Quaker Blog

The Quaker 101 course is back!

Registration for this September 2023 course is now closed!

This is a Friendly (pun intended) course for people interested in learning about Quakers and the ways of Canadian Friends. The course is meant to be an experience, more so than an academic course. There is no testing or examination! The facilitator will meet with participants once a week for six weeks, for approximately one and a half hours, to worship, discuss, and reflect on various topics. Topics include but are not limited to: Introductions and the Basics of Quakers, Experiencing Spirit, Early Friends, Testimonies, Meetings, Business Meetings, and Living in the Spiritual Community. Students will receive an email from the Facilitator with a small reading along with thoughts, tasks, and questions to reflect on throughout the week. Oh, and don’t worry… the silence is included.

Cost: $100

* Participants are encouraged to contact their local meeting for financial assistance.

Dates & Time: Sept. 23 & 30; Oct. 14, 21 & 28; Nov. 4, 2023. 1:00-2:30 pm Saturdays (Atlantic Time)

Sessions: 6

Style: Video Conferencing/ Phone, Email

Course Plan:

  1. Introduction(s)
  2. Experiencing the Spirit – Worship and Ministry in our Community
  3. Early Friends—History (including Canadian)—What are our roots?
  4. Testimonies – Faith in Action*
  5. The Meeting Community – Business*
  6. The Meeting Community – Being part of a Spiritual Community*

Emphasis on Canadian Friend’s action and ways

Apply by filling out the form here: https://quaker.ca/resources/education/#toggle-id-2 

Facilitator: Jackie Bonner

Jackie FacilitatorJackie Bonner has been part of the Quaker Community since 2017. She simply started going to Quaker Meetings and never stopped. She has taught in the public school system for over ten years and has recently completed her Master’s in counseling psychology. She has a deep love for nature, the mountains, and reading. She is excited to have the opportunity to spend time with people and explore Quakerism, maybe even throw in a Quaker joke or two. Jackie resides in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. She lives with her daughter, partner, and plants.

Read the Epistle from Yearly Meeting 2023

The epistle from Yearly Meeting 2023 is available as a PDF, or can be read simply by scrolling down. The epistle summarizes the collective experience of our annual gathering – the first blended Yearly Meeting.

Epistle 2023 (PDF)

Loving greetings to Friends everywhere

From July 8-13, 2023, Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) met for our annual CYM-in-session as a beloved blended community. This was our first opportunity to meet in person since 2019. We gathered at Canadian Mennonite University, on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg. Meeting in person reminded us of the joys of in-person Worship and the blessings of fellowship and connection in sharing meals and spending time together. Including other Friends online provided access and connection for many.

In addition to those friends who met in person (86 registered, 17 of them children and teens), we were joined by 66 who had registered to participate online. We are grateful for the work of Program Committee whose members met the challenge of providing programming to meet the constraints and demands of both in person and online participation. The planning took hours and the reward was great: the programmers came up with some very creative solutions. For example, online worship sharing was scheduled during meal time in Winnipeg. This gathering will provide a wonderful opportunity to learn how we can gather as a community with less need for travel and more accessibility for those who are unable or prefer not to attend in person.

The gathering opened with a greeting from Vincent Solomon, a member of the Cree Nation originally from Norway House, who serves as priest at the Epiphany Indigenous Anglican Church in Winnipeg. Vince reminded us that treaties are agreements entered into by both indigenous people and settlers …that we are all treaty people. He reminded us that “the trails of all of our ancestors have been well worn to this place,” and asked: “What is it that keeps us from reaching out to each other?”

The daily Quaker Studies lectures – “Living the Testimonies” or Quaker faith in action – were presented by J. Brent Bill from his home. He asked whether our words and actions do actually match what we say we believe. Friends were asked to reflect individually on which testimonies give us the most difficulty and what further witness should arise out of Quaker experience in the world we live in today.

Richard (Dick) Preston presented the Sunderland P Gardner Lecture, “Truth and Reconciliation: a personal view from 60 years of learning Cree culture”. Our blended meeting format allowed Dick to present from his home in Ancaster, Ontario. Dick shared with Friends the story of his long career in anthropology. He spoke of his friendship with the Cree people of Waskaganish, and many of the teachings they shared with him along the way. He told us that stories represent authentic culture, containing a wealth of thought, ethics for living, and spiritual integrity. Dick emphasized that the true basis for reconciliation is respect.

As it happened the themes of all three of our speakers – Vincent Solomon, Dick Preston and Brent Bill – brought us a common message: how can we be true to our Quaker truth and witness? These queries enriched our time spent in worship throughout the week. The struggle to rise above human nature, to listen to the still, small voice within, to find unity in the guidance of the Spirit was manifest among us. We pray that our testimonies will help us to find a loving way forward in the future.

This year a special effort has been made to provide opportunities for all ages to meet in fellowship. New to the program were inter-generational community gatherings with songs and stories plus times set aside for inter-generational worship. Many activities engaged both youth and adults, for example, adults joined the children in a wet felting workshop where all splashed and soaped together. This brought fun and joy for the elders and helped the young ones feel more a part of the whole.

Our Meetings for Worship for Business involved both blessings and challenges. Due to unforeseeable circumstances, our presiding clerk was unable to serve. We were blessed by Friends willing to step in at the last moment. We were also blessed by Friends’ technical expertise that allowed those attending virtually to participate.

How to adjust our meeting practices and gatherings to this new post-pandemic world with its challenges and opportunities was a recurrent theme. We struggle to adapt our business meeting practices to balance the commitment to reduced travel with ensuring that Monthly Meetings are able to participate and feel engaged. As we plan for our next blended gathering in 2024, we are confident that with patience and generosity a way will open.

During the week, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) were offered by individual Friends as well as by Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) program committees, CYM Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, CYM committees. Some SIGs were in person only, while some were blended. They included opportunities to build skills, learn about interests, and to engage in discernment. Topics included Friendly Bible study, nuclear energy, Quaker Earthcare Witness, the Alternatives to Violence Project, a game about coalition governments, peace in Ukraine and elsewhere, penal abolition, Quaker service work on indigenous right and relationships, lifting up Spirit while working on Quaker Concerns, and collecting oral histories. Canadian Friends Service Committee reviewed its mission, vision and mandate for Friends present and on line, highlighting areas of work, specific projects, and noted their new initiative which resulted in creating a staff position in Ottawa to join with other like-minded organizations to advance our concerns.

The Change and Sustainable Transformation Working Group (CAST) hosted a particularly well attended Spirit-led conversation about the relevance of Quakers in today’s world, which led to moving contributions by Friends, both in person and online, about what the Religious Society of Friends, or in one case, Society of Friends, has come to mean for them, on personal and public levels. It was clear that, while there are thoughts related to improving the way we do things, being a Friend, being among Friends, and serving as Friends are significantly valuable to everyone who spoke. We were reminded that Monthly Meetings remain at the core of who we are, what we do and how we do it. It was also affirmed that Friends continue to add much needed value to the wider world.

A daily evening epilogue hosted by Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel provided an opportunity for worshipful reflection and gratitude. Then, for those who still had the energy, there was music and song!

As we meet together we celebrate the blessings of being able to gather together in person. We have been challenged and inspired by the blended meeting. How we will continue to hold our annual gatherings given the challenges posed by time, cost, and environmental impact will be a question in the forefront in our discernment over the coming months. Learning how to be a gathered people with our new ways will be an ongoing process.

13 July 2023


Gathering in Winnipeg

Gathering and coming together as a community has always been important to many Quakers. We hope to achieve this sense of community as we experiment with our first-ever blended Yearly Meeting.

At the Gathering this year, many exciting activities are taking place, from Quaker studies with Brent Bill, through various Special Interest Groups to the Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture. This year, the Lecture is by Richard ‘Dick’ Preston, who is reflecting on stories from a lifetime of building relationships and friendships with Cree people in the communities along the shores of James Bay in northern Ontario and Quebec. As usual, it is open to everyone, even if you are not registered for Canadian Yearly Meeting 2023. We invite you to register yourself via this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMsfu6grzspH9RNk3lrrvlkuPgIosfyj75W

You will then receive the link to attend the Lecture shortly beforehand. Therefore, please take the time to register well before the session is scheduled to start.

Michelle Tolley, Canadian Yearly Meeting’s Archivist, has brought along some fascinating historical pieces from the Archives for everyone to peruse. Below is a picture of the beautiful book of drawings and letters from German children, sent to the Canadian Friends Service Committee as a thank-you gift for food and support that they sent to Germany during the Second World War. The care and detail in these letters and drawings are wonderful to see.

An example from the book from the Archives of letters from German children sent to CFSC in 1949.

Intergenerational wet felting joint artwork from CYM in session 2023

Felting joint artwork from CYM in session 2023



The Children and Youth program is at the heart and soul of this year’s Gathering. With 17 children and teenagers, the Children’s program is a great success. Last night, children and adults came together for a wet felting workshop to create beautiful fibre art. Today, Monday, they are off on a field trip to Winnipeg to swim.


Igniting Quaker Spirituality: The Canadian Friend is looking for an editor!

Calling all creative minds and editing enthusiasts! Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) is embarking on an exciting journey to redefine The Canadian Friend, our cherished publication. We are searching for an Editor who can infuse it with a vibrant and profound spiritual essence. If you’re passionate about nurturing faith communities and eager to contribute to Quaker life in Canada, this is the opportunity for you!

Read and download the Request for Proposal here.

To be part of this project, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Editing expertise: Bring your experience in editing publications, planning content, and providing editorial guidance. Familiarity with working alongside volunteer authors is a plus!
  2. Design wizardry: Let your creativity shine through as you edit, design, and produce three captivating issues of The Canadian Friend. You’ll need to utilize communication software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, and Affinity Publisher.
  3. Master of logistics: Take charge of the production and distribution process. Liaise with printers and mailing houses, ensuring smooth coordination and up-to-date subscriber lists.
  4. Quaker fluency: Immerse yourself in the world of Quakerism, understanding the unique terminology and tone that resonates with our community.
  5. Collaborative spirit: Communicate effectively with CYM staff, volunteer committees, and Quakers from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of unity and shared vision.
  6. Portfolio and references: Impress us with three samples of your past work and provide references for similar projects you’ve undertaken.

We want to hear your vision and plans for The Canadian Friend.

Send your questions to by July 15. Submit your proposal as a single PDF to by September 1. Don’t forget to include “RFP Canadian Friend” in the subject line, and provide your business name and contact information in the body of the message.

We very much look forward to hearing from you.

RFP Timeline:

  • RFP distribution: June 22nd
  • Deadline for questions: July 15th
  • Answers to questions: July 30th
  • RFP submissions close: September 1st
  • Shortlisted vendors notified: September 8th
  • Vendor presentations: Week of September 18th
  • Vendor selection: September 29th



Less than a month until Yearly Gathering 2023!

Yearly Meeting is less than a month away, and we have lots of exciting activities and developments to report on!
News from the Children & Youth Program
The Children & Youth Program will be a crowd! We have 17 youths registered, ranging from 2 to 17 years old, and we have a core leadership group of four adult caregivers. Nathalie Brunet has been previously introduced as C&Y Program Coordinator. Kamila Nasr (Annapolis Valley MM) and Kathryn Wiersma (Hamilton MM) will be our full-time Group Leaders, with the assistance of Beverly Plett (Winnipeg MM) for the afternoon sessions. We will be joined at different times by beloved older Friends for companionship and special activities such as art and sports.
The schedule of outside activities is not finalized yet, but up for our consideration and excitement are swimming expeditions, visits to the nearby Fort Whyte Alive nature education centre, and age-appropriate tours at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
Get a load of the SIGs
The Special interest groups (SIGs) are also formed for this year’s Gathering, and there’s something for everyone! Some groups will be blended, combining online and in-person activities, while others will be exclusively online or in-person. Don’t miss out on these incredible opportunities to connect, learn, and contribute. Register today for the Gathering and secure your spot in person before June 26, or online before July 4.
Check out some of what will be discussed this year:
  • How does justice come here? Join CFSC’s Indigenous Rights Committee in a SIG that builds on the themes of Dick Preston’s SPG Lecture by exploring the Committees’ own stories of relationship and reconciliation.
  • What does the Quaker peace testimony mean in a time of war? Explore how Quakers can support the peace process in Ukraine and elsewhere with the CFSC’s Quaker Peace Committee
  • Bible Study the Quaker Way! In the Friendly Bible Study session learn (then practice!) an approach to scripture that lifts up personal experience as a central part of our spiritual lives.
The Gathering promises to be an unforgettable experience, filled with moments of growth and community-building. Register today for the Gathering and secure your spot in person before June 26, or online before July 4.
See you there!