YMG Bath 2014 reflections

Sarah looks on while Fred relaxes in a wheelbarrow

YMG Reflection

Margaret and David with Wool against weapons scarfe in Village corridor
DrinkingFriday nights ceilidh in big top
Scarecrow in legacy garden

David and Margaret Edmonds

As I look back on Bath YMG

I feel very nourished, and that it has been an experience I will be feeding from for a long time to come. There were many highlights and happy encounters.Three things to highlight here:
i) What an amazing and demanding thing it is to participate in Meeting for Worship for Business, especially in such a large group
ii) Death as part of life and the freedom to think and talk about it at the Death Cafe— I wonder whether we should run one of these for our Meeting? Part of the posters at side of big top where we had the business meetings
iii) A Speaking Silence: Quaker poets of today
I went to a wonder-full poetry reading as a kind of worship sharing, with many of the poems from this quite new collection read by the Friends who wrote them…..a real treat.
I am so grateful for Ffriendships within and beyond Sheffield Meeting, and for AM’s financial support to our family.

Jenni Crisp

Two Crispylall Girl Haikus

Playing with our friends,
soaked playing wiggle finger,
on our bikes cycling.

Emily dove made out of the feathers we had had as part of the WW1 commemoration

Run, chat and cycle,
making new friends together,
learning cool new names.


Shaken Sedimentary Solution

Reflections on the shaking up of metaphorical jar of initially separated soil and transparent water into a cloudy sedimentary solution made up of the following particles:

Sheffield Children in Legacy garden

  • knowing experimentally – a process of allowing the sediment to settle so I can see clearly
  • ‘clubbism’ or membership – feeling at times as if part of a middle class, university educated club of introverts, yet membership or ‘participation’ shown to be a daily practical expression of a spiritual centre arising out of a ‘do-it-together’ worship, rather than a ‘do-it-yourself’ 21st century individualistic spirituality
  • continuing personal reflections and sharing with others involved in education in the light of Cumbria AM’s ‘concern’ – discerning a way to be an educator in the current assessment-focused, unequal world of education; finding an expression of the testimony of integrity, peace and equality with others who also make this journey in education Wool against Weapons stretched out through big top down side corridor into gathering tent and down the other side corridor back into the big top
  • needing moments of space within the throng, moments to let the shaken and opaque settle into something more transparent, clearer
  • hearing the ‘no’ arise from 2000 gathered Quakers and being part of the movement of this ‘no’ to a clearly asserted ‘hope so’….participating wonderfully in the process of gathered discernment
  • the way the statement on Gaza clearly arose out of grounded experimental life, in contrast to the mediated information and rhetoric of the world of media and politics; participating in the sense that this statement proceeds out of a gathered meeting, rather than a policy unit or political committee
  • living closely and wonderfully alongside those from Sheffield Meeting; getting to know my Friends, younger and older on a different, deeper level The result of a kite making session Kites not drones
  • drawing into my life the statement: ‘carry thy sword as long as thou canst’

Mark Lallemand

An excerpt from Kiri’s report
(see below)

At the second Journeys session I went to, based on our Canterbury Commitment to trying to
safeguard our environment, we were given a briefing from the Centre for Alternative Technology –
they have worked out an action plan for a Zero Carbon Britain. We were again asked to share what
we are doing. What can I do? It’s just not enough. I actually left that session feeling more despairing
than when I arrived. We need leadership, we need vision, we need a radical agenda, if we are to be
more than just a comfortable middle-class club.
……………………….. the gathering village
We were asked what two things we would be bringing back to our local meetings from the
gathering: I would like to create opportunities for deep sharing and proper conversations within the
Meeting – a challenge in a large Meeting. I also want to make sure that I use ‘The Red Book’ more –
it’s always there and rarely looked at and I know it’s packed full of good stuff. Anyone want to join
me for regular readings and reflections?
Kiri Smith, 16/8/14
sheffield Friends on Bath station on the lourney home from YMG

Reflections about Yearly Meeting

How do you put a very full week’s reflections down on paper and keep it brief? It is just not possible. So I will just I will just focus on two things.
Firstly the people. 2000+ Friends in one relatively small place it was amazing. Right through the week we kept meeting people we knew. Of course we kept meeting up with Friends from our Area Meeting which was very reassuring. The picnic on Monday lunchtime where many of us gathered together in a beautiful grassy area quite a distance from the gathering village was a lovely event. Seeing Friends we knew well but hadn’t seen for quite a while created a few special moments as did the gathering together of past and future New Zealand Resident Friends. Also the meeting of so many new Friends we had never seen before. I love Yearly Meeting and try to attend all the business sessions which are very impressive and some of the other sessions but it is always the people I meet that I enjoy most. Past and future New Zealand Resident Friends Meet up
The other thing that struck me was the thoughts of Quaker Faith and Practice or as Ben Pink Dandelion kept referring to it the red book. In his Swarthmore Lecture he kept holding up an imaginary one and waving it aloft. Its all in here he would say and so much is. I resolved to read it more and have even signed up to go on a Woodbrooke course about it later in the year. We also had two business sessions to discern whether or not the time was right to start the process of preparing a new one. The conclusion was no not yet. I am undecided as to whether I think this is the right decision or not as the process took ten years last time and is likely to take the same this time but we will see. Meeting for Sufferings will stay go ahead and carry out a review about it. I also went to a session talking about QF&P. This was led by Helen Rowlands Epilogue on Monday evening with lights going out then on again to signify new hope
who is going to be responsible for carrying out the review. It is obvious that the book is used a great deal in many different ways but how many of us really know it well. I’m sure I don’t which is why I’m going on the Woodbrooke course.

Margaret Lawson

The highlights of YMG for me were

‘Journeys’ – I did the 4 sessions with Janet Scott – ‘Exploring the Yearly Meeting topics through using the Bible’ and 1 session with Stuart Masters – ‘Quaker origins – the early Quaker vision and its relevance for today’. If anyone is interested in the latter, I have the hand-outs on email and would be happy to forward them. Both these ‘Journeys’ were outstanding. Sheffield and Balby Area Meeting Friends Met together for a picnic

The Salter Lecture given by Richard Murphy – ‘Tax Justice -challenging the liturgy of neoliberalism’
Yearly Meeting in session is an amazing thing . Gratitude for the skill and patience of the Clerk.
The Swarthmore Lecture- available on the Woodbrooke site – challenging stuff.

Our Friend Hilary Browne gave a very insightful and moving talk about Gaza which she has visited.
Also, I must not forget the importance of the coffee cart neat the Big Top which served excellent coffee and bacon baps – very much appreciated.

Kathleen Wallace canal trip

YMG – Reasons to be thankful (part 3)

Yearly Meeting in session is an amazing thing . Gratitude for the skill and patience of the Clerk.
The Swarthmore Lecture – it all made sense at the time but now it’s gone. Thank goodness for youtube.
A long bike ride with lots of other people through the hills in sunshine to a lake. I’m grateful to those who persuaded me to go.
Music for Peace – a tent full of people clapping in parts, conducted by an Israeli musician who plays in a band with Palestinians. By listening to each other carefully we can create rhythm and harmony.
The Salter Lecture – If only we all paid our taxes the world would be a better place. Let’s put our hands together for the tax collectors.
The joy and intensity of sharing a house with friends – thank you to all of them.
Gillian Hind

This is my thoughts on YMG.

It was really good to be with so many Friends, both those I know locally and those I had not seen for some time. the gathering village at sunset
There was so much going on that I am still trying to get my head round all the information I was given. I found the ‘Journeys’ helpful as I was able to choose one particular path for 4 sessions. This suited me, rather than jumping from one thing to another, although I am sure some might have wanted more variety. It was good that there was this choice. I went to Janet Scott’s ‘Exploring the Yearly Meeting topics through using the bible.’ The four sessions were stimulating and I have no regrets at restricting myself to them.
The other session that I found memorable was the Salter Lecture, ‘Tax Justice – challenging the liturgy of neo-liberalism’ given by Richard Murphy. He spoke of tax havens wich provide tax avoidance. He was an excellent speaker and the lecture theatre was packed. Some interesting questions arose which require further thought.
Altogether I thoroughly enjoyed my week at YMG.
June Lewis

Thoughts on YMG:coffee stall selling good coffee spiced apple and bacon baps

YM sessions so well clerked.
Swarthmore lecture thought provoking.
As was the Salter lecture
Really friendly atmosphere,
Lovely seeing old friends,
Very good coffee caravan.
Steps, steps, steps I estimated I did 2575 steps UP just to my room and food!
Romayne Gayton

Two small reflections by Carol Wise

In a tent
Two Thousand Quakers

In a world
Of flapping tents and tiny spiders
Staying connected.

Haiku on wool against weapons! johnathan Marks and Jenny Crisp knit for Wool against Weapons in the gathering tent

I sat in the tent
Knitting pink wool for peace whilst
Laughing with my Friends

Jonathan Marks

My reflections of YMG

Over 2000 Quakers

Welcome Meeting singing

“What it means to be a Quaker Today”:http://www.quaker.org.uk/ym – Membership

Ben Pink Dandelion’s Swarthmore Lecture A floor coveringexhibition representing a moorland being made with a variety of crafts

Journeys and Pathways
World War 1 commemorations
World War 1 reflections (White Feather Diaries)
World War 1 Epilogue
What Quakers did in World War 1

Thoughts of what’s happening in Gaza

Moorland cover

To revise or not to revise Quaker Faith and Practice – not at the moment Swans and signets swimming on the canal

Trip on Canal

Legacy Garden – Quaker gardens

Escape to American Museum –Kaffe Fassett exhibition and Quilts

Gathering Village

Wool against Weapons

Coffee stall – hot spiced apple + bacon baps.
Faith Rodger

More reflections

This was my first YMG or Britain Yearly Meeting and I came away wondering why I had missed the previous 20 or more years and with a resolution to attend the next 20 if I am able. Legacy garden built during YMG for Bath University

I dipped into different ‘journeys’ and ‘events’ and found the following particularly stimulating and thought provoking: the talk on EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine), a couple on money and inequality and the tax system, Valuing Diversity of Belief in Quaker Meetings and The Quaker Origins the Early Quaker vision and its Relevance for Today’ led by the same Woodbrooke tutor Stuart Masters.

However it was the Swarthmore Lecture led by Ben Pink Dandelion ‘Open for transformation – Being Quaker’ and the experience of being in Meeting for Worship for Business which had the greatest impact on me. I found Ben’s lecture inspirational. Although the content couldn’t be said to be new, he gave a clarity of vision of what it means to be Quaker based on a deep knowledge of Quaker history which I found extremely helpful. He described how Encounter (with God, the Spirit, the Divine), Discernment (to check the authenticity of the encounter) Worship (a way of nurturing direct encounter) and Testimony (the way of life which comes from that encounter) are the four things which we can say makes us Quaker. All of them are about process but are theologically underpinned. His words spoke to me and reflected my experience of being Quaker and I thoroughly recommend the book of the lecture which is available in Sheffield Central library and from Woodbrooke.

I found Meeting for Worship for Business extraordinarily and inexplicably moving. When the minute was made about the situation in Gaza I felt, perhaps for the first time, the power that comes from belonging to a spirit-led group of people speaking ‘truth to power’. I return from YMG with a sense of transformation, feeling fed and nurtured in my Quaker life and grateful that I was given this opportunity by Area Meeting offering a bursary to all those who wished to attend.’

Helen Griffin

YMG for me, with a hint of poetry Sheffield and Balby Area Meeting Friends Met together for a picnic
Laura Church

Something old (and familiar): yoga, drama and discussion
Something new: a ‘death café’ (ask me about this, I’d be happy to say)
Finding out about the Quaker way
Something pink: a knitted scarf for peace, and Mr Dandelion
An Area Meeting picnic: time to chat about whatever,
the Light (or whatever you call it)
All the colours of the rainbow in a parachute, under which the children play
Meeting for business, will everyone agree? I hope so!
A trip to the seaside: ice-cream, paddling and making sandcastles
Building friendships too
Learning new songs and remembering old
African dancing with smiles on our faces
Wearing them still as we board the train home
Sheffield awaits and waits, silently for our return.

an extract from Sally Ashe’s report
(see below for full report)

flags on the gate by the entrance to the gathering village

For me the week’s highlight came in the Retreat Lecture given by a fellow trustee, Jane Muers. The Retreat, located in York, is the only Quaker psychiatric hospital in the world. It was opened in 1796, and is famous for having pioneered the humane and “moral” treatment that became a model for asylums around the world. Founded by William Tuke it was originally run by and for Quakers, but now referrals are nearly all made and funded by the NHS. Jane gave us a model of how we can relate to Friends with mental health problems in our meetings or indeed in any situation inspired by the words of George Fox:
‘Friends, meet together and know one another in that which is eternal’.

Haiku on YPP (Young People’s Programme – 11-14 year olds)

YPP was fun
We played hunt the Quaker with
Friends from JYM

Moya Barnett

Yearly Meeting Gathering was for me …….

• A kaleidoscope of images and reflections Epilogue on Monday evening with lights going out then on again to signify new hope

• Awesome experience of around 2,000 people gathered in the Big Top

• Sitting with Friends I didn’t know and being able to share thoughts on a

• Seeing familiar faces

• Renewing links with Friends connected with Central and Southern Africa YM an interesting car seen in the carpark

• Wonderfully moving session – words, music, stillness – introducing WWI

• Membership and the future of the Religious Society of Friends

• Listening

• Our meetings for worship for business … what precious gifts these are

• Monday’s picnic …. Thank you, Friends

• Too many simultaneous events I wanted to go to

• All the preparations that went into this uplifting experience Legacy garden built during YMG for Bath University
• The weather.

Chris Love

Daffodil Ministry from Bath

I wandered vaguely as a cloud
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of olden Quakers, less sprightly at the knees,
Yet chattering cheerfully, keen to please.

Children, too, in sparkling glee
Fluttering and dancing at YMG.
Now at home, in vacant or in pensive mood,
There flashes on my inward eye: ‘That was good!’

Roy Love

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