NYYM Epistle 2011

Epistle from New York Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends

July 17–23, 2011—Silver Bay, NY

To Friends Everywhere:

Our session opened with the Clerk telling the story of Peter being called from the boat during a storm.  This week on the shores of Silver Bay, Lake George, New York, we did feel a sense of being called.  A sudden death among us reminded Friends of how fragile and precious is life and how dear our community.

Despite our blessed squabbles and luxuries, we have tried to step out in faith.  We became more determined to free the captives and awaken the dreamers (ourselves included) whose careless sleep, left unbroken, will destroy life on the land and in the oceans of this planet.   In extended worship, we told our experience clearly and simply.  Among those holding the body, there was a sense of elation and of heaven entering. 

We are one body, many parts, each indispensible, each with unique gifts.  For example, one Friend has the gift of holding another’s sorrow and joining it with hope; another by the same power is granted the gift of speaking hard truths with love; and yet another has the gift of seemingly irrational optimism.

Quaker testimonies also form one body; Earthcare inseparable from peace, integrity, community, simplicity, equality.  A rising generation of Friends embodies these testimonies with their vision, and their witness and service in the world.

Where are we in the story?  Are we Peter walking in faith?  Peter sinking in doubt?  Or among the disciples who remain in the boat?  In Earthcare and in our other forms of witness, the question continues to rise:  What will we each do? What will the Yearly Meeting do?

Heather M. Cook,
Clerk of New York Yearly Meeting.

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