Changing Times Conference – Addressing the Changes Needed Today

The Changing Times Conference was held online, January 18-21. One hundred eighty-five Friends from at least nineteen different yearly meetings joined together to worship, listen, and engage in a rich and deep sharing.  

The conference’s first day was focused on our connection to Spirit. Friends heard Francisco Burgos, Pendle Hill’s Executive Director, share what moves us forward in our connection with the divine. The presentation and workshops helped to ground and deepen the weekend. 

One Friend shared Worship during this conference was surprisingly deep …. Even opening worship – it caught my attention and made it clear I should pay attention.”

Plenary Sessions and Workshops

Over the next two days, three plenaries and workshops explored:

  • The next steps in becoming an anti-racist faith community with Vanessa Julye’s plenary ‘Living into Continuing Revelation’ were followed by workshops that offered ways forward.
  • A panel of Paul Buckley, Rashid Darden, and Barry Crossno on ‘Changing Structures’ presented an overview of the current problems facing the Religious Society of Friends. The following workshops offered fresh ideas and new points of view.
  • ‘Speak and Be Heard’ was a discussion among younger Quakers highlighting challenges they face within the Religious Society of Friends. One Friend shared their understanding “…many come to us [the Religious Society of Friends] seeking spirit and meaning; they feel most welcomed and accepted when we make the effort to see and love the whole person.”


The inspiration for Changing Times came from as early as 2019, through the Gathering Anew Focus groups in 2022, up to a call with Yearly Meeting Clerks in March of 2023 where the conference began to take shape in response to their input.

The conference was an exciting mix of information, sharing, and potential action undergirded with worship and a desire to hear the Spirit’s leadings. Many Friends came away with newfound energy, ideas, and resources to bring back to their home meetings.

Appreciation and thanks to the Friends World Committee for Consultation: Consultation and Intervisitation Program coordinated by Chuck Schobert and the Changing Structure program clerked by Shel Gross for their support and development of the conference.

We are also grateful for the many generous contributions made to the Gathering Together campaign that are helping support new initiatives like this conference.

Recordings of the plenary sessions will be available this spring. 

To support new initiatives like this conference, consider donating to FGC. Your support will nurture the spiritual lives of Friends, meetings, and newcomers through a variety of programs, resources, and events.

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