This year’s Half Yearly Meeting brought together about 45 Friends for four days of beautiful weather, nature, and fellowship over the Thanksgiving weekend. Seven Friends from Miami Meeting attended HYM for the first time. The gathering was held at the Youth Camp at Wekiwa Springs State Park, 7800 acres of wild Florida, at the headwaters of the Wekiva River.
Thanksgiving dinner was a huge, delicious success. Many Friends pitched in over the weekend to cook some wonderful meals—enjoying friendship and laughter in the kitchen and serving up pancakes, soups, lasagnas, and other hearty food.
Seven workshops were held over Friday and Saturday. Jerry Knutson led a workshop on Individual Spiritual Discernment based on his best-selling Pendle Hill pamphlet. Pete Ackerman led us in writing postcards in support of the restoration of land and sovereignty for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts—the very tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims, which we now celebrate on Thanksgiving. JoAnne Lordahl led a workshop on poetry Saturday morning. Beverly Ward shared a new workshop she is developing on Right Relations with Indigenous Peoples on Friday, and repeated it on Saturday for Friends who missed it the first time. Bill Carlie led a nature hike, offering descriptions of the ecosystems and how they work, along with sharing the latin and common names of the plants.
Vincent Cosomano emceed the “Talent” show Friday night, which was ‘delightful, as usual!’ Friends got up to share music, poetry, jokes, and short stories—some funny and some serious. Beverly Ward led Friends in singing the SEYM Earth Anthem; and she & John Heimburg, as the Bohn Jeverly Troupe, performed Homo Sapiens by Chantal Bilodeau, from Climate Change Action Theatre.
A few Friends went swimming in Wekiwa Springs on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday morning, ten Friends packed their lunches and took a long canoe run from King’s Landing.
Saturday night’s presentation by Dr. Robert Sitler, Professor of World Languages and Cultures at Stetson University, on “Local Springs and Water Issues,” was very informative. Beautiful videos, photos and maps illustrated his talk on the major springs in Florida, free-diving in the springs, and the Mayan relationship to springs—which they worshipped. He also addressed issues affecting the springs and their rivers, such as the low volume, low oxygen levels, and algae (eutrophication). Some, including Gemini Springs, have had to be closed to swimming because of the algae.
HYM closed on Sunday after worship in the pavilion by the lake.
Half Yearly Meeting 2018 Photo Gallery
To view the Photo Gallery below, click on any thumbnail to see the full size picture and slideshow. Many thanks to our photographers: Kathy Hersh, Barbara Finkelstein, Phil Stone, Kurt Guenther, Brian Olson, and Vicki Carlie.