CYFYM Discernment Session Report 2018

 CYFYM Discernment Session Report 2018

Young Friends and Young Adult Friends gathered for a two night Pre-Canadian Yearly Meeting Retreat at Camp NeeKauNis, and held a threshing session to discuss the work of the Regional Contacts over the past year, and how Young Friends were led to continue forward. We considered the query, “What do we get here that we don’t get anywhere else?” We met again Tuesday night for six hours of discernment, with three elders present to hold space for us.

After a two-year Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting hiatus, we feel a budding sense of new energy. Like a flower slowly emerging from the earth in the spring, we need time and a cooperative climate to grow. We feel clear that we should not overburden ourselves in ways that may stunt this fresh growth. We must not place rocks on top of the emerging shoots we hope will blossom.

As such, we have approved a structure that we feel will help us nurture this budding energy, to focus on fellowship and nurturing our spiritual community. We are aware that this means careful discernment as to what we take on, and that we will likely be asking members of the CYM community to hear “no”, at least as often as “yes”, if they approach us with requests for collaboration or input. We welcome ongoing questions and communication.

The structure we have approved is a committee of CYFYM representatives for 2018-2019 which focuses on facilitating fellowship and nourishing Spirit, and that can provide some ongoing structure between gatherings. We plan to discern whether this structure will continue to serve our needs at CYM 2019. We recognize that we are in a time of fostering new growth; our structures must support rather than impede us, and may grow or shrink with us as we discern ways forward in coming years.

We also felt a strong leading to gather again for a pre-CYM retreat in 2019, and have named a committee to organize it.

The following outlines the responsibilities of these CYFYM Representatives:


CYFYM Representatives – Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Publicizing and encouraging Young Friends (YFs, generally 13-19) and Young Adult Friends (YAFs, generally 19-35) to attend gatherings and other Quaker events and opportunities. This includes raising awareness of how to access funding or other supports.
  2. Celebrating and supporting, although not necessarily organizing, regional activities and fellowship; cultivating connection, excitement, and momentum.
  3. Collectively act in a role similar to that of the CYM Clerks’ Committee, in being able to respond to events, opportunities, etc. that arise between annual gatherings. The Representatives may wish to consult with the community of YF/YAFs mid-year (e.g. by electronic survey, videocall, etc) for significant decisions. The Representatives are asked to report on their activities at annual gatherings.
  4. Provide input to Canadian Yearly Meeting by:
    1. Maintaining connection to the CYM Secretary
    2. Ensuring at least one Representative is present at Representative Meeting (November 23-24, 2018 in Victoria, BC)
    3. When capacity allows, provide input to CYM bodies and Friends serving CYM when they request input from YF/YAFs. (While we welcome questions, there may be times when Representatives do not have capacity to respond, particularly in more complex requests. We ask all CYM bodies and Friends to respect and nurture our capacity to focus on the core of nurturing our spiritual community, and not to become over-busy in ways that may detract from that nurturing.)
  5. Maintain contact lists for YF/YAFs across Canada (drawing on support from CYM staff and committees as available and helpful).
  6. Receive and respond to correspondence from outside bodies (e.g. other Yearly Meetings, groups of YF/YAFs around the world, etc).
  7. Name a session clerk for CYFYM in Session (held during CYM in Session).

It is currently anticipated that Representatives will need to commit to a minimum of 5-10 hours per month to this service and to a 1-hour phone call or videoconference each month. Additionally, at least one face to face meeting will be required during the year. 

We approved the following Friends to serve as CYFYM Representatives for 2018-2019:

  • Zaley Warkentin (Winnipeg MM)
  • Wesley Weima (Thousand Islands MM)
  • Alex Wickenheiser (Edmonton MM) 

Representatives are encouraged to identify additional YF/YAFs to act as contact people, particularly in regions where the approved Representatives have fewer connections. We have already identified the following Friends as potential contact people: David Summerhays (Montreal MM); Rebecca Wolf Gage (Vancouver Island MM); Daniel von Schulmann (Vancouver Island MM); Rosie Coutts (Toronto MM / Manitoulin WG). We continue to hope that Friends will suggest names of potential contact people in the Atlantic provinces, where YF/YAFs gathered this week have fewer current connections. We hope that the creation of Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting may bear fruit in the form of more engagement of Young Friends and Young Adult Friends in the region.

Pre-CYM YF/YAF Gathering 2019

We have identified an organizing committee of Jackie Bonner (Calgary MM), Zaley Warkentin (Winnipeg MM), Evelyne Russell (Toronto MM), Harmony Morris (Lethbridge WG / Calgary MM), and Greg Allan (Winnipeg MM; STC) to arrange a three-day gathering for YFs and YAFs prior to CYM in Winnipeg, 2019. Megan Shaw (Toronto MM) is also able to assist for the month of July 2019. The organizers will work with Program Committee to foster a smooth and welcoming transition between Pre-CYM YF/YAF Gathering and CYM. We ask that if the organizers require assistance beyond the capacity of the CYM Secretary, that they ask CYM Education & Outreach Committee and the CYM Secretary to work with them to hire paid capacity to assist in carrying forward that work. We suggest that any such paid capacity be supported by, and report to, the CYM Secretary, with significant collaboration and direction from the Pre-CYM Gathering organizing committee.

Ministry of Starting Small

In seeking not to over-burden ourselves, we discerned excitement for fostering and celebrating small acts of fellowship and nurturing our spiritual community. We want to share the joy of times when two or more Young Friends / Young Adult Friends are gathered together – be that for worship sharing, board games, camping trips, potlucks, or visitation when our lives take us on the road. We celebrate the deeply gathered Spirit that comes when we nurture fellowship. We know that these small activities help us welcome Spirit into our midst.

Funding and Support 

We ask that CYM support Young Friends and Young Adult Friends in 2018 through existing, approved Education & Outreach funds. We also ask that support be given through future additional funds, so that:

1) There is travel funding available to support the attendance of CYFYM Representative(s) at Representative Meeting 2018 and to have one face-to-face meeting of the three CYFYM Representative(s);

2) There is funding to host and organize a pre-CYM 2019 YF/YAF Gathering in Winnipeg and travel funding to assist YF/YAFs to attend;

3) If discerned necessary by the organizing committee, in consultation with the CYM Secretary, that there is funding for additional paid capacity to assist with logistics and coordination for the pre-CYM YF/YAF Gathering.

We ask that the CYM Secretary be tasked with working with the CYFYM Representatives and the Pre-CYM YF/YAF Gathering Committee to access and apply for necessary funds.