Dear Friends in Canada,
During this strange time of anxiety and isolation, we invite Friends to participate in a community-building exercise by sending to our Canadian Quakers Facebook page your personal experiences (pictures and/or short descriptions) of your worship activities during this time of disconnection.
How are you coping with Covid-19 and the fallout from this interruption?
How are you staying connected with Friends and with the Divine?
What continues to give you strength and hope in the face of these challenges?
Please also feel free to share with each other the ways in which your local meetings are continuing to keep faith and community despite our “shared isolation.”
From your Friends on Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel
Jeff Dudiak, Charles Brown, Maria Recchia and Erika Koenig-Sheridan
Note from the Web Editor: Friends looking to host Meetings for Worship online – and other Quaker gatherings, perhaps – will probably find this guide helpful:
We must announce, with regret, the cancellation of our yearly gathering scheduled for Winnipeg this August. Yearly Meeting is normally where much of our business is attended to – and an opportunity for all sorts of fun socializing and spiritual enrichment.
For details about this difficult decision, please see the message below from the Clerks of Yearly Meeting. As we plan next steps together, please stay safe and supportive of one another.
On Friday, March 13th, the Canadian Yearly Meeting Committee of Clerks met electronically, as we do monthly, and after much discussion and careful discernment, and with regret, decided to cancel the sessions of Yearly Meeting in Session scheduled for this coming August.
We are well-aware that this decision will be a great disappointment for many Friends who cherish our annual gathering, but we hope that it will also seem prudent and wise. Many of our members are in the higher-risk categories (over 60 and/or with underlying conditions such as hypertension), and many make their travel plans well in advance of the CYM dates. An early decision is desirable for these Friends.
To be clear, it is not simply a matter of the existing pandemic crisis of the Covid-19 virus, although that, of course, is the prime motivator here. Some Friends may be reacting to this news with a sense that the decision was made too early, but the fact is that our YM sessions require a great deal of preparatory work, much of which is done by volunteers. To ask this of our short-handed Program Committee and then to cancel after much work has been done seemed to us unfair.
We believed it would be preferable to cancel the sessions now for the sake of the many people who work hard to make CYM the wonderful gathering that it is; then work can proceed toward a joyous gathering in 2021. As you probably know, there is already much discernment underway about changes to be made to CYM to ensure sustainability. This decision allows these discussions to be more relaxed and thorough before our next gathering.
This unexpected cancellation of sessions will necessitate some new plans: for instance, an earlier and/or extra Representative Meeting; consideration of the terms of committee members and other Friends serving YM; and designations of individuals or groups to carry forward the business of Yearly Meeting until next year. You can be sure that the Committee of Clerks will be working on these plans and will keep Friends in CYM informed as they develop.
In the Light,
Beverly Shepard and Marilyn Manzer, CYM Clerks
There will be a post-Boxing Day gathering for Young Adult Friends at Friends House in Toronto, Treaty 13 lands, from Friday, December 27 to Sunday, December 29.
Friends 18 and over are invited to stay overnight at Friends House for the duration of the gathering, free of charge. Young Friends (under 18) are invited to join us on Saturday, December 28 for the full day of activities, preferably with an adult guardian. Funds are available for travel.
People of all ages are invited to join us for community night at Friends House on December 28 for food, music, and joyous celebration. It is open to all ages, to all Friends and friends.
Please take a look at the the schedule and registration form for details. There is a field in the registration form where any questions or concerns will be brought to the Gathering Organizing Committee and we will contact you. There is also a spot for rideshare organization in the schedule.
Evelyne, Caileigh, Harmony, and Steve
CYFYM Gathering Organizing Committee
Here is message from the Quakers who attended Western Half-Yearly Meeting (WHYM), a twice-yearly gathering for Quakers in Western Canada.
October 12–14, 2019
To Friends everywhere:
We were blessed with beautiful crisp, sunny weather to gather at Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Saskatchewan. People arrived individually and in small groups Friday and Saturday. Including three children, one Young Friend, and a few visitors, we welcomed 28 people.
The strength of our Quaker gatherings is in spiritual renewal and building community for all of us, and especially for those of us who are not affiliated with a regular Monthly Meeting. For many Friends, Western Half-Yearly Meeting is the one place they can receive support for how they live their Quaker values.
During two of the Special Interest Groups we grappled with some difficult issues. One dealt with Quaker revitalization and the vital role of Young Friends in that renewal. The absence of a Monthly Meeting in Regina is sorely missed. A new role for Prairie Monthly Meeting is being explored. A second Special Interest Group explored how we as a larger society can start the important and sometimes difficult conversations about reconciliation.
The weekend was not all seriousness, however. We enjoyed many joyful and lighthearted moments doing team-building games in the woods, participating in workshops on English Country Dancing, Quaker Chanting, and Family Night, as well as laughter and fellowship.
JoLee Sasakamoose enticed us with copious amounts of art supplies throughout the weekend and encouraged deep healing with a guided meditation and grounding exercise on Saturday evening.
We were energized by the home cooked meals, especially the homemade cranberry sauce made from high-bush cranberries picked by the children and their helpers in honour of Tom Findlay’s practice.
Our Quaker process is a journey. Our gatherings provide spiritual nourishment and fellowship. This sustains us in our daily lives until the next gathering. For this we are truly blessed.
Yonge Street Half-Yearly Meeting will take place on Saturday, October 5 from 9 am to 5 pm. Please join us at Friends House, 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto.
At 2 pm, Maggie Knight will lead an exciting session on the topic “How Young Friends are promoting their spiritual growth in a secular society in 2019.” Maggie is a dynamic Young Friend from Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting who has been inspiring Friends for some years.
In 2016, Maggie presented the Sunderland P. Gardner Lecture at Canadian Yearly Meeting Session, which you can watch here: