization, and sufficiency to elaborate key concepts. He will describe how students and others use such ideas to guide their work, both academic and applied.

This will be followed by a drumming circle with Tree of Life drummers.

Talk and concurrent children's program begin at 2:00; the drumming circle is at 3:30.

Search for Meaning and Happiness in Our World
a film series co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea
Fridays from April 24 through June 12, 2015
7-9 pm film in Michigan Friends Center building
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]

Come out to our Spring 2015 film series! Moving through a world in transition, we take this opportunity to step back (or step deeper inside) to examine one of the fundamentals of human existence. We hope this eclectic set of films will spark fruitful group discussions. Where does happiness come from and where are we going with it?

April 24 – We are showing a very special surprise film about the interplay between global economic forces
versus localism and human-scale happiness. Do not miss this one

May 1 – Happy combines real life stories of people from around the world together with interviews with
leading scientists in happiness research

May 8 – Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness shows how one small traditional Buddhist country
has made happiness into a national priority, while balancing the influx of Western materialistic elements

May 15 – The Happiness Machine is a darker view about how consumer marketing systematically defeats
happiness by conjuring false needs within people... and further, manipulates us into a society of consent

May 22 – Captivated argues from a Christian perspective that our lifeless technological gadgets draw us away
from God and each other

May 29 – Family, Friends, and Lovers explores how interpersonal relationships are so critical to our wellbeing,
highlighted by lessons gleaned from several case studies

June 5 – A multi-pack of happiness... One of the Last, cultivating it through the eyes of a traditional farmer,
The Communal Heart pulsing in voices signing together, and Living Lightly which finds it in a scythe.

June 12 – Project Happiness wraps up wtih a group of young people on an international quest to discover
the secrets to happiness, culminating in a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Pizza and Permaculture
at earth oven by lake
see listing below

We are pairing up Earth Oven parties with sustainability-focused activities all summer.  Bring your own toppings for pizza.  Learn how to bake in the oven.  We plan to do this once a month starting in May.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 : Wild Plant Walk, pizza starts at 4:00 PM

Myths of Happiness Book Conversation
at Chelsea District Library
7:00-8:30 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What is the true secret to happiness? Are the things our society tells us we should have for personal satisfaction and success really the gateway to being happy? Join us to explore these questions and more as we discuss the book The Myths of Happiness. Copies of this book will be available for checkout at our circulation desk starting Wednesday, April 1st. In partnership with Chelsea District Library.

Wild Plants Walk with Linda Diane Feldt
2-4 pm Saturday, May 9, 2015
followed at 4:00 by a Pizza and Permaculture gathering

Join Holistic Health Practitioner and herbalist Linda Diane Feldt for a slow stroll to identify and talk about local medicinal and edible wild plants. Handouts provided. Children are welcome. Linda Diane has written two cookbooks on dark green leafy vegetables and wild food. Since 1994, she has given a free class monthly on herbal wisdom through The People's Food Co-op. She also twitters on wild local food @wildcrafting For more information on Linda Diane's books, classes, and more www.lindadianefeldt.com

The class will be held rain or shine.
Science & Buddhism: A Discussion
7-9 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Donations welcome

Join us for a lively discussion about the convergence of ideas between Western science and Eastern thought. We begin from the viewpoint that we are all “blind men” trying to understand the elephant of Reality. Since we are inside the elephant, no one can truly see the whole shape, but each may bring another valid perspective. We will examine the perspectives of science and Buddhism.

Discussion leader is Steve Daut, author of the soon-to-be-published book Buddha Science. You can find Mr. Daut’s blog and social media sites through www.stevedaut.com
Bird Walk with Juliet Berger
8-10 am Saturday, June 6, 2015
Donations welcome

Join Washtenaw Audubon Society President, Juliet Berger, for this family friendly event, a bird hike around the lake and trails.

Children who are interested in nature and birds are welcome. Not suitable for very small children.

Bring binoculars if you have them.  No pets!

Community Social Earth Oven Pizza Parties
Every Friday Night through September 26, 2015

Join the summer coordinator, Shana Weddington and FLCC member and earth oven builder, Brendan Bradley, for a community shared event. Let's come together and enjoy the beautiful weather of early autumnt! Fresh pizza dough is provided. Bring a topping to share and your own beverage. After the pizzas are done, feel free to bring bread or other things to bake in the oven!

Suggested donation $5 per family

All ages welcome!

Food & Justice with ICPJ
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
7:00 pm

Join us for a special Food Justice program with Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice.   The evening will kick off with a guest speaker and include interactive discussion and specific calls to action for individuals and groups.  At Michigan Friends Center ICPJ will focus on why the food we waste (both personally and institutionally) is a climate problem and what we might be able to do to help solve the problem. 

2013 Peace and Justice Series

May 15, 7:00 pm
Book Discussion: The New Jim Crow

A discussion of the book The New Jim Crow with Terry Madden. The book looks at the disproportionate incarceration of blacks and other minority populations in the United States through the lens of racial analysis.

March 6 2013, 7:00 pm
Restorative Justice, Janelle Nystrom and Margaret Rohr

Restorative justice is a process that tries to heal the harm done by a crime by involving the offender, the victim and the community, emphasizing restitution rather than punishment, and involving the whole community rather than an isolated criminal justice system. Janelle Nystrom of Washtenaw Prisoner Reentry and Margaret Rohr of The Dispute Resolution Center will talk about how restorative justice is being used to keep conflicts from entering the legal system and to help citizens returning from the criminal justice system reintegrate in the community.

February 7 2013, 7:00 pm
Michigan's Criminal Justice and Corrections System, Natalie Holbrook

Michigan incarcerates roughly seven times the number of people per capita as does Ontario right across the Detroit River, and Michigan spends more money on incarceration than it does on higher education. Who are these people in prison? Is holding them behind bars making us safer? Natalie Holbrook, the Director of the American Friends Service Committee Criminal Justice Program will discuss these and other issues of criminal justice in Michigan.

January 23 2013, 7:00 pm
Immigration Rights and Racial Profiling, Laura Sanders

Many people are unaware that immigration law enforcement is having profound and unexpected consequences, not just in southwestern border states, but throughout the country, including Chelsea and other communities in Washtenaw County. Laura Sanders will speak about the activities of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights in Washtenaw County and the need for immigration law reform.

Sanders is one of the four co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.  WICIR is an all-volunteer, grass-roots organization, created in March of 2008 in response to an immigration raid of a local mobile home community where numerous people were deported and families were separated.  WICIR responds to increased immigration enforcement in the Washtenaw area by providing for the immediate needs of affected families, community education, political action toward local policy and national immigration reform, and community organizing that brings the targeted, immigrant community into the center of the organization to guide our projects. WICIR volunteers make up a diverse group including people from various faiths, academic and social justice groups.   Laura is also a clinical social worker, instructor at the U of M School of Social Work, and provides therapy to families in the area.

2013 Technology Perspectives: a film series co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea
Fridays from September 27 through November 15 / 7:00 to 9:00 PM
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]

A film series with discussions that examine how Technology has impacted and shaped our view of the world, our minds, our health, our social relationships, our society, and the natural world. A wide variety of topics and accompanying films are utilized in our tour of the various issues. The public is invited to attend one or more weeks, or all of them.

September 27 – Us Now showcases many examples in which digital technology and networks are
enabling creative new social structures that were formerly impossible. Brave New World jolts us into
the fast-arriving world where nothing is private and life goes on.

October 4 – Surviving Progress asks us to consider whether our relentless drive forward
technologically and economically has outstripped our human ability to manage the consequences and
the Earth's ability to absorb it all. Instinctively we may think that we want progress. But have we
evolved to be too “smart” for our own good?

October 11 – Genetic Roulette presents the controversial views of Jeffrey Smith and other researchers
about what genetically modified organisms may be doing to our bodies silently and unseen, tying
GMOs in our food to the mysterious upsurge in several categories of human health problems.

October 18 – The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. Need we say more? The film says a lot about how a mechanistic view of reality has penetrated into the deepest reaches of how we think about ourselves and the world around us, including so-called eco “systems”. Director Adam Curtis brings forth historical details to pack in the maximum ideas-per-second. Hang on, it is a whirlwind.

October 25 – Trigger Effect, in fine retro style, details the world's present dependence on complex technological networks through a narrative of New York City and the power blackout of 1965. Are we becoming more or less resilient? This film also explores non-linear effects of introducing new technologies into societies, from the ancient invention of the plow to the discovery of oil in Kuwait.

November 1 – Digital Nation assesses some of the effects of the digital revolution on our minds: information overload and multitasking, transformation of education and learning, and the schism between virtual reality and real reality. “Digital natives” and “digital immigrants” often view the issues differently.

November 8 – Clones and Drones week! Clone dives into the miraculous potential and frighteningpossibilities behind genetic cloning, including impact on the natural concept of a family. Drone On shows the peaceful/beneficial uses of drones in addition to the destructive uses we have heard about.

November 15 – Towards a Sustainable Future (Auroville 36 Years of Research) Demonstrates that technology can follow a path that is integrated with nature. This uplifting film chronicles the deliberate attempt to build a “city of dawn” in the coastal region of India with people from all around the world developing and experimenting with technologies to support the project.

Fridays, 7:00 to 9:00 PM: February 15, February 22, March 1, March 8, March 22, April 5, April 12
2013 Permaculture From the Ground Up Film Series (co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea)
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]

Permaculture (derived from "permanent agriculture") is a branch of ecological design that emphasizes sustainable architecture and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.  Permaculture uses advanced human knowledge to work with nature instead of against it to design abundant, integrated food production systems for home and community.  It is one of the Transition Movement's founding principles.

In a series of films and discussions, see how permaculture can transform our world while it helps to sustain our community and elevate our spirits. For all, from the gardening enthusiast to the nature lover to the aspiring homesteader to the intellectually curious... Let's get started and find out what is possible. To be followed by design demonstrations at local sites.

Films and discussions will encompass practical aspects of permaculture for anyone from the gardening enthusiast to the aspiring homesteader, and also include forays into social, spiritual, and community dimensions.  Light refreshments.  We hope to incorporate some investigational tours of the local natural environment on some dates.  Following the end of the film series, we are planning design workshops at several sites in the Chelsea area.  Free; donations welcome.

February 15 – Introduction to Permaculture Design, with Geoff Lawton, takes us into the world of
permaculture design and introduces a new way of looking at the world. Learn how to apply design
skills by observing, analyzing and harmonizing with the patterns of Nature. Based on Bill Mollison's
72-hour Permaculture Design certificate course.

February 22 – A Permaculture Perspective is a talk by Bill Wilson about the importance of
permaculture with case studies to suggest that it is a way of living in authenticity within a lower
energy context. Ruth Stout's Garden journeys into the life of a woman who, from an age of over 90
years, offers a great deal to young and old about gardening and sustainable living at her homestead
in upstate New York.

March 1 – Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement, reveals in an in-depth interview how
the movement emanated from the permaculture design process. Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution
follows visionariues from around the world at the 8th International Permaculture Convergence with
strategies to arrive at self reliance and sustainability through the permaculture process.

March 8 – Power of Community depicts how in the midst of crisis, people in Cuba transitioned from
a highly mechanized industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local,
urban gardens.

March 22 – Soils brings back Geoff Lawton, from beneficial minute soil microbes found in compost to
massive regenerative landscapes systems that harvest water, demonstrating his vision for creating a
world of abundance by deep understanding of soil.

April 5 – Urban Permaculture continues with Geoff Lawton showing how to apply the Permaculture
design technique to the urban environment and how to redesign the back yard. Designing the Urban
Garden shows by example how to start a design on paper.

April 12 – Forest Garden with gardener Martin Crawford shows how he moved from conventional
organic gardening to creating a forest garden from a bare field in Devon, England. Martin shows you
how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.

Saturday, April 20, starting at 2:00
2013 Earth Day Celebration
no cost

Talk by Tom Princen, who studies the keys to environmentally sustainable communities and corporations, followed by singing by Tom Gerard, then drumming with Jeremy Montagne and Tree of Life drummers. 

Thomas Princen’s most recent book is Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order.  His present work is called, “Leave It in the Ground,” a way to end our dependence on fossil fuels, with strategies of how to achieve that post-fossil society.

This page is currently being updated. Please contact us if you have specific questions about previous program events at the Michigan Friends Center.