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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.

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Come to Western Half-Yearly Meeting (October 11-14)

Come to Western Half-Yearly Meeting (October 11-14)

The 2019 Fall gathering of Western Half-Yearly Meeting will take place on Thanksgiving weekend (October 11-14) at Camp Shekinah north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

We invite all Friends and friends of Friends to join us in this warm, intimate gathering. Please note the registration deadline of September 18!

Practical Details

Driving directions and much more information on programming, accomodation, meals, and cost are available in the pdf information file:
Infopack on Fall Western Half Yearly Meeting (PDF) – right-click or command-click to save to your computer.

Meanwhile, here are a few info highlights:

  • The usual items will all be included in the Half-Yearly Meeting schedule – worship-sharing groups, special interest groups, Meetings for Worship including business Meetings, and the phenomenal Family Night sharing of talents and fun). At Shekinah, we also have the opportunity to ride the Flying Fox zipline one afternoon – fun for all ages!A happy camper riding the Shekinah zipline
  • The theme for the Saturday evening gathering and the weekend are still being discerned. More information will be provided as this is finalized.
  • The site opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, and Friends usually try to arrive on Friday late afternoon or evening (and late into the night), with activities all day Saturday and Sunday, and depart after a short closing Meeting for Worship on Thanksgiving Monday.
  • Accommodations are bunk-room style (with various numbers of occupants per room) in a lodge, or alternatively there are camp sites for tents. Pillows, linens, sleeping bags/blankets, and towels are not provided; bring your own, or ask someone local to bring some for you.
  • The meals do not include snacks or a Friday evening meal; participants who can do so easily are asked to bring snacks to share, and those who are able are asked to help with a pot-luck meal for Friday evening.

Again, for more details, look at the Infopack on Fall Western Half Yearly Meeting. Feel free to contact registrar Elizabeth Curry (whymregistrar@gmail.com) with any questions.

Cost & Registration

The dining hall at ShekinahSite/accommodation fees are $300/adult for the entire weekend; this covers all meals. (Most dietary needs can be accommodated if advance notification is given).

Fees are collected on-site, but please fill out the registration form and send it to Registrar Elizabeth Curry at whymregistrar@gmail.com as soon as you can, or by the deadline of September 18 at the latest. This enables us to plan appropriately and to provide the site with the advance notice they require.

Registration Forms:
Fall 2019 WHYM Registration Form (EXCEL) – Use this to register purely electronically. Filling in each category should auto-populate the costs.
Fall 2019 WHYM Registration Form (PDF for printing) – If needed, print and fill out this version. You may need to right-click (Microsoft) or command-click (Mac) to save these files to your computer first.

Please send your completed registration form to Registrar Elizabeth Curry at whymregistrar@gmail.com.

We hope that you will join us at Camp Shekinah for Thanksgiving 2019!

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Reflections from WHYM

A view of the Timber Lodge at Shekinah Retreat Centre. Photo Credit: David Cheatley.

A view of the Timber Lodge at Shekinah Retreat Centre. Photo Credit: David Cheatley.

On Thanksgiving weekend, a group of about forty Friends gathered at Shekinah, near Saskatoon.

In addition to Friends from Western Canada, we were excited to welcome a visiting Evangelical Quaker pastor from Burundi. She is the Coordinator of the Friends Women’s Association (FWA) in Burundi, and she spoke on Saturday evening about the country’s recent history and the work of the FWA.*

On Friday, as people arrived, we gathered downstairs and ate the delicious food generously supplied by members of Saskatoon and Prairie Monthly Meetings. We enjoyed an activity in which we paired up and drew our partners without looking at the paper – a challenging but ultimately amusing task! We then learned interesting facts about our partners and wrote them side by side with the portraits.

At Saturday’s Meeting for Worship for Business, we heard the joyful news that two Friends had become engaged that morning.

Saturday was a beautiful warm day, perfect for the popular Flying Fox zip line. Friends young and old put on helmets, hooked up their harnesses, and flew across the small valley and back. More cautious Friends watched and cheered.

Later on Saturday afternoon, we were able to choose between two Special Interest Groups: Quakers in a re-tribalized world; or the feasibility of continuing to meet at Shekinah.

Saturday evening was clear, providing an amazing view of the stars that can only be found in the country. Coyotes yipped as we gathered to watch a white aurora borealis veil the northern sky.

On Sunday afternoon, our guest from Burundi offered a SIG that expanded on her Saturday evening talk.

Family Night took place Sunday evening in the building’s cozy chapel. The acts included poetry, storytelling, music, and an adorable animal skit from our youngest Friends.

Monday morning, after a short Meeting for Worship, we sang a familiar old song that concludes many such gatherings, and then the new-to-us song we learned from our guest from Burundi during Family Night.

 

In Friendship,

Mark Stanley.

 

 

*Her name has been omitted for privacy purposes.

 

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2015 Fall Half-Yearly Meeting: October 9-11, 2015- Shekinah Retreat Centre.

Fall Half-Yearly Meeting will be held in Saskatchewan  on October 9th – 11th, 2015.

Hello Friends!

The 2015 Fall WHYM form is here!

All you have to do is input your numbers and it will add up your total – fancy, right? Just send it on back to me with your info and with any questions you might have. If the link does not work for you, let me know and I can send this in a different format for you.

***

A view of the Timber Lodge at Shekinah Retreat Centre. Photo Credit: David Cheatley.

A view of the Timber Lodge at Shekinah Retreat                Centre. Photo Credit: David Cheatley.

Shekinah Retreat Centre is in the North Saskatchewan River valley and thus is chalk full of opportunities for gorgeous walks, outdoor silence, autumn smells and incredible prairie skies (who remembers that year that the northern lights filled the sky?). In addition to the geographical certainty of beauty, we will gather in fun, silence, business and food – sometimes all at the same time!

Saskatoon Meeting has generously offered to provide sandwich fixings for the Friday night arrival meal and will be leading an intergenerational activity that night to get things shakin’ (quakin’?!). We are honoured to welcome visiting friend Parfaite Ntahuba from Friends Women’s Association in Burundi who is involved with the project “Caring for HIV Positive People.” She will be giving us a presentation on Saturday night.

Though it is now very short notice, please consider joining Friends for a wonderful gathering of gratitude on Thanksgiving weekend.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Beth
bassish@gmail.com
306-540-2384

PS. If you have Friends in your meeting who are not online and would like details or who are planning on coming, they are welcome to phone me with their information.

Share our Facebook event.

 

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Poverty, Wealth, Ecology – Special Interest Group – WHYM Sunday

Bill Curry and Dave Greenfield offered a special interest Group (SIG) on the theme of an upcoming meeting of the North American Region of the World Council of Churches in Calgary, November 7 – 11.  Dave and Bill will be attending this meeting for Canadian Yearly Meeting. It is part of a process leading to the 10th General Assembly in South Korea in 2013.  The POVERTY WEALTH ECOLOGY focus aims to “put climate justice and poverty eradication and therelationship between the two as a priority on the agenda”

Bill and Dave offered a number of quotes on the theme, asking, “How do we act now?” and “What are we doing?” The dialogue covered obstacles, responsibilities and faith dimensions of sustainability.

“Poverty, Wealth and Ecological Justice Framework Concept (from a longer document from the United Church of Canada)

[The United Church] has consistently worked ecumenically and globally on issues of economic justice, ecological justice, social justice, poverty, exclusion, corporate social responsibility, debt, ecological debt, human rights, extractive industries, water and climate change and has in recent years looked at many of the impacts of human activities through the lens
of empire.”

“The connections among many issues, previously viewed as disparate and distinct, are better understood as many facets of an ecological whole.”

and from  AGAPE Consultation: Linking poverty, wealth and ecology: Ecumenical Perspectives in Europe  –  8 – 12 November 2010 – Budapest Call for Climate Justice  – Addressing Poverty, Wealth and Ecology

“The Great Challenge calls for the Great Transition

Climate justice is a condition for the eradication of poverty and the eradication of poverty is a condition for climate justice.

Climate justice demands the primacy of democratic politics over economics and the embedding of market economies in social and cultural contexts (further developing the Social Market Economy). Therefore holistic answers to the challenges are required – from the individual person, from the economy, from states and internationally.

The time for fragmented and technocratic solutions is over. We need a Great Transition.

Call: for a global ecumenical conference to propose the framework and criteria for a new international financial and economic architecture that is based on the principles of economic, social and climate justice.”

If you’re interested in more information, please contact Bill Curry at prairie@web.net

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