Gathering Committee Report 2023

Gathering Organizing Committee Report 

Meeting for Worship for Business, Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting 

November 5 2023 

Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting has discerned the value of getting our community together for retreats and gatherings. Gathering Organizing Committee is formed to carry out the ministry of planning ways for us to get together. Currently the committee consists of Rose Coutts, Lilia Fick, Steve Ginley, Caileigh Morrison, and Evelyne Russell. Steve, Caileigh and Evelyne were named at the CYFYM Meeting for Worship for Business in 2019; Rose and Lilia joined the committee since 2019 after they expressed interest and the committee discerned they ought to join. 

Gatherings We Have and Have Not Planned 

The Gathering Organizing Committee has planned three gatherings since CYFYM Meeting for Worship for Business in 2019. 

  • Post-Boxing Day Young Adult Gathering at Friends House Toronto (December 27 to 30, 2019)
  • Thanksgiving Young Adult Gathering at Camp NeeKauNis (October 8 to 11, 2021)
  • TOGETHER AGAIN Young Adult Gathering at Friends House Toronto (February 10 to 12, 2023) 

Gathering Organizing Committee has also discerned to not plan gatherings. We discerned we were not led to plan a youth/young adult event for Atlantic Friends Gathering when they approached us. We also discerned we were not led to plan a pre-CYM In Session youth/young adult retreat in 2023. 

Committee Structure and Approach to Planning Events 

Getting Friends together has been our priority and that priority has manifested itself in various ways. In order to continue to be a committee which plans gatherings and not burn out our members, we do our best to do the business of our committee consensually and voluntarily. When a gathering is being planned, the committee names a Clerk for that gathering and discerns who will help with planning primarily based on members’ skills, location, availability, and willingness. So not every gathering is planned by all members of the committee. 

We bought only snacks and breakfast food for our gatherings at Friends House and ordered take-away from local restaurants for lunches and dinners. 

We had very open schedules for all of the gathering we planned, usually only scheduling Meetings for Worship and the occasional discussion. Usually times for planned events were flexible. 

Concerns 

We know that this open scheduling can be stressful or even a barrier to participation for Friends. We thank those who have stuck it out in our gatherings in spite of this open scheduling. We hope to

incorporate that concern in our future planning and remove the barrier, while continuing to prioritize Friends being together above sticking to a schedule as the reason for our gatherings. 

We also hold the concern that all of the gatherings we have planned since 2019 have been in Ontario and have been for young adults, those older than 18. This is how we were led, primarily based on our capacity. We recognize that this does not serve all of CYFYM and we ask for your help so future gatherings can serve more of our community. 

Conclusion 

In our experience our structure has served us well and is one that is led by the Spirit, and we hope that future members of a CYFYM Gathering Organizing Committee take what they can from what we have shared in this report. 

What Canst Thou Say, CYFYM? 

We as Gathering Organizing Committee submit to the discernment of the gathered body with us today. Some queries that may aid in this discernment: 

Does CYFYM discern the value of continuing to have a Gathering Organizing Committee? 

Who ought to serve on this committee? We uphold the experience and tradition of Friends that the Spirit will call those who ought to serve, not just those who have the experience of having done this work. 

Does a Gathering Organizing Committee have freedom to plan what they are led to plan? Are there specific places, themes, times of gatherings that you discern would serve our community? How can you help us to carry out what you discern?