Quaker studies is being given in 2015 by Deborah Fisch of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Associate Secretary of Ministries for Friends General Conference
Today’s presentation was the first of a five-part series.
If anybody can get you fired up with the joy of attending Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, Deborah Fisch can. As she has said on a previous occasion, Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business builds community. Rather than being a dreary chore, it enables Friends to get to know each other on a deeper level. What a shame that so many Friends do not heed the admonition of the Advices and Queries and believe business meeting does not concern them.
Her presentation was not without its lighter moments. Bored with business meeting wordsmithing, some children in her Meeting composed a ditty to the tune of What shall we do with a Drunken Sailor? Part of it goes like this:
Hot air up she rises
Hot air up she rises
Move the comma one word over
Move the comma one word over
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business has many functions:
To help each other be faithful
To help others in need
To enable us to discern what our gifts are
To give us space to practise them
We await tomorrow with anticipation.
As a first-time attender of Canadian Yearly Meeting, I’ve been informed several times that a week full of Quakers can be overwhelming and that clearness committees are available to help. Wow! Where was that warning when I signed up? So far I’ve experienced no need for therapy. Instead, I’ve met wonderfully friendly and welcoming people. Perhaps a more appropriate disclaimer could have been: WARNING Quakers may be friendly and gatherings might be addictive.
A tip for those who are new, the meeting for first-timers was very helpful and reassuring. It was nice to hear how others came to Friends and to know I was not alone.
One thing that is a bit of a challenge is understanding Quakerese. There are many phrases and acronyms that leave me scratching my head. I thought Quakers were known for plain speaking? While acronyms can be quicker for those in the know, they can also be barriers that keep newcomers and inquirers from feeling welcome. I keep feeling that there’s a secret playbook I’m not yet privy to.
It’s early days, but I’m still excited to be here and looking forward to learning more about Spirit and continuing to get to know fellow Quakers and how the business of the yearly meeting is conducted.
Toronto Monthly Meeting
You can download the schedule here. Documents in Advance and the draft agenda for the upcoming CYM gathering in August are now available on line.
To access them, you will need to get into the Business side of the site. To get into the Business side of the site, you will need to register.
Click the Business button at the upper right corner to start the process.
Once you are in, there are two places to access the documents. One is to click “CYM Docs” along the top of the page. The other is to click “CYM 2015”. In both locations, there should be a Documents in Advance “accordion” which you click to open.
The “CYM 2015” entry will also take you to a page where Programme Committee will be posting information for those at CYM.
In the preparations for our annual CYM gathering, a Friend sent me this link to a thought-provoking piece.
The author writes,
One of the most regular and consistent laments that I’ve heard from Quaker leaders is that the rank and file in their congregations don’t see the purpose of the yearly meeting structures. They say things like this:
“We can’t figure out how to help our people understand how important the Yearly Meeting really is. People ask us, What does the Yearly Meeting do for me?, but they’re missing the entire point! The Yearly Meeting is about being a body. It’s not about what the Yearly Meeting provides for the local churches; it’s how we’re called together as a people, the shared experience we have of God when we’re together. After all, how are we supposed to do the work of the church if we don’t gather and support one another?”
I’ve heard words like these so many times I’ve lost count. What’s more, I’ve said words like these on numerous occasions. As a person so dedicated to institutional Quakerism, the idea that many of our members no longer find the Yearly Meeting necessary was really threatening to me. After all, what is the Quaker community without our wider fellowship? How can we even exist without the Yearly Meeting?”
Image via Micah Bales
As a small (in numbers) yearly meeting that covers a vast geography, we are challenged to find ways to do the work of CYM with the resources (both volunteer labour and finances) we have.
This seems like an interesting blog to read in that context.
Enjoy the reading of this piece!
August 1, 2015
On the day that Pope Francis addresses Congress, we hope many of you will be there, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to show our support for immediate and long-term action on climate change. Quaker Earthcare Witness is pleased to endorse the September 24 event that is sponsored by an interfaith coalition including Interfaith Moral Action for Climate and the Franciscan Action Network. Details of the event are still being formulated and we will be sending out monthly updates.
We are sending this early information now so you can save the date!
Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice September 21-25, 2015.
Let us know if you also want to be included in specific updates so we can coordinate our Quaker presence at the event. Please send us information to share with others if you are organizing local participation in your Meeting and beyond.
To get additional information about the march, see the event posting on our website.
Please download the flyer by clicking here.
Thanks, Friends! We’ll see you in Washington in September!