Letters from Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel

Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) of Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) wrote a series of letters from 2017 to 2018, addressing issues raised in discussions at Yearly Meeting Sessions in 2016.

They can all be read on this page, or downloaded in this PDF:
Letters from Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel of Canadian Yearly Meeting (2017-18)



New Year, 2017

Dear Friends,CMM&C Letters (Web)

Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) of Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) met in mid-November. Four of our six members were new to the group, so an important part of our meeting was to get to know each other better, as we will be working together over the next year. Much of the meeting, however, was spent in talking about the issues raised by various Friends at our Reporting and Clearness session at Yearly Meeting sessions in August. That was a lively and interesting conversation, and the matters that arose are challenging and certainly worthy of attention.

They include the nature of worship and the discernment of a call to vocal ministry; personal boundaries and how we relate as a community when we come together; the needs of isolated Friends and how we can support these Friends; the nature and responsibilities of membership, and ways we can increase the likelihood that those who join the Religious Society of Friends remain with us; resources for Meetings to help Friends with mental health problems; loss, bereavement, and grief; and a need to have more attention paid to the life of the Spirit in our activities such as Special Interest Groups.

We in Continuing Meeting felt that all these concerns do warrant further attention. We decided to address them one at a time, researching pertinent materials and discerning the ones that best speak to Quakers. We will be letting Meetings and Worship Groups across the country know of our findings in a series of letters, which we will send throughout the year. It’s our hope that we can encourage some exchange between worshipping groups across the country. Not only are we often each other’s best advisors and counsellors, but such communication will help us all to stay connected and to nurture each other and our blessed community in a year without Yearly Meeting sessions.

Watch for the letters as they are compiled and sent out! If all goes according to plan, you should receive one about every month to two months. We hope that the contact people for all our worshipping groups will be diligent in sharing the results of our work with others. We also intend that the letters will be posted on the CYM website for Friends to access as they wish.

We look forward to learning more about the issues that emerged at CYM and to sharing our knowledge with all of you.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

The life of the Spirit in venues where we are considering social justice issues

This letter is part of a series written by members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) about concerns raised during our Reporting and Clearness session at Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in 2016.

Dear Friends,

When you gather in your committee meetings or discussion groups to consider social justice issues, are you mindful of inviting God (Spirit, divine Presence) into your midst?

When we gather intentionally, we are often quick to jump into conversation, especially when we’re focused on an urgent concern. We are quick to engage when we’re at a learning event. On occasion, our enthusiasm may outrun a vital element of our way; that is:

to seek to know an inward stillness, even amid the activities of daily life, so that all may feel the power of God’s love drawing us together and leading us. (Advices and Queries #3)

Douglas Steere said,

there is a true sense in which – when we love greatly – this love goes on back of all else that we do. Far from blocking our creative efforts on the immediate tasks before us, this undergirding love may heighten our powers for all that we do.

We cherish our testimonies. We yearn to be faithful to them. Let us not forget, then, the spirit from which the testimonies arise. A gleaning from Canadian Faith and Practice states,

There is a need to become the kind of people we claim to be.

And Britain Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice, section 23.10 notes,

We need both a deeper spirituality and a more outspoken witness. If our spirituality can reach the depths of authentic prayer, our lives will become an authentic witness for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. … And our response to violence and injustice is to pray more deeply, because only God can show us the way out of the mess that the world is in. And only God gives us the strength to follow that Way.

We remind Friends of the following queries with respect to all aspects of our lives, and in particular, to those times when we gather together to help heal the world.

  • Do you encourage in yourself and in others a habit of dependence on Gods guidance for each day, and of Gods leadings in your work for peace and justice?
  • Is your attention to good works adequately rooted in the rich, spiritual soil from which the Quaker heritage of compassion, insight, and careful discernment has always grown?

May our gatherings with attention to peace and justice be true Meetings for Worship.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

[Excerpts taken from Advices and Queries numbers 3 and 8; Douglas V. Steere, Dimensions of Prayer; Canadian Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice; and Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice.]

Personal Boundaries

Some thoughts and queries to consider for spring gatherings and anytime Friends gather

This letter is part of a series written by members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) about concerns raised during our Reporting and Clearness session at Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in 2016. This concern is that of personal boundaries.

The leaders of the children’s program at CYM are careful to ensure that the children and youth feel safe and comfortable in all activities. The idea of consent is explained at the start and they understand that it is right to say “no” if they do not like rough-housing or being touched. They also know whom to talk to if they feel someone is not listening.

As adult Friends, we value being part of a caring community, where affection is freely shared. As with the children, we need to be mindful that hugging or physical contact may not be welcome to some, and differences in age or gender may provoke additional anxiety. Yet refusing contact may also feel awkward to some.


  • What measures do we take in our Monthly Meetings and other Quaker gatherings to ensure that our children and youth feel safe and comfortable?
  • How can I be sensitive to the other’s feelings before making physical contact?
  • Can we ensure that there is a “safe person” in each gathering, such as a Listener at Canadian Yearly Meeting or a member of a Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel, who is available to talk with someone who might be upset?

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

Mental Health

This letter is part of a series written by members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) about concerns raised during our Reporting and Clearness session at Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in 2016. This concern is that of mental health.

Dear Friends,

We write this letter in the understanding, and send it to you with the reminder, that members of Ministry and Counsel are not necessarily qualified counsellors or otherwise able to offer professional assistance to those experiencing mental health problems or crises. Nevertheless, we offer to Ministry and Counsel (M&C) of our Monthly Meetings some thoughts on how M&C might prepare for this kind of problem and respond to such needs.

First, M&C should clarify to your Monthly Meeting what you can offer. We recommend that you discuss this matter in a general way and be clear yourselves about your resources and skills, and new members should be acquainted with the conclusions M&C have drawn. Include in your discussion the issue of confidentiality, as this can become critical and there are legal responsibilities if someone appears to be in danger of self-harm or harm to others.

We are aware that often members and attenders of Meetings are not really acquainted with M&C, what the group is and can do, so M&C should ensure that this is corrected. It is a good idea to have the names and contact information of M&C members posted or otherwise made known and available for all participants in Meeting. Friends should be made aware of what M&C can offer and perform, as in the previous paragraph.

Most importantly, stable and sympathetic Friends, whether members of M&C or not, can be on the watch for signs of distress – especially among Young Adult Friends, who are in more difficult times and circumstances than their elders were – and can offer listening and resources. As one Young Adult Friend has said, the intentional offer of a listening ear to someone facing difficult challenges can in itself be helpful.

M&C can research the information about online or telephone help for mental distress or crisis and ensure that this is posted in the Meeting House and/or made available to Friends in a newsletter or other vehicle, so that the information is available when it’s needed. For instance, in Ontario there is the Mental Health Helpline: mentalhealthhelpline.ca and 1-866-531-2600, and in Alberta the telephone helpline is 1-877-303-2642. In addition, there are local helplines for many cities. M&C should particularly note ways that those in need can access free or affordable counselling.

One or several Friends could take Mental Health First Aid training (mentalhealthfirstaid.ca) and have their names known to other members of the Meeting. Concerned Friends, especially members of M&C, can inform themselves to a considerable extent from this site:

A Meeting can endeavour to send one or two people to a mental health first aid or similar course or workshop each year, and can be willing to help sponsor a Young Friend in such training if financial support is needed.

M&C can encourage opportunities for Meetings to have spirit-led discussions about mental health and the needs of the Meeting and its members. Such discussions can help to reduce the stigma some feel attaches to such problems.

Mental health issues can arise for people of any age, and we hope that the Meeting communities to which we all feel connected can be sensitive to the possibility of such issues and respond to them with concern and compassion. In our present times, however, society is seeing that young adults may be particularly susceptible to mental health problems, and our Meetings should be watchful for signs of this sort of distress. The kinds of situations that cause young people trouble or trauma include irregular and unstable work hours, lack of economic stability, frequent relocation for work or school, etc. These stresses can produce feelings of social isolation, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other problems. Confusion over sexual orientation and instances of sexual harassment or assault can also arise. Ministry and Counsel should ensure that there is clarity about who is on M&C, what M&C can offer, and matters of confidentiality, as Young Friends often need encouragement when figuring out how to navigate various Quaker processes.

We cannot act as psychiatrists or mental health facilities, but we can provide compassion, listening, and advice on how to obtain practical, professional help. These can be invaluable.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

Isolated Friends within Our Monthly Meetings

Dear Friends,

There are a number of isolated Friends within our Yearly Meeting, Friends who live at a considerable distance from the nearest Meeting and can attend only rarely. Isolated Friends used to hold membership through Home Missions and Advancement Committee, but because of the vast distances within CYM and the impossibility of one committee caring for Friends scattered across the country, this is no longer the case. Isolated Friends now hold their membership in the nearest Monthly Meeting, though that Meeting may not be very near. Thus Monthly Meetings now have the care of and responsibility for these Friends.

Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel would like to learn more about how Monthly Meetings care for their isolated Friends, with the intention of sharing good practices with other Meetings. If your Meeting is one of the Monthly Meetings with isolated Friends in your care, we would be interested to know how many isolated Friends are within your Monthly Meeting and what their needs are. We would particularly like to know what your Meeting does for isolated Friends which might be helpful to other Monthly Meetings. Do these Friends call upon you for uplift, counsel, listening, or other support? Do you reach out to them? If so, what form does the reaching out take? How frequently do you reach out to them?

Some isolated Friends are hardly known by their Meeting, and others participate as they can, considering their individual circumstance. Are there ways in which Isolated Friends contribute to or participate in your Meeting?

We ask that you take the time to tell us about the relationships between you and your isolated Friends. CMM&C undertakes to gather and consolidate this important part of the life of Canadian Friends and share with all of us, in time for Canadian Yearly Meeting in August. Please send responses to these important questions to CMM&C Clerk Beverly Shepard ().

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

Grief and Loss

This letter is part of a series written by members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) about concerns raised during our Reporting and Clearness session at Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in 2016. This concern is that of grief and loss.

We have been asked by some Friends what should be done with these letters. As noted in our first letter, “We hope that the contact people for all our worshipping groups will be diligent in sharing the results of our work with others.” For the first of these, ensuring that the letters are forwarded to members of each Meeting’s Ministry and Counsel, if it exists, would be important. The letters could be sent out to the list of members and regular attenders. For Meetings with a bulletin board or the like, the letters could be posted. They could be put into a newsletter. Some of the letters, for instance the one on mental health, have had specific advice about things Meetings and members can do to address the concerns. The issues were raised at Yearly Meeting in 2016, so CMM&C has felt that they are in fact of interest to Friends, and we hope that the letters can be shared with all who are interested in progress.

Dear Friends,

There are many losses that we all experience in life, such as losing jobs, losing friends, losing health, and so on, and these result in various grief responses. Naturally, the most intense loss is the death of a spouse, child, or other close family member.

Dealing with grief is a complex issue with no easy answers. Bereaved people need to know that grief is an individual process, that most reactions to the loss of a loved one are normal, and that this process takes a long time. It must be gone through and expressed. However, hope can be given that life will have meaning again eventually, even if not in the same way as before the loss.

Here are some queries that may help Meetings to provide comfort and support.

  • What measures can be put in place right after the death to provide practical assistance, such as providing meals for the family or accommodation for visiting family or friends?
  • Do you have one or two people in the Meeting who are very good listeners, i.e. “safe people”? Can they allow the bereaved person to talk freely with complete acceptance?
  • Is your Ministry and Counsel familiar with community resources available for grief support, if needed? Many hospitals, hospices, and funeral homes offer such resources. M&C can be prepared with the names of such helpful services closest to Friends in the Meeting.
  • When the time is right, is there someone who can help to re-frame the grieving process as an opportunity for growth and for finding meaning?

In addition to the section on Death and Dying (Chapter 5, 5.71-5.85) in Faith and Practice and Chapter 12 in Organization and Procedure, the following are some resources:

Jan de Hartog. A View of the Ocean. New York: Pantheon Books, 2007.
Diana Lampen. Facing Death. London: Quaker Home Service, 1979.
Hannah Russell. A Death Chosen, A Life Given. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #432, 2015.
C. S. Lewis. A Grief Observed. London: Faber & Faber, 1961.
Julia Samuel. Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving. New York: Scribner, 2018.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

Prayer in Worship

This letter is part of a series written by members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) about concerns raised during our Reporting and Clearness session at Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in 2016. This concern is that of the place of petition and prayer in our Meetings for Worship.

Prayer is not often spoken aloud in our Meetings for Worship. We tend to hear the language of prayer as formulaic, lacking in spontaneity, somehow “unquakerly.” Instead we speak of holding a person or a concern “in the Light.”

Yet this beloved Quaker practice is cut from the same cloth as the traditional prayers of petition and intercession. Holding ourselves and others in the Light when we are in extremities – such as a serious illness, relationship break-up, or moral dilemma – is a prayer for healing. And when we encounter a crossroads and don’t know the way forward, we speak of standing still and waiting in the Light for way to open. In other words, we are praying for God’s guidance. When things unravel, we turn to prayer, although we may choose to give it a different name.

  • Does vocal prayer have a role to play in your Meeting for Worship? Does the language of prayer raise strong feelings, and can you talk about this with one another in a spirit of openness?

Prayer, silent or vocal, is part of many Friends’ individual spiritual practice and inseparable from their experience of worship in Meeting. They describe prayer as “a place which is there all the time and always available,”[1] a mode of being, a practice as natural as breathing. When a vocal prayer ministry is truly spoken “in the Life,” it gathers us and deepens our corporate worship.

  • What is your understanding and experience of prayer? When you close your eyes and hold a person or a concern in the Light, what do you see or imagine? Do you have any personal experience of prayer or being upheld by the prayer of others?

Friends have found that prayer can take many forms – simple listening, gazing awestruck at the night sky, befriending a stranger, campaigning for peace, planting a garden, having tea with a friend, to name a few.

  • If the traditional definitions of what constitutes prayer do not speak to you, can you create a different, more expansive approach? Has your Quaker faith and practice helped lead you to a fresh understanding of prayer?

For further reading:

Canadian Yearly Meeting. Faith and Practice, 2011.

Friends General Conference. “Newcomers Cards: Quakers and Prayer.” n.d.

Quaker Quest. Twelve Quakers and Prayer. Quaker Quest Network, 2015.

Rex Ambler, Alec Davidson, Janet Scott and Michael Wright. Through Us, Not From Us: Vocal Ministry and Quaker Worship. The Kindlers, 2015.

John Lampen. Finding the Words: Quaker Experience and Language. Stourbridge: The Hope Project, n.d.

Douglas Steere. Dimensions of Prayer: Cultivating a Relationship with God. 1962.

Helen Steven. No Extraordinary Power: Prayer, Stillness and Activism. Swarthmore Lecture, 2005.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Read
Linda Foy

[1] Elfrida Vipont Foulds. The Candle of the Lord. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #248, 1983.

Estranged Friends

Dear Friends,

We have all most likely experienced a situation in our Meetings in which a member or attender who has been coming to Worship regularly stops attending. Usually we wait a few weeks to see whether the person will appear again, and if she or he does not, then we sometimes find ourselves uncertain what to do next. Various Meetings have suggested to members of CMM&C various approaches to next steps.

Contacting the Friend simply to find out whether the person is all right is a caring and wise first step. A member of Ministry and Counsel, the Clerk, or someone in the Meeting who was particularly close to him or her could call. Such a conversation may reveal a reason for nonattendance that will suggest further checking-in, such as an accident or illness. When this is the case, continued care and concern are obviously the way to proceed. On the other hand, the conversation may explain the absence in terms that make further action by the Meeting unnecessary, such as a wish to participate in a different faith group. Something such as a conflicting commitment at the time of Worship might mean occasional contact with the Friend to show that he or she is still thought of and cared about. If the person is a relatively new attender, it may simply be that she or he has decided that the Quaker Way is not the way for her or him.

The difficult situations are those in which the person who has stopped attending has somehow been hurt or alienated by others in the Meeting or by a direction the Meeting as a whole has taken. We have heard a number of examples of this, such as discomfort with God-language or, conversely, with non-theist language; feeling a lack of apparent caring and assistance following an illness or surgery; disapproval of a stance regarding same-sex relationships; or an objection to something presented in First Day School. Each such situation will require careful thought by M&C (or, if there is no M&C, several seasoned Friends). Would the person be receptive to an explanation that various beliefs are accepted in the Religious Society of Friends, his or hers as well as quite different ones? Was the perceived neglect during illness or surgery long enough before that the damage has been done; can it be repaired? Are the differences between the Meeting’s position and that of the Friend resolvable, or is it simply appropriate that the Friend should withdraw? Generally, even if the reason for non-attendance cannot be satisfactorily addressed, another contact to acknowledge the situation in some way is recommended.

From the talks we have had with Friends in several Meetings, the best advice would be, first of all, to be aware of each other’s situations as much as possible. We are small communities, and it’s likely that someone else in the Meeting knows if a particular Friend is feeling ill or lonely or uncertain or alienated. Then, Friends should be encouraged to bring such concerns to M&C or the Clerk. Finally, these situations should be addressed as soon and as compassionately as possible. In cases where, when a Friend has been missing from Meeting for a while, no such problem is discernible, a letter or call may reveal a cause that can be remedied or one that simply explains the absence with no further action required. Let us be guided by love and compassion in these situations as in all our relations with each other.

In the Light,

Members of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel:

Beverly Shepard, clerk
Charles Brown
Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Jeff Dudiak
Lesley Reac
Linda Foy

Canadian Yearly Meeting 2018 Gathering

UPDATE: More detailed info on Canadian Yearly Meeting In Session, in particular for those attending it, is on the business side of our site:
CYM in Session Business.

Canadian Yearly Meeting-in-Session 2018 will be held August 3-11, at Georgian College, in Barrie, ON.

Canadian Yearly Meeting’s annual gathering is open to all. Its Business Meetings are the main decision-making body of Quakers in Canada.

There’s also lots of time for fun and games, and sessions focusing on spiritual development, social justice, and Quaker history.

Documents in Advance, 2018

Documents in Advance, 2018 – click to view/download.

Information on CYM-in-Session 2018


This material originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of The Canadian Friend.

CYM 2018 Schedule Updated

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This Welcome Booklet contains an annotated map and arrival details

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Pre-YM Retreat: “Sharing our Spiritual Journeys”
Friday, Aug 3, 7:00 pm – Saturday, Aug 4, 5:00 pm
Led by Ellen Helmuth, New Brunswick Monthly Meeting

“We want to take some time to reflect on our spiritual journeys. We’ve all had times in our lives when we were faced with different paths to take, choices to make. What influenced those choices? Have we chosen the conventional ways or the path less traveled? What was your path to Quakers? Any time is always a good time to reflect on the paths we have chosen, or the roads not taken, and sharing enriches that experience.” Ellen Helmuth

Ellen is a member of New Brunswick Monthly Meeting and lives in Woodstock, NB. This theme was the focus of the 2017 fall retreat for New Brunswick MM members and was considered by those Friends to be very successful in strengthening the bonds of their faith community. One participant commented, “We found out things we had not known before. We don’t often talk about or share our spiritual journey. This was an incredibly rich experience.”

The retreat fee will be $40 per person.

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We welcome you to join us again this summer for the Young Friends & Young Adult Friends Pre-CYM Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis! Friends ages 13-35 will be gathering at Camp NeeKauNis from the evening of August 2nd to the evening of August 4th, when we will travel the short distance to CYM in Barrie as a group. This gathering follows the expressed desires of Young Friends at the NeeKauNis gathering in 2017, and with the hopes of bringing even more Young Friends together.

We’re looking forward to bringing together many wonderful Young Friends and Young Adult Friends to share in each other’s light. This is a great opportunity for those who have not had the chance to visit Camp NeeKauNis before, and for those who have never been to CYM and are looking to make some connections before hand! We hope to rejuvenate the Canadian Young Friends community and continue to discern our collective path forward, asking what we want to be doing and what makes sense for us.

There will be a fluid program with space for us to engage in camp activities such as swimming, drama, games, community art creations, service — as well as activities that lead us to share questions and experiences of our Quaker faith. You are also invited to bring musical instruments so that we can share in music and song.

There is once again substantial financial support for those wishing to attend the gathering.

For more information please contact , and keep an eye on the newsfeed on quaker.ca for registration details.

See you there!
Rebecca Ivanoff, Angelica Dixon, and Daniel von Schulmann
Pre-CYM Camp NeeKauNis Retreat Organizing Committee

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Join us in the CYM ‘settling in’ space (watch for signs) Saturday afternoon, from 2-5:30 pm. Make Friendly connections, reconnections, and deeper connections. First-timers are especially encouraged to hang out here and start to explore the richness of Friends gathering from all across the continent (and abroad!).  We’ll have plenty of activities to help you be present: games, art materials, puzzles, refreshments, even a reading corner where you could settle with a cup of tea –and maybe a new/old F/friend!

Community Celebration: Come be welcomed, be seen, and see who is here from where, while we “make a joyful noise” together.  Our welcome session will include our now familiar practice of acknowledging, thanking and being welcomed by an Elder where we meet.  We’ll watch a Powerpoint showing all our Yearly Meeting’s Monthly Meetings – their meeting places plus selected photos of meeting life all across Canada. ‘First-timers’ – young AND old – will receive a special welcome; Quaker music talents will shine. Group fun will help Friends of all ages connect or reconnect with people in their own Meetings and from across the country. A must-come-sing-move-salute-and-celebrate opening evening – see everyone there! In order to make this a truly special event – please send your Meeting photos and ideas to Caroline Balderston-Parry at or 514-622-2173.

Meeting for Worship.  All who attend CYM are welcome, including children, for whom some worshipful AND fun activities will be provided.

SUNDAY, AUG 5, 1:30-2:45pm:
All generations community building: Come intentionally build community through laughter and play! All CYM attendees are greatly encouraged to participate in a sequence of fun activities that support getting to know each other, sharing space, and developing trust. The activities are designed for the inner-child in all of us, and will be appropriate for all ages, stages, and abilities (accommodations will be joyfully offered). This time is purposefully scheduled so all generations can attend (except for Worship Group leaders – sorry!), and is designed to engender a sense of connection among those who come to be part of the 2018 CYM in-session community. We look forward to a joy-filled afternoon together!

Celebration of the Grace of God in the Life of Friends (Memorial Meeting) is a time for reflecting on and rejoicing in the grace of God in the lives of Friends who have died in the past year. We gather in silence, the names of those Friends are read, and we remember them as we worship together. This year, the Memorial Meeting will be clerked, not just in the reading of the names, but in ensuring that the ministry offered is surrounded by sufficient silence to allow appropriate reflection.  We urge Monthly Meetings to ensure that the names of Friends who have died since CYM 2016 are sent to the CYM office so that all may be included.

MONDAY – FRIDAY, AUG 6-10, during the lunch hour
Meeting for Healing:  Friends who feel a need for healing for themselves, or who know of others who may be troubled or ill and whom they would like to hold in the Light, are welcome to come together for this daily time of prayerful community.

Experience of the Spirit in My Life: Hosted and clerked by Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, this worship-sharing time is an inspiring way to proceed with our week together. In a settled silence of worship, Friends share experiences that they feel show the workings of the Spirit in their own lives. Each contribution is supported in silence before and afterward. All who attend CYM are welcome.

Meeting of Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.  All members of Monthly Meetings of Ministry and Counsel or their designates, and the designates of Monthly Meetings without M&C, should attend.  We will share our concerns and joys, determine where special attention may be needed, and consider names for nomination to CMM&C.

Wednesday afternoon and evening will be at Camp NeeKauNis.  Buses will depart from Georgian College after lunch and Quaker Study. Worship Group meetings will take place at Camp. There will be time for enjoying nature, swimming and boating and other camp activities followed by a picnic supper.  The evening program will also be held at Camp, including a campfire and music.  Bring songbooks and musical instruments!  We will return to college at the end of the evening. In case of inclement weather forecast, plans will be adjusted accordingly.

An Evening with CMM&C.  This is an opportunity for all Friends to join Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel to explore ways to minister effectively to isolated Friends and estranged members. We’ll share our ideas and strategies in through small-group skits: helpful AND fun!

Don’t miss this opportunity to share your talent!  An evening of song, stories, laughs and the ever-popular reading of Gleanings!  Entertainment starts at 7:00 pm.  Young and young-at-heart are welcome to attend and/or participate!

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Please log in to access information relating to Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, including Documents in Advance.

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Led by Jennifer Preston, Canadian Friends Service Committee and Hamilton Monthly Meeting

 Quaker Study will focus on the intersection of the themes of reconciliation, faith, and relationships with Indigenous Peoples. At CYM in 2015 and 2016, CYM minuted strong support for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the resulting 94 Calls to Action. We committed to engage with this work in an ongoing manner and many Meetings and Friends individually are doing so.

Jenn Preston, CFSC

Canadian Friends Service Committee’s (CFSC) Jennifer Preston will lead us in an exploration of how Friends are engaging in Reconciliation from a place of Faith. How does our Faith guide us in our efforts?

Jennifer will begin with a context for this work and share experiences from CFSC. Other Friends speaking from their personal experience will join her over the week to deepen our sharing.

Here are some resources supporting this year’s Quaker Study:

CYM 2013 Minute on the Doctrine of Discovery – PDF
CYM 2016 Minute on Reconciliation – PDF
CYM 2015 Minute on Reconciliation – PDF

Truth & Reconciliation – A Guide for Quakers (2015) – PDF
Truth & Reconciliation – Report on Quakers in Action (2018) – PDF

Interpreting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – PDF
Myths & Misrepresentations of the UNDRIP – PDF
Free Prior & Informed Consent Factsheet – PDF

Principles of Reconciliation Poster – PDF
Additional Faith & Reconciliation Readings – PDF


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“Making Room for Spirit”
Led by Arthur M. Larrabee, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting

“My talk will explore three spiritual practices which we can use to make room for Spirit in our lives.

“God and Spirit are everywhere present but we get caught up in patterns of living that make it difficult to access Spirit and spiritual energy. For many of us, there is ‘no room in the inn’ for Spirit.

“As a Quaker, three spiritual practices which I have found helpful in deepening my spiritual journey are the practice of dissolving attachments; the practice of ‘dying’ into fear; and the practice of embracing paradox.

“I plan to share my experiences with these spiritual practices, how they have come into my life and how I have used them to make room for Spirit.”

— Arthur Larrabee

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Youth Program ” active=”no”]

There is something for everyone aged 0 to 17 years at the CYM Youth Program. And there are many opportunities for Friends over the age of 17 to play a part as well. Sharing your gifts and talents with our young folk is a vital service to Friends, and it’s a lot of fun!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE! In order to provide programming for your child(ren) you MUST register by July 1st. If you register late, you should assume that your child(ren) will be in your care for CYM. (They are welcome to join programs that are already running, however we will only run programs for age groups that are registered by the registration date.)

Program overview:

Sunday, August 4
For all age groups: A fun multi-generational gathering in the afternoon, with stories, movement, and more.

Monday to Friday, August 6-10
For children 0-5: Crafts, play-time, music, stories, daily worship and sharing circle, games, multi-generational activities and age-appropriate field trips. Schedule: 8:15-12:00 & 1:30-5:30 pm

For children 6-11: Creative, active fun including daily worship, sharing circle, board games, outdoor games like soccer and capture the flag, balancing, arts and crafts, drama, and music. Field trips and multi-generational activities, including community building and workshops. Schedule: 8:15-12:00 & 1:30-5:30 pm

Youth 12-17: The youth will have many activities geared for teens specifically. There will be a choice of activities, depending on interest and age. This will include board games, drama and improv, song writing and activism, balancing, a chance to experience Quaker worship in many different forms, Special Interest Groups and Special Action Groups, service, arts and crafts, field trips. Schedule: 10:00-12:00, 1:30-5:30 and every evening.

Are you called to volunteer?

Please consider whether you feel led to volunteer. A successful children’s program is only possible with volunteers. Your volunteer time can be one of the things that make CYM fun for young participants (and their parents!) It is also a way to have some of your CYM expenses covered. To be compliant with CYM’s policy Safe Nurture of Vulnerable Persons in Our Care and our insurance, all volunteers with the Youth Program (whether a Coordinator, Leader or even a driver to an activity), MUST submit a completed and current Police Check from your local detachment prior to YM.

We are looking for Leaders for the following age groups:

Birth to 5 years; 6 to 11 years, and 12 years and older (groupings may change depending on participant numbers and interests). These positions will involve planning ahead, along with Youth Program Coordinator, for the week of programming. During CYM, it will involve daily time with the children’s program. Note: You will not be responsible for all the programming, nor are you expected to spend all your time with the children’s program.

Financial Support: Each Youth Program Leader will be supported with funds for travel, meals and lodging.

Vulnerable person’s police check/child abuse registry check will be required, as well as references. All programs will be run in accordance with our policy for “Safe Nurture of Vulnerable Persons in Our Care.”

Additional volunteers needed: Perhaps you want to participate but not coordinate a program. GREAT! We can use you! Bring us ideas and let us know what you would like to do. Possibilities include leading a workshop for kids, organizing arts, crafts or games, being an extra pair of hands one day or helping to supervise a field trip. See above re Police Check requirements.

We want to provide a Youth Program that is just as inspiring as the CYM main session. Please help us create a wonderful week for our young attenders.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Special Interest and Special Active Groups” active=”no”]

Special Interest and Special Active Groups (SIGs/SAGs) are concurrent sessions that offer opportunities to gather in smaller groups. Their purpose could be to educate, discern, share, explore, or participate in an activity of community building. The topics may span the breadth of individual and corporate Quaker interests.

A SIG could be an opportunity for early exploration of an emerging concern with a group of Friends who may be similarly led, or it could offer an opportunity for the final stage in discernment of a concern that has already received some threshing at the Monthly or Half-Yearly Meeting level, or committee of CYM, before it is brought to Business Meeting.

A SAG could be more experiential, community-building activities, and could include Friends of all ages. Past offerings have included worship-sharing, art, music, story-telling, and spiritual or physical practices.


We invite Friends to facilitate a wide diversity of sessions. Friends interested in presenting or facilitating a session should contact Sherryll Harris (1829 Fern Street, Victoria, BC V8R 4K4) for more information. If you are led to offer a SIG/SAG session, you are encouraged to consider requesting a clearness committee in your Meeting, if that is available, to season your plans so that participants will have the best opportunity to experience the Spirit in this activity.

Please submit offers by June 30 to allow time for discernment, scheduling, and room allocation.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Worship Groups” active=”no”]

In 2018 at Georgian College, Worship Groups will take place from 2:30-3:45 pm, Monday to Friday. Friends have a choice of the following forms of worship:

Sacred Chant: This offering, which has been made for many years now, may not be possible this year. It has been led by Beverly Shepard, who is now Presiding Clerk of CYM and will need the worship group time for agenda meeting. If there is someone else willing to lead it, it can still happen. Friends wishing to worship through music are welcome to join voices in simple, repeated chants which grow as we sing together, creating new harmonies and beauty. No musical experience is required, except for the leader. Beverly can supply ideas and music if needed. Please contact the CYM office if you feel you can offer this service. Friends choosing this option should be prepared to choose another option if we can no longer offer it.

Silent Worship: A place is set aside for those selecting this option.

Walking Meditation and Worship: Listening for the Spirit in silence doesn’t have to be a sedentary activity. During the worship group period, Friends who choose this option will walk together in silence for about a third of the time, sit in worship for another third, then walk back to the campus, again in worshipful silence.

Worship Fellowship Groups: These groups have no assigned topic and meet for reflective sharing as participants are led. The facilitator will introduce worship sharing for the benefit of those new to it, and will help guide the group in what may be a deeply worshipful experience.

Worship Sampler: Again this year, Friends who choose this offering will be able to participate in different forms of Quaker worship throughout the week. The group(s) will experience silent worship one day, join the chanting group another, do a walking meditation and worship, and have worship sharing and worship study sessions, with the schedule always open to modification by those who sign up.

Worship Study Groups: Study groups provide an opportunity for further reflection on the subject of the day’s Quaker Study, with a leader to facilitate worshipful sharing. Groups may either consider suggested questions or take the topic in whatever direction they are led.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Campus Map” active=”no”]

Full-Resolution Campus Map

Main CYM-in-Session Location (click through to enlarge):

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Site Rules and Information” active=”no”]

Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel reminds Friends that we are guests at Georgian College. Everyone who attends, regardless of age, is by their participation at CYM, agreeing to respect the Campus rules while we are on-site during our time together. Thank you in advance for your care.

  • Alcohol, drugs, and smoking are NOT permitted anywhere on the site.
  • Pets are NOT allowed on-site.
  • Laundry facilities are available.
  • Check‑out time is no later than after lunch on Saturday, August 11th.
  • Parking: each suite receives 1 free parking pass.  Daytime parking for visitors is $7/day.
  • Emergency contact number: best to contact someone on their personal cell phone, however, if unavailable, the Front Desk at Student Residence is staffed 24/7 at 705-722-5190.  Calls to the CYM office will be retrieved and posted as necessary – 888-296-3222 / 613-235-8553.
  • Site address: Georgian College, One Georgian Drive, Barrie, ON L4M 3X9 / Campus Admin Tel: 705-728-1968 / Email:

Craft Sale: There will be time set aside during the week to display and sell crafts. Please indicate on the appropriate section of the registration form if you need to reserve a table.

Displays: If you plan on having a display and cannot bring it with you, please ensure your material is sent directly to the site with “Please Hold for Canadian Yearly Meeting” clearly marked. You are responsible for transporting your display material to and from the site and for its set-up and take-down. The school’s address is above. Remember to check off on the registration form if you need to reserve a table.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Harassment” active=”no”]

Desiring that the Society of Friends be both a loving community and an instrument of peace and healing in a troubled and divided world, we expect that Canadian Yearly Meeting will be a place where everyone feels safe from any kind of harassment and abuse, including both physical aggression and threatening language.

Friends must take care not to make demeaning or sexually suggestive remarks, even jokingly, and should be aware that while many enjoy being touched or hugged, others do not. All kinds of touching should be avoided where they are not welcome. When Friends are not certain that a hug or other touching will be welcomed, they should simply ask.

Anyone who feels subject to harassment or abuse should report the incident to the Clerk of Program Committee, Nathalie Brunet, who will ensure that it is passed on to the appropriate body. CYM now has a written policy on Violence and Harassment.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Listeners” active=”no”]

Yearly Meeting can be both a joy and a challenge (sometimes both these things for the same person!). Also, even if we try not to, we may bring some of our struggles from home along with us.

Are you in need of someone to listen to you during Yearly Meeting? Is there a joy or a concern you would like to share? Listeners are available.

Please speak to someone on Ministry and Counsel to arrange some time with one of the volunteer Listeners.

[/accordion] [/accordion_set]


[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Registration” active=”no”]

CYM 2018 Registration Form (fillable PDF)
This PDF call be filled out electronically, then sent to . To fully access all the electronic features (e.g. the signature function), you may need to use a PDF program like Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader, which are both available for free.

The PDF can also be printed, filled out, and sent to the CYM office:
91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa ON K1S 2L1, CANADA
fax: 613-235-1753

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Transportation Options to Barrie” active=”no”]

Printable Details


1. Direct transport from Pearson Airport to Georgian College
Simcoe County Airport Shuttle
Prices vary from $77 to $40/pp depending on number of passengers

A1 Airline Taxi provides service from Pearson Airport to Georgian College
Cost $123.00 which includes three people and baggage

2. Bus travel from Pearson Airport to Barrie
GO Bus from Pearson Airport to Yorkdale Eastbound (EB) and then from Yorkdale to Barrie

There are also other buses from Yorkdale to Barrie, including Greyhound and Ontario Northland

3. Travel from downtown Toronto to Barrie
By bus, start from Coach Terminal

Using the Go Train system, travel from Toronto’s Union Station to Barrie’s Allandale Station.

From the Allandale GO station, one can take either a taxi or public transportation.

4. Travel from Pearson Airport to Downtown Toronto

Use UP Express

NOTE: Anyone arriving by Go Train will want to get off at the last stop, which is Allandale. It is right on the waterfront and there is a Barrie bus depot just along the sidewalk at the opposite end of where the train stops to let passengers off. Anyone taking the bus would be advised to check that the bus is heading to the main terminal and if possible, though a transfer may be necessary, toward the east end of the college and not the south end.

Anyone arriving by bus will be dropped off at the main Barrie Bus Terminal and can then fairly easily catch a city bus straight to the college. There is also a taxi stand nearby.

Neither location is very far from the college.

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Meals & Lodging ” active=”no”]

The College works off an all-in rate for meals and lodging. Your daily fee per person, per day, includes the following: 1 overnight, breakfast, lunch, supper, tea/coffee breaks, meeting room fees, program fee, conference services fees, taxes, and gratuities. Day visitors can purchase individual meals at the cafeteria.

The residence is an 8-storey, wheelchair-accessible building with 24-hour controlled access comprised of two-bedroom suites, with each person having a private bedroom. Suites also feature a kitchenette with a full-size refrigerator, microwave/convection oven, cupboards, sink and table with two chairs. Suites contain a three-piece bathroom with a shower unit and individual controls for heat/air conditioning. No cookware, utensils or plates are supplied.

Each bedroom in the suite is accessed via an electronic key card that will work on the main suite door and the individual’s private bedroom door, but not on the roommate’s bedroom door. Each bedroom is equipped with the following:

  • double bed with extra-long mattress
  • large desk with a chair and desk lamp
  • dresser, closet, and shelf space
  • telephone with local phone service (long distance with a calling card)
  • television with satellite service
  • network jack for internet access *** NO IN-SUITE WIFI BUT LOUNGES (SEE BELOW) HAVE WIFI

Located on every floor of the residence is a large common lounge with a TV and couches. Public washrooms, a common kitchen, and laundry facilities are located on the first floor.

Each suite will be shared by a maximum of two adults with the exception of families. Youth rate: ages 0-2 are free; ages 3-12 are half-price. There are no mattresses or cots available for children who may need to sleep on the floor due to lack of space.)

[/accordion] [/accordion_set]

[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Volunteer Ministry Roles” active=”no”]

Friends are encouraged to volunteer in 1 or 2 of the following ministries during Canadian Yearly Meeting.

Adult Friend Volunteer Ministry: Miscellaneous jobs up to a maximum of a 2-hour time period.

Bell Hop/Greeter/Guide: Helping Friends with luggage both to and from their rooms (beginning and end of the week).

Clean Up Volunteer: Able-bodied Friends willing to help put chairs and tables back, remove signage, go through rooms to ensure they have been emptied, etc.

Committee of Care – CMMC: Serve on a short-term Committee of Care on behalf of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (only during the week of YM session).

Correspondence Committee: Organizes the sending of greetings to Friends, known to those attending Yearly Meeting, who have been prevented from being present. The committee posts a sheet of paper asking for appropriate names to be listed, with current addresses. Cards and stamps will be provided.

Doorkeeper(s): Hold late-comers at door of Meeting, and shepherd in at an appropriate break, on rota to be set up by those volunteering.

Epistle Committee: prepares the text of the Yearly Meeting’s Epistle. The committee meets once or twice during the week. Typically, members reflect in silence on the unfolding events and then share their views concerning the most significant aspects.

Evening Babysitter: Between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm, Monday to Thursday, is available to parents of very young children so that they may attend evening events.

Family Night Helper: Enlists and organizes acts for Family Night, may help as emcee.

Gleanings Committee: Collects short quotations, heard in any place, at any time, which catch the spirit of the Yearly Meeting. Gleanings are read back during Family Night.

Medic: Deals with minor issues such as stomach upsets, insect bites, etc., which need attention. First-Aid is a requirement.

Meeting Room Set-up: Makes sure the major meeting room(s) are set up in appropriate form (rota to be set up); may be asked to help set up for other events.

Microphone Walkers: Transports cordless microphone between Friends during Meetings for Business.

Minute Review Committee: Reviews the minutes that were written in each day’s business sessions and offers editorial advice concerning them. Members try to identify any factual errors such as committee titles, the spelling of names, membership designations, etc. They may suggest rewording, where necessary, for clarity and coherence. Any alteration of substance must be referred to the Clerk to be taken to the next business session.

Silent Worship Leader: Lead a small group in Silent Worship.

Walking Meditation Leader: Leads Friends on a silent walk around campus grounds followed by worship.

Worship Fellowship Leader: Leads Worship Fellowship group.

Worship Study Leader: Leads Worship Study group.

Youth Program Helper: Works with specific age group(s) under direction of YP Coordinator. All Youth Program Volunteers – even drivers – MUST complete and submit a Police Check form to the YM office prior to the gathering. You can obtain a Police Check form from your local detachment. Police Checks are kept in confidence and in a secure location. FAMILIES: Please ensure you register BEFORE July 1 to allow the Youth Program Coordinator ample time to acquire proper leadership.

[/accordion] [/accordion_set]

[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Financial Assistance & the Grant Application” active=”no”]

In order to encourage all to attend Yearly Meeting sessions, a financial grant can be provided to assist with expenses. A form is included at the bottom of this section.

Friends with adequate financial resources are encouraged to pay their own way. Friends with funds to spare are encouraged to donate to the YM Travel Fund.

Applications will be responded to on a first-come first-served basis.

Individual Friends of all Ages and Stages Attending CYM Session

Yearly Meeting Session provides grants to encourage all Friends to attend. Grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis, to a maximum of $480 per person. We will try to meet the needs of all Friends who apply, but we are especially mindful of the needs of members of CYM committees, delegates, and first‑time attenders.

Families with Children 18 Years of Age and Under and their Parents/Guardians Attending CYM Session

Education and Outreach Committee (E&O) is intent on supporting families to attend Yearly Meeting session, and subsequently is making available substantial financial assistance in hopes of encouraging family participation. For the 2018 year, E&O has identified a maximum of $800 per family member, available for families with children ages 18 and under who apply for financial assistance to attend CYM.

Young Adult Friends Attending CYM Session

E&O wants to encourage Young Adult Friends to attend Yearly Meeting Session. Young Adult Friends who require financial assistance to attend are encouraged to apply to E&O for support, to a maximum amount of $800 per Young Adult Friend. Young Adult Friends are encouraged to contact Cameron Fraser, CYM Secretary, at , if obtaining a minute of support poses a challenge.

 Young Friends and Young Adult Friends Attending Pre-CYM Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis

Young Friends and Young Adult Friends will hold a Pre-CYM Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis from August 2-4, 2018. Funds are available to assist youth age 13-35 to attend the Pre-CYM Gathering, as well as with travel from the Gathering to CYM Session. Registering for the Pre-CYM Gathering is a separate process. Please contact the Gathering organizing committee for more information at .

All Friends seeking a grant must:

1) First approach their Monthly Meeting for financial support. If the Monthly Meeting cannot provide enough supplementary funds, then;

2) Friends may request a grant from CYM based off the above criteria. The request must be accompanied by a minute of support from their Monthly Meeting. Travel distance will be a consideration in the provision of funds for travel to CYM.

Applications for grants must be received in the YM office no later than June 30, 2018. The CYM Treasurer or YM Secretary, in consultation with the CYM Accountant, will make decisions as applications are received. Late applications will be considered up to July 22, 2018, if there is money left.

Application for Financial Grant (fillable PDF)
This PDF call be filled out electronically, then sent to .

The PDF can also be printed, filled out, and sent to the CYM office:
91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa ON K1S 2L1, CANADA
fax: 613-235-1753

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[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Cancellation Policy” active=”no”]

Should you need to cancel your registration after the close of the final deadline (July 14th), CYM will reserve 25% of your daily rate to pay the host facility as we are committed to pay for the rooms, meals and meeting space we reserved.

Notice of cancellations must be made ASAP.

No refund if you simply don’t show up!

[/accordion] [/accordion_set]


Questions? Need more info?

For questions about CYM 2018, registration, or the financial grant application email  or phone 613-235-8553 (or 1-888-296-3222).

For questions about this page or the electronic files, email .

Schedule for CYM 2018

The schedule for Canadian Yearly Meeting 2018 is now available.

Canadian Yearly Meeting (also known as CYM in Session) is a gathering once a year for all Canadian Quakers. Its Business Meetings are the main decision-making body of Quakers in Canada. There’s also lots of time for fun and games, and sessions focusing on spiritual development, social justice, and Quaker history.

This year it will be held August 3-11, at Georgian College, in Barrie, ON.

To register, and for detailed information on the gathering, visit CYM 2018.

CYM 2018 Schedule

You can also print this table in black and white, grayscale, or colour using this PDF:
CYM 2018 Schedule.

Call for Submissions: October Issue of The Canadian Friend

The latest issue of The Canadian Friendthe magazine of Canadian Quakers, is currently in layout. (As a preview, the issue’s cover image is to the left, representing the issue’s theme of ‘polarization.’)

The next issue is scheduled for October, and submissions are already welcome.

Submissions Due 1 September 2018

Please submit articles between 500-1200 words long. The main topic of the issue will be the summer gathering at Canadian Yearly Meeting 2018. Submissions on other topics of interest to Canadian Friends are also welcome.

Suggestions and submissions for “Gleanings & Quotations” (i.e. funny or interesting quotes), photos, and interviews for “Meet a Friend” are also gratefully accepted.

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.


By email:

Or by postal mail:
c/o CYM Office, 91A Fourth Ave.,
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 2L1

Subscriptions and Advertising

You can order a print subscription to The Canadian Friend by contacting the ">CYM Office.

The Canadian Friend also accepts advertising! For rates and details, contact the editor (, again). Send print-ready images and clear, readable copy to the editor.