How CYM Served the Community in 2023
CYM provides services that help to Spiritually Nurture our beloved community. CYM does this by providing a range of activities and programs that help to unite and support Friends and their constituent Monthly Meetings in understanding and living Quaker faith and practice.
In February of 2023, it was wonderful to see Young Adult Friends with Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting gather in Toronto for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
Courses were offered on Quaker Basics for Canadian Quakers for newcomers and seekers and a joint CYM – Woodbrooke Centre course on Renewing Quaker Community. Online events were held for Monthly Meetings to share their news and to explore issues arising in the State of Society Reports.
For the first time in several years, grants were given for:
- Educational Opportunities
- Participation at the Gathering
- Travelling in the Ministry
A number of families and young friends were able to participate in the Gathering because of the grants.
This past summer, you may have met the former CYM presiding clerk, Marilyn Manzer. She used a grant for Travelling in the Ministry to visit every single Monthly Meeting across Canada. This helped to build connections among Friends in Canada.
Winnipeg Monthly Meeting received a grant for equipment to facilitate hybrid meetings. More grant requests for Meeting House capital improvements were received and approved for 2024. Many of these requests are helping Monthly Meetings adapt to the new and rapidly changing circumstances of an online and in-person community.
In July, CYM successfully held the first-ever blended in-person and online Gathering at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. With the leadership of the Program Committee and the Youth program coordinator, there was a vibrant children and youth program at the Gathering. Program Committee is now in the thick of organizing the 2024 Gathering that will be held at Camp NeeKauNis. A report of the 2023 Gathering and updates on the planning and happenings for 2024 can be found here.
CYM Representatives to other bodies attended online or in-person meetings of the World Council of Churches, Friends World Committee for Consultation, the Canadian Council of Churches, Quaker Earthcare Witness, and KAIROS. There is no representative for Friends United Meeting (FUM), but CYM’s General Secretary-Treasurer has developed a connection with them.
CYM continued to provide annual contributions to other Quaker and ecumenical bodies. These partners produce useful resources and do important service work on the ground. For example, ecumenical bodies have been addressing issues related to racism and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Peace churches at the World Council of Churches brokered an agreement (at the Central Committee meeting that preceded the Assembly) on a statement on the Ukrainian war that allowed the Russian delegates to sign on.
CYM is pleased to announce that two young Friends have been selected as delegates to represent Canadian Friends at the Friends World Committee for Consultation – World Plenary in South Africa in 2024.
There have been some challenges with the magazine The Canadian Friend, but one issue got out along with a joint CFSC-CYM pamphlet on Reconciliation Queries for Friends. Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) has been actively exploring truth and reconciliation work with many Monthly Meetings, Worship Groups, and Half Yearly Meetings. In response to a concern raised at Yearly Meeting, CFSC prepared Queries for Canadian Friends on Reconciliation that was approved in 2021 to be included in our traditional Advices and Queries. You can view it online here. If you would like print copies of the joint CFSC-CYM pamphlet, please contact CFSC.
A pamphlet for The Sunderland P Gardner Lecture presented at the 2023 Gathering on Truth and Reconciliation: a personal view from 60 years of learning Cree culture by Richard “Dick” Preston is currently at the printers and will be shipped shortly. Also in development is a pamphlet for the Bible Study presented at the 2022 online Gathering on The Transforming Power of Mercy by Colin Saxton.
CYM now offers a monthly E-newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter and stay up to date on news such as this, please sign up here: https://quaker.ca/news-events/newsletter/
The Canadian Quaker Library and Archives, Camp NeeKauNis, and cemeteries carried out significant work recently. Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground has been busy repairing monuments and had to get major arborist work done after a severe windstorm knocked over trees. After being shut down by the pandemic, Camp NeeKauNis is in renewal mode with the return of programs along with assessing and repairing camp infrastructure. The new archivist commenced work on digitizing the archives so they can be more accessible for future use.
CYM continues its work on restructuring and simplification. CYM’s programming and administrative committees continue to explore new ways of planning and coordinating their work.
The restructuring and simplification are beginning to show fruit. Various things have been laid down, such as the Personnel Management Group, the Epistle Summarizing Committee, and the Contributions Committee. There is now a wonderful part-time communications coordinator, Holly Spencer, in place, and it feels like yesterday that our part-time office coordinator, Eva Lacelle, joined us.
The new staff are tasked with putting new infrastructure in place and supporting the delivery of CYM services. Staff are working on a new database, accounting system and processes, filing and storage systems, communications systems, and many other operational processes.
Much of this work is in process, and it will take time, but the new systems will enable CYM to function more effectively in providing services that support the community. For example, the spiralling number of funds and account numbers made accounting an administrative nightmare. This contributed to confusion about CYM’s finances, increased accounting costs, and took precious time and resources away from service work. The new financial system being put in place has already reduced costs and is helping Friends better discern how best to allocate resources to serve the community better.
We live in a liminal time of many complex challenges and possibilities. As the way opens to collaborate in new ways, test things or release and lay things down, a sacred space is created for the emergence of new possibilities. CYM looks forward to seeing what new possibilities emerge for 2024 in how Friends connect to our faith and community.
This work would not be possible without the countless hours of many Friends serving CYM on many fronts, the generous financial contributions from Monthly Meetings and Friends, grants from the Samuel Rogers Memorial Trust Fund, and the in-kind support of Ottawa Monthly Meeting for supporting the CYM office space and Pickering College for supporting the Canadian Quaker Library and Archives. To all of you, a heartfelt thank you!
Only so much can be captured in a summary. For more details on all the work, please see the compilation of CYM Reports from various committees and bodies received for the 2023 Gathering on CYM’s business side of the website. A revised compilation will be available sometime in 2024.
How CYM Funds Were Spent in 2022
Note: Expenses for each category include office and governance support.