What it Means to be Quaker

Ella Frey, 2022 YAY Gathering High School Program Clerk

Ella Frey grew up going to meeting for worship with her family and attending Quaker school. Being Quaker was Ella’s identity but it didn’t hold personal meaning for her until she engaged with the wider community of young Friends. There she found a deeper connection to what it means to be a Quaker in the world.
Ella found a deeper sense of community with people her own age at the Gathering. She experienced her first profound meeting. Being Quaker became more than what she was but who she is.

In 2019, she was nominated, to her surprise, to serve as high school clerk for the 2020 Gathering. She said she felt her peers recognized a gift in her that she didn’t necessarily see in herself.

Ella prepared for her new role by attending FGC’s Young Clerks Training. “I felt a sense of comfort and empathy with the facilitators. They were there to listen and treated me as an equal. That feeling of mutual respect is a big thing.”

The training has helped Ella feel more at ease with tough conversations and navigate conflict.

I have learned to say what I believe in. It’s easy to lose patience with people when they have different views. Seeing that everyone has a light inside of them has helped me.

Ella Frey

In 2020, the pandemic hit youth and high schoolers especially hard. It disrupted major life events and the sense of community. In 2022, Ella was finally able to join her peers in-person at Radford University and clerk for the YAY Gathering High School Program.

The Gathering helped change what being Quaker means to Ella. She learned about herself and developed clerking skills that are benefiting her in life, as well as in her meeting.

“FGC has always impressed me with how it connects yearly meetings, monthly meetings, and Friends. It builds Quaker community.”

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