Quaker Family Meetups
by Melinda Wenner Bradley
Children and Youth Feild Secretary
The yearly meeting seeks to live into the priority to be a community that nurtures our children, youth, and young adults. Quaker Family Meetups were created out of the energy of the Parent Worship Group at summer sessions. Experiencing that gathering of Friends, and bringing to the experience my dual roles as a parent and Children and Youth Field Secretary, it was clear to me that the circle of parents gathered there valued the opportunity to connect with other Friends around issues of parenting. Participants support one another in grounding their parenting in the "tools" we have as Friends: the queries, space for listening, openness to finding new ways, seeking clarity, the testimonies. Children and parents are nurtured by that support and by the casual fellowship created in our community at summer sessions. How could some of that energy be re-created in other times and spaces?
Since the fall, NYYM Friends have gathered in two quarters for three Quaker Family Meetups, and two more are planned for the spring. These are simple occasions for families in a quarter or region to gather to be in relationship with one another; the children play, and the adults have worship sharing and fellowship together. The thread that has run through all three events has been a desire to better know and support one another. One participant said, “We need a cooperative!” We’re seeking mutual support and sharing spirit through events that gather us across distances and different meeting communities.
The vision and logistics of the Meetups are simple: Provide a comfortable space for adults and kids to gather for fellowship and worship sharing. Flexible scheduling takes family schedules and nap times for little ones into consideration. NYYM staff provide a flyer to share, child care providers, and light refreshments; we collaborate on spreading the word to families in monthly meetings and the quarter or region.
The next Meetup is in All Friends Regional Meeting on Saturday, May 13 at Chatham-Summit Meeting. (online flyer: www.nyym.org/sites/default/files/QuakerFamilyMeetupFlyer5-13-2017.pdf) In 2017, New York Quarterly Meeting's Ministry and Counsel Committee is hosting a series of four Meetups. The first was hosted by Flushing Meeting and the next will be June 3rd at 15th Street Meetinghouse. Watch the NYYM Facebook page and website for details about these and other events!
Interested in hosting a Quaker Family Meetup in your quarter or region? Let’s be in touch! —Melinda Wenner Bradley, CYFS ([email protected])