Countdown to our Yearly Gathering

The countdown ’til Yearly Meeting has begun! Canadian Yearly Meeting in session will be happening online again this year, from August 8-14. Those new to Quakers or simply curious are welcome to join, or to dip into some of the sessions. There will be opportunities for fellowship, learning and sharing, and of course Quaker worship and meditation. For the schedule and further info, see the ‘Yearly Meeting in Session‘ page, which will also host Zoom links when the time comes.

It is not strictly necessary to register to attend, but registration in advance and as soon as possible is extremely helpful for the organizers. Yearly Meeting is also only as good as its volunteers – please register to get involved.

If you’re a member of a Quaker meeting, please encourage your meeting’s members and attenders to attend. A personal invitation to a newcomer may make all the difference. A virtual gathering may have its limits, but it’s also an opportunity to connect with all sorts of Friends who could not come to an in-person gathering.

We particularly invite families with children to attend and participate in the youth program. It has been a long time since many of our Quaker kids have been able to gather, and our Youth Program coordinator has been busy organizing events. In addition to the morning programs (30 minutes), we will be holding evening Family Worship.

Monica Walters-Field will be giving the Sunderland P. Gardner lecture on the topic of “Love and Justice, Hope and Imagination.” Winnipeg Monthly Meeting, led by Janet Ross, will be offering Quaker Study sessions through the week on the topic of “Things That Are Eternal.”

There will be a poetry retreat held the day before #CYM2021 – to share favourite poems, or to turn your hand to writing. The response to our call for Special Interest Groups has been strong, and the options will be posted around July 17.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Check out videos from last year’s annual gathering

Several sessions were recorded from Canadian Yearly Meeting 2020, which was held completely online due the coronavirus pandemic. You can finally watch three of them here – Videos from CYM 2020.

They are also available as a vimeo playlist.

The three talks are:

  • “Quaker Leadings & Our Calling in these Time” by Alastair McIntosh (Glasgow Meeting)
  • “Defunding Criminal Justice: Transforming, Abolishing, and What Comes Next?” by Quakers Fostering Justice

  • “Two Row on the Grand: A Learning & Reconciliation Journey” by Daniel Allen (Kitchener Area MM)

Yearly Meeting Cancelled

We must announce, with regret, the cancellation of our yearly gathering scheduled for Winnipeg this August. Yearly Meeting is normally where much of our business is attended to – and an opportunity for all sorts of fun socializing and spiritual enrichment.

For details about this difficult decision, please see the message below from the Clerks of Yearly Meeting. As we plan next steps together, please stay safe and supportive of one another.

Dear Friends,

On Friday, March 13th, the Canadian Yearly Meeting Committee of Clerks met electronically, as we do monthly, and after much discussion and careful discernment, and with regret, decided to cancel the sessions of Yearly Meeting in Session scheduled for this coming August.

We are well-aware that this decision will be a great disappointment for many Friends who cherish our annual gathering, but we hope that it will also seem prudent and wise. Many of our members are in the higher-risk categories (over 60 and/or with underlying conditions such as hypertension), and many make their travel plans well in advance of the CYM dates. An early decision is desirable for these Friends.

To be clear, it is not simply a matter of the existing pandemic crisis of the Covid-19 virus, although that, of course, is the prime motivator here. Some Friends may be reacting to this news with a sense that the decision was made too early, but the fact is that our YM sessions require a great deal of preparatory work, much of which is done by volunteers. To ask this of our short-handed Program Committee and then to cancel after much work has been done seemed to us unfair.

We believed it would be preferable to cancel the sessions now for the sake of the many people who work hard to make CYM the wonderful gathering that it is; then work can proceed toward a joyous gathering in 2021. As you probably know, there is already much discernment underway about changes to be made to CYM to ensure sustainability. This decision allows these discussions to be more relaxed and thorough before our next gathering.

This unexpected cancellation of sessions will necessitate some new plans: for instance, an earlier and/or extra Representative Meeting; consideration of the terms of committee members and other Friends serving YM; and designations of individuals or groups to carry forward the business of Yearly Meeting until next year. You can be sure that the Committee of Clerks will be working on these plans and will keep Friends in CYM informed as they develop.

In the Light,
Beverly Shepard and Marilyn Manzer, CYM Clerks