News from Western Half Yearly Meeting

Here’s a message describing how things went during the latest gathering for Western Quakers.

Epistle from Spring Western Half Yearly Meeting, May 21-23, 2021

To Friends everywhere,

Greetings from Western Half-Yearly Meeting! We met online again this spring due to the on-going pandemic. We were glad to see Friends from all the meetings in Western Canada, including folks who joined with us for the first time. Our thanks to those that made it possible for us to gather in this virtual way.

In our Friday evening intergenerational welcome activity we enjoyed playing virtual Big Wind Blows by turning on and off our cameras. We broke into small groups in which we were challenged to find three things we had in common, all within only five minutes. 

In Worship Sharing groups, Friends noted how different fellowship feels online – however, these groups helped nurture the spirit of WHYM by connecting new and old Friends in a deep way. 

Business Meeting consisted of a shorter agenda and lively participation from Friends across our region, and we welcomed with joy the news of babies born into our community. 

Special Interest Groups included learning opportunities for Friends on various subjects including: “Project Plowshares – Beating Swords,” “Caring for our own dead at home,” “Small modular nuclear reactors,” and “Creating a virtual play and acting!”

In Memorial Meeting we shared our memories of Friends that have died in the past year. It was a time to give thanks for the grace of God as witnessed in the lives of these Friends.  

On Saturday night Jennifer Preston from the Canadian Friends Service Committee presented on the subject of reconciliation, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and what it means for Friends considering reparations. Through this Friends learned about the CFSC Reconciliation Fund to support community-based efforts of Indigenous people in Canada who are working on cultural and language revitalization. Queries prompted Friends to consider their engagement with reconciliation and that “reconciliation is not a spectator sport.” 

Meeting for Worship was silent except for bird song and a highlight was the joyful presence of a very Young Friend cuddling, crawling and smiling in delight.

Family night is always a time of intergenerational joy and togetherness, and even in the online format gleanings were collected and shared for everyone’s enjoyment!

We are grateful for the ability to gather online, however we are hopeful for the safe return of our in-person gatherings and the new possibilities for remote attendance. We look forward to hugs, balancing, holding babies and hands.

As prepared by the Epistle Committee and shared at Family Night, Sunday May 23, 2021

Come to online Western Half-Yearly Meeting

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fall Western Half-Yearly Meeting will be held online on the Thanksgiving long-weekend (from Friday, October 9th to Sunday, October 11th).

Western Half-Yearly Meeting (WHYM) is a much-loved, twice-yearly gathering for Quakers in Western Canada. This online version will run instead of our in person gathering, which would otherwise have been held at Camp Valaqua near Calgary.

We encourage Friends to join us.

  • To see the updated schedule and find the Zoom link, which will be posted before October 9,  please visit viquakers.ca/whym.

No registration is required, with the important exception of those Friends who wish to participate in Worship Sharing. Friends who wish to be part of a worship sharing group must email Elizabeth Curry with their name and Monthly Meeting by October 5th at bassish@gmail.com.

Rick Juliusson, a member of Cowichan Valley Monthly Meeting currently living in Minnesota, has agreed to deliver a Saturday evening presentation titled “Say His Name: How are we using our voice and privilege in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM?”

For more regular updates, please join the WHYM facebook group at facebook.com/groups/206099916092376. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Andrew Gage, Clerk of WHYM, at whym-clerk@quaker.ca.

Western Half-Yearly Meeting is happening on-line!

This spring’s Western Half-Yearly Meeting will still take place – on-line, through Zoom, from May 15-17.

Western Half-Yearly Meeting (WHYM) is a much-loved, twice-yearly gathering for Quakers in Western Canada. We warmly invite new and seasoned people to join us for this experiment in gathering online.

Planned activities include worship sharing, an on-line Family Night (AKA talent night or open mic), and a chance to hear about and get involved with Canadian Quaker social justice work for Indigenous Rights, Peace, and Criminal Justice. The full schedule is below.

To receive the Zoom meeting ID and password, please check viquakers.ca/whym or the  Facebook group for Western Half-Yearly Meeting.

Organizers for this virtual gathering were inspired by this (slightly adapted) reading:

Quakers speak of their worship times as Meeting: we do not say we are going to church, or service, or communion, but are going to, or being in Meeting. Quakers in a Meeting for Worship, large or small, short or long [virtual or in person] are first of all meeting each other – members of our community, visitors, and new people. Then friends turn inwards to meet ourselves – our thoughts, feelings, prayers, hopes, and concerns. And in the silence, each of us tries to open ourselves to meeting God, the Light, the Promptings of Love and Truth.

— Mary Walton (1997) as quoted in: A Self Study Pamphlet on Canadian Faith and Practice by Marjory Reitsma-Street (2017).

Schedule for Western Half-Yearly Meeting

(Details for each event below)

Friday May 15th

7:30-9:30 MDT
Intergenerational activity followed by Family Night gathering

Saturday May 16th

9:00-10:00 MDT
Worship Sharing Groups

10:30-12:15 MDT
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

1:00-2:00 MDT
Memorial Meeting

2:00-3:30 MDT
Special Interest Groups (to be confirmed)
4:00-6:00 MDT
Meeting of Ministry & Counsel (including Monthly Meeting M&C members)

7:30-9:00 MDT
Gathering: Canadian Friends Service Committee (Keira Mann, CFSC)

Sunday May 17th

9:00-10:00 MDT
Worship Sharing Groups

10:30-11:30 MDT
Meeting for Worship (with children present)

2:00-3:30 MDT
Special Interest Groups (to be confirmed)

Event Details for Western Half-Yearly Meeting

 
Intergenerational/Family Night Gathering
  • Date: Fri, May 15th  
  • Time: 1 – 2 hrs, 6:30 PDT, 7:30 MDT/CST, 8:30 CDT
  • Immediately following the intergenerational activity, there will be a family night event where Friends who wish to may share a song, skit, or poem etc. for everyone to enjoy.  Acts may be submitted as a pre-recorded video or presented live. In order to sign up to perform and for more details, please email Whym-clerk@quaker.ca.
 
Worship Sharing Groups
  • Date: Sat, May 16 and Sunday May 17
  • Time: 1 hour, 8 PDT, 9 MDT/CST, 10 CDT
  • Small groups will gather together (virtually) to sit in Worship and for deep sharing for 1 hour. Each group will have a facilitator and there may be a suggested focus. Anyone wishing to participate must register in advance by emailing Whym-clerk@quaker.ca, by May 11 so that groups can be planned.
 
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
  • Date: Sat, May 16
  • Time: 2 hours, 9:30 PDT, 10:30 MDT/CST, 11:30 CDT
  • Please join us as we conduct our business in the manner of Friends. We have limited the agenda so that we can complete the business in one meeting.
 
Memorial Meeting
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 1 hour, 12 PDT, 1 MDT/CST, 2 CDT
  • As is our practice, the lives of those whose names have been brought forward to be remembered, will be celebrated.  Please let the clerk (whym-clerk@quaker.ca) know of those in your Meeting who have died in the past year and any of those who you would like to be included in the WHYM memorial.  So far we know of Michael Phillips, who passed away Dec 25, 2019 and who for many years was an ardent participant at Western Half Yearly Meeting, and Dottie Ross, long active in Argenta.
 
Special Interest Groups
  • Date: Sat, May 16 and Sun, May 17
  • Time: 1 hour, 1 PDT, 2 MDT/CST, 3 CDT
  • These will only occur if people with a topic in mind, who are willing to lead such groups, come forward (email the clerk at whym-clerk@quaker.ca).
 
Open Ministry & Council Meeting
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 2 hours, 3 PDT, 4 MDT/CST, 5 CDT
  • This is open to all Monthly Meeting Ministry & Council members. The agenda will be discerned by those present.
 
Gathering: Canadian Friends Service Committee – Keira Mann
  • Date: Sat  May 16
  • Time: 1.5 hours, 6:30 PDT, 7:30 MDT/CST, 8:30 CDT
  • Join Canadian Friends Service Committee’s assistant coordinator, Keira Mann, to learn more about CFSC. Keira will also be introducing some videos of CFSC’s three program coordinators giving updates on their work, what’s coming next, and how Friends can get involved. Jennifer Preston, Matthew Legge, and Nancy Russell will tell you all about their respective work in Indigenous Rights, Peace, and Criminal Justice.
 
Meeting for Worship
  • Date: Sunday May 17
  • 9:15 PDT, 10:15 MDT/CST, 11:15 CDT – Gathering and settling into silent worship – all mikes will be muted.
  • 9:30/10:30/11:30 – Meeting for Worship.  As is our practice, all are welcome, including children and babies.  Details around muting and unmuting of mikes are still being discerned.
  • 10:30/11:30/12:30  – After-thoughts in the manner of worship sharing, for those who wish to stay.
  • 11/12/1 (15 minutes) –  Fellowship/chatting (another online experiment) for those who wish to stay.

Atlantic Friends Gathering (May 17-20)

The Atlantic Friends Gathering is an annual get together for Quakers in the Atlantic Provinces – and for anyone who would like to join us.

We meet by the ocean at Camp Geddie over the May long weekend, from Friday, May 17 to Monday noon, May 20th. There are lots of workshops and fun activities.

Please check it out at atlantic.quaker.ca/afg to find out about the program for AFG 2019. You can register on-line and get a reduced rate before May 10th.

The theme this year is “That of God in Everyone and Every Thing: A Call to Quakers for Environmental Action”.Atlantic Friends Gathering Poster 2019

We have 5 guest speakers, as well as our own local leaders.

The guest speakers are:

  • Cameron Fraser, Canadian Yearly Meeting Secretary
  • Judy Loo, International Biodiversity scientist
  • Verena Tan, Canadian Friends Service Committee staff
  • Joanna Bull & Meghan McMorris, Ecology Action Centre staff
  • Plus Atlantic Canada Friends with much to share on the environment

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: Fall Western Half-Yearly Meeting Gathering

The 2017 Fall gathering of Western Half-Yearly Meeting will take place on Thanksgiving weekend (October 6-9) at the Shekinah Retreat Centre north of Saskatoon. We invite all Friends and friends of Friends to join us in this warm, intimate gathering.

The usual items will all be included in the Half-Yearly Meeting schedule (worship-sharing groups, special interest groups, Meetings for Worship including Business Meetings, and the phenomenal Family Night sharing of talents and fun). Shekinah also offers us the chance to ride the fabulous “Flying Fox” zipline that has excited Young Friends of all ages (from about 4 to about 80) over the years.

This year’s gathering will have a theme of Truth and Reconciliation, and will include the interactive Kairos Blanket Exercise on Indigenous history on Saturday evening, led by Elder Josephine Worm and Dale Dewar. Jolee Sasakamoose, an Indigenous professor at the University of Regina, will lead Meetings for Healing on both Saturday and Sunday. We particularly encourage Meetings who have been working on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to send representation so that we can discuss how to continue and deepen our work together.

Friends usually try to arrive on Friday evening (and late into the night), with activities all day Saturday and Sunday, and depart after a short closing Meeting for Worship on Thanksgiving Monday.

Saskatoon Meeting typically provides soups and breads that registrants can eat for dinner on Friday night. Meals on Saturday and Sunday (and Monday breakfast) are cooked by Shekinah staff and shared in close fellowship. Accommodations are bunk-room style (with various numbers of occupants per room) in a lodge, or alternatively there are campsites available. Pillows, linens, sleeping bags/blankets, and towels are not provided.

Driving directions are available here; it may be possible to arrange rides or shared transportation.

We hope that you will join us in Shekinah for Thanksgiving 2017!

In Friendship,
Joy Morris (Clerk)

Registration Information

  • Please be aware that WHYM’s bank account is almost dry. We encourage Friends to approach their meetings for assistance in attending the gathering at Shekinah. We have also added a donation line to the registration form. If you are able to give more, it will help us with the subsidy we are providing for Young Friends to attend.
  • Note that if you are camping, you will also need to pay the day registration rate.
  • All children under 4 will not be charged for registration or accommodation.
  • We greatly encourage meetings to print and share the info and pdf registration with Friends who are not online. Please enable these forms to be scanned and emailed or Beth is happy to fill out forms for folks over the phone (306-540-2384). Forms can also be mailed to Beth at Box 909 Wynyard SK S0A 4T0.
  • Please direct any questions to Beth at bassish@gmail.com.

Link to Registration Form (excel)
Link to Registration Form for Printing (pdf)

Draft Schedule (pdf)
Info Sheet (pdf)