Category Archives: NWYM

NWYM Annual Sessions 2005 – Day 5: Board Meeting

Yes, I ditched out on the evening session . . . again. In the past this would be an inconceivable notion, but now that I have a Little One of my own, itís amazing how priorities change and peace about letting things go comes.

The board meeting was . . . interesting. I wonder if Iím going to become the female John Wimber: you know, he started out attending Friends meetings til he got ìkickedî out. If I get kicked out before my dad, dadís going to be awfully jealous. 🙂

First item of business: the recognition of the approval by the Executive Council that the Hispanic Task Forceís request for $100,000 was approved! Our board member put together an excellent proposal, and the money from the sell of the Piedmont parsonage (a work intended to strengthen cross-cultural ties) will still be used in multi-cultural ministries. The council challenged the task force to use these funds not only for existing works, but also for works that could begin.

Second, appointments were discussed. A concern was voiced (by guess who? 🙂 ) to have board members that represent young adults, new works, and hispanic ministries, i.e., representatives from *all* areas weíre working with and targeting. Some of us were assigned to scout out five members of our personal ìconcernî and bring those names for consideration by Mid-Year boards. The board member who collects nomination names reminded us that his term will be coming to an end next year; yours truly was nominated to take his position (thatíll teach me to speak up). 🙂

[Shout out to any NWYM young adults interested: PLEASE, if you have a concern for evangelism or would like to participate in the Yearly Meeting on a board level, let me know! Iím tired of being the sole young adult voice – I want a posse]. 🙂

I asked a question regarding our partnership with the Board of Ministerial Services to purchase copies of ìMore Ready Than You Realizeî for all of the pastors: what happened with that? Has there been any follow-up? Apparently there was quite a healthy, challenging conversation about the reading at pastorís conference. It wasnít just a ìthat was goodî talk, but rather a ìyay, something that verbalizes the thoughts and feelings Iíve been experiencing!î recognition. Not all agreed with the material, and they spoke up, so it was a good, healthy conversation. Many pastors are having their staff and others in their church read the book. I voiced a hope that the pastors will be followed up with at the next pastorís conference: to see how their dance is going.

Focus Conference and Call to Ministry are coming up this year, in September and February respectively. The board member heading up these efforts asked for some help. We discussed whether the board should be putting these conferences on, or if another board/group should be doing it.

Then a good question was asked: should we continue our programs? Itís easy just to keep pouring money and resources into programs that we have established – but are they functional? Relevant? Needed? Should they continue? Weíre going to have discussions re-evaluating these sometime soon.

A member from the Vision Statement committee came to visit to see if we approved of their work so far. In the fall they requested both individuals and churches to ask what they valued about the yearly meeting, how the yearly meeting could help them out, and what they see us needing to do – basically as a means to create a vision, image, and mission statement. A few things were pointed out, such as the fact that Kingdom living wasnít really mentioned, as well as a sentence that talks about being missional (going out) and at the same time drawing people in (heh heh).

And then I voiced a few concerns that Iíll write about in a different post – hence my potential Wimber status.

The financial advisor for the board presented the budget in a brief ten minutes – totally understandable, totally organized. He won the gold star for the day.

NWYM Annual Sessions 2005 – Day 4: Workshop & Board Meeting

Day 4 came and went in quite a whirl of activity for myself! The ìMissing Generationsî workshop went well as I previously noted. Afterwards, I hung out to talk with folks for a while, and then scooted late to my Board of Evangelism meeting (kinda funny to talk about how young adults like to do things outside of the box of institutional church, and then to run off to a board meeting: made me giggle).

The board meeting was really great: I wouldnít say that we got a lot of work done, but we heard a lot of stories, tales of whatís going on in the far reaches of our yearly meeting – something that the board really needs to hear.

We asked the New Works directors how we can best support them. One thing is to convey information: both to get the info out there, and to get the *appropriate* info out there. Thereís some confusion as to the boardís budget: many folks think that the boardís only work (and budget line item) is New Works; since we have a hefty budget (for us – itís not a lot of money in the ëreal worldí), they assume weíre using all that money to support what they see as a small ministry – perhaps a poor or inefficient use of funds. However, New Works gets little of that money: almost all pastors are bi-vocational. The board needs to be more clear as to what the moneyís going to, as well as sharing what New Works are.

Iíve heard a number of people mention that New Works only supports house churches: I believe that New Works is a certain way of approaching evangelism and church planting – through relationships, being incarnational, going out to people – but it manifests itself generally in house churches. There are New Works that have buildings and look more like ìtraditionalî churches, but they way they engage doing ministry looks different.

The director challenged us to ìlook at the systemî of church: how we do things, why we do things. People will look back to a certain time period – for us, itís generally the first generation Quakers. We need to go *further* back to primitive Christianity: look at how and why they did church. Once our identity is rooted in Christ, then the way we live out church will be in sync with His will.

We heard from some folks who are doing New Works down in Medford: theyíre living out my dream of doing New Works not at the Yearly Meeting level, but at the local church level. Medford Friends is having them on staff part-time to plant simple churches in the southern Oregon area. They will also be supported by the New Works budget to help out the New Works directors by connecting with New Works in that area (can I mention New Works any more in one sentence?). Itís the hardest area for the directors to reach, not to mention they helped plant those groups initially.

Then we heard from a person in the southern Idaho area reporting on simple church-type groups that are popping up over there. He came to the board asking for guidance, clearness, and blessing. Young adults in Idaho are starting to meet together outside of established churches. Currently this person is worshiping at an established church and didnít know if he should fully invest in these new works, or if he should remain at the established church. The board seemed to affirm his being involved in both: in being a bridge between traditional and non-traditional groups. Ooooh, itís so exciting.

I skipped out towards the end because it was time to feed my son, and my poor mother had been watching him for five hours. I also missed the evening session again – sadness. But Iím somewhat at peace: I feel that this topic is something that Iíve been intentional about addressing, researching, and dialoging about with God and others. Hopefully someone will post the addresses online (hint hint to anyone reading this). I miss the open worship, but I also recognize that I need to respect my familyís needs for silence and winding down.

Really rough outline of topics covered during “Missing Generations” workshop

Workshop thoughts:

ñ So overwhelming! So much love!

ñ Holding things loosely

ñ Good to saturate with information, but not shove info down peoplesí throats

ñ Mightíve taken a long time to go around room, but good to build community
ñ People shared the points I resonated with: the informationís in them, it just needs to be pointed or pulled out

ñ Young adults is a stage of mind – man who became Christian at 70 felt like he was a young adult in his stage of spirituality

ñ Some people spoke in anger (and churches speak with resentment) – need reconciliation with church: donít have to agree, but should be at peace with each other

ñ Some folks want to get ëyoung adults in the doorí, draw them back in
ñ Mother: cut the strings! Theyíve got to go out!
ñ Mother draws in, Father sends out – we need more fathers speaking to move out

ñ Having folks there to support me meant so much

ñ Some folks came because they were interested in the topic; some were concerned about young adults; some were young adults; some were there because theyíve read other stuff Iíve written: keep the information going out there, even if I donít get any feedback

ñ Language is tricky: in Acts they needed the Spirit to ìdiscern the gibberishî, we need the same
ñ What is ìchurchî? Some say they donít ìattend churchî, but they do – it just looks different
ñ What do we ìoweî others?
ñ Older generation has a sense that we owe, that we need to give back; younger generation can be self-focused and doesnít feel like they owe anything
ñ We owe Christ, following his call to give back to those who helped raise us

ñ Youth group is good but bad; build a community, but then itís ripped apart- community ìlostî – never have that sense again
ñ Youth ministry is dying? At least as itís looked in the past

ñ Intergenerational: walk along side, point out where can help, encounter others

ñ Eating together: equalizing factor (all equal at the table)

ñ Need a place to ask the hard and challenging questions
ñ If theyíre old enough to ask the questions, theyíre going to find an answer: where will that answer come from?

ñ Missing generation is an epidemic
ñ Not just among Evangelical Friends: a person from Pacific YM noted that they too have a missing generation

ñ Ben found more friends/acceptance working two weeks at Starbucks than four years at Fox
ñ Unconditional acceptance: no strings attached: appreciation of you for you

ñ Why does the church want to bring people into the church? Is it simply to maintain the institution for another fifty years? Or is there something more to offer?

ñ Importance of blessing: using our words to strengthen and equip, not to break and tear down
ñ Young adults have experiences that have broken them; they need healing, love, acceptance

ñ Young adults remember/cling to/notice relationships
ñ Honest relationships make SUCH a difference – spoken of over and over with such affection
ñ Hypocritical/inauthentic relationships are remembered as well – cause much damage and hurt (feelings of being lied to? Not being respected as an individual/îadultî-type person?)

ñ Many church gatherings feel ìgeriatricî
ñ Classify each other: ìintellectual churchî versus ìyouth churchî versus ìcountry bumpkin churchî
ñ Want to reach out, but donít know how

ñ Young adults often donít feel like they fit in
ñ Singles feel like they are alone, church revolves around marrieds
ñ Marrieds feel left out – so many young adults are getting married later in life
ñ So basically everyone feels like they donít fit in – doesnít that make everyone fit in?

ñ Where is our Quaker distinctive? People, particularly young adults, are drawn to Quakerism for certain reason – equality, social justice, etc. Are we living that out? Do we have anything to offer? Is it strong and bold, or watered down?
ñ Young adults are ready to ìgo all the wayî – to give their whole beings: do we know how to equip and enable them to do that?
ñ Are we going all they way, or just half of the way?

ñ How can we accept people in the church just as they are, no strings attached, not trying to ìuseî them (for furthering programs, etc)?

ñ Our actions should come from our call in Christ – which we hear as we are rooted in His love, finding our identities in Him
ñ That should guide everything we do, and then reaching out to others – young adults and other populations – should happen naturally
ñ Does it need to be so ìplanned outî?

ñ Itís not going to happen at the institution level, itís not going to be a program: people are going to have to ìbuck upî at start doing it themselves

“Buck up!” might not be the most eloquent way to end a workshop . . .

but that’s what came out. 🙂

Praise to my Christ – the Spirit moved among us!

The workshop yesterday was such an engaging, rejuvenating, enlightening, challenging time! I didnít really get to follow the structure I planned (good thing the words of my friend have been infused into my thinking: ìHold things looselyî). And just as another friends said the day before, ìThe greatest thing we could possibly plan completely pales in comparison to what God has in store.î

For the first hour I shared a bit about how this compassion and concern of mine for ìThe Missing Generationî has grown, and then I had everyone in the room share their names and why they were there: what was their compassion for young adults? It took an hour. Which might seem like a long time, but folks were sharing SUCH good stuff! They hit on so many points that I resonate with – a time of much heading nodding and inward YES!s. I couldíve talked about those points, but how much more effective is it when people share it themselves? When they resonate with each othersí stories rather than hearing one personís journey? So much more depth and variety. Good, good times.

The second hour I shared my journey as a person growing up in NWYM – going through the youth programs, burning out from ìdoingî church, going through a wilderness-type period, finding a true authentic worship gathering in my intergenerational small group. A good friend who I havenít seen in a while shared as well: he mirrored my journey, but is worshiping with a house group. I was so happy to have him share his story: I can tell people about other ways that ìchurchî can look, but a) Iím attending a traditional church (so my words are more theory than practice) and 2) he has an authentic experience with that: hurrah!

Then I opened it up for discussion. Things got heated sometimes – mostly it seemed due to a lack of understanding each other – saying the same thing, but using different words. Yesterday a friend pointed out that in Acts it took the Holy Spirit to make sense of the ìgibberishî to everyone – we need the same. Things got emotional, a show of how people are truly invested and have a real compassion for young adults. Things were quirky and great – an older gentleman shared how he became a Christian at 70 and felt like he was going through his “young adult” phase – it’s not an age group, but a frame of mind!

The discussion, of course, had to end when we ran out of time. I didnít feel that a lot of questions were answered, but I told them thatís a good thing: I want them to feel uncomfortable, just as I feel, so that we continue to wrestle and talk and digest and pray and act about this concern. I encouraged them to keep the conversation going. And I told them that this change isn’t going to come through an institution or a program: we’re just going to have to “buck up and start doing it ourselves.” Ok, so I’m a bit more eloquent writing than speaking. 😉

My friend who shared his journey had an interesting idea for next year: offer one hour dedicated to this concern each day during Yearly Meeting. The conversation could continue, people could digest material and come back with other thoughts, we can spend time with Christ as He reveals His direction and call. Good, good stuff!

Iím sure Iíll be writing more, but my head is such a swirl that Iím going to need some time to do prayers of examen and play some videogames (I have a theory that when the conscious is too overwhelmed, it should be distracted with meaningless activity – movies, games, a walk, etc. – so that the subconscious can continue to work and not be nagged by the attention-deficit conscious. Freud and Jung might not agree, but hey: it works for me).

God is good!

Missing Generation workshop tomorrow – happy thoughts requested

Tomorrow is a day Iíve been preparing for, praying over, thinking about, pestering others, and anticipating for at least six months: itís the day I facilitate (not lead – when I think about ìhaving all the answersî, I freak out – but if I think about moderating a group conversation, the stomach knots subside, and thatís a good thing) my workshop called ìThe Missing Generation: Where Have All the Young Adults Gone?î Please pray that this will be a time of encountering Christ in very real ways, particularly with a concern towards meeting young adults (it’s not a “get them back” thing, but rather a “find them where they’re at” thing).

Hereís a structure I have loosely planned for the two-hour time:

The Missing Generation: Why Do They Leave?

Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Churches Annual Sessions 2005
Tuesday, July 26th – 1:00-3:00pm – Lemmons 14

ìPart I – A whole generation (age 18-38) is virtually absent from our meetings. Exploring this worrisome trend. Part II – What we can and must do to be relevant in todayís society. How can we get them back?î

Desire: to create space for the Spirit to speak to us concerning young adults

  • through use of the spiritual disciplines
  • through being rooted in the Word
  • through community
  • through teaching
  • through the sharing of our journeys
  • through equipping
  • through speaking blessings/noticings
  • Opening

    Welcome

    Introductions [community]: keep it casual, like meeting friends for conversation at a bar or cafe, perhaps go around the room and share names, ask an ‘icebreaker’ question depending on size of the group

    Sharing Insights: exploring the worrisome trend of lacking young adults

    Ask folks to share their passion/compassion for young adults [sharing of journeys]

  • Are they parents whose kids have left the church?
  • Are they young adults in the church?
  • Are they young adults who’ve left the church?
  • Are they young adults who attend loosely – feel “unsettled” about church?
  • Are they older folks concerned for the health of their church?
  • Things to work in if no one asks

      What would the ëidealí church look like?

    • Community, prayers, teaching, Bible reading, meals, spiritual disciplines for discernment, going out, incarnational (Acts)
    • Intergenerational: youths being apprenticed by older members (holistic teaching: how to live/how to work/how to pray/how to be in a family/etc.)
    • Church walking alongside youth, speaking blessings and strengths (Karen) and empowering them to go out into the world
    • Christ-centered: moving from being rooted in Christ, in the Spirit, in the Word
    • Way of life/living – all that we do flows from being rooted in God
    • Encounters culture but is not dictated by culture (because it is a culture)
    • Encounter healing/wholeness; provide space to be brought into Godís light
      What does our church look like?

    • Inward-focused: materials used to better church rather than going out and being missional
    • Segregated: youth in youth group, adults in ìareas of similarityî groups
    • Makes decisions based on business model rather than discernment using spiritual disciplines
    • Worship is once-a-week activity/feeding chosen based on style-preference (tend to think of ourselves/live as Christian Americans rather than American Christians)
    • Activity-oriented
      How do they differ?

    • Culture versus activity
    • Intergenerational versus segregated
    • Christ-focused rather than me-focused
    • Simple/organic/missional/incarnational living
    • Way of living versus things to do
      Where are young adults worshiping?

    • A lot are in emerging churches (explain – give examples)
    • Why are they there? Because they like the format, or because they sense that these churches are seeking authentically after God?
    • Emerging church misunderstandings: youth may seek to worship in ëalternativeí ways, but they also enjoy traditional: what theyíre seeking is authenticity
    • Sharing what those expressions might look like in our Yearly Meeting (any New Works successfully drawing young adults?)
    • What are assumptions about how young adults are living/where they are at?

    Break

    Deeper Explorations: what we can do to be relevant in todayís society (not just for young adults, but for society as a whole, but with a compassion for young adults)

    Sum up what we talked about in the previous hour; point out some highlights/noticings

    Talk about using spiritual disciplines to discern Godís will for our actions- informational versus formational learning (information increases knowledge; formational changes the spirit)

    Do Group Lectio Divina around Mark 6:30-44 [spiritual disciplines, being rooted in the Word]

  • Depending on number of attendees, break into small groups
  • See attached for Lectio process
  • Rejoin in larger group

  • Share noticings/nudges/how it was to experience
  • Any impressions on how to be relevant to our society? (Itís not going to look the same for everyone)
  • What are practical ways to go from here?
  • Have group speak out what theyíve noticed in others [blessings]

    Share practical advice as we go out [equipping]

    Closing

    Point out how the workshop has been structured like conversations/worship gatherings that young adults tend to resonate with

  • through use of the spiritual disciplines
  • through being rooted in the Word
  • through community
  • through teaching
  • through the sharing of our journeys
  • through equipping
  • through speaking blessings/noticings

  • The Group Lectio Process

    Prepare
    Take a moment to come fully into the present. Sit comfortably alert, close your eyes, and center yourself with breathing.

    1. Hear the word (that is addressed to you).
    First reading (twice). Listen for the word or phrase from the passage that attracts you. Repeat it over softly to yourself during a one-minute silence. When the leader gives the signal, say aloud only that word of phrase (without elaboration).

    2. Ask, ìHow is my life touched?î
    Second-stage reading. Listen to discover how this passage touches your life today. Consider possibilities or receive a sensory impression during the two minutes of silence. When the leader gives the signal, speak a sentence or two, perhaps beginning with words I hear, I see, I sense. (Or you may pass).

    3. Ask, ìIs there an invitation here?î (for you).
    Third-stage reading. Listen to discover a possible invitation relevant to the next few days. Ponder it during several minutes of silence. When the leader gives the signal, speak of your sense of invitation. (Or you may pass.)

    4. Pray (for one anotherís empowerment to respond).
    Pray, aloud or silently, for God to help the person on your right respond to the invitation received.

    If desired, group members may share their feelings about the precess after completing these steps.

    Norvene Vest, Gathered in the Word: Praying the Scriptures in Small Groups (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, 1996), 27. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.

    Supper for Five Thousand

    The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.

    So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke–like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.

    When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough–it was now quite late in the day–they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.”

    Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.”

    They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?”

    But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.”

    That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.”

    Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred–they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.

    NWYM Annual Sessions 2005: Day 3 – Board of Evangelism Meeting

    Iím on the Board of Evangelism – itís my second year. Iím one of three girls, one of *one* young adults (the next closest person in age was 38ish), and Iím the only person related to Joe Gerick – three strikes, Iím out. I can pretty much say anything, because I canít get any lower. 🙂

    The clerk does a fantastic job of clarifying the sense of the meeting with a laugh and positive words. The time doesnít always feel productive: it seems like a lot of ìcatching upî rather than moving ahead, but thatís what you get when you only meet two-three times a year.

    Weíre looking at how to strengthen our Hispanic/Multi-cultural ministries: itís looking an awful lot like our English-speaking churches about fifty years ago. It seems like many folks who donít feel comfortable with the post-modern type churches flock to this ministry – a familiar model to them?

    We heard a report from our New Works pastors WHO I LOVE!! They are some of my most favoritist people ever – *amazing* examples of living out Godís love and submitting to His will and following His direction to live in the abundance of Godís Kingdom. Two Mid-Year Boards ago Karen mentioned that we are called to live in freedom as bondservants: rather than having to ìfigure it all out,î we get to leave that up to God! All we have to do (yeah, all – heh heh) is ask God what we are to do right now: what does he have planned for us this moment.

    John brought some interesting words to us today, something along the lines of ìanything we may come up with pales in comparison to seeing the Spirit; we live in the dimension of time – while we walk in time, weíre called to live in eternity – which is now.î I started to have some trippy thoughts regarding time and infinity ñ couldíve been the non-drowsy decongestant talking, but was fun nonetheless.

    I love hearing about the new works going out around the yearly meeting, but itís also hard: it seems that many folks have a hard time dealing with new works because they donít ìfit in the box.î They are based on relationships, and relationships take time to foster, to grow, to cultivate. New Works canít easily be measured in terms of success – and that really bothers some folks. I wish it wasnít such a point of contention, that it could be blessed and allowed to grow without everyone needing to stick their oar in . . . but such is institutional church life.

    [Bad blogger: I skipped the evening session. One of us had a long day of work, the other a substantial headache, the other experiencing nursery-overload].

    NWYM Annual Sessions 2005 – Day 2: Sunday Morning & Evening Gatherings

    I made sure to motor to church early today: why? Because we attend the 9:45am service at Newberg Friends, and on yearly meeting Sunday, so do all the youth. Who sit in the balcony. With anti-social us (shhh: donít tell emergent folk. I think being anti-social would get us kicked out. And then weíd have to be *really* anti-social, and thatíd just be sad). We dropped Judah off in the nursery – first kid there – and ran into the childrenís pastor: I may now be teaching kindergartners at VBS . . .

    So we ran upstairs and secured our usual pew. Soon the youth piled in. I used to work with the youth; in fact, one year I put on junior high yearly meeting. Most high schoolers and junior highers knew who I was, or at least they knew I was a ìcoolî young adult. Now, not so much. Since Iíve done those adult things, like get married and procreate, I am no longer cool. How do I know this? Because no one sat by us. People *did* come sit with us – my former youth leaders: we were a pew of youth department oldies (but still goodies).

    The yearly meeting speaker generally speaks at NFC on Sunday mornings, and this year followed in that tradition. Our general superintendent Colin Saxton spoke on the story in Luke in which the ìwoman of ill reputeî wept over Jesusí feet, poured perfume on his head, was forgiven of her sins, and modeled for the church men what true honor and hospitality looks like. Colin discussed how we are graced to experience that sort of freedom and transformation in Christ, but that weíre also called to help others experience the same. He ended with the question of what happened to the woman: she didnít fit in with her old life, she didnít fit in with the Pharisees/church people of the time – where could she go? Our yearly meeting is called to be the sort of community that she could come to, be part of, contribute to, journey with.

    Normally I wouldíve tried to make the afternoon Missions rally, but naptime for a certain someone won out (I figure heís going to be in nursery shock by the end of the week: I should be as kind at the beginning as possible).

    Then came the evening service. Again, Jason and I were there uber-early: had to make sure to check Judah in okay. Some friends of mine from college sat with us (along with their children – who actually sit – as opposed to squirming uncontrollably: I didn’t know that was possible). We worshiped together, a great menís choir from the local Friends retirement community sang, and then Colin delivered the keynote address. The topic this year is ìBeing Incarnational Christians – Where Do I Fit In?î Having had the superintendent position for a year, I believe Colin (pronounced cole-in, not the typical American call-in) is sharing some of his findings.

    Some of his thoughts addressed tonight:

    • He just finished speaking at another yearly meeting, and that was an easier talk because he could point out problems and leave; here, he says things and has to be around for the mess
    • We can only be an incarnational presence in community (this is his year long message)
    • Interesting dichotomy: denominations are beginning to cooperate, and yet their also noticing something special about their spiritual integrity and distinctives
      Colin is excited about the yearly meeting: wants to see its identity and sense of community strengthened
    • Membership is a covenant we make as a response to a call
    • Individualism has crippled the church: turned it into a volunteer organization
    • The yearly meeting needs to learn to submit to Christís leadership, not our own agendas
    • We should not look for what to do, but to recognize where we belong
    • Closing query: ìHow will I live differently in this community because we are ìwritten on one anotherís heartsî (George Fox)

    Judah was delighted at meeting my old pastors, friends from other states, but he also was quite content at getting home: poor kidís going to develop a twitch from overstimulation – you think thatíd be hard to get at a Quaker gathering (not necessarily the most charismatic of folks), but he must be very sensitive to the Spirit. 🙂

    NWYM Annual Sessions 2005 – Day 1: Registration & Family Fun Day

    Yearly Meeting has started off with a . . . well . . . with a pleasant day! YM weeks are notorious for taking place during the one week out of the year that the Willamette Valley recognizes the seasonal event known as summer. Due to the rather temperate climate, air conditioning is a rare commodity – and let me tell you, thereís nothing more appealing than staying in stifling dorms that turn into ovens with the slightest temperature increase – bleck. Iím rather grateful that Iím now a ìtownieî and donít have to stay on campus.

    But this week the weather is rather pleasant – temps in the 80’s, not a high degree of humidity. Judah and I sauntered over to the Edwards-Holman Science Center to register – had our first run-in with friends. I picked up my packet, my nametag (which will be worn grudgingly, particularly due to a Little Personís belief that itís a toy – a pull toy – to snap back into his momís face).

    We strolled through the clocktower lawn as the Family Fun Day events were in full swing: a dunk tank, carnival booths, etc. Other booths littered the lawn as well – Twin Rocks, International Family Services, Barclay Press (which I had to slink by – they had pictures of all of their writers up. I made my husband look to see if my ìIím a new mom, and sleep in a concept rather than a reality in my lifeî picture was up – sadly enough, now everyone gets to stare at my bloodshot eyes).

    I ran into tons of friends. One friend who is living at the beach is engaged – just bought a house. Another friend just bought a house in Nampa, but is working in Meridian and Boise (Iím jealous). Friends from Idaho, friends from Washington. I ran into people who know my folks, and one of them said I talk about Judah just like my mom talked about my brother and me (she said this right after talking about my main duty of the day being mouth-patrol: ìAre you hungry? What are you eating? Donít eat bark!!” I donít know she meant it as a compliment or not 🙂 ).

    Judah had a blast – his first Yearly Meeting event! And what did he do? Sit on the grass with my former youth leaderís baby, and ate crackers . . . and dropped them on the ground. . . and picked them up and put them in his mouth. It doesnít get much better.

    This is my favorite day of Yearly Meeting. Not that itís all downhill from here (though by Thursday Iím generally ready to retreat back to my sanctuary), but rather than I *love* seeing everyone. Most of these folks have been integral at some point in my life – emotionally, spiritually. Theyíve seen me grow up, Iíve seen them change. Theyíre my mentors, my leaders, my friends, my family. It meant so much to be able to take my son. Not that heíll remember much, and if he does, it will mostly be of the taste of crackers and clover together – hey, memories have to start somewhere. =)

    Self-proclaimed NWYM 2005 Blogger: I doubt there will be objections

    Today marks the beginning of the 115th Northwest Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions taking place at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. I donít know if anyone has ever blogged about these sessions before, so I think Iíll appoint myself the Official Blogger of the NWYM Sessions 2005.

    Today weíre having Family Fun Day as well as The Hoot on the Centennial Clocktown lawn. As soon as my son wakes up, weíll mingle with friends from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington as they roll in for the weeklong meetings, workshops, and worship times, and other festivities. Since Iím on the Board of Evangelism, Iíll need to pick up my official packet complete with a schedule and a nametag. Plus, Iím leading a workshop on Tuesday, so Iîll need to scope out my digs (Lemmons 14 for anyone interested in coming).

    Hope to see yíall there!