Young Adult Friends Gathering, 2010


Epistle – YAF Gathering 2010

Dear Friends everywhere:

We send greetings from the Young Adult Gathering held at University Friends Meeting and Church in Wichita, Kansas, Fifth Month, 2010. Present were roughly 73 young adults from all branches of Quakerism, and 23 yearly meetings.

One of the great elements of this gathering was serving one another in hospitality, as we prepared our own meals and cleaned up the kitchen. We labored together outwardly and inwardly, seeking our common experience of God and Love.

We came to a place that was difficult to reach. We came to the center of this country, hoping to be brought to our Center as a faith community. It is an ongoing challenge to unite as a corporate body, and we grieve that not all felt able to participate. We struggled to hear one another and to understand one another. We struggled to speak our truths and to understand each other’s truths. We encountered differences between the branches of Friends, and within our own yearly meetings. But we came forward into worship willingly, vulnerably, and trusting in God to lead us. Despite and through these hardships, we were carried into an ongoing relationship with Love.

In our time together, God met with us, just as we asked. In our struggles and our joys, God was there, loving us. In studying Scripture together, we learned from Jesus’ example that Love requires crossing borders, going to places that are strange, foreign, and that seem dangerous. Now, like our Friend, we too are crossing borders. Jesus took risks, and now we are taking risks. But those risks are worth it because we are seeking Truth in Love, and when we find Love we are going to find God because God is Love, and that Love waits to be awakened in all of us.

The seeds that were planted this weekend must be tended and nurtured, or they will not grow. We look forward to the joy of continued labor, and to the fruit that our branches will bear. Before these seeds could be planted, we had to be plowed up through striving and struggle. We had to be broken and made tender. We were. We ask God to continue to break our hearts from all that breaks His heart, to continue to open our eyes. We have begun.

Friends gathered at University Friends meetinghouse, in Wichita, Kansas
Fifth Month 31st, 2010

8 Comments so far
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It seems to me that the differences that were encountered at the conference are a secret. Why is this?

Comment by Pamela Draper

@Pamela: No secret, just too varied and interpersonal to list in the epistle. Personally I noticed discussion around worship style, theology (such as the nature of salvation in Christ) and even food preferences.😉 As the planning committee and pastoral care team do self-evaluations, and the video documentation we took takes shape, we’ll be able to comment more fully about what went on. We didn’t conduct business sessions (and so don’t have minutes as such) as we are not a discerning body of Friends or an organization- just a group of Friends coming together for worship, fellowship, and learning.
-Tyler Hampton.

Comment by shakinadet

What a wonderful letter! Thank you, Friends, for your willingness to be open and to be together. God can make good use of all openings.

Comment by Susan Lee Barton

Thank you for entering willingly into the struggle of our lives, to love fully, freely, openly, even those we don’t understand and to move into fear and through it. I hope to be a part of this with you all next year and perhaps before.

Comment by pmorrison

I am so happy that you all are getting together and opening your hearts to each other and God. Your epistle is honest and I pray for further efforts of this kind in Quakerism. You are the future.

Comment by Sue Axtell

A future we don’t have to wait for, Sue!

Comment by Margaret Katranides

I am heartened to read of your labors, extending yourselves beyond usual “comfort zones” [where did we get THAT idea, anyway!] and seeking for faithfulness, unencumbered by those carrying on battles from previous generations of sectarianism.

We will have Micah Bales present next week at our annual sessions of Illinois Yearly Meeting, and look forward to his sharing something of your collective experience.

You’ve been in my prayers for a long time. May you never lose sight of your source of Hope. It does not have to do with the cleverness of human organization. It has more to do with utter dependence on the Power of the Lord which, as Fox testified so often, is over all.

Your Friend, -DHF
(presiding clerk, ILYM)

Comment by David Finke

I am moved and strengthened by your epistle. Its sparse honesty is in contrast to the “triumphalistic” tone of many group epistles, which blithely proclaim “what a wonderful time we had” and “how wonderful we are.” Instead, I experience a real honesty about the challenges of building community — embodying what may be called “Christ’s body.” Ephesians 4, my prayer-text for the morning, says it all.

I have printed out your words and will meditate on them, to learn and grow from the insight that has been given to and through you. I will be sharing it with f/Friends in my meeting, in joyful celebration of God’s faithfulness.

I feel such love for you. I join in your love for each other. It is immaterial whether we have met each other outwardly.

Comment by Helene Pollock

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