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Theme and Speakers Chosen for Annual Sessions
The Annual Sessions of New England Yearly Meeting will gather this summer from August 4–9th at Castleton University in Castleton, Vermont, with the theme “In fear and trembling be bold in God’s service.”
Diane Randall (Hartford, CT, Monthly Meeting), Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, has accepted the invitation to give the Bible Half-hour talks, Sunday through Thursday.
On Sunday afternoon there will be a panel of three friends speaking to the theme. Sarah Walton (Vassalboro, ME, Monthly Meeting, sojourning at Atlanta, GA, Friends Meeting), Meg Klepack (West Falmouth, MA, Preparative Meeting) and Adria Gulizia (New York Yearly Meeting) will comprise the panel.
Sarah has been called to the work of ending racially biased policing and police violence in the United States, Meg has been active in the group called to prophetic action on climate change in New England, and Adria Gulizia is the author of the blog Shadow of Babylon.
The group considering the theme all heard this phrase we chose as the theme embedded in a passage from William Penn’s Some Fruits of Solitude, which reads:
It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God's errands, as it is to palliate them with God's name [...] We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do; for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains; and he that forgives first, wins the laurel [...] Love is the hardest Lesson in Chritianity; but, for that reason, it should be most our care to learn it."
When we were discerning the theme this was the whole message that drew us. After choosing this theme and sharing it we learned that In fear and trembling be bold in God’s service does not, in fact, occur in this passage. We were given it. Our deep hope is that with this theme we continue to explore how we, as a community, are called to be in this world in this time.