Middle School Friends at Annual Sessions 2017

Annual Sessions, Middle School Friends

Dear Friends everywhere, we are the Middle School Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

This week, new friendships were formed, old friendships were tested and we are here today having learned a lot about ourselves and each other. We got to know each other through games, worship sharing groups and workshops. We watched a movie at a time when we really needed a break and some down time. We had a book making workshop with Spiral Q, and some of us went to share what we learned about book making and helped facilitate in a second workshop that afternoon. Others of us stayed to have a workshop on Environmental activism and lobbying with Emily Wirzba from FCNL. We feel really excited about lobbying on behalf of our planet and all of life. We liked that there were lots of times we got to be with Young Friends and the Children.

This week had some serious challenges. Our bus didn’t come for the rafting field trip to the Delaware water gap, and so Middle School Friends and Young Friends were wondering whether we’d get to go at all. We waited and waited. Luckily, a bunch of awesome OAFs AKA Older Adult Friends volunteered to drive us! We want to give a big shout out to all of those volunteers who drove, came rafting with us, and even bought us pizza for us! We are so grateful for your support. Each raft held about 8 people and we laughed together, sang songs loudly, and swam in the water. The field trip was a special time to bond in a new way. We didn’t get back until about 9:00, so another thank you to our families and the people who bought us more pizza back here at campus because we were still very hungry.

On Saturday night we invited the whole community to our space in Business Lounge for Vespers. We used the theme of the Love Wolf and the Fear Wolf to create three stations. One station had a mad lib that we created using the Love Wolf and Fear Wolf story but with silly fill-in-the-blanks. The next station did improv theater games using the story and invited audience members to participate. The last station made prayer flags with our messages of hope for ourselves and others. We had a great time working in our teams for each station. Thank you to everyone who came to join us!

Over the course of the week, we worked with the Love Wolf and Fear Wolf story. We really learned from it and know we’ll all keep thinking about it after Sessions is over. In our small groups, we explored themes of trust, community, friendship and rebuilding trust after conflict. We had some ups and downs as individuals and as a group, but we always managed to come back together and try again. We know this is what adult Quakers are also learning and doing and we are too. We are not perfect, but we are resilient and we are growing.

In closing, we want to share a funny line from one of our mad libs: The grandmother said, “You haven’t heard of the ecstasy elephant and the exasperation centipede?” And the little ball said, “no.” The grandmother replied: “There are centipedes and elephants that we download every day. You feed the elephant with your starlight and your embrace. So make sure to swim your elephant every day!”

From the MSF community to the wider Sessions community, we remind you to feed your Love Wolf (or elephant!) every day, and so will we!