Friends from all over Florida gathered for a blissful four days at Half Yearly Meeting, held over Thanksgiving weekend at Wekiwa Springs State Park. A team of Friends arrived early Thursday and prepared a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, which included not only turkey with ‘all the fixin’s,’ but vegan options as well. Others brought side dishes and desserts.
Over the long weekend, Friends enjoyed canoeing, swimming, hiking, games, worship sharing, a ‘Talent’ show, and more.
Friday afternoon, Field Secretary for Earthcare Beverly Ward led a Virtual Climate Strike, with Friends at HYM dropping by, and f/Friends online dropping in on the video conference, which was also streamed on facebook. Beverly writes:
“We had a climate strike (YAY!) with only minor technical issues. In keeping with HYM, this strike was less formal. I opened with a reading of the 11th Month Queries and Advices, from the SEYM Faith and Practice, and the SEYM Earthcare Testimony (2019). Kathy Hersh (Miami MM) led a discussion on land acknowledgement, which included Jane Westburg (Miami MM and Boulder MM). Jane Westburg and I are active with Decolonizing Quakers. Earthman Lanny (Smith) visited with us and shared a music video, The Climate Crisis Jam. Phil Stone (Clearwater MM) stopped by to talk about nuclear energy and the problems with using it as an alternative to fossil fuels. Katie Green (Clearwater MM) told a story, and Jean Larson (Gainesville MM) stopped by to talk about Earthcare projects in Gainesville and beyond.
“We look forward to future virtual strikes and welcome ideas, topics, and participants!!!”
On Saturday night, Houston Cypress, member of the Miccosukee tribe, gave a presentation on how the Everglades Restoration Project may, ironically, endanger the Miccosukee traditional way of life. He recommends a video, Of Sparrows and Men, that shows how a restoration of the water flow will impact the tribe. Kathy Hersh writes:
“His presentation provoked much discussion, which continued in the dining hall over pizza. Discussion centered around decolonization in general, and the decolonization of the fields of science and medicine, currently dominated by White European bias. Native American research should be held up equally. Houston recommended we check out Media Indigena as a source of other media work by indigenous filmmakers who tell what’s going on in other parts of the country. We were grateful to Houston for sharing his time and weekend with us. He encouraged us to join the tribe in actions such as prayer walks that focus on healing the environment and bring attention to problems that need mitigation.”
Youth & Young Adults had a great time. Kody Hersh, SEYM Youth & Young Adult Coordinator, writes:
“While numbers fluctuated as folks came in and out, by the weekend we had a solid cohort of both youth (up to 18) and young adults (18-35). We had a campfire with marshmallow roasting on Friday, and on Saturday night, youth made pizza for everyone and stayed up late over a game of Apples to Apples. Games, puzzles, canoeing, hiking, the Half Yearly Meeting Talent and No-Talent Show, Houston Cypress’s talk, worship sharing, naps, and other activities filled the remainder of the time.”
Next Year may see some changes for HYM. Kody Hersh writes:
“Many Friends participated in conversations and worship sharing about the future of Half Yearly Meeting. There were several things to consider, including whether to continue with a mostly unstructured schedule, and how to help HYM better meet the needs of younger people. The planning committee is looking at several possible experiments for next year, including “free for kids” and “pay as led” models for fees. Stay tuned!”
—contributors: Jerry Knutson (Orlando, HYM Clerk), Beverly Ward (Tampa), Kathy Hersh (Miami), Kody Hersh (Orlando), and Brian Olson (Miami, HYM Registrar).
Half Yearly Meeting 2019 Photo Gallery
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