Creating a 21st Century Gathering
Come join us as we imagine, connect, seek, and rejoice in transforming the Gathering anew. Friends General Conference has held a general conference for more than 120 years. It has existed in many forms but at the core it has always sought to offer a space for spiritual nurture and growth for Friends and their families.
We know that change is a part of life.
At its height in the 1990s, the Gathering attracted almost 2,000 participants per year. In recent years in person attendance has fallen dramatically—especially among families with children and teens. Rising costs of gathering sites like college campuses have resulted in the Gathering becoming unaffordable to many attenders. During the pandemic, the Gathering went online attracting roughly 1,000 attendees in the years 2020 and 2021 and dropping in 2022 to 484 and the in-person YAY (youth and young adults) event had an attendance of 114.
We recognize that there are many social justice and political issues before us that Friends feel called to address including racism, pandemics, and climate change.
It is time to think deeply about what is important to us.
How do we balance all the current elements and serve this community providing the core of opportunities to connect with spirit, each other, and our families? How do we continue to grow in our desire to be an actively anti-racist community? How do we responsibly respond to the climate changes and disasters?
This is an opportunity to transform the Gathering to meet the needs of the present and the future.
There will be 10 Focus Groups that offer an opportunity to share your thoughts and hopes. Some will have a special focus. The working group wants to know what you think. Consider signing up to participate to consider these Queries.
- How do we center spirit and our connection to spirit in our new reality?
- How can the Gathering be an anti-racist faith community that centers youth and people of color?
- How do we build ecological sustainability into Gathering?
- How do we financially sustain the Gathering and make it affordable?