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