NYYM Epistle 2012

Epistle from New York Yearly Meeting

Religious Society of Friends

Seventh Month/July 22-28, 2012 – Silver Bay, NY


To Friends Everywhere:

We were called to focus on Integrity. Many of us have felt a great sense of Presence, of miracles large and small. In worship with attention to business, we repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, which justified genocide and enslavement in Christ’s name. We also approved seasoned queries and advices on earthcare witness for inclusion in Faith and Practice.

Our plenary presenters challenged us to identify the fig leaves we need to remove so that we can clothe ourselves in righteousness. They told us it would be hard. It is. During the labors of extended worship and threshing, we heard grains of truth. Through several years of extended worship, we have been building a capacity for trust that is beginning to bear the fruit of disagreement without estrangement. We can now drop the fig leaves of euphemism and abstraction that protect us from conflict and hide our pain. Although work remains, we are speaking more plainly about God, Christ, non-theism, atheism, and recorded ministry.

Those fig leaves that may once have protected us from divisive pain, now keep us from being whole. We acknowledge that when the children and teens enter worship they too often feel unwelcome. We are not whole without everyone. We wait upon, and work for, that wholeness in expectation and love, asking: Are we willing to bear the prophetic witness that, were it a crime, would convict us? Are we willing to bear the love that overcomes the fear and anger of a broken world?

Heather M. Cook,
Clerk of New York Yearly Meeting