FGC Friends: Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting
The roots of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting date back to the 19th century, but this yearly meeting is still evolving and eager to revitalize and reflect on the role it plays in the lives of Friends in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.
The roots of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (OVYM) go back to the early 1800s when Friends began moving from North Carolina to the area called the Northwest Territory, which was designated slave-free. The first of these Friends formed Miami Monthly Meeting in Waynesville, OH, which was the first meeting west of the Allegheny Mountains and is now the oldest monthly meeting in OVYM. OVYM includes seventeen active monthly meetings in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.
OVYM has a strong concern about the revitalization of our yearly meeting. What can OVYM do to support the needs of Friends in our monthly meetings? At the 2016 annual sessions, there was enthusiasm about inter-visitation among Friends and meetings, and we are developing a plan for such visits.
We are in the process of revising our Faith and Practice, last published in 1978. For many years we have been engaged in a careful process of writing new texts and revising existing ones including sections on Listening to the Spirit, Close Relationships, Membership, and our Testimonies. We hope to complete the revision in 2018. The current version can be found on our website.
In 2002 OVYM adopted a minute on environmental sustainability, and in 2015 we adopted a minute committing OVYM to divestment of its financial resources from fossil fuels.
In recent years OVYM has sought to become more aware of racial issues and the ways that white privilege affects us. At our 2016 sessions we struggled with the draft text on the testimony of equality for the new OVYM Faith and Practice. As we reviewed the essay, we realized that it showed an unconscious white bias. Friends labored over several days and were able to develop a more sensitive and inclusive statement. This text can be found on our website.
We are experimenting with holding our annual sessions earlier in the summer, in part to respond to changing school schedules. Our 2017 annual sessions will be held June 14 – 18, 2017, at Earlham College in Richmond, IN. The theme will be Moving Together with the Spirit.