Fall Sessions 2015: Invitations

Submitted on 11/07/2015

Invitation from the clerk of New York Yearly Meeting

It is a wonderful marvel how a people such as Quakers can place such great emphasis on individual experience, and at the same time hold our collective experience above all earthly forms of governance.

Friends are familiar with individual leadings that often place those Friends who have them in opposition to the greater society at large. We understand that any person can experience God’s presence directly. And we know that our individual experience of the Divine carries greater authority than all the laws and governments that might otherwise require our obedience. Our individual relationship with God informs our essential presence in the world.

But our corporate process guides us as well. We seek to understand what God’s purpose for us might be, and our collective discernment draws us closer to Truth. When we each are individually led to unite with one another in a shared understanding of God’s purpose, we partake in a collective process and expression of community not often experienced in other settings. It seems a miracle, and perhaps it is.

Being a Quaker can be challenging as we seek to live lives filled with God’s presence in the midst of a society that places secular and material pursuits above all spiritual concerns. Quakerism is not simply a once-per-week faith. It’s a full-time way of being in the world.

There is much work to be done in that world. And we have been busy as a Yearly Meeting doing that work. But we also need time to reflect, and to bathe ourselves in the strengths of our community, our heritage, and our continuing experience of the Divine, both individually and collectively, as we are led. Our theme this year invites us to assemble and enter into that space of reflection and renewal:

320 Years, One Faith. 60 Years, One Meeting. Today, One Vision.

Anchor

Invitation from Sessions Committee

Dear friends:

Next year will be an auspicious year for us — 2015 will be the 320th anniversary of the creation of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.  2015 is also the 60th anniversary of our becoming a united yearly meeting, approved at Summer Sessions 1955.  And finally, 2015 will be the first calendar year during which we will consider and worship on our shared Leadings and Priorities, approved at the 2014 NYYM Summer Sessions.  (Find the full text of the Leadings and Priorities online at nyym.org)

Given these three historic events, NYYM’s Session Committee has chosen to work them together into a theme for the 2015 Summer Sessions, being held July 19-25, at Silver Bay Association.  Along with our two anniversaries, the first two envision statements from our Leadings and Priorities are; “We Envision A Yearly Meeting Deeply Grounded In The Practice Of Our Faith” and “We Envision A Yearly Meeting Made Up Of Strong, Vital Monthly Meetings.”  And while we are all encouraged to consider the six envision statements as one piece, our theme will be;

320 Years, One Faith. 60 Years, One Meeting. Today, One Vision.

We invite all f/Friends to consider this theme as a starting point for every level of their Quaker work and worship through-out the entire year.  For instance, the NYYM Communications Committee is already dedicating the January issue of Spark to these first two envision statements.  The articles will surely provide “food for thought” and prayer and action.  Perhaps your Meeting could host discussion groups to consider the envision statements and the articles in Spark.  Perhaps your committee could consider its work with the envision statements in mind – how does our work further the practice of our faith and strengthen our Meetings?  Certainly, First Day Schools and Youth Groups need a strong foundation in understanding Quakerism and a strong Meeting to support them as they discover their own faithful gifts. 

We hope you will join us in celebrating New York Yearly Meeting, which is, after all, nothing without our Faith and our Meetings.  We are 320 years strong because of you.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
NYYM Sessions Committee

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