Gathering Profiles: Junior Gathering Friend in Residence

Gathering Profiles is a series about Friends we’ve met at the FGC Gathering. The Gathering team will publish a new profile each month as we get closer to FGC Gathering 2020.

Exuding Joy and Light: Becky Marty

Junior Gathering Friend in Residence

What Becky Marty wants most out of Gathering is “to be used in the best way possible.” Becky first learned about Gathering from Friends while in grad school. Gathering was held nearby a few years later, so with a friend, she decided to attend as a half-Gathering camper. The “incredibly welcoming” community of the campground and the depth of her workshop laid the foundation for years of involvement with Gathering. Becky stresses the importance of the half-time option for first time attenders and Adult Young Friends, and “especially Friends who can’t easily take a full week off from work. You don’t know why to take a whole week off until you’ve experienced Gathering yourself.”

Becky has served in several capacities at Gathering, including Junior Gathering Evening Coordinator, Gathering Friend in Residence, Workshops Coordinator and on Long Range Conference Planning Committee. She notes it has been fun and interesting to take on a wide range of roles in Gathering, but no matter what aspect of Gathering she was exploring, she always “returned home” to Junior Gathering.  In recent years she has focused her energy more fully on Junior Gathering and has served there as its Friend in Residence. In this role, Becky holds a worshipful presence for all of the staff, children and parents of Junior Gathering. She opens each morning with Junior Gathering worship and moves throughout the day as a supportive Friend for all in the Junior Gathering community.

Becky shares there are some key things making Junior Gathering the true highlight it is. Notably, “the adults all come with the primary focus to nurture and uphold our children, immersing them in Quaker values and processes in the context of the Gathering theme. While doing this, the adults are also there to have fun with each other and with the children.  All of this is expressed in incredibly diverse, beautiful ways. And while thus engaged, we can all feel that our work and play is lovingly Held.”

Becky’s favorite part of Gathering is the joyous spontaneity. Junior Gathering is “typically very spontaneous and can be wildly creative; full of love, laughter, smiles, Spirit and song. It exudes joy and Light. It’s really fun to nurture other people and watch them bloom.” She also loves Junior Gathering worship because “people come with warm and positive energy to be with the kids, to try out new ideas, and to be playful. If they drag in or come with baggage, you can almost see that fall way as they bask in the Grace of worship, becoming prepared to engage with the children in their group. It’s a lovely space for me. I’m glad I can help provide that for others as they move into their day.”

Gathering, and her engagement with it, sustains Becky as an isolated Friend in the upper Midwest. She shares that “Gathering is a rich space and we carry the riches with us for many months afterwards. Some of us have built spiritual friendships that we’ve sustained through the years because of our time at Gathering. One of the blessings of overall Gathering is that I come away from Gathering looser in my expectations of myself and others. I’m more flexible while being more grounded.  I’m more mindful that I can and do make a difference. I’m more aware that I have value and I am valued. We don’t generally get that type of affirmation nor the freedom to give so fully in our work and daily lives, but at Gathering, we are immersed in living and giving it.  And what an incredible gift we are then primed to share with the world in which we live.”

Apply to be a part of 2022 Junior Gathering Staff!

We are looking for staff to serve alongside Becky for Gathering 2022. Applications will open March 15 and you can find out more information here. If you would like to learn more about this work grant position, please contact Marian Dalke, Gathering Youth Coordinator, at mariand@fgcquaker.org or 215-561-1700 x3050.

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