As more and more Friends arrived, we gathered on Saturday evening and were welcomed to Quaker Stew. Grouping ourselves by region we were invited to gather the ‘ingredients’ that make our region unique – those gifts that make us the peculiar Atlantic, Central, Prairie and BC Quakers that we are. Once we identified them, each region in turn created an organic ‘contraption’ (mix) which represented their ingredients, naming them and adding them one by one.
BC brought balancing, prison work (AVP), a home for retiring Friends, environmental concerns and activism (Greenpeace), Vibrant WHYM, young Friends to CYM, multigenerational Quaker families, Argenta Quaker traditions, being open to new paths
Atlantic Friends (though few) brought travel over great distances (prairie Friends laughed), closeness by land and by sea, multi-generational Quaker families, a strong sense of community, environmental concerns, opportunities to live simply.
Central Canadian Friends brought bilingualism, Quaker history, Rogers $$$$, Quaker input into many peace and justice groups, Camp NeeKauNis, CFSC and CYM offices, Quaker burial grounds, the archives, old Meeting Houses, Quaker Book Service, arts and music support, Friends House
The Prairies brought travel over really great distances, creativity and the arts, radical views and actions, more land area per Qapita, resilience, invisible Quakers, and resurrection (meetings have come and gone and come again)…and Tom Findley!!
When the ingredients were assembled, we opened the windows for some perceptions that Friends have of other regions. What is appreciated…what puzzles are there? Friends were encouraged to be brief, tender and respectful. It was a gift to see ourselves as others see us
Finally we were ready to add the spices, as some of the elements that bring us all together. The testimonies were ‘posted’ around the room. We were invited to move, in silence to the one that was most unifying for us right now. As you can see, Friends took some time to discern and still didn’t always find clearness.
Once gathered, in small groups, we created a tableau (drama ‘still life’) that represented for us that testimony.
And finally, we were invited to turn to another person there and offer them a blessing or a wish for our coming time in community before heading off for the evening’s refreshments. Thank you, Friends!!!!