Dividing and Regionalizing Canadian Yearly Meeting?
Excerpt from Margaret Slavin’s “Travels in the Ministry in Canadian Yearly Meeting: Journals (January 10, 2004 – February 11, 2006).”
Journal 14 SAANICH PENINSULA MEETING May 5, 2004
Friends, this will be a long one. A small Meeting on Vancouver Island sent their clerk to Representative Meeting to take the message that they feel it is time in Canada for two yearly meetings. Their thinking was seasoned in various ways, including letters to western meetings and a discussion at Western Half-Yearly. When I heard about this from a Friend in Edmonton, the remark was that it sounded like typical western alienation. “I don’t think so,” I said, “knowing some of the Friends it is coming from.” I am disturbed by it, though, and perhaps my take on it will help your own take, until we come through to How We Are Led. Last week in Edmonton felt political, but this week with Saanich Peninsula Meeting, the politics became personal.
It’s the cost of the travelling that is at the nub of this issue, and its impact on the environment. The spectacle of Friends hopping into airplanes and scouring trails of pollutants across the sky as we converge on Nova Scotia strikes some Friends as, at best, blindness and at worst, perhaps (no one has actually said this) hypocrisy.
Bob McInnes hands me an article from The Guardian Weekly: “With Eyes Wide Shut,” by George Monbiot. He refers to “our deep semi-consciousness that projects our future lives as repeated instances of the present.” He then lists the facts as understood by most climatologists: average rise of 0.6C over the past century, water in rivers declining up to four times as fast as the percentage reduction of rainfall. The article concludes: “So we slumber through the crisis. Waking up demands that we dethrone our deep unreason and usurp it with our rational minds. Are we capable of this, or are we destined to sleepwalk to extinction?”
That statement feels almost the opposite of my own leadings to affirm the unreason of creativity. It seems to be saying that the intuitive “knowledge” that rises in us (that the earth will forgive and will always be able to sustain us) is just plain wrong. Saanich Peninsula Meeting wants us to wake up, use our God-given reason, and show forth our understanding of the true situation by NOT attending yearly meeting, NOT travelling across the country in the name of Friendship. For them, I think it is like the testimony of wearing plain clothes, or as for John Woolman, refusal to wear cloth dyed by slaves.
Wars are being waged for oil and still we Friends drive our cars, fill in the empty spots on yearly meeting committees and apply for travel assistance to fly.
Among us are a few Friends who have quietly stopped attending Yearly Meeting gathering at least in part in protest against the consumption of oil and gas that is required. And of course since the first Gulf War, two other Friends, Ken and Martha Laing, have been driving their horse and buggy for all local trips instead of driving their car.
Keith Helmuth will give the Sunderland P. Gardner lecture this year at Canadian Yearly Meeting, and I wonder whether he would have accepted this invitation except that CYM is being held this year in the Atlantic region, not far from where Keith and Ellen used to live, and close enough to where they live now in the States. We may hear more of this – at CYM.
Committee travel is another sore point for Saanich Peninsula Friends. Solutions I’ve heard are: committees can meet by email; committees can be eliminated and let’s see if there’s anything we actually miss; local committees in a Western Yearly Meeting would spend less even if they do travel to meet. Of course, supposing that the committee work really is needed, we’d have two of them, travelling twice. Instead of six (once we find 3 more) members of Religious Education committee thinking about what programs might nurture young families who come to Friends, there’d be twelve.
Which raises the second compelling reason in favour of this split: if Something is local and affects your own life, you are more likely to feel ownership and to take part. The past split of Pacific Yearly Meeting into a gathering south of the 49th parallel and a gathering north of it, which became part of Canadian Yearly Meeting, has been beneficial for all concerned. It led to a significant growth in numbers in both groups.
It depends, of course, on the nature of the split. Saanich Peninsula broke off amicably from its parent meeting, Victoria MM, and both groups thrive. Whereas I am still a little stunned by my tour of Prince Edward County back in Ontario, across the bay bridge from where I grew up, Belleville. At one end of a street is Wellington Museum, formerly the Meeting House of the Conservative Friends. Just down the street is or was another Meeting House for the Hicksite Friends. Some time not that long ago – 1900? – there were 2200 Friends in Prince Edward County. Now there are NONE. So splits don’t always lead to an increase in numbers.
Anyway. All concerned are clear that this split would be amicable… “NOT a spiritual split.”
Let us agree that if Something affects our lives, we are more likely to take part. Out there are zillions of Quakers (I really do believe this) who don’t know that they are, because they don’t know we exist.
What is the Something?
To suggest two possibilities: 1) is it the power to make decisions? 2) is it Friendly gatherings with no “business” and lots of worship-sharing, play and study? What I am hearing is a strong sense of wanting Choice Two–more gatherings, no business. Not just here but all across the country, the longing for spiritual nurture is almost palpable. …
What we seem to need, in a phrase, is a sense that others are accompanying us on the journey. I doubt we need to split our yearly meeting to get this, since Friends are in unity that our spiritual life and nurture begins in the local group with local Friends.
Aware and experienced Friends at the local level also know that some decisions have to be made – where and when to meet, whether to have a bank account, or a children’s program, or a delegate to CYM. In some Meetings, a few seasoned Friends take on responsibility for these arrangements and relieve the others of having to attend to “business.” The others are rarely grateful. They want to be in on decisions about Something that affects their lives. Friends have a treasure, Meeting for Worship for Business. When we ignore and override this treasure, eventually somebody says: “The same few people are making all the decisions, and I feel excluded.”
And of course by that time the whole idea of sitting in worship and listening for the guidance of God has gone out the simple Meeting House window. So surely we need BOTH fellowship AND decision-making. And surely spiritual nurture comes from both the gathering with Friends AND from doing the “business.” …
The clerk of Saanich Peninsula Meeting is Muriel Sibley, and Muriel and I have been dear friends now for quite a few years. We went out for dinner together before she flew off to Representative Meeting to present their proposal. She and I were not in unity about this. I don’t want CYM to split. I want us to keep a national entity, to have the opportunity for a national voice. It’s fine with me if we lay down CYM gathering every other year. No Friend I know will be upset if more decision-making devolves to local groups and regional gatherings and half-yearly meetings. This is already happening anyway.
And everyone wants to keep Canadian Friends Service Committee, and to keep an annual gathering for Young Friends and children. No one is quite ready yet to rent a bus and take a month to travel to and from Canadian Yearly Meeting. Few seem aware that as a yearly meeting we have established an international office in our nation’s capital, which is doing exciting and significant work, using the resources of its location in the country’s capital, Ottawa. We have a broad country, stretched thin in the prairies, and the sprinkling of prairie Quaker families have worked hard to maintain connections. No one wants to abandon those tenuous small meetings to uncertain support.
Yet our consumption of gas and oil is a seed of war and of global warming.
Muriel and I face each other over the delicious East Indian meal she insists on buying for me. It is so good to see one another again, but this Saanich proposal leaves both of us shaking our heads, me because I don’t understand it and Muriel because she passionately believes it is inevitable but does not want to get on the plane and expend herself on the trip east. Many people, she fears, may be upset about it and this does not look like fun. We are both women who know what it is to be in the grip of a leading. Mine right now is to visit all these precious groups in our country and through these journals perhaps to reveal us a little one to another. Muriel’s leading before the first Gulf War was to put her life on the line, literally, as she travelled to take part in an international peace camp on the border of Iraq. From their desert camp they saw the first missiles of that war streak through the night sky. It is from Muriel that I first heard and understood about the UN-supported sanctions against Iraq. We Canadians took part in a holocaust directed at children under five and the very old. That the main victims would be little children was well known before the sanctions began, and yet we continued with the sanctions for more than ten years, and only stopped when the west again rained down bombs. It is far too easy to say that Canada did not invade Iraq. We did the first time. We did attack Afghanistan. We would have gone into Iraq if the UN had agreed. Our Prime Minister is now promoting a different way of making these decisions, so that we won’t get so far out of line again with “our most powerful ally.”
Muriel has mothered five children. We both know that the obscene race to keep supplying oil and gas kills. I remember how real and personal that first Gulf War became for those of us here on Vancouver Island, knowing that our Friend Muriel was there. Now it is other Friends, including Jane MacKay Wright.
I waited to post this journal until Muriel returned from Representative Meeting. It turned out that Muriel didn’t mention the Saanich proposal until near the end of a worship-sharing session in which other voices spontaneously spoke seriously of the possibility of splitting into two yearly meetings.
The reasons were financial and environmental. The committee on restructuring has been instructed to continue its work, without, I gather, any clear direction…yet. “We’ll still be Canadian Friends,” Muriel said. “That doesn’t change.”
Saanich Peninsula Meeting has made a proposal. ‘Better listen, Friends. Listen expectantly.
Excerpt from “Conclusions and Recommendations from the Consultation and Renewal Working Group (C’nR): Interim Report to Canadian Yearly Meeting 2006.”
There has been a feeling within CYM over the last 10 years or so that there is a growing movement among western Friends to separate from Canadian Yearly Meeting. We did not find this to be true. There seems to be no appetite for separation in the foreseeable future among a large majority of friends in the west. The one Monthly Meeting which has been clearly in favour of a separate yearly meeting seems open to remaining in CYM but is hopeful that constructive change will take place.
Many Friends attached importance to the fact that our Yearly Meeting coincides with political boundaries because they felt we need to have “a national voice”. However, a few western friends see political boundaries as irrelevant for spiritual community and potential benefit for western meetings in returning to their historic connection with American yearly meetings in the Pacific northwest.
Travel distance is a huge problem for some Monthly Meetings and it makes the functioning of at least one Monthly Meeting highly problematic. Travel distance also disqualifies many Friends from participation in Yearly Meeting sessions or committees. …
There seems to be no appetite for separation in the foreseeable future, with the exception of one Monthly Meeting which seems open to remaining in CYM with some changes to our structure and process. If any Monthly Meeting or group of Monthly Meetings was in unity to to leave CYM, it would be a local decision which CYM would have to accept. In both east and west, the thinking is that if Yearly Meeting could occur closer to home, there would be more local participation and local membership would increase.
… In the west, there are a few Friends who have past experience as part of Pacific Yearly Meeting as well as other cross border gatherings. Among some there is a feeling that those on the west coast have more in common with the Pacific North West than with eastern Canada (Ontario and Nova Scotia in particular). There is however no strong feeling that CYM should be divided at this time. …
We are well aware that over the last twenty years Canadian Friends have recommended and discussed doing more work at the regional level. This is an old recommendation, but one which we believe is still very important, given increasing financial and environmental pressures. Therefore we are recommending that CYM continue to look for ways to do less at a national level and more at a regional level.
Excerpt from “Conclusions and Recommendations from the Consultation and Renewal Working Group (C’nR): Final Report to Canadian Yearly Meeting 2007.”
We believe that because of costs and environmental issues CYM will have to reduce its activities and/or conduct more activities at a regional level. However, at this time we do not have strong regional meetings which could take over any CYM business. … Before any more of the Yearly Meeting work could be regionalized, the regional gatherings would have to become prepared or we would need to add regional meetings to our structure for this purpose alone.
We recommended in our interim report that “Friends at the local levels seek ways in which the regional gatherings can be strengthened or supplemented, so as to be able to take on more functions.” Based on our interviews and consultations we were hopeful that Friends were ready to move forward with regionalization.
The responses we received to our recommendation told us that Canadian Friends remain very divided and exercised about this suggestion. There is significant support for moving toward a more regionally based model, made stronger by current concerns for the environmental and financial costs inherent in a national body. There were also a number of interesting ideas for ways in which we could move forward, such as developing alternative decision-making bodies at regional levels different in size and character from the existing gatherings and Half-Yearly Meetings. Others felt that regional meetings could be a stepping stone to eventually have three yearly meetings.
But alongside the positive responses were some very serious reservations about the willingness and ability of current regional gatherings and meetings to take on more responsibilities. There were concerns about developing a new regional structure that is seen as a costly and complicating layer in an already complicated organization. There were also concerns about asking Monthly Meetings to take on more work.
Excerpt from “Conclusions and Recommendations from the Consultation and Renewal Working Group (C’nR): Final Report to Canadian Yearly Meeting 2007.”
Before entering into the body of this report, we wish to discuss a few ongoing unresolved tensions that became apparent during this process.
One of these is the question of whether CYM should be divided. We found little appetite for separation in the foreseeable future, with the exception of one Monthly Meeting that nevertheless seems open to remaining in CYM with some changes to our structure and process. … We heard many Friends say that environmental concerns and rising costs may eventually force the division of CYM. C’nR is suggesting that we prepare for that time by strengthening our regional meetings. We believe it is important to confront our contradictory views on this question.
Canadian Friends who participate in Yearly Meeting tend to be deeply rewarded on many levels. There is a strong love of the fellowship we experience and the opportunities to gather with Friends from across Canada. However, there also seems to be a collective wisdom that it makes financial and environmental sense to organize ourselves more in regions and do less on a national basis. This contradiction has been with us for many years and its resolution is growing in urgency. However, as concern for the environmental cost of travel grows, and more Friends are beginning to decline attending national gatherings and committees, there is a simultaneous unwillingness to strengthen the current regional structures so that they may take on more responsibilities.
We are at a loss on how to make recommendations on this question. Our attempt to do so in our interim report brought many responses indicating that participation rates in regional gatherings are generally low and there is a strong reluctance to take on business at that level. At the same time, there are concerns that creating new regional bodies would only complicate our organization and add unnecessary cost. We think that this tension between needing less travel and the unwillingness to create more organizational support structures locally must be resolved. We simply cannot have it both ways. …
It has been difficult for us to make recommendations for our Yearly Meeting that make sense for everyone. CYM is made up mainly of small Meetings and Worship Groups where less than a dozen people regularly meet for worship. Only five Meetings have average attendance over twenty. We are scattered over thousands of kilometers. There is a subtle but very important difference in the culture of meetings and worship groups in different parts of the country. We realize that some of our recommendations will sound very different to a Monthly Meeting that is made up solely of widely scattered Worship Groups than to a geographically compact meeting like Toronto or Ottawa or Hamilton; or very different to a meeting in the far west than to a meeting in central Canada. We have tried to take this into consideration. Please forgive us where we have been unsuccessful. …
The nature of the debate is distressingly contradictory if not irreconcilable. It seems to be stalled in the same place it has been for many years – the desire to decentralize Yearly Meeting is log-jammed by the reluctance of many Friends to take on more work in their local and regional meetings. We have not heard any concrete suggestions about laying down any parts of the current work of Yearly Meeting. We see that virtually all the current work of CYM is necessary to sustain a spiritually- vigorous yearly meeting. The way forward is not yet open to us and it seems that almost any recommendation we might make will be met with considerable resistance.
Nevertheless, we continue to believe that strong regional meetings are necessary if CYM is to be simplified and if Friends are to have the spiritual nurture and experiential learning opportunities that come from attendance at larger gatherings. Our suggestion at this time is that we work on devolving more of the work that Yearly Meeting currently does either to willing Monthly Meetings or to some other grouping of Friends who have the interest and who can work together in a reasonably small geographic area.
Excerpts from “Minutes of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society Of Friends, 2007.”
35. Consultation and Renewal Working Group – Conclusions and Recommendations
a. We receive this final report of the Consultation and Renewal Working Group. Beverly Shepard introduced the report, the processes that led to it, and the process we will follow to consider some of its recommendations this year.
b. We thank the Working Group for all of their work over the last three years, and lay the Working Group down. …
f. CYM in Session and Regionalization: We considered recommendations A-1, A-2, B-1 and B-2:
Recommendation A-1: that CYM should continue to meet annually as one unified Yearly Meeting at this time.
Recommendation A-2: that CYM consider the necessary changes to enable less frequent national meetings.
Recommendation B-1: that CYM examine how Australia Yearly Meeting is organized, how well it works, and whether any well-functioning aspects of their structure could be models for CYM to deal with cost, distance, and associated vitality issues.
Recommendation B-2: that all Canadian Friends consider if they have a leading to take on some aspect of Yearly Meeting work. Thus groups of Friends in local areas with an interest or concern for a particular project or activity could assume responsibility. This could be through their Monthly Meeting, through a Half-Yearly Meeting or Regional Gathering, or some other grouping where they can work together easily. Accountability lines would need to be worked out for each project.
Recommendation A-1 is the current practice. We approve recommendations A-1 and A-2. Recommendations B-1 and B-2 are laid over to a further session. … [Minute 39] These recommendations were approved.
Excerpt from “Saanich Peninsula Month Meeting (SPMM) Re-consideration of the Current Structure of CYM.”
For more than ten years, SPMM has expressed a sincere interest in shifting the current nation-wide structure for Canadian Friends to a more regional and geographically accessible model.
Our level of support for this structural change remain strong, with enthusiasm that a significant restructure which more practically addresses the vast distances of this large country would have potential for greater participation and fellowship. Several members raised interest in considering a multi YM model to create even more “local” YMs such as Vancouver Island or Coastal BC. They reminded us that the adage of Think Globally, Act Locally has often created the most participatory and engaged organizations. We also noted that there are many smaller regional YM in the United States such as Mountain YM which captures Friends that are regionally nearby and their YM work and activities are scaled to realistically meet the energy and practical expectations to participate.
We also were clear that this desire to restructure does not imply a “split” from the Canadian Friends family. Part of our discussion about a new structure included looking at a regional annual gathering with a larger “national” gathering every few years (such as a 5 year meeting) that would bring the Canadian family of friends together. One of our attenders noted his heartfelt concern not to lose the depth of experience and connection with Eastern Friends.
Excerpt from “Report of the Clerks’ Committee to Representative Meeting, June 16, 2017.”
… Response to the concern of Saanich Peninsula MM: the issue of dividing CYM has come to CYM a number of times over the past forty years. Discussion has focussed on similar concerns to those raised by SPMM. Out of concern to have a deeper discussion of the issues as had been committed to SPMM when it agreed to defer the item to June RM, Clerks’ Committee developed and circulated a simulation exercise that explored in more detail what a division might look like. Some Monthly Meetings declined to use the exercise. Many have sent forward their responses. [Thirteen of these are hosted under “Preparatory Documents, June 2017” at quaker.ca/business/rm-document, on top of Saanich Peninsula Monthly Meeting’s response.] One Monthly Meeting has sent forward a minute with its discernment that Clerks’ Committee had not been empowered by RM to ask Monthly Meetings to undertake such an exercise.
Simulation Exercise Summary Report
Representative Meeting met on the evening of Friday June 30 to engage the questions posed by the Clerks Committee’s simulation exercise. This included an extended period of worship, presentation of summaries from Monthly Meetings and hearing late reports from various groups in the Yearly Meeting. Eric Kristensen and Cameron Fraser each took notes during the exercise, reviewed reports and then met together in September 2017 to create a draft summary.
It was clear from the June meeting that there was no unity to divide the Yearly Meeting. Friends clearly communicated the value and importance of meeting face‐to‐face as part of building our Canadian Quaker community. There was unity in a desire to respond to Saanich Monthly Meeting’s concerns regarding connection and participation. Some Meetings were clearly uncomfortable engaging in the simulation exercise, and some did not respond to the exercise questions, often citing that these conversations had happened many times before.
The exercise did provide an opportunity for Friends to reflect on CYM and generate ideas for steps we can take to make our Yearly Meeting sustainable in terms of human and financial resources.
There was no definite response regarding to how often CYM in Session should meet in the future, but annual, biannual and triennial options were suggested. The following report provides summary points from the simulation exercise, general themes about CYM, a recommendation for follow-up action and questions for discernment.
There was significant feedback and concern raised regarding the process of being asked to do the simulation exercise.
In response to simulation exercise, there is clearly no unity to separate.
Concerns were raised about:
• human and financial resources;
• duplication of and reliance on CYM infrastructure;
• potential diminishment of our interpersonal relationships and Canadian Quaker community;
• greater impact on the environment as a result of splitting the Yearly Meeting.
There was united in a desire to respond to and support Saanich Peninsula MM as well as isolated Friends, Meetings and Worship Groups.
… [Some more detail follows about themes emerging from the responses, then the report concludes with a “list of thoughts and questions for discernment and seasoning.”]…
1. There continues to be a need to support isolated Friends and Worship Groups. Winnipeg MM has communicated concern about how Prairie Monthly Meeting will be supported during challenging times. Whitehorse WG has disbanded. Many Friends continue to communicate their sense of isolation. How do we respond more effectively to isolated Friends and Worship Groups?
2. There is a need for greater connection between Meetings, Worship Groups, and CYM. Saanich Monthly Meeting’s request to explore the idea of splitting CYM, and associated communications, was perceived as communicating a lack of connection. How can we respond to SMM’s call for greater connection? How do we support a sense of interconnection within all CYM Meetings? Worship groups? Isolated Friends?
3. Some mention was made that CYM business might be more effectively engaged in by local groups, e.g., Coldstream MM taking over the management of Canadian Friends Foreign Mission Board. What would be the benefits and drawbacks of CYM regionalizing its Committees? Might it be possible for Half Yearly Meetings to prepare and season some CYM business? Is there willingness to do so? Would it be valuable to hold a national meeting of Regional Gatherings and Monthly Meetings to share practices and discern any potential ways forward?
4. Ideas continue to circulate about the frequency and location of CYM. It has been suggested that CYM take place on an annual, biannual, and triennial basis. There was clear concern about the effects on business when not holding consecutive yearly CYM Meetings for Worship for Business. What are our options for the scheduling CYM? What would be the benefits and drawbacks of holding CYM for two years and then having a third fallow year, before repeating the cycle?
5. CYM in Session locations currently rotate on a four-year cycle between the Maritimes, Ontario, Winnipeg, and Camrose, Alberta, and different costs and benefits are associated with each site. What do we gain from having CYM rotate? Could a rotational Rep Meeting meet similar goals? What would be the benefits and drawbacks of CYM consistently meeting in Winnipeg? Would there be a benefit to having a standing arrangements committee? What would be the benefits and draw backs of rotating Rep Meeting?
6. We seem to have an increasingly difficult time finding Friends to serve on CYM Committees, including as Clerks. What do Friends perceive as the challenges and barriers to serving on CYM Committees?
7. We currently appoint CYM Clerks on a four-year cycle. This current structure might not be serving us, as we are without an Incoming Clerk and Presiding Clerk, and the Mentoring Clerk agreed to continue service for an additional year to fill the gap. We are currently without a Clerk after CYM 2018. Would a change to the four-year Clerking cycle lead more people to entertain service as CYM Clerk? What changes to the CYM Clerk role and associated practices would lead people to consider serving in the position?
8. Travelling in the ministry is part of our ancient Quaker “toolkit” for maintaining community among Friends. Even when faced with daunting travel difficulties, Friends travelled assiduously in previous centuries and were supported by their Meetings. How might we consider raising up a travelling ministry? What spiritual resources (recognition of gifts of ministry, eldering and oversight) would we need to create and build up? What practical and financial resources would be needed to support these efforts?
9. With every decision we make, we need to allow for enough time to fully immerse ourselves in the experience, as well as time for evaluation. We decided to hold a fallow year for CYM, and are evaluating the effects of this fallow year. How do we continue to assess the effects of the fallow year in the years to come? What practices are necessary to ensure we have ample time and space for the evaluation of our experiences and actions?
We are sure that other Friends have constructive thoughts and inspiration to bring to our discernment on these issues. Please share ideas with the Simulation Follow-‐‐Up Working Group (subject to establishment).
In service, Cameron Fraser and Eric Kristensen.
Excerpt from the “Minutes of Representative Meeting, 24-25 November 2017 (Ottawa, Ontario”
#15 Summary Report – Simulation Exercise Responses
The Yearly Meeting Secretary and the Recording Clerk presented their Summary Report of our Simulation Exercise. The report is based on feedback from Monthly Meetings as well as the discernment in June. …
Deep, worshipful discernment followed in which the following concerns were raised: the challenges of our geography, ecological concerns, the needs of Young Friends, of isolated Friends and remote, small Meetings, and the busyness and competing priorities of Monthly Meetings.
We were reminded that Friends don’t change current practice until we consciously come to unity on a change. So, CYM in Session will continue to meet annually, and the four-year rotation of location will continue. At this time there is no unity to divide the Yearly Meeting; consequently this matter will not be discerned further unless raised in the future by a Monthly Meeting.
Friends’ commitment to continuous revelation offers Friends an opportunity. It requires all parts of the community to participate. Yearly Meeting allows this to happen, often in new ways. Travelling in the ministry is a practice we can encourage and support, to strengthen inter-connections and offer support and encouragement. In the work of the CYM Secretary and the sharing from Meetings and committees, there are many green shoots springing up amongst us; herein lies a tangible form of the renewal for which we have been so passionately seeking. We want these shoots to be nourished. Clarity on the work we are led to do will illuminate how CYM needs to be structured to be most effective.
Spirit can work through conflict. We are called to engage in processes that honour dissent and help resolve conflict.
At this time, we lay this report aside to season. We ask committees to seek in these materials that which speaks to them, and to find ways of integrating it into their work. We ask for discernment for ways we may respond to the needs of isolated Friends and Meetings, and the unique needs of Young Friends, recognizing there may be links between these issues. We ask that these be shared with Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel  which already has this concern under its care. We ask Friends whether there is one or more amongst us who is led to travel in the ministry and to season these ideas among Friends as they travel.
We recognize we have spent much time in the last decade looking inward. We want to be able to spend more energy on how we live out our Quakerism in the world. We ask the Clerks Committee to receive communications from Meetings and committees about further work that may be needed in response to these questions and to discern whether, and if so, how this should be brought to CYM 2018.
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