Meeting the needs of Friends through online and in-person options
Virtual offerings connected with the 2023 FGC Annual Gathering of Friends include the plenaries on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, as well as to the daily Bible Half Hour. Friends who wish to participate in online worship sharing groups can indicate that on their registration form. The worship sharing groups will be facilitated by volunteers. Supported by Ministry on Racism Program staff, the pre-Gathering Retreat for People of Color & their Families will be hybrid.
What changed and what’s next?
In continuing our work to make the Gathering more accessible to more Friends while also generating sufficient resources to cover the costs of the event, Friends General Conference approved a plan to alternate in-person Gatherings with virtual Gatherings. Beginning in 2025, a fully Virtual Gathering will occur every other year. We will continue to offer an in-person Young Adult and Youth event in the years that the Gathering is virtual. There is deep understanding that this component is essential to children and young people.
About these decisions.
We made the decision not to offer a hybrid Gathering in 2023 realizing that with the resources we have available, we cannot be everything we want to be, and cannot provide all the ministry we want to provide. This decision was made in loving care for our staff, on whom much expectation is placed, and who, like so many, are feeling the strains of the pandemic. We have learned in the last few years that providing virtual offerings causes an astonishing amount of work for staff, as well as a significant expense. FGC wants to be able to focus our energy on making our first all ages in-person Gathering in four years a success.
We know this may not seem like a satisfactory solution to many who depend on the Gathering for spiritual sustenance. We, as staff and deeply committed volunteers, hold in our loving care the entire community of Friends for whom the Gathering is an important piece of their spiritual lives. We are doing our best with what we can bring, and we know that it cannot be perfect for everyone.
We are also planning additional virtual and hybrid events throughout our programs at other times in the year. You can keep in touch with the ministries we are offering via the FGC website and the Vital Friends newsletter.