Continuing Exploration: Flexibility

The tree that bends survives. Cultures all over the world have parables reflecting and affirming this idea.Flexibility.Like trees that survive hurricanes, we can grow resilient when confronted with adversity

As I scroll through a variety of Friends’ and Friends Organizations’ Facebook pages, blogs, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, I see evidence of Friendly flexibility and resiliency. Britain Yearly Meeting just held annual sessions in a hybrid format. Monthly Meetings all over North America are doing things in new ways. Some are alternating virtual and in-person Meeting for Worship. Some are still all online all the time. Some are doing separate in-person meetings and online meetings. Many have incorporated virtual participation in their meetings permanently.

For people known to be hesitant to change this is astounding. Friends are responding to the changing world and in doing so have become more inclusive. Isolated Friends and those without access to transportation can now attend Meeting for Worship. Friends with disabilities ranging from hearing loss to limited mobility can participate in Meeting activities. New worship groups have formed. Friends of Color can connect with other Friends of Color from all over the world and worship together. People who could not attend the Gathering before can now be part of our community. The invitation to Quaker spiritual community is more accessible than ever. We are grateful for this gift of flexibility and inclusion. 

Flexibility is a spiritual practice. 

Being flexible allows us to honor and respond to the presence of the Divine in more of us, recognizing that our best-laid plans are worth being adapted when Spirit is calling us into an unexpected moment. This is continuing revelation. 

The Gathering is flexing, experimenting, learning, and adjusting to the still changing COVID situation and the changing needs of our community. We are grateful for your flexibility as we bend with the changing winds of our time to emerge more resilient and stronger than before. 

Finally, I need to acknowledge that we are planning these events in the middle of multiple crises worldwide. We are still in a global pandemic. There are wars, political strife, corruption, and humanitarian crises in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America leading to 100 million people being displaced all over the world. In the U.S., more than one million people have died from COVID and we continue to experience mass shootings and racism. In this context, I am reminded that it is a privilege to plan and attend the Gathering.  

If you are able to attend the 2022 virtual Gathering: “…and follow me, welcome. The community is blessed by your participation. If you are able to attend the YAY Gathering in-person and COVID-prepared, welcome. The community is blessed by your participation. 

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