QVS Executive Director Hilary Burgin shares with us about taking a summer off after nine and half years of service.

Hilary at a protest.

Hilary at an AFSC event in November 2023.

We have news: I’m taking a sabbatical this summer! I will be away from Quaker Voluntary Service work May 17 to August 19. I’m excited to know I’ll be back in time for National Orientation with the incoming Fellows (taking place at Pendle Hill) and to start the program year with them. (We’ll start announcing incoming Fellows in June!)

I have served with Quaker Voluntary Service for nine and a half years. I started my work as Boston City Coordinator in January 2015 and I became the Executive Director in November 2018. I can’t tell you how meaningful it is to get to work with QVS staff, volunteers, Friends, Fellows, and Alums. The Board offered me the opportunity to take a sabbatical, and I am grateful to be able to say yes. As the servant leader of an organization it is important to remember: 1) rest is vital and 2) the team of people I work with is eminently capable of steering QVS through a season.

I’m looking forward to using my brain, heart, and body for projects outside of my work with Quaker Voluntary Service. I’ll continue participating in the Quakers Uprooting Racism cohort. I’m excited by the prospect of joining my local meeting, Northampton Friends Meeting, for mid-week mid-morning worship on Zoom. I hope to visit Quaker and non-Quaker spiritual centers for rest and rejuvenation. But mostly I’m leaving this time open to what Spirit shows me.

During this summer please reach out to my amazing, smart, funny, and kind colleagues. If you want to make a gift to Quaker Voluntary Service you can visit our website or reach out to Haley Castle-Miller ([email protected]). If you have questions about programming and planning for the future, please reach out to Zenaida Peterson and/or Mike Huber ([email protected] and [email protected]). If you have questions about operations and financials, you should reach out to Liz Anderson ([email protected]). 

Frida – Hilary’s Cat, teaching her how to rest.

I have a couple of specific plans, including a canoe trip with my mom and attending a week-long, hands-on timber framing class in Vermont. I expect I’ll garden a lot (flowers and veggies) and spend time with our 11 chickens (who you have likely seen on our Instagram and Facebook). Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of doing house projects (including removing and rebuilding a front porch). I’ve had a stack of QVS-adjacent books I want to read, podcasts I’d like to listen to, and learning I’d like to do. 

The work I’ve had the privilege of doing for nearly 10 years has run the gamut of leading workshops to fundraising, meeting with Fellows for meals and writing budgets. But there’s a thread of Spirit through it all that guides me. I’m incredibly grateful to get to keep doing this work.




More about Hilary (she/her)

Hilary (she/her) joined Quaker Voluntary Service in January 2015 as the Boston Coordinator. In that role, she supported three cohorts of Fellows through the QVS program. In November 2018, she stepped into the Executive Director role. Hilary sees QVS as an integral component of the Quaker movement the world needs now.

Connect with [email protected].

What sorts of programming and tools are Fellows offered during their year?

Every other week throughout the nine and a half month fellowship, QVS Fellows attend QVS Days instead of working at their site placements. 

QVS Days offer Fellows a chance to slow down and be in community. For the first part of the year, QVS staff take the lead in planning and facilitating QVS Days. They support Fellows in exploring their individual and communal journeys, as well as discussing work, community living, Quakerism, spiritual practices, and social justice issues. As the year progresses, Fellows take a more active role in planning and facilitating QVS Days.

Over the course of the year, Fellows learn tools like: clerking and Quaker decision-making processes, clearness committees, conflict transformation, signs of defensiveness, and tons more. Additionally, at the start of the year, Fellows attend a week-long orientation with all QVS Fellows from across the country, as well as a mid-year and a closing retreat with their city cohort.

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