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Epistle from Young Friends & Young Adult Friends Gathering, Camp NeeKauNis 2017 

Young Friends and Young Adult Friends (13-35 age range) gathered this summer at Camp NeeKauNis for a weekend of fellowship and fun. The following is their epistle.

The gathered Young Friends ask this epistle be read during announcements after Meeting For Worship.

Loving Greetings to Friends Everywhere:

From 29th Sixth Month to 2nd Seventh Month 2017, around 30 Young Friends from across the country gathered at Camp NeeKauNis in Waubaushene, Ontario for a Canadian Young Friends Gathering.

This gathering was organized to bring together a critical mass of Young Friends and Young Adult Friends in order to energize and strengthen our community and rejoice in our time together in worship, play, and good conversation. This gathering was planned in part so that Canadian Young Friends and Young Adult Friends had an occasion to gather while the wider Canadian Yearly Meeting sessions were holding a fallow year, and also as a pre-retreat for the Friends General Conference Gathering happening in Niagara Falls, New York.

Along with meals together, work around the camp, and daily meeting for worship, the organizers left space for Friends to offer self-directed programs as they desired. These smaller sessions sprung from the amazing diversity of gifts Friends wanted to share, from the gentle art of cat’s cradle to discussions of the role of Christ in our lives and in Quakerism; from canoeing at sunset, to the plenary workshop on the surprisingly recent history of Christian homophobia and transphobia.

Several Friends noted this year’s gathering at Camp NeeKauNis was the largest gathering of Canadian Young Friends in some years. This is with great thanks to the committee (Rachel Urban-Shipley, Jonah Egan-Pimblett, Misia Robins, David Summerhays, Jessica Klaassen-Wright and Christina Tellez) who organised and promoted the gathering, especially the leadership of Jessica and Christina before and during the event.

Photos by Ahren Klaassen-Wright

We are also deeply grateful for the support of Education and Outreach for assisting with funding for the gathering, particularly as travel costs are often a barrier for Young Friends who wish to attend. In the midst of this gathering, Friends also felt led to discuss the future of Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting and its relationship with Canadian Yearly Meeting.

Those of us at the Canadian Young Friends Gathering discerned a need and have a strong desire to focus on building our whole community of Young Friends (13-35) especially as the official body of Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting is on hiatus. The current hiatus was chosen because of the a small number of Young Friends attending Yearly Meeting sessions and the difficulty of filling official roles.

We are excited about re-kindling the enthusiasm and spirit in Young Friends by growing our connections with each other, both through media and regular gatherings. The gathered Young Friends recognise the role effective communication provides in building and maintaining community.

Both Reykia Fick, The Canadian Friend Editor, and Cameron Fraser, now the Canadian Yearly Meeting Secretary, were present at the gathering, and several discussions took place regarding possible ways Canadian Yearly Meeting paid staff and contractors may be able to assist Canadian Young Friends in connecting, communicating, and gathering.

Gatherings are a crucial component in maintaining and strengthening the dispersed community of Canadian Young Friends. Those of us present felt a desire to maintain and increase these gatherings. Recognising this, we encourage all Young Friends who are able to attend Canadian Yearly Meeting in Barrie in 2018.

Moving toward Canadian Yearly Meeting in session 2018 in Barrie, we discerned the following steps should be taken over the next year to strengthen the national community of Young Friends and to engage more meaningfully with the wider body of Friends in Canada:

  • The gathered Friends will investigate the possibility of a Young Friends pre-CYM gathering at Camp NeeKauNis in 2018.
  • With this epistle, the gathered Young Friends send Lilia Fick, David Summerhays, and Daniel Von Schulmann to Representatives Meeting hosted by Ottawa Monthly Meeting this fall as representatives of Young Friends.
  • As part of establishing more efficient, effective, and meaningful communication within the Canadian Young Friends community, and between Canadian Young Friends and Canadian Yearly Meeting, the following regional contacts were established.
    • West Coast – Daniel von Schulmanno
    • Prairies and the North – Zaley Warkentino
    • Ontario – Wesley Weimao
    • Québec – David Summerhayso
    • Atlantic – To Be Determined (If you are a Young Friend living in the Atlantic, interested in being the Atlantic contact, please e-mail Daniel von Schulmann at danielvonschulmann@gmail.com)

These contacts will work with Canadian Yearly Meeting staff to facilitate this initiative.

Canadian Yearly Meeting Secretary, Cameron Fraser, has invited Young Friends into a discussion to assist in creating goals as to how he can best help Young Friends in Canada. This is an open invitation to all Canadian Young Friends who wish to be involved. The regional contacts committed to involvement in this process of goal setting. Any interested Young Friends may contact Cameron Fraser at cym-secretary@quaker.ca for more information.

As we build our community, including through further gatherings, we request the continued support of Yearly Meeting’s Education and Outreach Committee. The challenges of holding gatherings are amplified for Young Friends. We are grateful for the support of all those in Canadian Yearly Meeting in dealing with those challenges and in helping us strengthen our common community.

In the Light,
Canadian Young Friends gathered at Camp NeeKauNis, 1st Seventh Month 2017

Click here for the pdf version.

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Canadian Yearly Meeting Online Courses: ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’ & ‘Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways’

Canadian Yearly Meeting Education & Outreach Committee Announces its Online Courses for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018: ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’ and ‘Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways.’

Facilitator(s): David Summerhays (Montreal Monthly Meeting) and potentially a new facilitator* if registrations warrant!

Friends across Canada are invited to participate in online courses that will begin September 2017 and January 2018. Both courses are tentatively scheduled to take place in September and January, but are dependent upon interest (registrations) and the availability of instructors. Registrants are asked to choose their ideal dates and course(s) of preference when registering, which will assist Education and Outreach Committee with scheduling the courses.

Introduction to Quakers and Friend’s Ways

The course will address the early history of Friends, the history of Friends in Canada, the experiential nature of Quaker faith, the role of the Meeting in Quaker life, Quaker testimonies and their origin, and how our Quaker community nurtures how we live, work, worship, and transact business. This course was previously offered in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Although created to meet the needs of more recent attenders seeking to learn more about Quakerism, we believe that even longstanding members could benefit from this course. We welcome inquiries from anyone who would like to learn more about Quaker ways, with priority given to Canadian Yearly Meeting Members and Attenders.

Quaker Faith and Practice

This course explores the experiential understanding of Quaker faith and practice, as presented in the foundational book Faith and Practice of the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, first published in 2011.

David Summerhays of Montreal Monthly Meeting, adapted the original course into an online course in collaboration with the authors. The course was originally prepared by Marjory Reitsma-Street, with assistance of Gale Wills and Catherine Novak, all Friends living in Victoria, B.C.

Marjory and Gale have doctorates from the University of Toronto, and are retired Professors in Social Work. Gale has served as clerk in local and national Quaker committees, while Marjory has concentrated on music and other service close to home. Catherine recently completed a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, works in digital marketing and communications (in addition to being a mother), and is currently serving on the Canadian Yearly Meeting Publications and Communications Committee.

The ‘how’ of online courses

Participants will meet once a week for six weeks using either video conferencing or audio conferencing technology. If you are unfamiliar with conferencing technology, don’t worry, the facilitator and the Education and Outreach Committee are committed to making participation in the course as easy as possible for everyone.

Participants will be asked to do a short reading before each of the sessions. These readings can be viewed anytime at the Quaker.ca Education Page under ‘Introduction to Quaker and Friends’ Ways’ and ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’. The course will include worship, active exercises, reflections from readings, and the application to one’s own life of what is learned.

How to Sign Up

The course is free of charge. To indicate your interest: please click here to register. The registration process (including a availability poll) will assist us with determining the course times.

CYM warmly welcomes any donations you are able to give. Canadian Yearly Meeting, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa ON K1S 2L1. To donate by credit card, call the CYM office at 1-888-296-3222.

What previous course participants are saying about the online course experience

The course “was very meaningful to me. I have been circling the Quakers for a few years now and it helped me decide that it’s right for me.”

“The real thing that made this course meaningful was the connection I made with other friends.”

“I had an opportunity to communicate with Friends I did not know and that was worthwhile. A younger Friend seemed to appreciate my knowledge.”

“As someone who is new to Quakerism, I found the outline very informative. I appreciated the conversation with others, as it prompted a wider perspective of the topic under discussion and also allowed me to see some of the variety of the Quaker culture beyond the meeting I have been attending. My meeting was interested in my experience of the course.”

“The big Ah-Ha’s for me were around understanding what waiting in the light means for me, and what that sense of being connected to God means for me.”

“I encountered different ways of thinking about what was discussed that lead to different possible answers.”

What previous course participants are saying about our current facilitator

“I think David has a real gift. He started and ended on time. He was able to move us along, without me feeling hurried. He asked open-ended questions, which moved the discussion to the most interesting places.”

“He kept the flow going without impeding discussion. David was also very conscious of assisting those having technical/language difficulties.”

“He has a welcoming and non-threatening approach and was very clear that he thought of himself as a participant eager to learn as much as everyone else from the experience.”

“David did a great job making the space safe and promoting discussion. I didn’t feel overly academic which was just fine by me.”

*E&O is currently seeking and reviewing applications for people interested in facilitating these already well-seasoned courses. Interested persons are welcome to send a cover letter and resume to cym-secretary@quaker.ca with the title “E&O Online Course Contractor” in the subject line.

Posted in: Education, Education News, Events, News, Quaker Blog, Work Opportunities

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REGISTRATION OPEN: Quaker Study Weekend in Ottawa: ‘Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends’

Registration is now open for Friends wishing to attend this year’s annual ‘Quaker Study’ session hosted by Ottawa Monthly Meeting on October 13-15. This year’s workshop, ‘Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends,’ is facilitated by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta.

All Friends are invited to attend a weekend-long Quaker Study workshop hosted at the Ottawa Meetinghouse.

The workshop will explore historical and ongoing Palestinian nonviolent/ popular resistance, and support/ involvement by Israelis and by Quaker, Jewish, and other international organizations.

“The weekend will focus on experiences – ours and those of Palestinian, Israeli, and International activists – through film, unpublished interview excerpts, and personal sharing… and explore our own responses to the query, ‘Friend, what cans’t thou do?’” explains Maxine.

“I hope that F/friends will come away with a heightened sense of our power – as internationals with a commitment to nonviolence – to contribute to a just resolution in Israel-Palestine through actions in support of existing nonviolent Palestinian-led and Israeli initiatives, as we feel led.”

Workshop costs are covered by Education and Outreach Committee and there will be billeting available for Friends to attend. Quaker Study is normally held at Canadian Yearly Meeting gathering and is this year being hosted by Ottawa Monthly Meeting.

Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups are asked to please share information about the workshop with members and attenders.

The deadline for registration is September 30th.

The event poster includes is a detailed workshop schedule.

Registration forms are available here. (Please include a note for the workshop organizer regarding any experience in Israel and/or Palestine, whether you’ve attended any of her book-related presentations (2010 – 2016) and/or have read Refusing to be Enemies.)

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REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: Fall Western Half-Yearly Meeting Gathering

The 2017 Fall gathering of Western Half-Yearly Meeting will take place on Thanksgiving weekend (October 6-9) at the Shekinah Retreat Centre north of Saskatoon. We invite all Friends and friends of Friends to join us in this warm, intimate gathering.

The usual items will all be included in the Half-Yearly Meeting schedule (worship-sharing groups, special interest groups, Meetings for Worship including Business Meetings, and the phenomenal Family Night sharing of talents and fun). Shekinah also offers us the chance to ride the fabulous “Flying Fox” zipline that has excited Young Friends of all ages (from about 4 to about 80) over the years.

This year’s gathering will have a theme of Truth and Reconciliation, and will include the interactive Kairos Blanket Exercise on Indigenous history on Saturday evening, led by Elder Josephine Worm and Dale Dewar. Jolee Sasakamoose, an Indigenous professor at the University of Regina, will lead Meetings for Healing on both Saturday and Sunday. We particularly encourage Meetings who have been working on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to send representation so that we can discuss how to continue and deepen our work together.

Friends usually try to arrive on Friday evening (and late into the night), with activities all day Saturday and Sunday, and depart after a short closing Meeting for Worship on Thanksgiving Monday.

Saskatoon Meeting typically provides soups and breads that registrants can eat for dinner on Friday night. Meals on Saturday and Sunday (and Monday breakfast) are cooked by Shekinah staff and shared in close fellowship. Accommodations are bunk-room style (with various numbers of occupants per room) in a lodge, or alternatively there are campsites available. Pillows, linens, sleeping bags/blankets, and towels are not provided.

Driving directions are available here; it may be possible to arrange rides or shared transportation.

We hope that you will join us in Shekinah for Thanksgiving 2017!

In Friendship,
Joy Morris (Clerk)

Registration Information

  • Please be aware that WHYM’s bank account is almost dry. We encourage Friends to approach their meetings for assistance in attending the gathering at Shekinah. We have also added a donation line to the registration form. If you are able to give more, it will help us with the subsidy we are providing for Young Friends to attend.
  • Note that if you are camping, you will also need to pay the day registration rate.
  • All children under 4 will not be charged for registration or accommodation.
  • We greatly encourage meetings to print and share the info and pdf registration with Friends who are not online. Please enable these forms to be scanned and emailed or Beth is happy to fill out forms for folks over the phone (306-540-2384). Forms can also be mailed to Beth at Box 909 Wynyard SK S0A 4T0.
  • Please direct any questions to Beth at bassish@gmail.com.

Link to Registration Form (excel)
Link to Registration Form for Printing (pdf)

Draft Schedule (pdf)
Info Sheet (pdf)

Posted in: Events, News, Quaker Blog, Regional Gatherings

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Atlantic Friends Gathering – May 19-22

Atlantic Friends Gathering is an annual event linking members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from across Atlantic Canada.

Theme: Moving from Faith to Action through Creative Arts

AFG 2016 attendersWe gather at Camp Geddie, a Presbyterian Church camp on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. The spacious grounds, with nature trails and a spectacular beach on the Northumberland Strait provide a natural setting for renewal of our individual and group spirit.

As with previous AFG’s there are no compulsory activities. The healing atmosphere of being in a welcome nature retreat offers an opportunity to open ourselves up to whatever we feel leads us, and to make this a weekend of renewal of our individual and our group spirit.

This is a weekend for fun and enjoyment for individuals of all ages.

For information about AFG, click here.

To see the programme, click here.

For detailed information about Special Interest Groups, click here.

To register for AFG 2017, click here.

Camp Geddie main lodge

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