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.
Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) in-session will take place in August in Barrie, ON and after a fallow year, we are excited to gather in community again! We value the time we spend together and as we know there are many facets to organizing a successful Gathering.
One integral part of our Gathering and spiritual growth is providing an enriching Youth Program. We’ve been able to offer wonderful Youth Programs in the past and wish to continue this valued gift… but this is where we need your help! Would you consider volunteering your service toward the Youth Program this summer?
We are actively searching for the following: Child & Youth Program Coordinator and Youth Program Leaders.
We are looking for people to help lead our Youth Program this summer at CYM. The Youth Program is an incredibly fun place to be at CYM – there is enthusiasm, laughter and joy; but we need great leaders to bring a wonderful program together. If you can serve CYM by being the Youth Program Coordinator or a leader in the Program we want to hear from you! Your responsibilities would include working in collaboration to put together a program at CYM (there will be volunteers to help). The program needs to include worship time, Quaker study time and outings. There are many resources available to help you. We cannot run a program for children and youth without leaders!
Travel, meals and lodging are covered by CYM as these are Required Services positions.
Anyone involved in the Youth Program will need a current Police Check.
There are usually 3 age groups in the Youth Program. The Coordinator manages the program and leads an age group, while Leaders are responsible for the other age groups.
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.
Thursday… More than half way through Canadian Yearly Meeting’s annual gathering! Being on Programme Committee, I’ve been here in Camrose a full week. And yet with the bustle of organized activities, time has flown. This is without mentioning the many enriching opportunities for fellowship. One of the underestimated blessings of CYM in session is the chance for networking, which involves not just catching up with old F/friends but informally facilitating CYM committee work.
The weather has so far held up – sort of! The relatively cool weather (daily maximums of around 20°C) came as a bit of a shock to this southwest Ontarian, but make walks around campus and in the neighbouring park a delight. We are frequently visited by very un-shy deer, sometimes accompanied by fawns, cougars can be heard at night in the residences, and there have been sightings of a cougar and herons along the river, the latter reminding us of the Caroline Balderston Parry’s Sunderland P. Gardner lecture theme at CYM two years ago.
There was somewhat of a setback for me the other day, however, when a major thunderstorm ripped the fly off my tent, but I have just about finished wringing out my clothes and mopping up the resulting puddles on the tent floor.
The last few years at CYM, a black thundercloud seemed to be hovering over our business sessions. This was money. While the achievement of long-term financial sustainability will require restructuring of one sort or another, we are now in a period of respite as far as our financial means are concerned. A revamped Contributions Committee is exploring what makes us a community. Time, more than money, seems to be the cloud hovering over us at this CYM. The clerk of one CYM committee, finding that committee work was taking four hours a day, stepped down early. Volunteers are becoming burnt out, while the same small number of Friends are rotating through the same committee positions.