FGC Friends: Canadian Yearly Meeting

FGC Friends is a feature of our monthly Vital Friends eNewsletter that highlights a Quaker meeting, organization, or individual Friends who work with FGC to nurture faith and Quaker practice. We’re pleased to feature FGC-affiliated Yearly Meeting Canadian Yearly Meeting for the month of January.

For this month’s FGC Friends spotlight we’re pleased to highlight Canadian Yearly Meeting. Canadian Yearly Meeting is a loving and supportive spiritual community stretching across 5 ½ time zones with borders touching three oceans— the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific.  Canadian Yearly Meeting is composed of twenty-six different Monthly Meetings and has about 1200 members and as many attenders. As both Friends of the Truth and friends to others, Canadian Yearly Meeting cherishes their work at larger gatherings, family programs like those of Camp NeeKauNis (on Georgian Bay, Ontario),  and Young Friends activities. Canadian Yearly Meeting is immensely grateful for its members’ strength to reach out and witness in fellowship and spirit for Quakers in Canada and around the world, regardless of small numbers.

Friendly Facts about Canadian Yearly Meeting:

– The Education and Outreach Committee of Canadian Yearly Meeting has been offering online courses and posting recordings of lectures and other educational events so Quakers outside of Canada can enjoy the learning and work going on in CYM. These include the Sunderland P Gardner Lecture and the Quaker or Bible Study at Yearly Meeting sessions (these resources and others found here). This year the Lecturer was Alastair McIntosh of Glasgow in Britain Yearly Meeting, who spoke on “Decolonizing Land and Soul” (available on Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/147655764).

– Canadian Yearly Meeting will not be holding an annual gathering in 2017 due to financial restraints. Instead, CYM is encouraging Friends and Meetings to use this as opportunity to explore other ways of deepening our spiritual lives.  In 2018 these alternative experiences will be evaluated as CYM seeks discernment about ways forward. 

– Canadian Yearly Meeting has been involved with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Canada. The TRC is the result of a historic court decision on a case in which Indigenous people who survived the residential school system in Canada sued the Canadian government and the churches that ran the schools on the government’s behalf.  The TRC was tasked with creating an accurate historical record by collecting the stories of survivors, doing research into residential schools through government archives, and proposing ways for building reconciliation between the Original Peoples of Canada and newcomer Settler Peoples. CYM and many Monthly Meetings are accepting the challenges of acknowledging the depth of the damage that has been done by colonialism, including by the residential schools. CYM has repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and continues to actively work towards reconciliation as both allies and Canadians. 

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