Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Tips for First Time Attenders at the Gathering

We look forward to sharing a week of Quaker worship, learning, play, and new friendships with you! There are so many things to do - the first Gathering can be overwhelming for some people. With this in mind, we have compiled some suggestions to make your week more enjoyable.

Self-Care and Connection

✦Please attend one of the orientation sessions for First Time Attenders.

✦Be sure to get plenty of rest. Some experienced attenders encourage afternoon naps. You can’t do everything!

✦If you are a light sleeper, you may wish to bring ear plugs.

✦For many Friends, workshops provide a comfortable home base with friendships that develop out of sharing a common interest. If you are uncomfortable with your workshop, there may be space in another one that suits you better. Go to the Workshop Changes table near the Gathering Information Desk to see if that is a possibility.

✦Check out the Healing Center and/or the Silent Place.



✦We work hard to find a comfortable user-friendly campus, but dorm rooms and beds are never the same as home. You might wish to bring a desk lamp or other small personal things to make your room more comfortable. Make sure to bring pillows and blankets! (More about what to bring)

✦The university food service staff works with us to provide a variety of foods that meet our diverse dietary requirements. If you have specific dietary needs, please let us know before you come. If you have unanswered questions or un-met special needs, there will be a meeting on Monday after lunch with the university food-service personnel and the FGC Food Coordinator. 


Meal Times

✦Eat at the First-Time Attenders table, where new and experienced attenders join together.

✦If you’re feeling overstimulated at meal times, try the silent dining area.

✦Go to a singing group and eat lunch later, especially if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds and lines (the lunch rush is right after workshops get out.)

✦Ask for help. There are tray carriers to assist parents and others who may need help getting their food to the table.

✦If you have young children or have a medical issue that limits your ability to stand or wait in line, please move to the front of the line. 


Worship & grounding

✦There are numerous opportunities for worship. Worship sessions are open to anyone who wishes to attend. They are not limited to members of the sponsoring group, unless they say so specifically. The afternoon worship sponsored by FLGBTQC (Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns) provides child care and is open to all Gathering attenders. Every morning will begin with an all-Gathering Community Worship from 8:15-8:45am.

✦There are grounding movement opportunities (like yoga and tai chi) offered mornings and afternoons – just show up!


Overwhelmed, confused? Talk to someone with a red dot on their nametag. Theses are people who have helped plan the Gathering, or have other Gathering expertise. For specific questions onsite, visit the Info Desk.

You can add a blue dot to your own nametag to identify yourself as a first-time attender.