A Rousing Success
by Brendan Glynn
Summer Sessions 2019 at Silver Bay was full of energy brought by newcomers and the return of old-timers. There was a total of 501 attenders which represented an increase of 74 from last year.
Of that, 95 were first-time attenders (!), 40 returned after a long time away (self-defined), and 103 were JYM participants. Thanks are owed to the Pay as Led subcommittee and all the Friends whose generous payments allowed those of us with fewer resources to attend. As folks return to our regular monthly meetings, please spread the word that yearly meeting is a special experience and a chance for spiritual and physical renewal. Let’s make next year even bigger!
It was expressed by a first timer how much he admired the Quaker’s practice of self-evaluation: we are willing to critique ourselves, acknowledge our mixed past history (in areas such as relations with Black and Native American people, or in the development of prisons) and act based on these reflections. It was also expressed that the Quaker decision making process can take longer than one might wish, but the process tends to go in the right direction. An example of this was the issue of fossil fuel divestment, where a sense of the meeting could not be reached but the discussion was healthy and productive. The issue of the possibility of offering membership in the yearly meeting as an alternative to a monthly meeting was similarly discussed. We hold our Quaker community in the light so these important issues can be resolved.
We rejoice in the diversity of the New York Yearly Meeting participants but realize there is room for improvement. This year’s theme—Friends Come in All Ages, Sizes, and Colors: Our Path Toward Being Inclusive—highlights our need to do better but reminds us how far we’ve come. Pay as Led can lead to even more change in the future and will hopefully plant the seeds to allow Quakers to thrive in the yearly meeting area in the future. We also recognize that if it wasn’t for the stewardship of The First Peoples we wouldn’t have the beautiful Lake George.