New Opportunities for Experiencing God’s Work among Us
Young Adult Friends (YAFs) played a central role in the first Quaker Spring (that first year it was called “Quaker Camp”) held in Barnesville, OH in June 2007. Since the World Gathering of Young Friends held in Lancaster, England, in 2005, YAFs from many different yearly meetings in North America have been exploring ways to create new shared opportunities for experiencing God’s work among them and to connect with YAFs from other branches of Friends.
Remembering and learning from Young Friends of North America (YFNA). A YAF movement that originally included Friends from all branches of North American Quakerism existed during the 1950’s into the 1980’s. This was called Young Friends of North America. Large gatherings took place with up to 250 YAFs in attendance. These gatherings had a powerful impact on those who took part, in many case deeply impacting their journey with God through out their lives.
YAFs today were interested in learning from the successes and mistakes of YFNA earlier. When these YAFs learned that a YFNA reunion would be part of the first Quaker Spring (Camp), they expressed interest in making 2007 gathering both a remembering of YFNA and an opportunity for envisioning a new Young Adult Friends movement.
Andrew Esser-Haines, Emily Stewart and Rebecca Haines Rosenberg were active members of the original 2007 Quaker Spring (Camp) planning group. YAFs attending the gathering were housed on two floors of the boy’s dorm at Olney.
YAF activities during Quaker Spring in 2007. YAFs gathered many times during the week to continue their own process of prayerfully envisioning and planning for building a new YAF movement in North America. The results of these deliberations can be read in the YAF Epistle written at Quaker Camp. This included carrying forward plans for cross-branch gathering of YAFs held in Richmond IN in May 2008 and in Wichita KS in 2010.
YAF activities at 2011 gathering. 8 YAFs attended the all or most of the Quaker Spring gathering in 2011. About 15 other YAFs attended this year for briefer periods including a large group who came over for bible study, worship and lunch from the New England YM YAF gathering running concurrently at Monadnock Meetinghouse down the road from The Meeting School.
This YAF gathering was intentionally held the same weekend as Quaker Spring in order to encourage YAFs to take part in at least a bit of Quaker Spring who felt led to do so. For more information about NEYM YAF gatherings, see their website.
Micah Bales is an active member of the Quaker Spring planning group and is happy to connect with any YAFs interested in finding more about Quaker Spring.