Over the weekend of January 13 – 15, over 60 Friends gathered at the Orlando Meetinghouse — with many more joining in on Zoom — for our first post-pandemic in-person Winter Interim Business Meeting and Michener Lecture. Orlando Friends provided breakfasts and lunches, plus expert technical help in running the hybrid meetings and livestreaming the Michener Lecture.
Highlights from the business meeting on Saturday include:
The Nominating Committee is looking for a Gathering Assistant Clerk, Youth Committee members, and FCNL and Quaker House Representatives.
The Yearly Meeting Gathering Committee reported on plans for our 2023 Gathering, to be held April 5 – 9 at Dayspring Camp and Conference Center in Parrish, Florida. Our theme will be Deepening at the Root: Tending the Source of Our Worship &Witness; Christopher Sammond will present the lecture and retreats. The schedule will see a few changes; committees are asked to meet on Zoom prior to the Gathering. Registration will be on a ‘pay-as-led’ system, so that none will be excluded based on their ability to pay.
The Peace and Social Concerns Committee is looking for ways to increase SEYM Friends’ ability to act on concerns as a group. We discussed increasing our financial support for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice camp, contingent on the camp addressing child safety concerns. SEYM Child Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator Cheryl Demers-Holton (Deland) volunteered to help them set up a child safety program.
Field Secretary for Earthcare Beverly Ward (Tampa, Deland) reported that she is now on the national advisory board for Earth Ethics Institute, which works to foster earth literacy. She continues to offer several workshops to Meetings and Worship Groups, and to work with several Quaker and non-Quaker organizations. Beverly will be helping Deland Friends develop climate actions. See her extensive report attached to the Minutes.
Friends approved making the Field Secretary for Earthcare position a staff position, funded through the General Fund rather than through the FSE fund.
The Worship & Ministry Committee has been listening to the spiritual needs of our SEYM Meetings and Worship Groups. Their current work includes a Listening Project — fostering listening and conversation around the spiritual nurture of Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups through listening sessions and follow-up. Meetings and Worship Groups are invited to contact the committee co-clerks: Jan Dahm (Tampa), Lisa Erasmus (Tampa), and Richelle Ogle (St. Augustine).
The Committee for Ministry on Racism is planning an intergenerational workshop for the SEYM Gathering. Clerk Kathy Hersh attended the 100th anniversary commemoration of the 1923 Rosewood Massacre in Levy County, Florida. Friends are asked to consider writing op-ed/letters to the editor of your local newspapers to support Dr. Dunn’s courageous campaign ‘Teach the Truth’ in defiance of the Florida Anti-Woke law. The Committee is eager to pass along recommendations of books and webinars on becoming an anti-racist, truly inclusive community,and welcome suggestions from Friends who have resources or experiences to share. Contact their clerk, Kathy Hersh (Deland).
Friends Peace Teams representative Cece Yocum (Tampa) reports that FPT is encouraging their in-country partners to assume leadership and decision making for FPT projects, with Americans providing support. Their work is now also encompassing addressing multi-generational harm caused by conflicts and trauma.
The Michener Lecture
Friends gathered again on Sunday for worship and a luncheon provided by Orlando Friends in the morning, and the Michener Lecture in the afternoon. Several Friends joined on Zoom or watched the lecture livestreamed on facebook.
Joel Cook (Treasure Coast, Palm Beach) presented the Michener Lecture, “Welcome As You Are: Seekers, Finders, Sharing the Journey.”
Joel shared stories from his own life, the Bible and other sources: stories of how all are welcome to abundant life in the Spirit, and loved just as we are; stories of restlessness, seeking and finding, of shadows, transformation, and belonging. To truly welcome everyone, we must share our stories of our spiritual journeys with each other — so that all can know they are not alone in their struggles, and that they are loved and welcome just as they are.
In the seminar, Friends were invited to discover their ‘spiritual types.’ Then, in small groups, we shared stories of our own spiritual journeys. We concluded by reflecting on the experience afterwards.
The lecture was live streamed on Facebook, thanks to the technical support of Orlando Friends Jared Silvia and others. The video of the lecture will be available on this website at a later date.