FGC Friends: Illinois 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 Illinois Yearly Meeting for the month of June.
Illinois Yearly Meeting (ILYM) was founded in 1874 and held its first annual gathering the following year. The ILYM community consists of more than 20 affiliated monthly meetings and worship groups. Most of them are located in Illinois; the rest are situated in neighboring Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The ILYM campus, consisting of 12 acres of rustic land in central Illinois, has been the home of the Yearly Meeting since its inception. The ILYM Meetinghouse is the worship site for Clear Creek Friends Meeting. Workshops, retreats, and committee meetings are also held there.
Friendly Facts about Illinois Yearly Meeting:
- Several years ago, ILYM doubled its acreage by purchasing a plot of land adjacent to the existing property. This welcome addition permitted us to consider how to expand opportunities for campus use. So far our aspirations have been restricted because the property is overseen by local volunteers, who are not in a position to do much beyond the considerable work of making sure it is kept in good condition. At this summer’s gathering we will take up a proposal to hire a caretaker, which we hope will be the first step in expanding the use of our site for additional retreats, workshops, and other Quaker events.
- ILYM will soon complete a new edition of its Faith and Practice, our first in almost a century. The Faith and Practice Committee “workshopped” each section of the document extensively before submitting it to the Yearly Meeting for approval for a provisional period, normally five years. As the provisional period of approval for each section expired, the committee revised the text of that section based on input from the Yearly Meeting, then presented the amended version for approval for an indefinite period of time. This inclusive procedure resulted in widespread appreciation and “buy-in” from members of the Yearly Meeting.
- In recent years the Yearly Meeting has striven to increase our understanding of matters concerning race and gender, including LGBTQ issues. We have been blessed by the regular presence of Vanessa Julye, the Ministry on Racism coordinator for Friends General Conference, who has represented FGC at the annual ILYM gathering for the past six years. At this summer’s gathering Lucy Duncan, who serves as AFSC’s Director of Friends Relations, will speak to us on the topic of racism in Quaker meetings, with other speakers addressing related issues.
You are cordially invited to attend this year’s ILYM gathering, which will take place on June 22-26. Information about this blessed (and inexpensive) event can be found at http://www.ilym.org/drupal/2016AnnualSessions.