Welcome to the 2023 Gathering!
Gather: One small word with many meanings.
Gather can mean to collect, especially from far-flung locations: They visited gardens, libraries, Meetings, and websites to gather materials to share in this workshop. Or it can mean to come together: Friends of all ages are gathering in Oregon in 2023 for an annual event. It can also mean to increase speed: Quaker witness is gathering momentum around criminal justice. Gather can mean gaining understanding: From the looks on the children’s faces, the performers gathered that their art was what the audience needed that night.
We expect that the 2023 FGC Gathering will be special, in part due to the location. It will be in the Pacific Northwest for the first time in a generation. It will be in Oregon for the first time ever. Some offerings will be online, but mostly, it will be an all-generations in-person experience for the first time since 2019.
We understand that it is a heavy lift for most people to come to the Gathering. It’s a big expense for ever-tightening budgets and those of us who don’t have much disposable income. It’s a large amount of time away from work for shrinking vacation benefits if we are so fortunate to even have a job with benefits. We may be apprehensive about the location. It costs a large carbon footprint to travel no matter what the offsets. Plus, there are all those roommates who snore and long cafeteria lines. Ah, the travails of travel. 🙂
We are convinced, however, that to gather, in and of itself, with all that word’s meanings, is deeply important. We cannot truly be a society, let alone a religious society, without gathering. Societies must have gathering spaces and places to exchange ideas, to share common experiences and to coalesce as a community. We must gather corporately and corporally to worship. Otherwise, we just dissipate into an unholy mess.
There is nothing like living together for a week. An event like the FGC Gathering creates life-changing opportunities – both scheduled and spontaneous – to worship, eat, sing, play, pray, explore, and learn together. The Gathering Committee is working diligently to welcome you just as you are and however you are, and we will do our best to make it work for you. We are preparing a unique opportunity to experience “gather” in all its meanings and for all to do a lot of learning, healing, sharing, inspiring, and creating together across our Religious Society of Friends..
The theme this year is “Listen, so that we may live.” We ask you to listen to this invitation prayerfully and see if there is life in it for you and your family. Come to The Gathering, enjoy Oregon’s Willamette Valley, gather for a while.
With Love and In the Light,
Jessica & Kate
Jessica Bucciarelli and Kate Jaramillo
2023 Friends General Conference Gathering Co-Clerks