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Posted in News on July 30, 2019
Lake Erie Yearly Meeting wants to make its Annual Gathering and other committee meetings, visits, and programs free of harassment. This policy addresses a number of forms of harassment, described within the policy. Our consciousness of the need to prevent and respond to these types of harassment has been heightened by our realization that such behavior does occur at Friends’ events..
We will post contact information for the Harassment Discernment Committee here once members have been identified.
Epistle to all Friends
Lake Erie Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
July 25-28, 2019
Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio
“(We) remain(s) a vibrant community of dedicated, caring, flawed and lovely Quakers. Gathering together for worship, study, fellowship or work strengthens our bonds and renews our spirits. We face the uncertain future not afraid and not alone. Puzzled sometimes and often tired but willing to try in love, in kindness, in hope and grace. We are finding our way step by prayed step.”
To Friends Everywhere,
We arrived in Bluffton, Ohio from college towns like Ann Arbor and Athens, big cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland and communities throughout Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania with small worship groups and growing meetings. Bluffton is a place that for many is full of memories of past yearly meeting sessions; those that gathered found comfort in the familiar and also engaged energetically with what is new.
The 25 participants in the children’s program delighted to be with each other and spent their time singing, crafting, and in active play. Our evening of talent and ice cream brought out surprises and hidden skills among us, including delightful round-singing by the children, original poetry and song, and music from Pete Seeger to J.S. Bach. We heard creative re-interpretations of a Psalm and of Micah 6. Four Friends presented a report on their sojourn at the FWCC Section of the Americas gathering in dramatic form, some of it in Spanish, ending in the group song that summed up their joyful experience of listening and ministering with Evangelical, Conservative and Unprogrammed Friends: Demos Gracias al Señor.
We were led to go deeper in our corporate business. With thoughtful, substantive consideration of inclusion, we approved a new policy to provide guidance to adults who feel they have experienced harassment during our time together and developed a new scholarship fund for LEYM youth who choose to attend a Quaker college or internship experience. The theme of inclusion was also reflected in discussion of FGC’s process of becoming an anti-racist organization, and in reports on how individual meetings within LEYM have taken up this work. We were reminded that true anti-racist practice – and indeed, radical inclusion on a wider scale – must be practiced like preventative dental care. While there is no fixed destination or closure to this work, we had the hopeful sense that in many cases, we are reporting from a place of new experimentation and implementation – one step along the way.
One example of this experimentation was our intentionality around food choices during Sessions. Broadmead Monthly Meeting, in coordination with LEYM’s Earthcare Committee created signage around the dining hall that educated us on the environmental cost of different food choices, menus were largely vegetarian, and youth served as compost helpers/educators. Both participants and dining hall staff were enthusiastic about the resulting reduction in waste and impact.
Our plenary speaker Joyce Ajlouny, American Friends Service Committee’s General Secretary, shared information on AFSC’s history as well as the ways its work is manifesting in the world, led by people who are impacted by oppression. Their current planning process is illustrating that AFSC fills needs where others do not go. Its work shows ways we can join in their courage to accompany and support those whose voices are silenced, including immigrants, the incarcerated, and – as Joyce shared in stories from her own life – the Palestinian people.
Reflections on gaps in our nominating committee slate and a dinner with Monthly Meeting clerks provoked reflection on the core value of LEYM to its members. We know that many members of monthly meetings do not even know of, let alone take advantage of, LEYM resources or opportunities. We have an opportunity to learn more about who we are. What do meetings most need from a larger Quaker body? How does this match, or not match, ways we are currently organized? What new forms and practices might emerge if we identified different objectives? Exploring these possibilities already releases us from guilt and gives access to new energy and enthusiasm.
Repeatedly, in business sessions and in workshops, we heard of the value of connections to each other and to the Earth, meeting-to-meeting, meetings to Quaker organizations, between individuals within meetings, and with the Divine [God]. We turn to each other with more urgency in a world with needs that leave us, at times, hopeless and despairing. We struggle to live with the damage and our complicity, unsure how to balance comfort and challenge in our lives.
In sessions, we heard a request for endorsement of a traveling minute and considered ways we may be best equipped to support people whose call is to travel among Friends and how we support gifts both at the monthly and yearly meeting level. In various workshops, the theme of moving from inward deepening to interconnection was frequently raised up. We have hope that with deeper connections, we may learn better how to name our gifts and understand the work that we are uniquely suited to do.
Our hearts have been made lighter and more tender through sharing your epistles, whether you are yearly meetings that are regrouping after rupture or are finding community in diverse expressions of our faith. We are grateful for the opportunity to be in relationship and send prayers that Truth continues to prosper with you all.
Nancy Reeves, Presiding Clerk, Cleveland Friends Meeting
Epistles read during LEYM’s 2019 business sessions:
Do you have young Friends who are planning to attend a Quaker college or university during the 2019-20 school year? Lake Erie Yearly Meeting approved a new college scholarship fund for LEYM young adults who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or Quaker-related internship opportunity.
The deadline is 9/30 this year! More information about criteria and next steps is available below.
Posted in News on July 16, 2019
In order to reduce paper consumption, please download these documents to a mobile device before traveling to Annual Sessions in Bluffton and please read them before they are considered for action during business sessions. There will be a small number of print-outs available on-site for Friends to share.
Posted in News on July 12, 2019
Friends are invited to apply to join Ann Arbor Meeting’s Quaker House Residential Community (QHRC), which has a vacancy opening sometime in August. Quaker House adjoins the Ann Arbor Friends Meetinghouse on a lot near the edge of the University of Michigan main campus. The QHRC typically has 5–6 members of various ages, some of whom are Friends. Learn more here. Persons interested in applying should email the Resident Host at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in News on July 3, 2019
You Who Are Weary, Come Home: A Contemplative Retreat in the Manner of Friends
November 7-10, 2019, at the Weber Retreat and Conference Center in Adrian, Michigan.
More than ever, in these days of fast-paced living, multi-tasking, and continual connectivity, we need times apart – times of “retirement” as early Friends used to say. We need time for communion with God and the refreshment of the soul.
Come and simply be with God. Attend to the divine stirrings of the soul, opening to grace. All are welcome; it is not necessary that you be a Quaker to participate.
Offered through The School of the Spirit, this retreat will be led by April Allison and Sharon Frame of the Red Cedar Friends Meeting in Lansing, Michigan. Jim Herr and Cindy Herr will participate in leadership as part of the mentorship program.
REGISTRATIONS ARE OPEN: For more information, or to register.
The Annual Meeting Registration Form, instructions for the form, and the Parent or Guardian Consent and Permission Form are available here as separate files. The registration deadline for children and for the early bird discount is July 8.
Please note the various discounts / scholarships available:
- LEYM subsidizes the cost for children and youth (ages 18 and under). Registration and Lodging are free, and meals are discounted by 2/3.
- Young Adult Friends (ages 19–35) have their registration fee waived (though lodging and meal costs still apply).
- First-time attenders receive a 1/3 discount on all costs.
- Clerks who are not taking the first-time attender discount receive a 25% discount on all costs.
- All adults who work fulltime with the youth do not incur charges.
Please note that vegetarian meals are the default option at this year’s annual sessions. More information about this decision is available here; please note any requests for a meat alternate on your registration.
Online Registration is Available: Registration for Annual Meeting can be completed either online at leym.quaker.org/reg/registration.htm or by mailing the paper forms and a check to:
Sally Weaver Sommer
118 S. Spring St.
Bluffton, OH 45817
At the fall Executive Committee meeting, Mathilda Navias and Jeff Cooper agreed to consider needed updates to our Policies and Procedures manual. They have compiled a six-page document that groups suggested changes in four categories: A) those requiring discernment by the Meeting; B) those recognizing changes in current practice; C) policies and procedures already approved but not yet included; and D) minor changes in wording or arrangement; new text is shown in red font. This document can be viewed here.
Friends may wish to consider the proposed changes before Annual Sessions. To provide context, these changes are also shown – again in red font – within the full text of Policies and Procedures here. Please note that in the full text file, the table of contents, header guides, page breaks, and index have not yet been updated, as these will inevitably change, depending on what new text is adopted. Communications about these suggestions are welcome; contact Jeff at email@example.com.
Posted in News on May 23, 2019
At the LEYM Annual Sessions in 2018, $1,000 was designated in the budget to assist Friends to attend conferences that reflect Quaker values. Conferences reflecting Quaker values can be conferences developed by or sponsored by Quaker groups or conferences whose purposes are closely aligned with Quaker testimonies, such as peace, equality, integrity, and simplicity. These funds are not meant to support travel to regularly occurring Quaker meetings such as the FGC Gathering or Yearly Meeting sessions, since other scholarships are available for those events. They should be used for one-time or rarely occurring events, workshops, or conferences.
To request funding submit this form to the Clerk of Lake Erie Yearly Meeting at least six weeks before an answer is needed. The form should be accompanied by a statement of support from the Clerk of the Friend’s monthly meeting, the Convener of their Worship Group, or the designee of either. Funding decisions will be made together by the following officers of Lake Erie Yearly Meeting or their designees: the Presiding Clerk, the Treasurer, and the Clerk of the Ministry & Nurture Committee.