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Quaker Meetings

Brent & StephaniPsst. Hey you. Quaker Meeting. Yeah, you. I know about you. I read your minutes and your State of Society reports. I know what you’re good at. You’re good at hospitality: celebrations, potlucks, welcoming new people into your midst. Social justice: prisoners, refugees, small African countries, homeless folks. Discussion. Lord, you’re good at discussion! It doesn’t always lead to action – or even decision – but goodness can you discuss stuff!

I also know what you struggle with. Quaker process in business meetings. The quality of worship. Vocal ministry. Too much silence. Not enough silence. Teaching children and new Friends about traditional Quaker practices. Finances – having enough, knowing where you can spend them, knowing how to report them.  Knowing Quaker history. Conflict.

And I know what you love. You love visitors! It shines through all your minutes, reports, and newsletters. Visitors from other Meetings, other countries, other churches, other traditions. Visitors bring you together in community. They spark joy and interest. A visitor can teach you, help you with the places you struggle, and celebrate with you the things you do well. Visitors help you see yourselves through new eyes, and know yourselves better.

So why don’t you have more visitors? You know you love it.  Go on, invite someone. It’ll be wonderful. You’ll both grow stronger.

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Stories, Poetry and Art Wanted for “The Canadian Friend”

cf_friendDo you have a story to tell, or a creative gift to share with Quakers in Canada?  Contributions are invited for the new issue of The Canadian Friend, the twice-yearly magazine of Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM).  Prose, poetry, art, photos, etc. are welcome.

Topics could include this past summer’s CYM gathering, updates or photos from your Monthly Meeting or Worship Group, books you’ve read, or something new you’ve experienced or learned.

To take a trip down memory lane or seek inspiration, The Canadian Friend back issues are available online.  If your library is missing one, you can even download back issues and print them.  For Friends who don’t have internet access (and those of us who don’t always check our email), consider distributing or posting paper copies of this Call for Submissions poster.

Submit To

cf-editor@quaker.ca

Canadian Friend Editor

91A Fourth Ave.
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 2L1

Submission Date

Nov. 30, 2016

Style Guide

When you submit, the editor will work with you to make your piece consistent with The Canadian Friend’s technical guidelines, if necessary.  Reading through the guide in advance can help both you and the editor get your piece ready for print more quickly.

Subscriptions and Advertising

You can order a print subscription to The Canadian Friend by contacting the editor. The Canadian Friend also accepts advertising! Send camera-ready or clear, readable copy to the editor, by e-mail. For rates and details, contact the editor, above.

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Fall 2016 On-Line Courses offered by Education and Outreach Committee

Canadian Yearly Meeting Education & Outreach Committee

Announces Online Courses for Fall 2016

“Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways” and “Uh-Oh Was That a Leading?”

Facilitator: David Summerhays (Montreal Monthly Meeting)

Friends across Canada are invited to participate in online courses that will begin in September.

Introduction to Quakers and Friends’ Ways — This 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 and 2015.

Uh-Oh Was That a Leading? — This course will explore the concept of leadings through readings and discussion on how Friends have understood leadings throughout history. Together course participants will attempt to discern what is and what is not a leading. We will also discuss how to explain Quakerism to newcomers. This course was previously offered in the spring of 2016.

How it will work

Participants for each course will meet once a week for six weeks using either video conferencing or audio conferencing technology. If you are a unfamiliar with conferencing technology, don’t worry, the facilitator and the Education and Outreach Committee are committed to making participation in these courses 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 on the CYM web site here: http://quaker.ca/resources/education/

Both of the courses 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 courses are free of charge and open to members and attenders of meetings and worship groups in Canada. To indicate your interest, please send the following information to onlinecourse@quaker.ca by Monday, September 12th. Later registrations will be considered if there is space.

We plan to begin both of these courses the week of September 19th at either 12:30pm, 2:30pm, or 6:30 pm on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Note that these times apply to the Eastern Time Zone. Please alter the times for your time zone.

Please include the following information in your e-mail:

  1. Name
  2. City, Town or Location and Province
  3. Time Zone
  4. E-mail & Telephone number
  5. Meeting or Worship Group
  6. Which of the time slots (if any) will work for you.

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Canadian Yearly Meeting Epistle, 2016

August 13, 2016

Epistle of Canadian Yearly Meeting 2016

O wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then ye will be a praise to the Lord, and anything that is, or hath been, or may be amiss, ye will come over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb’s dominion; and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as life rises and rules in you.    – Isaac Penington’s Letter to Friends in Amersham, May 1667

Loving Greetings to Friends everywhere,

Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends met for the 183rd annual gathering of Quakers in Canada, our 61st as a united Yearly Meeting, on the beautiful Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta in Camrose, situated in Treaty 6 territory.

During the week, the themes of grief and nurture arose in many programs and events. Many of us are saddened by the loss of CYM-in-Session for 2017 because we love CYM-in-Session for its blend of corporate decision-making and spiritual grounding. Our pre-gathering retreat explored how we may nurture our community during the upcoming fallow year in which we will not meet in person. We also grieved the deaths of several strong and spiritually grounded Friends. We shared our grief throughout the week, but most particularly during our Memorial Meeting and our session on the “Experience of the Spirit in my Life.” These experiences of sadness remind us of the need to care for ourselves and others.

The Sunderland P. Gardner lecture explored the topic “Continuing Revelation: Quaking with Grace and Joy in Modern Times.” It challenged us to consider how an inward condition of exhaustion can contaminate our ability to manifest the love that underlies our witness to each other and the world. This was echoed in our Bible study, which was an exploration of the Bible and how it relates to Friends’ testimonies. It reminded us that in overburdening ourselves we do violence to ourselves, and that this flies in the face of our peace testimony. When we take on too much, we deny ourselves the opportunity to practice communal discernment and experience the joy that can come from it.

We struggled to find ways to save our strength in order to dare greatly when the Spirit demands it. This condition of exhaustion was echoed by Clerks and others who serve our Yearly Meeting, and suggests that CYM-in-Session and its associated events and bodies, while beloved, can harm the people who serve them. Our faith in each other is high, but our expectations of each other are sometimes higher than we consent to or can sustain. We were made aware of the ways that Clerks and people serving in other positions were being immobilized and sometimes pushed away by the labour involved.  Just as we must take responsibility for the effects of our consumer habits on the Earth, we must mitigate the effect of what we take from the people who serve CYM.

We were moved by Friends who exhibited courage in revealing truths about their experiences living as the Other in our society. During our LGBTQ evening Friends challenged us to imagine experiencing gender dysphoria and gender fluidity. Our community is deepened when we have the courage to be vulnerable together.

We delighted in the presence of Young Friends and welcomed their involvement in the wider meeting, although they were few in number. We carry an ongoing concern about the importance of caring for Young Adult Friends, understanding their priorities, and making sure those priorities are reflected in our processes. We responded joyously to their request that we support them in fostering their community and strengthening their connection to the larger CYM community. Friends expressed appreciation for the rich children’s programming, which included daily worship.

We were encouraged to build harmonious relationships with our environment and surrounding communities. Friends participated in a service project to protect the local watershed, and nurtured our relations with the Maskwacis First Nation through mutual visits.

We were also urged to communicate our faith openly. This year’s session brought a means to do so: there was much excitement about the minute from Canadian Friends Service Committee detailing how we can take action in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the cultural genocide experienced by Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

Despite our sense of loss, we are facing a new future and stumbling, with God’s grace, toward healing. Our commitment to hiring a senior staff person and the newly-accepted personnel policy bring us relief at having learned from our past mistakes as well as gratitude for the sometimes difficult work of the Friends who serve our blessed community. Many of us are finding a quiet joy in clerkship and committee membership. We are looking directly at difficult issues that would be convenient to avoid and are willing to address issues of financial and human sustainability. This shows a level of courage and care that can help us live up to the patterns and examples of our spiritual ancestors over the centuries.

Posted in: CYM, CYM 2016, Quaker Blog

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