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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NEYM Sessions -- Part 1 In which it appears that we have picked up right where we left off

New England Yearly Meeting Sessions officially began Saturday evening August 6. But because of the event on Friday at the Great Meeting House, many people had actually arrived on Friday evening. Some of these people had committee meetings to attend, but I was pretty free. I used the morning to take a badly needed nap. I generally try to come to Yearly Meeting rested because it can be physically taxing. Not that sitting most of the day is so difficult, but because I tend to stay up late socializing and then have to get up early for breakfast. It is easy for the 6 days to become an exercise in sleep deprivation.

This year I was physically tired, but emotionally refreshed when I got to sessions. During the last two weeks of July, my wife and I went to Hawaii in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary. We had a totally excellent time and we ended with 3 days of doing little but lying on the beach in Maui and swimming and snorkeling. By the end we were totally rested and refreshed.

Then we had a 12 hour overnight plane flight back to Boston. And as tiring as that was, we had trouble sleeping because of the 6 hour time difference. I went back to work for four days. I had some deadlines to meet that would occur while I was at NEYM. So I was working late and not sleeping well. At least I had worked through the jet lag by the time sessions started.

Because of the early start, Saturday was not a rush of packing up the car and getting to sessions to unpack. It also meant that we had two additional meals to visit with people over. As a result I felt a greater sense of relaxation and spaciousness when we gathered on Saturday night. As usual, there was not much actual business to be conducted. It was mostly the usual introductions and our traditional calling the roll of meetings and general description of the week ahead. But when the time came to approve the minutes there was an objection raised to the phrase that something was “our cross to bear.” because of the Christian overtones of that phrase. This seemed to pick up right where we left off from our approval of the Minute of Sending Forth  at last sessions where some Friends had difficulty with the explicit Christian language. The minute was finally approved with only minor changes, if I recall correctly, to make it clearer that this was reporting on what someone said and was not meant to speak for the entire Yearly Meeting. There had been considerable discussion over the intervening year about language and inclusivity and exclusivity but it seemed we were right back in the middle of it with our divisions staring us in the face.

But God had other plans


Will T.

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Blogger Eric H-L said...

I can't wait to hear what happened next!
Eric H-L in Indianapolis

August 17, 2011 7:12 PM  
Blogger Cat C-B said...

I believe this is the part where I was physically groaning--at least, according to Peter and my friend Kathleen. (I was trying not to groan out loud--I really was!)

While I most certainly had trouble with the "Minute of Sending Forth" from last year--trouble that, in hindsight, has at least as much to do with our impatience about waiting to be in Unity before passing a minute (and I use that phrase intentionally!) as with language.

But when we have people objecting to minuting the clerk's own phrase as it was given in her welcoming remarks... well, that's what I'm inclined to call A Bad Sign. I was not happy thinking of what we crazy Quakers could come up with to do to one another next.

*crooked grin*

Happily, as you said, God had some other ideas for us. *Phew!*

August 22, 2011 1:16 PM  

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