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Sessions 2012 YAF Epistle
Young Adult Friends (YAFs) gathered with the wider New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM) at Bryant University from Eighth Month 4-9, 2012. This year’s Sessions theme was “Choose Integrity: Living with Integrity in a Time of Change,” which built off of previous years’ themes. YAFs approached the theme with hope and creativity.
We first gathered on Saturday for fellowship and community building. Exercises included name games and introductions. Sunday found us gathering for worship with the wider Yearly Meeting, celebrating the experiences of our fellow Friends who attended the FWCC Sixth World Conference in Kenya.
Plenaries started Sunday afternoon with Steve Curwood, in which we found much hope about sustainable abundance. Plenaries continued with an intergenerational panel exploring different stories about choosing integrity in personal and communal lives.
YAF programming activities began with the Spirituality Collage in which YAFs explored integrity via comparison of their inner and outer spiritual identities.
YAFs found ourselves lead in different directions. Some Friends attended Bible Half-Hours or NEYM business meeting, while others following a strong leading to work with children in our youth programs. YAFS were sad to see one of our own have to leave Sessions early because of a case of appendicitis. YAFs were heartened to hear of her swift recovery and continue to hold her in the light.
We were drawn back together for our YAF business meeting Monday afternoon. We affirmed our gratitude for our coordinator Nia Thomas and appreciation for the value of her position. We decided to write and deliver a minute to that affect to bring to the wider business meeting. We also talked about how to be more inclusive in helping YAFS with young children feel welcome and supported.
On Monday evening YAFs further explored the Integrity theme with an interactive “bridge to the future” project.
Afterward, YAFs welcomed Noah Baker Merrill and Hannah Zwirner for a discussion about YAF leadings and new opportunities for YAF participation brought about by the choice to hire Noah, a YAF, as Yeary Meeting secretary and appoint another recent YAF as clerk of Permanent Board.
Tuesday we continued the longstanding tradition of making a colorful, boisterous and unannounced appearance at the Young Friends (YF) program to spirit away their seniors and introduce them to our YAF community. This year we dressed up as mad scientists and chickens.
YAFs were led to run various workshops for the wider Yearly Meeting, one of which was “Transportation Transformation.” This workshop reflected on the coordination of 17 Friends from at least four different states who rode to Sessions by bicycle. The riders reflected on the theme of choosing integrity as they relied on themselves and their community instead of fossil fuels and technology. YAFs also led workshops about the work of the YAF Climate Working Group and the notion of “Active Waiting,” on integrating Friends who are on the autism spectrum and on the work of the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC.
Tuesday night, YAFs opened our doors to the wider YM in an open house for other adult friends to learn about our leadings and share their own. Wednesday, some YAFs shared a joyous afternoon at the lake and afterwards attended to more business, which included the creation of an ad hoc working group called “Radical Inclusivity.” Wednesday evening, a coffee house was held in which YAFs performed a skit to prank general secretary Jonathan Vogel-Borne.
– The Young Adult Friends of New England Yearly Meeting