Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

NEYM Part 4 – In which two miracles occur.



On Tuesday morning, the yearly meeting budget came up for approval. The treasurer and the Finance Committee made their presentation. After a number of difficult years, their main news was that we were in the black for the first time in several years. There may have been a clarifying question or two but then the budget was approved with no further discussion. Elapsed time, about 10 minutes. To me, this certainly qualifies as a miracle.

The other major item on our agenda that morning was a proposal for changing the name of the Christian Education committee to the Quaker Youth Education Committee. This change was being proposed because the committee found that it was doing a lot more than helping with First-Day Schools and they wanted their name to reflect that. Their new purpose statement starts:

The goal of the Quaker Youth Education Committee is to help the Yearly Meeting's children and youth: build personal foundations of Quaker history, practice, and belief, Christan education, and comparative religion; find effective ways to witness to their beliefs in the world; and become spiritually resilient in a complex and changing society.

As understandable as this desire was, it was also clear that this change could become a flash point for all of the tensions in the Yearly Meeting between Christian and non-Christian Friends. What happened was truly remarkable and another miracle. The first speaker was a well-known Christian and spoke about her first reaction to this proposal was fear that this was going to be a first step in turning Quakerism into a non-Christian religion. But she was not going to be governed by her fear. She trusted in the good faith of the committee and the care that it had taken already. A friend who has often had reservations about Christian language spoke about how much she valued hearing the Christians in the yearly meeting. Another well-known Christian Friend spoke about how important it was to her that she was accepted into membership when she was not a Christian. There was a palpable sense of unity in the room. The change was approved. There was a bit of difficulty in preparing the minute but it was resolved when we finally realized that the discomfort was because the proposed minute did not go far enough in recognizing the value the body was putting on the Christian voices in the Yearly Meeting.

Blessings,

Will T

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5 Comments:

Blogger Aggie said...

Will, I couldn't make it to Yearly Meeting and I am really appreciating your postings. Thanks for this sharing.

August 22, 2011 11:08 PM  
Blogger David H. Finke said...

Signs of Hope and Promise! Hallelujah. I love it. Thanks for share that.

-DHF

August 23, 2011 1:18 AM  
Blogger Will T said...

Thank you Aggie and David. I am enjoying reporting on a gathering of Friends where I am not chronicling the details of our disputes. This was a very special year for NEYM.

Blessings,

Will T

August 23, 2011 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Such a great article . The treasurer and the Finance Committee made their presentation. After a number of difficult years, their main news was that we were in the black for the first time in several years. There may have been a clarifying question or two but then the budget was approved with no further discussion. Elapsed time, about 10 minutes. To me, this certainly qualifies as a miracle. Thanks for sharing this article

March 18, 2012 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Such a great article . The treasurer and the Finance Committee made their presentation. After a number of difficult years, their main news was that we were in the black for the first time in several years. There may have been a clarifying question or two but then the budget was approved with no further discussion. Elapsed time, about 10 minutes. To me, this certainly qualifies as a miracle. Thanks for sharing this article

March 18, 2012 10:34 AM  

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