Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
17100 Quaker Lane, Sandy Spring, Maryland 20860-1267
May 4, 2017
On behalf of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, I invite Friends from your Yearly Meeting to join us for our Annual Session, July 31–August 6, 2017 at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. In particular, I ask for your help in extending a warm invitation to Friends who feel led to visit as part of our Intervisitation Program. The theme for the 2017 Annual Session is “Growing Towards Justice—Acting on Faith.”
Registration is now open. Please consider who may be interested and able to attend now, so there is plenty of time to make travel plans. We are delighted to welcome all visitors, first-time or returning, for a day or the whole session.
Our Intervisitation Working Group will sponsor your members’ visits to our Annual Session and will serve as your hosts. We enthusiastically welcome all visitors from across the entire Quaker spectrum. Baltimore Yearly Meeting is able to pay full costs of registration, as well as room and board at Hood College, for up to two members of your Yearly Meeting. These funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so early registration is recommended. If you wish, you may request partial support rather than the full registration, room, and board offered. So we may reserve funds for as many visitors’ registrations as possible, we are unable to cover travel or visa expenses.
From its beginnings in 2005, our Friends in the intervisitation program have visited with and welcome visitors from all Yearly Meetings of North America, as well as around the world. We enjoy the presence of and being present with Friends all over, finding deep joy in our diversity.
For more information, please go to www.bym-rsf.org/events/annualsession/ or call the Yearly Meeting office at 301-774-7663. Please say that you are coming as part of intervisitation. Those accepting the offer to cover registration costs, or anyone with any further questions about intervisitation, should contact the working group at , with a copy to its clerk, Rebecca Pickard, at .
Travel Minutes or Letters of Introduction from your community are encouraged but not required. We read travel minutes at our meetings for worship with a concern for business. We hope your visitors can join us not just this year but also at subsequent annual sessions, thus coming to share with us more deeply.
In the Light,
Ken Stockbridge, Presiding Clerk
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session – July 31 – August 6, 2017
Our Annual Session begins after lunch on Monday, July 31, with a retreat that extends through lunch the following day. Business sessions and worship, interspersed with worship sharing, Bible study, engaging evening speakers, afternoon workshops, interest groups, and rich fellowship including recreational activities full of music and fun begin after lunch on Tuesday, August 1. We close with meeting for worship and lunch on Sunday, August 6. The Intervisitation Working Group sponsors evening gatherings and workshops.
Theme of This Year’s Session: Growing Towards Justice—Acting on Faith
With our 2017 program theme – “Growing Toward Justice – Acting on Faith” – together we will seek to understand and discover ways to “live in that life and power that will take away the occasion” for the tragic violence, injustice, and lost human potential that begins in childhood and extends into entire communities.
We look at the tragedies of gun violence, substance abuse, untreated mental health issues, mass incarceration, etc. and ask what caused these situations and how can we work to prevent them in the future. Can we speak to issues starting in earliest childhood and reaching into a person’s adult life that sowed the seeds of a violent and unjust world? We are concerned that too many children are born into dysfunctional or harmful situations, that schools do not have adequate resources and support for struggling children, that there are not opportunities for positive activities to encourage creativity or wholesome sports, that discipline too often reinforces negative self-images instead of offering mediation, mentors or educational alternatives, and that too many young adults are not adequately prepared for meaningful employment.
And what stands in the way of our responding to the call to act? Fear too often holds us back from engaging meaningfully with others. As T.S. Eliot wrote “between the idea… and the act falls the Shadow” (The Hollow Men (1925). Will we hesitate to share our lives with those with whom we might interact? Will we indulge our fear that they won’t like us, that we’ll make mistakes, that it will take too much time or require too much commitment, that we’ll not know what to say or do?
Or, in the Spirit, can we take courage, follow our leading, and see how way opens? As Friends, our shared Light can overcome the Shadow and the darkness of our times. Anne Frank, writing in her diary during the darkest of times, observed “Isn’t it wonderful that none of us need wait a moment before starting to change the world?”
Location: Hood College, Frederick, MD
The Hood College campus is lovely and convenient. It is one hour from Baltimore or Washington, DC and accessible by public transportation. For more details, see www.bym-rsf.org/events/annualsession/registrationinfo.html
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Intervisitation Working Group Mission Statement
Approved by the working group, October 25, 2014
The Intervisitation Program of Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) seeks to nurture the beloved community of Friends by encouraging, preparing, and supporting those who travel among Friends, both inside and outside of BYM. Our experience has shown the power of visiting in order to care for relationships within and among Yearly Meetings, especially where they are fragile, as well as to enjoy the richer, more abundant life available in the wide family of Friends. Through a simple “ministry of presence” we hope to be spiritually and prayerfully present, to listen deeply with love and without judgment, to be tender with another, not to bring our own agendas, and to get to know each other in that which is eternal. Visits will be in all directions, and involve both offering and receiving hospitality.