Friends General Conference High School Gathering 2012

You may be wondering why the Canadian Yearly Meeting Youth Secretary is writing about FGC’s High School Gathering program. However, it makes more sense than you may realize. Canadian Yearly Meeting is part of Friends General Conference (FGC) and the Gathering is one of many programs that FGC offers to support Quakers and seekers, and it has a really energetic and rewarding youth program. This year there were 100 high school aged F/friends in the High School Program. It’s an experience worth thinking about participating in!

This year, the Gathering was in Kingston, Rhode Island at the University of Rhode Island campus. The High School Program had a staff of 15, 3 of whom were Canadian. The program is a week long intensive where all of the high school participants and staff sleep in a dorm together to create an intentional community while participating in the daily activities of the rest of the Gathering. There are a variety of awesome workshops which each participant pick one from that is the focus of their week.

See the High School Program 2012 schedule here.

The OUT TRIP on Tuesday is one of the high lights of the week. The whole HS program leaves campus and goes to a location with lots of green space and water for the afternoon. We have a picnic lunch, play games, go swimming and take our group photo! It is a rocking good time. This year we went to Watson Farm, had a tour which included seeing animals and then spent the rest of the afternoon at their rock beach.

Other awesome things that happen throughout the week include:

  • 2 Dances. The AYF (Adult Young Friends) program and the HS program join together to coordinate the All Gathering Dance. It is a fun time where the whole community can come together and celebrate through dance. The second dance is a High School dance that leads into our (optional) all night celebration. This is a rocking good time, generally a bit sweaty but worth every drop!
  • 2 Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business. Unlike the rest of the Gathering, the HS (and AYF) programs have a small amount of business to accomplish throughout the week. The program has some options to amend their guidelines and address issues that have come up. For some, their experience with a M4W4B is their introductory experience. Clerked by their peers; I believe it to be one of the most transformational and spiritually based M4W4B that I have ever attended.
  • Support Groups (SG). One of the most exciting things about being a High School Counselor is that you are part of a SG with 8-10 participants. This groups gets together for an hour each afternoon and again at midnight for “check-in”. The idea is to create a smaller group of folks to get to know each other, support each other throughout the week, disseminate information, discuss any issues or topics that come up, play games and just have a great time!
  • All Gathering Capture the Flag. This is a staple of the Gathering. I can’t remember a time when it didn’t happen. The Monday afternoon of Gathering is spent in joyful intergenerational play!
  • Plenaries. Each evening there is a plenary session with a special guest, special activity or event. They are diverse and have appeal for many.
  • Affinity Groups. Depending on the energy of the HS community, the staff support them through having affinity groups- men’s, women’s and FLGBTQC are the usual ones. Though we are always open to others. These groups get together with those who self identify and want to participate to have conversations, do art and just delve into the topics at the forefront of their minds.
  • Nurturing & Discernment Committees. There are tons of opportunities to try new experiences of leadership and nurturing your gifts. A couple of these are serving on the Nurturing Committee and/or serving on Discernment. The Nurturing Committee is a group of participants who carry the concern for the spiritual and emotional well-being of their community for the week. They address any concerns as they come up and may send an item to M4W4B or to the staff, depending on what is appropriate. Discernment committee is the committee struck to discern the clerks for the HS program the following year.
  • WINK. Anyone who knows the game knows the wonder of wink. Anyone who doesn’t is probably flummoxed by any description that is articulated. The only way to understand wink is to watch a couple rounds of it and then maybe, if you’re feeling brave, join in.
  • Celebration. The celebration is the programs final closing. Starting with the closing worship Friday afternoon and continuing until parents/sponsors check the participant out of the program, it acknowledges the community that has been built, celebrates our being together and releases everyone until next time. Generally the celebration includes a top-secret staff designed theme, lots of food, a talent show, submitting the program evaluation, getting some sleep (hopefully), packing so that you’re ready to leave, a sunrise walk and tons of time just chilling and having those final conversations and connections with each other.

Pelham and Yonge Street Combined Half Yearly Meetings

The weekend was wet. Like really wet. But we needed the rain, especially after a very dry May, so it’s not like you could complain about it. However, I wasn’t really sure how a weekend up at Camp NeeKauNis with rain, rain and more rain predicted was going to work out for a group of over 80 people.

The drive up was stressful. Anyone who has spent a Friday afternoon on the 400 headed north, knows what I am talking about. However, because of the bad forcast, things were moving significantly faster than I could have hoped. We missed dinner, but managed to arrive with plenty of time to spare before the evening program (phew)!

photo credit: Grayden Laing

Sue Starr and I were facilitating a session on Membership, specifically around Transitional Membership. It was an energizing session where first we found our commonalities through the activity Big Wind Blows and then we assumed roles that weren’t necessarily true for us (YF, YAF, Camp NKN, CYM, Half Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meeting, FGC) and looked at what the challenges and joys of transitional membership would be for us as that specific group or demographic. It led to really rich discussion.

Due to the inclement weather, the majority of folks spent their time singing, playing cards or just catching up in Nelson Hall or the Meeting Centre during free times.

Saturday the weather was a little less wet, though still fairly gloomy. For anyone who has eaten at NeeKauNis, you know the simplicity and quality of the cooking leaves you feeling sated and often wondering about getting your hands on the recipes. A huge THANK YOU to all of the folks working in the kitchen. Every meal was delightful.

There were business sessions, memorial meetings and lots of opportunities to play and connect. I spent my afternoon with the teens +/- having a rocking good time! We made use of every dry minute playing soccer and took refuge in the front porch of Haslam when it was wet. There were card games and improv games that kept us laughing and learning about each other. A number of folks made floating lanterns as well. The weekend ended after meeting for worship on Sunday and a group clean up of Camp, leaving it ready for the next group that would be in to use the space.

What an incredible gift to spend a whole weekend in fellowship with all of you. Thank you!

Deadline approaching for Applications: FGC “The New Meetings Project”

Announcing New FGC Project and Accepting Applications for Related New Staff Position The New Meetings Project

Friends General Conference is pleased to announce the formation of the New Meetings Project to nurture new worship groups and meetings in the United States and Canada. The formation and launch of this project are being made possible by a generous two-year grant totaling $400,000 from the Thomas H. and Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund, which is the largest foundation gift to FGC in its history. Also, to encourage other Friends to support this work, the Shoemaker Fund is requiring that FGC raise an additional $100,000 in order to receive the full award.

The Shoemaker Fund has been the major supporter of FGC’s Quaker Quest project over the past three years, and we’re pleased that this same grant is also providing continuing support for Quaker Quest. Both of these projects are part of FGC’s expanding commitment to help new and existing Quaker faith and practice communities become more visible, welcoming, and inclusive, while nurturing deep and transformed spiritual lives.

The New Meetings Project is being developed in response to inquiries from Friends asking for support in starting new worship groups and meetings. Given these requests and significant evidence that there are many seekers who want to explore Quaker faith and practice, the Executive Committee of Friends General Conference approved the formation of this project at its spring meeting.

For further details about this program or contact information on how to be involved, please go the New Meetings Project Q&A at http://www.fgcquaker.org/new-meetings-project/Q%2526A.

 

Search for New Meetings Project Coordinator

To support this project, Friends General Conference is hiring a full-time project coordinator. We are accepting applications beginning immediately through Friday, July 20 at 5 pm Eastern time. We will conduct interviews in August and hope to have the new staff member working no later than September 10. The person hired for this position will work at the FGC offices in Philadelphia.This is anticipated to be a full-time, two-year position with the possibility for renewal.

The New Meetings Project coordinator will serve as the principal organizer of all activities related to the New Meetings Project. The coordinator will be responsible for working with requests from F/friends and meetings interested in forming new worship groups and meetings. This position requires someone with skills as both a facilitator and a leader, who can work collaboratively and take a great deal of initiative to see this program successfully developed and implemented. The project coordinator will work with staff and volunteers to see all program elements developed, tested, scaled-out, and implemented. She or he will also assist with the ongoing evaluation of program elements to continually learn what does and does not work in supporting new worship groups that are marked by deep worship, a welcoming environment, and a community grounded in Quaker practice. For more information on this position and to apply, please go to http://www.fgcquaker.org/about-us/employment-internships

Friends General Conference (FGC) seeks a skilled and passionate New Meetings Project coordinator to join the ministries team. Major responsibilities include designing and implementing the New Meetings Project, working with Friends interested in starting new worship groups, assembling best practices, nurturing the formation of a travel team, designing and conducting workshops, and passionately advocating for the creation of welcoming environments in new worship groups that are characterized by deep worship and a community grounded in Quaker practice. Must enjoy being collaborative and be willing to travel weekends.

The position begins in September 2012. It is a full time, two-year position with excellent benefits and the possibility of renewal after two years based on funding availability. This position is based in the FGC Philadelphia office.

Requirements: a firm foundation in modern Quaker faith, excellent presentation and writing skills, and proficiency with Microsoft Office applications are essential. A minimum of 1–3 years as a project coordinator is preferred. Familiarity with Salesforce is helpful. This is an exciting opportunity to engage in important ministerial work.

Application deadline is July 20.

To apply, send a cover letter, resume, and three references to: Deborah Fisch FGC 1080 45th Street Des Moines, IA 50311 Or by email to

CFSC Employment Opportunity – Office and Communications Associate

Employment Opportunity – Office and Communications Associate

CFSC has a staff position opening up next fall in the Toronto office. The Office and Communications Associate is a half-­‐time position (17.5 work hours/week). Main duties include:

Communications

  • Communications resources – assist in production, distribute resources, maintain subscriber lists.

  • Website and social media – upload website content, ensure visual continuity, post information on social

    media as instructed. Administration

  • Donor relations – maintain donor base, process donations, assist in donor communications and fundraising tasks.

  • Office support – Maintain office presence, order supplies, maintain file system, general correspondence.

  • Board support – Provide administrative support before, during and after board meetings.

  • Assists Finance Administrator as required.

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Compensation: $18,500 – 21,000/year plus benefits.
For detailed information, including job description, visit: http://quakerservice.ca/what-­‐you-­‐can-­‐do/volunteer/

How to Apply:

If you have the skills required, we welcome receipt of a cover letter, three references (1 personal, 2 work-­‐related), and a resume outlining your qualifications and your interest in working for CFSC to hiring-­‐ . No phone calls, please. While we wish to acknowledge all applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Application Deadline: 9 am (Eastern) on Tuesday September 4th, 2012.

Canadian Friends Service Committee is an equal opportunity employer.

KAIROS Event: September 22, 2012 near London, ON

 A note from the Social Justice Committee:

 

KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Social Justice Initiatives is a national partnership among several denominations and church organizations, including Anglican Church of Canada. In recent months, a group of people from Quaker, Lutheran, Christian Reformed, Presbyterian, United, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches has come together to form a South Western Ontario chapter of KAIROS as a way to join forces and share resources for Christian social justice work.

 

The South Western Ontario KAIROS chapter is hosting a day of learning and fellowship, “Voices of Courage”, on Saturday, September 22 at the Society of Friends Meeting House in Coldstream, near London – details are at http://www.diohuron.org/news/diocese/2012/June/voicesofcourage.pdf. Please post this in your Parish and pass it the link along to people you know who are engaged in social justice work.

 

The Rev’d Tom Patterson

Co-Coordinator of Social Justice Huron

 

 Here’s the link (Ctrl + Click):