FCE Community Mourns Passing of Nancy Bronder
September, 2017

Dear Friend,
Welcome to the fourth quarterly newsletter from Friends Couple Enrichment. We’ve included news of the loss of a beloved member of the FCE community, as well as information about ongoing groups and an example of an activity that our leaders prepare for Couple Enrichment events and share on our website. Our goal is to keep you in touch with this ministry in the hope that you, and others, will continue to spread the news about how Friends Couple Enrichment can help each of us delve deeper into our relationships.

 -- Friends Couple Enrichment Communication Committee


FCE Community Mourns Passing of Nancy Bronder

Friends Couple Enrichment leader Nancy Bronder died on August 7, 2017, following a tragic bicycling accident. The FCE community mourns her passing, and celebrates the wondrous gifts she gave us.

Nancy and her husband, Philip Major, trained as Couple Enrichment leaders at the FGC Gathering in 2015 in North Carolina, and have been active in the Couple Enrichment ministry since then. In July, they enthusiastically led a workshop at the 2017 Friends General Conference Gathering in Niagara, New York.

After Nancy’s death, Philip told the FCE leaders that although he and Nancy had been married more than 30 years, their involvement together as Couple Leaders had taken their relationship to a new, exciting place. Their work had also inspired Nancy so much that she had begun investigating the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Syracuse University.

FCE leaders recently spent time in worship-sharing in a teleconferenced meeting, remembering Nancy for her vitality, enthusiasm, energy and wisdom.  She cut clearly to the heart of issues, offered many creative ideas for workshop activities and processes, and was enthusiastically encouraging to other leaders. We are blessed to have known and worked alongside her.

Nancy’s life was celebrated in a memorial service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse, NY, where Philip is pastor, on August 27, 2017.  The service opened with Philip playing two prelude hymns on the organ.  He then moved to the front of the church, sat down at a harp and played An Speic Seoigheach.  The celebratory service was an interweaving of music, scripture, and spoken word, in a sanctuary decorated with a quilt that Nancy had made. Nancy's brother and sister gave eulogies, followed by a poem written by her mother and read by her niece.  Philip offered the sermon — a wonderful series of portraits/anecdotes introduced by "If you are someone who ..., then you are like Nancy." This allowed those present to draw closer to her through their similarities with her, rather than distancing themselves by glorifying her.  The eucharist was offered to all who wanted to receive, with a note in the program, “We follow Jesus, who turned no one away.”  Three FCE leader couples were present: Debbie and John Humphries, Merry Stanford and Peter Wood, and Steve Fick and Signy Fridriksson. 

In memory of Nancy’s life, the FCE community has given Philip a framed print of artwork by fellow FCE leader Steve Fick. Nancy and Philip visited Steve and Signy in June and Nancy was powerfully moved by Steve's painting Dharma Pentecost. In the story of the Biblical Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended to rest like tongues of flame above the heads of the disciples. In the Pentecost of this painting, the spirit is breaking out from the center, wherever two people or groups of people open their hearts to each other-- especially among those for whom reconciliation requires an act of courage. In the Light of the painting, we recognize Nancy’s spirit among us.

FCE Leaders gave a print of Dharma Pentecost, painted by fellow FCE Couple Leader Steve Fick, to Philip Major in memory of his wife, Nancy Bronder.



In September, the Marriage and Family Relations Committee of Sandy Springs Meeting in Maryland invited couples who are in committed relationships to consider establishing a monthly gathering for couples, to be shepherded by FCE leaders Joan and Rich Liversidge.  Assuming that the interested couples can find a good time to meet, this group will be one of many ongoing groups across the nation.  Ongoing groups take many forms, but most focus on providing opportunities for couples to continue to experience witnessed dialogue – the heart of a Friends Couple Enrichment event.

Ongoing groups can be organized by Meetings, FCE leaders, or interested FCE participants. Most often, an ongoing group forms after the catalyst of a Friends Couple Enrichment event. If you are interested in bringing a Friends Couple Enrichment event to your area and/or starting an ongoing group with people who have participated in an event, please visit the EVENTS section of our website a list of upcoming events and tips on organizing an event.  

An Exercise to Share 

Tom and Sharon Baring of Alaska, who led one of the Couple Enrichment workshops at the 2017 Friends General Conference in Niagara, NY, share the following simple exercise as a way for a couple to reconnect:


“GLAD” Activity

Reflect, separately and/or together, on the prompt G*L*A*D*

*Gratitude: one thing you are grateful for about your partner/relationship or as a result of your partner/relationship

*Learning – one thing you have learned as a result of your relationship, in general, about your partner, or about yourself.

*Accomplishment – one thing you have accomplished, or are accomplishing now, as a result of your partner/relationship.

*Delight – one thing that gives you delight about your partner/relationship.

View more exercises on our website
Friends Couple Enrichment

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1010 Wells Street, Durham, NC 27707

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Friends Couple Enrichment · 1010 Wells St. · Durham, NC 27707 · USA

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