Calling all Young and Young Adult Friends!
I had the wonderful and transformative opportunity to attend Quaker Spring in Barnesville in 2018. Quaker Spring is an annual five-day gathering, planned mainly by Friends from New England and Ohio Yearly Meetings. After hanging out and worshiping in the Quaker Spring for less than a week, I felt cherished and fostered — spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
As a young person, I often feel daunted by the problems our generation is just beginning to inherit and often unheard by adults in my community. Quaker Spring offered me both the chance to share about and reflect on those issues, and also gave me a loving adult presence to shepherd and hear my concerns. Quaker Spring is a gathering for all Friends, and I believe that Young Friends and Young Adult Friends would be well served by attending.
—Laura Kelly, Earlham College Class of ‘20 and a member of SAYMA — Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association
New Opportunities for Experiencing God’s Work among Us
Young Adult Friends (YAFs) have played a central role in our Quaker Spring community. YAFs were a major part of the earliest Quaker Spring gatherings, and have continued to enrich our community with their presence. We joyfully welcome Young Adult Friends to attend Quaker Spring, and encourage them to consider joining our community regardless of financial abilities.
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 cases deeply impacting their journey with God throughout their lives.
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.
A reunion of Friends active in YFNA took place at the first Quaker Spring gathering held in Barnesville in 2007. A gathering of about 30 YAFs interested in exploring new ways to build community and connections among YAFs today was held concurrently with this first Quaker Spring. See the Epistle from Young Adult Friends written that week.
An affordable gathering. We intentionally keep our gathering costs very low to make it more accessible to YAFs and other Friends with limited financial resources. All our fees are on a “pay as led” basis and our “suggested donations” are even lower for YAFs.
Welcome to all. LGBTQ Friends are always welcome at Quaker Spring. We are also committed to creating a welcoming space for Friends of different ages, beliefs, races, and class backgrounds.
Learning about different kinds of Quakerism. Friends believe and practice their Quaker faith in many different ways. Many YAFs have found Quaker Spring a place where they can find out about approaches to Quaker faith that are very different from what they have experienced so far. This is a place where we can worship together, learn about each others’ spiritual journey without judgment, and do open-hearted Bible reflection and study. In particular people often appreciate the chance to learn about the beliefs and practices of the three “Conservative” yearly meetings in Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa.