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Western Half-Yearly Meeting is happening on-line!

Western Half-Yearly Meeting is happening on-line!

This spring’s Western Half-Yearly Meeting will still take place – on-line, through Zoom, from May 15-17.

Western Half-Yearly Meeting (WHYM) is a much-loved, twice-yearly gathering for Quakers in Western Canada. We warmly invite new and seasoned people to join us for this experiment in gathering online.

Planned activities include worship sharing, an on-line Family Night (AKA talent night or open mic), and a chance to hear about and get involved with Canadian Quaker social justice work for Indigenous Rights, Peace, and Criminal Justice. The full schedule is below.

To receive the Zoom meeting ID and password, please check viquakers.ca/whym or the  Facebook group for Western Half-Yearly Meeting.

Organizers for this virtual gathering were inspired by this (slightly adapted) reading:

Quakers speak of their worship times as Meeting: we do not say we are going to church, or service, or communion, but are going to, or being in Meeting. Quakers in a Meeting for Worship, large or small, short or long [virtual or in person] are first of all meeting each other – members of our community, visitors, and new people. Then friends turn inwards to meet ourselves – our thoughts, feelings, prayers, hopes, and concerns. And in the silence, each of us tries to open ourselves to meeting God, the Light, the Promptings of Love and Truth.
— Mary Walton (1997) as quoted in: A Self Study Pamphlet on Canadian Faith and Practice by Marjory Reitsma-Street (2017).

Schedule for Western Half-Yearly Meeting

(Details for each event below)

Friday May 15th

7:30-9:30 MDT
Intergenerational activity followed by Family Night gathering

Saturday May 16th

9:00-10:00 MDT
Worship Sharing Groups

10:30-12:15 MDT
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

1:00-2:00 MDT
Memorial Meeting

2:00-3:30 MDT
Special Interest Groups (to be confirmed)
4:00-6:00 MDT
Meeting of Ministry & Counsel (including Monthly Meeting M&C members)

7:30-9:00 MDT
Gathering: Canadian Friends Service Committee (Keira Mann, CFSC)

Sunday May 17th

9:00-10:00 MDT
Worship Sharing Groups

10:30-11:30 MDT
Meeting for Worship (with children present)

2:00-3:30 MDT
Special Interest Groups (to be confirmed)

Event Details for Western Half-Yearly Meeting

 
Intergenerational/Family Night Gathering
  • Date: Fri, May 15th  
  • Time: 1 – 2 hrs, 6:30 PDT, 7:30 MDT/CST, 8:30 CDT
  • Immediately following the intergenerational activity, there will be a family night event where Friends who wish to may share a song, skit, or poem etc. for everyone to enjoy.  Acts may be submitted as a pre-recorded video or presented live. In order to sign up to perform and for more details, please email Whym-clerk@quaker.ca.
 
Worship Sharing Groups
  • Date: Sat, May 16 and Sunday May 17
  • Time: 1 hour, 8 PDT, 9 MDT/CST, 10 CDT
  • Small groups will gather together (virtually) to sit in Worship and for deep sharing for 1 hour. Each group will have a facilitator and there may be a suggested focus. Anyone wishing to participate must register in advance by emailing Whym-clerk@quaker.ca, by May 11 so that groups can be planned. 
 
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
  • Date: Sat, May 16
  • Time: 2 hours, 9:30 PDT, 10:30 MDT/CST, 11:30 CDT
  • Please join us as we conduct our business in the manner of Friends. We have limited the agenda so that we can complete the business in one meeting.
 
Memorial Meeting
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 1 hour, 12 PDT, 1 MDT/CST, 2 CDT
  • As is our practice, the lives of those whose names have been brought forward to be remembered, will be celebrated.  Please let the clerk (whym-clerk@quaker.ca) know of those in your Meeting who have died in the past year and any of those who you would like to be included in the WHYM memorial.  So far we know of Michael Phillips, who passed away Dec 25, 2019 and who for many years was an ardent participant at Western Half Yearly Meeting, and Dottie Ross, long active in Argenta.
 
Special Interest Groups
  • Date: Sat, May 16 and Sun, May 17
  • Time: 1 hour, 1 PDT, 2 MDT/CST, 3 CDT
  • These will only occur if people with a topic in mind, who are willing to lead such groups, come forward (email the clerk at whym-clerk@quaker.ca). 
 
Open Ministry & Council Meeting
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 2 hours, 3 PDT, 4 MDT/CST, 5 CDT
  • This is open to all Monthly Meeting Ministry & Council members. The agenda will be discerned by those present.
 
Gathering: Canadian Friends Service Committee – Keira Mann
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 1.5 hours, 6:30 PDT, 7:30 MDT/CST, 8:30 CDT
  • Join Canadian Friends Service Committee’s assistant coordinator, Keira Mann, to learn more about CFSC. Keira will also be introducing some videos of CFSC’s three program coordinators giving updates on their work, what’s coming next, and how Friends can get involved. Jennifer Preston, Matthew Legge, and Nancy Russell will tell you all about their respective work in Indigenous Rights, Peace, and Criminal Justice.
 
Meeting for Worship
  • Date: Sunday May 17
  • 9:15 PDT, 10:15 MDT/CST, 11:15 CDT – Gathering and settling into silent worship – all mikes will be muted. 
  • 9:30/10:30/11:30 – Meeting for Worship.  As is our practice, all are welcome, including children and babies.  Details around muting and unmuting of mikes are still being discerned.
  • 10:30/11:30/12:30  – After-thoughts in the manner of worship sharing, for those who wish to stay.
  • 11/12/1 (15 minutes) –  Fellowship/chatting (another online experiment) for those who wish to stay. 

Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, Regional Gatherings, WHYM

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Overcoming Distance

Overcoming Distance

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:

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Yearly Meeting Cancelled

Yearly Meeting Cancelled

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.

Dear Friends,

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

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

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Post-Boxing Day Gathering for Young Adult Friends

Post-Boxing Day Gathering for Young Adult Friends

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.

In Friendship,
Evelyne, Caileigh, Harmony, and Steve
CYFYM Gathering Organizing Committee

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Epistle from Western Half-Yearly Meeting

Epistle from Western Half-Yearly Meeting

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.

(photos by JoLee Sasakamoose)

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.

Posted in: News, Quaker Blog, WHYM

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