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SEYM 2016 Epistle

Loving Greetings to Friends Everywhere:

Southeastern Yearly Meeting gathered in Fruitland Park, Florida, in Third Month 23-27, 2016 with 133 Friends in attendance, including 17 children. The joyous comments about the beauty of our setting by visitors from Quaker organizations, reminded us to appreciate how fortunate we are to meet at The Life Enrichment Center on Lake Griffin. We are ever mindful of the benefit offered us by nature as we worship beneath the ancient live oaks and listen to the ministry of birdsong.

"Active Peace: Friends Ministry of Hope in a Despairing World" with Bridget Moix. photo:Bill Carlie

“Active Peace: Friends Ministry of Hope in a Despairing World” with Bridget Moix. photo:Bill Carlie

Peacebuilder Bridget Moix delivered the Walton Lecture on our theme ‘Active Peace: Friends Ministry of Hope in a Despairing World’ in which she shared a framework of understanding to guide us in our peacemaking efforts. In her workshops, YM Friends heard stories of peacemakers from around the world and were led through a series of small group discussions exploring our stories and where we sought the spiritual nurture needed to be peacemakers. Sharing from her extensive life experience as a peacebuilder, Bridget gave us valuable insight into the wealth of peacemaking efforts around the world as well as concrete resources to support our work and witness for peace.

Friends expressed gratitude for the quotes and queries, which gave rise to spirit, led reflection in our worship sharing groups. We delved deeply in personal consideration of the theme ‘Active Peace’, seeking to recenter and renew ourselves to be strong in meeting the challenges ahead, and to be open to act upon the leading of spirit. We are also grateful to the many Friends who shared their gifts and leadings through a wide variety of informative and inspiring workshops.

Our youth are continuing their climate change work and witness with focus on water issues. They brought forward strategies in which both individual Friends and Monthly Meetings can participate in addressing this concern. Part of this work includes creatively raising donations to support the Field Secretary for Earthcare.

Friends were excited to receive a report from the Field Secretary for Earthcare Search Committee. Having developed a job description and an ad, SEYM is moving forward to fill the position. Friends look forward to fulfilling our commitment to act on climate change.

The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) report was another
highlight of our gathering. Hearing the epistle of 320 Friends from around the world, who gathered in Peru, while seeing their faces, was a touching opportunity to connect with our brothers and sisters from around the world. SEYM Friends mirrored this connection among Friends through our active participation in conversation, study, worship and intergenerational dance and play.

SEYM Friends feel renewed in our call to be faithful and look forward to using what we have shared and learned in seeking to fulfill our call to be active peacemakers.

In the Light,

Joel Cook, SEYM Assistant Clerk, Presiding