Category: Regional Gatherings

Pelham and Yonge St. Half Yearly Meeting – Spring 2012 – Neekaunis – Some Queries

Friends were invited to respond, over the weekend, to some queries posted in the dining room.  Here are the responses:

1.  How would you describe your Quaker Community?

  • International
  • Nurturing
  • A safe place to practice being who I want to be
  • Inspiring
  • Challenging
  • Rejuvenating
  • Stimulating
  • Sometimes frustrating
  • Wide-spread
  • Beloved
  • Deeply connected
  • Small
  • Rewarding
  • My spiritual home

2.  How do you experience the responsibilities of Membership?

  • Affirming, exciting, satisfying to be of service, to build together
  • Learning to withhold judgement and comment
  • Feeling that I am contributing
  • An active community
  • 20 hour work weeks

3.  What does it mean to you to belong?

  • Being fully human
  • Hard work
  • Joyous
  • Engenders gratitude
  • Having meaningful relationships with others in the group
  • not being alone

4.  What’s it like to be part of this combined Half Yearly Meeting?

  • Delightful
  • Thrilling
  • Exciting
  • Fun
  • Renews connections
  • Happy to see so many F/friends I love
  • Loud, but wonderful
  • I love seeing all ya and heck PHY can sing!!!
  • Absolutely topping!  Let’s do it again!  And again!…

Posted in: Peham Half Yearly Meeting, Regional Gatherings, Yonge St. Half Yearly Meeting

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Pelham and Yonge Street HYM – June 2012 – Neekaunis

About 100 Friends met at Camp Neekaunis from Friday evening, June 1 to Sunday Afternoon, June 3. This was the first time Pelham Half Yearly and Yonge Street Half Yearly had held a joint meeting, and there was in the air, joyful anticipation…and a little trepidation about numbers.  In the end, we counted 12 Young Adult Friends and 12 Young Friends…and there were definitely a few 70+, a mix of ages over 3 generations. The ambiance was beautifully green, wet, and a little cool. This view is from the Meeting Room looking out over the lake.


Friends were grateful to gather in Nelson Hall (Dining Hall), and the Meeting Room with its huge stone fireplace.

Gathering in the Dining Hall

Meeting Room

 The registrars were active from 3:00 Friday on, and Friends found time to re-connect while making sure the toilets/outhouses were equipped, unpacking, and wiping down the tables in preparation for dinner.

Who’s on the list?

Is there a resemblance here?


Self-Care and Shared Responsibilities – qualities of camp life




Table Prep

After supper, we gathered in the Meeting Room for a listening session on Membership.  We began with a semi-rousing game of  ‘A Big Wind Blows’ (too many people to stand in a circle, so Katrina McQuail, Youth Secretary improvised and moderated).  Then we invited Friends to self-organize into groups where they would imagine themselves in a particular role and we encouraged them to find a group with a role where they might be less comfortable.  We asked the groups to consider the following queries about Young Friends holding transitional membership in a Half Yearly Meeting or at Camp Neekaunis.  We encouraged them to IMAGINE, to think of this not as discernment, nor even as threshing, but as scattering wildflower seeds and seeing what might come of it.


  1. What might be the gifts of such a relationship?
  2. What might be the responsibilities of the Half Yearly Meeting or Camp to the Member?
  3. What might be the responsibilities of the member to the Half Yearly Meeting or to Camp?

If you click on each of the roles below, you will be able to view the responses of each group

Young Friend (teen), Young Adult Friend (early stages – university or wandering), Young Adult Friend (later stages – settling or perhaps starting a family), Monthly Meeting, Camp Neekaunis, Half Yearly Meeting, CYM, Ministry and Counsel and Friends General Conference.

 The Groups shared what was most important to them from their conversations, and we closed with worship.

Posted in: Peham Half Yearly Meeting, Regional Gatherings, Yonge St. Half Yearly Meeting

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Western Half Yearly – Saturday October 8 – Afternoon Activities

Saturday was an afternoon for choices – Many were moved to attend Meeting for Worship for Flying Fox Zipline

Alex, Sam & Isaac

Some just watched –

Heidi and Finn

Kitty and Alina














Some Zipped and Flew





































Some chose quiet reading




Some spent time jamming

And some opted for the traditional balancing, introducing first-timer, Shawn, who was heard to comment…”Other churches do bake sales;  Quakers do circus.”


 More in the next post about Saturday afternoon and evening learning, reflection and play








Posted in: Regional Gatherings, WHYM

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Western Half Yearly – Saturday, October 8 – Morning

At breakfast, Saturday Morning – so great to see Friends that had arrived late the night before…and some as recently as 6:00 in the morning (Keith and Shawn of Winnipeg).


Shawn, his first time at a Quaker gathering, took time to browse the book display from Quaker Book Service (managed with care and good humour by Frank and Peter).

I spoke with Shawn a little later in the weekend and asked him about his experience of the weekend.  What had most surprised him was how welcome and included he felt.  He talked about the kindness, about the connection among generations, about the whole community caring for the children, the stories around creating change in the world.  He said it gave him hope.  I was reminded of how many times I’ve heard such descriptions from those who have just come into contact with Friends and wonder how we can continue to support and welcome in such seekers.

Worship Sharing

Gathering in small groups, most adults spent an hour reflecting & speaking from the silence about where and how we found ourselves in that time and place/space.  One group was invited to consider over the rest of the day (with a sort of mental photograph) the moments  and individuals that brought them joy.  As I sat in the silence, I was taken with how strongly drawn I am to the place I now call home, how intentional I find I need to be when traveling to be present to myself and those who are with me.  I have travelled much this year, and though being with Friends across the country delights me, challenges and supports me, still when I pause without distraction or engagement, I am called to be home again.

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

When we gathered, after some silence, the Clerk read a prayer beginning, 

When the roll was called, we noted Friends were present from Prairie, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vernon, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Vancouver Island Monthly Meetings.  We were, in total, 36 plus 3 who came for part of one day.  There were 4 teens, 2 children and 2 infants.  We noted that we missed Tom Findley when we thought of the tradition of picking high bush cranberries each fall, and some Friends declared they would carry this tradition. Friends took up the various responsibilities that would help us move smoothly through the weekend. We closed early, with silence, and gratitude for the lunch to come

Young Friends had their own activities and creative interests during this time.  Many adults were eager to spend time with babes and children, so joy was widely spread.

Posted in: Regional Gatherings, WHYM

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Being at Shekinah

As I prepare for our Western Half Yearly Gathering at the Shekinah Retreat Center, I’m pondering the Mission Statement of our Mennonite hosts,

“Shekinah is to be a setting where all who come, have opportunity to experience the presence and glory of God through discovery, reflection, interaction, community and nature.

In a practical sense this means we seek to facilitate the meaningful interaction of people with the Creator, the wholesome interaction of people with creation and the interaction of people in community.”

I find myself wondering and imagining what joyful, reflective and sacred ways we will find to be together in this space.  

Posted in: Regional Gatherings, WHYM

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