FGC Friends: Lake Erie 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 Lake Erie Yearly Meeting for the month of March.
For this month’s FGC Friends spotlight we are excited to share a short profile of Lake Erie Yearly Meeting. LEYM serves some 32 meetings and worship groups in a belt ranging from Pittsburgh in the east, across northern Ohio (with downstate Athens as well), to Holland, Michigan in the west. Geographically LEYM is a long, narrow Yearly Meeting ranging across three states that all border Lake Erie, hence the name.
Friendly Facts about Lake Erie Yearly Meeting:
Another name LEYM might have chosen, and just as appropriate, is Rust Belt Yearly Meeting. LEYM is home to several of the old manufacturing centers that have fallen on hard times since the late 20th Century: Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit. LEYM carries a concern for those who live in these communities and smaller ones across the region that have suffered so much in the economic downturn of the last several decades, which hit there earlier and harder than any other region of the country. One of LEYM’s activities as a meeting is their summer service project. In it, as many as a dozen Friends volunteer three days of manual labor at a non-profit. Last summer, for example, they volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Findlay, Ohio.
LEYM Work Camp
LEYM sponsors a Spiritual Formation Program for anyone who longs for a deeper spiritual life. Friends appreciate the fact that the program balances enough structure for useful guidance with the flexibility to meet individual needs. Each year’s program begins with a retreat for Friends from all over the YM in the fall and ends with another retreat in the spring. In between, local groups meet regularly, and participants practice a daily spiritual discipline of their choice. This year’s theme is Experiment with Light.
LEYM Children’s Epistle
LEYM Earthcare Committee
At this writing LEYM is deep into the planning for to their annual meeting at the end of July in Bluffton, Ohio, on the pretty campus of Bluffton University. “What Would John Woolman Do?” they’re going to ask ourselves. They hope he would approve of the answers they come up with.
Photography by Leslie Walden