Last week, I had the chance to participate with North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM) as their Friend in Residence. That means that I got to share a message at a plenary gathering and give two interest groups (workshops). I also got to participate in some of the other pieces of NPYM’s virtual annual sessions this year. My plenary address was called: “Courage, Fear, & Care: Creating Resilient Communities to Meet Climate Justice” (see video below), and for the interest group, I co-led a session sharing some of the outcomes and tools from our Reckoning with Racism process from this last year in my role with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. The interest group was called: “Re-membering Our Stories: Friends and Land, Race, and Economy.”
It was wonderful to be with Friends in this way! I got to sojourn with NPYM Friends at South Mountain Friends in Ashland, OR when I lived there as a visiting professor at the Oregon Extension, and I’ve appreciated connections with other unprogrammed Friends around Oregon over the years, but I hadn’t previously been able to attend NPYM’s annual sessions. I have also been grateful over the last year to visit other yearly meetings and events without the travel time of leaving home and without the fossil fuel use.
That said, I will be happy when we can meet in person again. Meeting on Zoom can be meaningful and we have all gotten much more skilled at using it as a tool for connection! But there’s nothing quite like spending several days with a group, eating together and walking between gatherings together, bumping into each other and sharing small conversations. What a gift it has been to meet Friends virtually and to keep up and deepen our connections during the pandemic while keeping each other safe and healthy, and what a gift it will be to meet in person again eventually.