Category: Quaker Blog

Schedule & Registration for online Yearly Meeting

Schedule & Registration for online Yearly Meeting

A draft schedule for CYM 2020 is now available. These sessions will run August 8-13, 2020 and mostly focus on spiritual development, opportunities to socialize and connect, and social and environmental justice. Everyone is welcome, including those new to Quakers or simply curious.

You can also now register for the online Yearly Meeting by filling out this form:
Registration for CYM 2020 (google form)

NOTE: If you want to be assigned to a worship sharing group, we need your registration before August 3!

To pull this experiment off, we will need help! Volunteer options are in the registration form. 


Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, Yearly Meeting in Session

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Yearly Meeting in Session is going online!

Yearly Meeting in Session is going online!

The 2020 Yearly Meeting has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an in-person event, but an online version is currently being organized.

The sessions will run August 8-13. The schedule, further info, and everything needed to participate in the sessions will be posted to the ‘Yearly Meeting in Session‘ page as soon as they are ready.

Please bear with us as we navigate this adventure and try all kinds of new things in a short amount of time! There will be orientations in advance for those who need to be learn to use platforms like Zoom.

These sessions will mostly focus on spiritual development, opportunities to socialize and connect, and social and environmental justice. There will no business sessions; the business that normally would have been Yearly Meeting 2020 is being addressed in series of Representative Meetings running this spring and summer, meetings which can be conducted online more easily. (Quakers who have an account on our business site can sign in to read Representative Meeting minutes and documents, then pass the fruit of their discernment onto their representatives. Those without accounts can request one here.)


Posted in: CYM 2020, News, Quaker Blog, Yearly Meeting in Session

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Canadian Quakers Condemn Systemic Racism

Canadian Quakers Condemn Systemic Racism

Canadian Quakers hear the calls in the streets and in the media for an end to racial violence and injustice. This is echoed in communities across Canada. The ongoing wounds of racism are open and laid bare. We demand better from individuals, from our leaders, and from our institutions.

Many of us have seen the horrific footage of the killing of yet another Black person – George Floyd – by a white police officer. This is not an accident or aberration. Unequal and unjust treatment of racialized people is not unique to the US, nor to the choices of individual officers. It is far-reaching and systemic.

As just one example, the office of our peace and social justice agency (Canadian Friends Service Committee) is located in Toronto – a city where policing costs more than one billion dollars a year and where “Black Torontonians are 20 times more likely than non-Black people to die in an encounter with police, according to one estimate,” as Enzo DiMatteo notes.

Alternatives are possible and needed at once. Systemic racism is far broader than policing, and is found in child welfare, housing, schools, incarceration, education, and many other places.

We name, without taking the focus off of the profound racism faced by Black people in Canada and around the world, that the experience of extreme racism is shared by Indigenous peoples and other people of colour here and elsewhere. The long-term action required to abolish racism targeted at Black people will contribute to overcoming all racism, since no one will be free from the threat of racism until all are freed from it. 

We condemn the ongoing systemic racism within Canada at all levels. Our work involves an active daily commitment toward justice. We also bear witness to the struggles of those who suffer the impacts of racism in the US and elsewhere. The sin of racism is not confined by borders. Wherever it is, it must be exposed and uprooted.

We acknowledge that Canadian Quakers are predominantly white and have work to do within ourselves. In doing this work, it is only too appealing for us to fall into the traps of guilt and self-loathing that focus our attention back on ourselves rather than on what needs to be done. This is not empowering to anyone, and it is not useful. We call upon Quakers to commit ourselves to individual and collective change that would outwardly demonstrate our belief that Black lives matter. We call on Friends to let go of the feeling that we are perfect or know best, and to give ourselves over to the ongoing work of eliminating racism in whatever form that takes.

We call upon Friends to listen, learn from, and follow the lead of Black groups, leaders, and movements such as Black Lives Matter, keeping those leaders front and centre in our hearts. We call upon Friends to speak up, even though the topic is complex and delicate. Each Black life matters. Each Black life is worthy. Each Black life is valuable.

Joint statement by Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and Canadian Friends Service Committee. Download it as a PDF.

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Epistle from Western Half-Yearly Meeting, Spring 2020

Epistle from Western Half-Yearly Meeting, Spring 2020

Many Quakers in Western Canada normally come to Sorrento, BC, in May for an intergenerational gathering – Western Half-Yearly Meeting. This year the gathering happened on-line – a first for Canadian Friends.

Here is a message from the Friends who attended.

Epistle from Spring Western Half-Yearly Meeting, 2020

As prepared by the Epistle Committee (not formally approved due to online gathering format)

For the first time in the history of Western Half-Yearly Meeting, this Spring we gathered electronically, rather than in person in Sorrento, BC, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a unique experience and we thank the Clerk, Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Council and all Friends who stepped forward to make this meeting possible. At the same time, we grieved the fact that we weren’t able to make the pilgrimage to Sorrento Centre to gather together in person.

Dozens of Friends gathered in a series of Zoom meetings and break-out sessions. While there were many familiar faces, we were also blessed by some Friends who had not attended WHYM in many years or who were attending for the first time, who probably would not have been able to join us in person. Other Friends who had less access to, or were less comfortable with, the technology may have felt excluded.

The Gathering began on Friday evening with an intergenerational activity in which small groups recalled our best memories of past gatherings and discussed our hopes for WHYM gathering. This was followed by an on-line “family night” in which Friends shared videos and performances showcasing their talents.

Many Friends gathered on Saturday and Sunday morning in worship sharing. An abbreviated Meeting for Worship for Business on Saturday was followed by a memorial meeting to remember Friends who had passed during the year.

Special Interest Groups on Saturday and Sunday allowed Friends to explore how to make CYM more sustainable, how to meet from a distance when Friends have different levels of access to and comfort with technology, how to discuss climate change and the appropriate ways to define anti-semitism.

Saturday ended with an open meeting of Meeting of Ministry and Council, followed by an evening session with staff from the Canadian Friends Service Committee.

On Sunday morning, Meeting for Worship was the largest of the Zoom meetings, with 75 Friends joining from over 60 devices.

Through the weekend, Friends, and especially Young Friends, were able to meet in smaller groups or one-on-one using an online platform called Discord, which was new to many of us. Despite the struggles (for some) of the new software, Friends persevered and enjoyed chatting, singing in the evening and playing games.

These online meetings brought to mind Jesus’ teaching, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.” While we look forward to worshipping together in person, some Friends were surprised by how strongly we experienced the Spirit among us. Many of us experienced deep, spiritual connections, despite being separated by distance and despite some technical challenges. However, others felt that the lack of personal contact was a barrier to reach the depth that we can in person.

Electronic communications, and how to navigate them as Friends, brought with it unique questions – as when one Friend asked if a typo could be a gleaning. A global Zoom outage at the start of a session that prevented Friends from hearing one another prompts a query: Can we wait expectantly in the silence when faced with technical challenges beyond our control?

The Epistle Committee itself felt the limitations of an electronic gathering, in working across time zones and with the distractions that came from not being gathered together at the retreat centre. In addition, the shortened electronic gathering schedule did not provide for a time for the formal approval of this epistle. We offer it in any case as a summary of the first gathering of its kind.

We are uncertain about when and how requirements of social distancing will ease and when it may be possible for us to meet in person again. This raises the possibility that this will not be our last electronic gathering, or that some future WHYMs will have a combination of in person and electronic aspects. While this gathering was not the same as in past years and we missed the camaraderie and intimacy of being physically together, we found that there were still important opportunities for spiritual nurture.

While we could not meet in person, we are grateful that this year’s electronic gathering has provided spiritual nurture and grounded us so that we can go out into the world and continue to do God’s work during these strange and often difficult times.

Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, WHYM

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Canadian Friend New Issue, Submissions for the Next

Canadian Friend New Issue, Submissions for the Next

The spring issue of The Canadian Friend, our national journal, is now out. Those who are subscribers to the magazine should have already received a copy, but is also available electronically:
The Canadian Friend – Spring 2020 (Screen-friendly, Colour PDF)
The Canadian Friend – Spring 2020 (Print-friendly, B&W PDF)

This issue includes articles on Quaker utopian William Penn, Quaker involvement with capitalism and anarchism, news from around the Canadian Quaker family, and a lot more. (Everything in it was submitted before the coronapocalypse began, but your Friendly neighbourhood editor did sneak a late-night meditation in.) You can see the full Table of Contents here.

Next Issue

The next issue has been rescheduled to come out during the time Yearly Meeting normally would have happened, around August 10. To connect with Friends in writing, please submit pieces by the due date of June 12. (Extensions are usually possible by asking the editor nicely). 

Please submit articles between 500-1200 words long. (Unusual topics or word-lengths are possible, but also best discussed with the editor before submitting.) Submissions on any topic of potential interest to Canadian Friends are welcome.  Reflections and stories on isolation, new ways of connecting, and whatever concerns and comforts you are particularly welcome for this issue.

Photos, artwork, humour, and interesting quotations are also warmly welcomed as submissions.

Looking ahead, the due date for the autumn issue is September 22.

Send submissions to The Canadian Friend‘s editor, Timothy Kitz, at or c/o CYM Office, 91A Fourth Ave., Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 2L1.

For inspiration, or to take a trip down memory lane, The Canadian Friend back issues are available online.  If your library is missing one, you can even download back issues and print them.


All members and regular attenders of the Monthly Meetings of CYM are entitled to receive a copy of The Canadian Friend. Donations to defray costs of producing the magazine are gratefully welcomed.

The annual individual subscription rate for Canada is $20, $30 for US addresses, and $40 for all other countries.

To be added to the subscription list of The Canadian Friend, contact the CYM Office.


The Canadian Friend also accepts advertising! For rates and details, contact the editor (, again). Please note that and the committees and bodies of Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) do not pay for black and white ads.

Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, The Canadian Friend

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