In this story:
- Giant Children’s Meeting is Back this Fall!
- Young Friends Staffing Announcement
- October issue of The Tote Bag focuses on collegial sharing and connection
Come to meet with young Friends from near and far!
If your meeting continues to use online spaces for religious education programs or is reluctant to gather with children in person, Giant Children’s Meeting on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 9:00 AM is for you!
Our monthly, online religious education programs connect with the Youth Programs theme for this year: “Building the Quaker Community We Want to Be.” In September, we celebrated seeing one another again and “welcoming all” — old and new friends. We read the book Nana Akua Goes to School and were led in singing by Abby Brace-Higgins (Mickleton Meeting), who wove together our personal attributes, as shared by participants, into a rousing version of the “Little Boxes” song — not houses, but our Zoom boxes! We look forward to seeing more friends in October!
Upcoming program themes:
- October 17: Creating Peace Together
- November 21: Extending the Table
- December 19: Celebrating in the Light
Join Friends and Families from across the Yearly Meeting for this monthly religious education program! It’s “giant” because everyone is invited! It’s “children’s meeting” because we’re making a space to nurture the spiritual lives and Quaker identity of young people.
Young Friends Program Announcement
With love for her and excitement for new adventures, and also sadness for our community, we are sharing that Olivia Chalkley, Young Friends Program Facilitator, is moving to North Carolina and will step down from her staff role at the end of December. Aeryn Luminkith, current program Assistant, has moved to a co-facilitator role, and a search process has begun to hire zir new colleague. The search will include the participation of Young Friends on a hiring committee, and we hope to have a new Co-Facilitator working with Aeryn by the start of 2022!
Please read Olivia’s message to Young Friends below.
Dear Young Friends Community,
It’s been a wild couple of years! When I accepted the Young Friends Program Facilitator position in the fall of 2019, we had no idea what was to come. I only had a couple in-person gatherings under my belt when the world shut down in March 2020, and we moved the majority of our programming online, which this community adapted to with grace and care.
I’ve spent much of the past year living in limbo between Philly, Baltimore, and Western North Carolina, dwelling in the uncertainty brought on by COVID. After much discernment, my partner and I recently made the difficult decision to move to NC full-time. Because of this, I will be stepping down as Facilitator at the end of December.
This community has weathered a lot of change together, including the persistent disruption of a global pandemic. When we realized that so many in our Young Friends community would be graduating in 2021, Aeryn and I were a bit worried; we hadn’t been able to welcome as many new folks as usual with the limits of mostly online programming, which just isn’t the same as our longer gatherings together in person.
But then, something great happened! We were able to do an overnight in late August at West Chester Friends Meeting. A wonderful group of current and new Young Friends came together to reimagine what this community might look like as we enter a new era. We asked difficult questions about what this particular community needed, and Young Friends answered them bravely. They frankly addressed the gaps in institutional knowledge left by our graduating seniors, but also the opportunity we are presented with: by being forced to do things differently than they had been done before, we might find growth and positive change. This experience spoke to any worries I had about the future of Young Friends: this community knows what it needs and, with deep care and creativity, it will move into this next stage gracefully.
It’s been an honor to serve as your Facilitator for the past two years, and while I’m deeply saddened to be leaving, I know you’ll be in good hands: Aeryn Luminkith will be stepping into the role of co-facilitator, along with someone new! I’m excited to work with Aeryn and zir future co-facilitator over the next few months to set Young Friends up for success. I hope to see you at the Christmas Gathering, December 18-19!
October Issue of The Tote Bag Now Available!
Hot off the presses! This issue of the Tote Bag includes sharing from meetings about what they are up to this fall, sign-ups for Quaker Parent Mutual Support Groups, a spotlight on Historic Fair Hill burial ground as a wonderful place for a Sunday morning field trip, and much more. If you don’t already receive a copy of the (pretty much monthly) newsletter, you can subscribe here by choosing “Religious Education.”
Send resources and ideas to share to Melinda at firstname.lastname@example.org — connecting Friends with one another and the good things you do is a joy!
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