Epistle from Western Half Yearly Meeting (Spring 2019)

To Friends everywhere:

We gathered for the forty-fifth Western Half Yearly Meeting (WHYM) at the Sorrento Centre in BC. It is our beautiful home for the spring gathering, located on the shores of Shuswap Lake on the traditional unceded territories of the Secwepemc people.

Our intergenerational gathering was gracefully facilitated by a young adult Friend. We were invited to find commonalities, first in pairs, then pairs of pairs, and in groups of eight. This unhurried sharing brought forth recurring feelings of acceptance among family and friends. It led to a gathered Meeting for Worship, with a silence so deep many were reluctant to give it up, lingering after the meeting had closed.

The children’s program was bursting with children this year. Of the 79 people attending WHYM, 21 were 18 and under, and 37 were under 37. Remote and isolated Friends joined us, expressing appreciation to be sharing in the wider spiritual community of Friends.

We missed some WHYM elders who could not make it this year and expect that they would have rejoiced at seeing the renewal and ongoing vitality of the gathering.
Looking up at the forest-fire scarred hills around the Sorrento Centre, we could see the weekend’s rain as a blessing.

On Saturday evening, Meredith Egan, formerly of Canadian Friends Service Committee and now an author, led us through an interactive program of sharing and guided reflection on self-care in these savage times. Conversations continued on the theme of curiosity and self-care throughout the weekend. As Quakers, we often engage with difficult global challenges, including the climate crisis, and may wish to consider how we can introduce queries and advices related to self-care.

The nine Special Interest Groups offered this year ranged from the personal spiritual expression through CYM concerns to activist engagement. They were: Walking Meditation, Sacred Round and Chants, Spiritual Vaccine Against Cults, The Value of Committees of Care, CYM Visitation Program, CYM Funding Balancing Needs, Fairness and Equity, Indigenous Rights and Relationships, Climate Change and the Oil Sands, and a SIG which practiced a Young Friend’s play entitled “What was Nature?” Waterside at WHYM

A memorial meeting was held to remember Friends who have died.

WHYM Ministry and Counsel provided a thoughtful report that expressed how we encourage children throughout the Sunday Meeting for Worship. We continued the experiment of extending Meeting for Worship by beginning 20 minutes earlier. This allows for a settled beginning to meeting for worship, uninterrupted by latecomers or restlessness before the larger body of Friends, including children, join for the following hour-long meeting.

The schedule facilitated many opportunities for social connection between friends and between generations. Campfires, balancing, song circles, shared rides, worship fellowship groups, shared meals and cabanas, walking together, volunteering, childminding, and preparing together for family night are all ways Friends connect with each other.
The rhythms and traditions of Spring WHYM sustain many friendships and connections across Western Canada.

Come to Camp NeeKauNis

Registration is now open for 2019 at Camp NeeKauNis.

Camp NeeKauNis is a Quaker camp on the shore of Sturgeon Bay (traditional Wendat and Anshinaabeg territory), 130 km north of Toronto. Both children and adults are welcome as campers, with programs that foster worship, play, work, and reflection. For more information on the camp, see its Fact and FAQs page.

Here is the 2019 camp schedule:

Opening Long Weekend (all welcome!): May 17-20
Work Camp (all ages): June 29-July 5
Teen Camp (age 14-16): July 6-12
Family Camp (all ages): July 13-20
Junior Camp (age 9-11): July 21-28
Community Camp (all ages): August 10-17
Intermediate Camp (age 12-13): August 18-24
C.O.D. Camp (age 55+): September 4-11
Closing Weekend: October 18-20

More information on each program, with registration forms, is available here:

There are discounts for registering early (before May 11) or introducing a friend to camp. Fee and travel bursaries are also available. For details, go here:

Staff Needed for Summer 2019!

Coming to camp as staff is a great way to give back to the NeeKauNis community – and enjoy camp for free!

Camp NeeKauNis is looking for staff for all programs this year, including the following positions:

  • kitchen staff
  • cabin counsellors
  • program staff
  • lifeguards
  • and more, depending on the program

Lifeguard positions are paid, there is a stipend available for head cooks, and all other positions can contribute to volunteer hours.

Please visit the Programs Listing page to contact the director of the camp where you would like to work – and have a look at this post on working for camp:


Register for Canadian Yearly Meeting (August 2-10 in Winnipeg)

Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) is a gathering once a year for all Canadian Quakers — and you can now register for it! 

There is all sorts of information on the gathering available on the CYM 2019 webpage, but here are a few highlights.

The Business Meetings at the Gathering are the main decision-making body of Quakers in Canada. There’s also lots of time for fun and games, socializing, and sessions focusing on spiritual development, social justice, and Quaker history.

This year, Yearly Meeting will be held August 2-10 in Winnipeg at Canadian Mennonite University, a beloved host Canadian Quakers have been visiting for years.

To register, you need to fill out one of the following sets of forms:

The early due date for registration — which gets you the lowest cost — is June 30. The final registration due date is July 15.

Again, for more information – including info on financial assistance, the schedule, programming, the youth program, and a lot more — head on over to the CYM 2019 webpage.