Call to the Annual Gathering of Pacific Yearly Meeting, 2014
Youth and Prophecy: Awakening to a New Creation
July 14 – 19, 2014; Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma California
“What canst thou say? Art thou a Child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?”
- George Fox in 1652, as quoted by Margaret Fell in 1691.
The leadership of early Friends was young! In 1652, the height of the first great growth of the “Children of the Light,” George Fox was only 28—full of energy, fire and passion. Older seekers of his time were often slow to awaken to the wonder of a new creation.
Yet chronological age was not the key to this rebirth. At the heart of the new movement was a radical realization: “Christ has come to teach his people himself.” That for which we hunger—that which fuels our power and creativity, our energy and passion, leading us to seek justice and peace—is already within us, a Blessed Presence to our hearts, veiled only by confusion in our minds.
Fox wrote that following his own great awakening in 1648, “All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter.” This awakening came only after years of struggle and disappointment, leading to darkness and despair: “I knew not what to do.” Only when he surrendered his failed dream did he awaken to a new creation.
The Prophetic Voice: Living from a Deeper Place
Out of this death and rebirth came new strength—as it can come for each us who has courage to surrender fully to the Source. Fox strode boldly through northern England, speaking with power that came through him, with authority immediately recognized by those who heard him. Those listeners who were truly honest with themselves (like Margaret Fell, who broke down in tears at his words) were captured by the truth he spoke, convinced—convicted—by his prophetic voice.
Within us we sense a place of deep authenticity, however named. “What canst thou say?” does not invite personal opinions off the top of our heads; rather, it calls us to wait for clarity and guidance, then testify to our experience of Truth—to be “children of Light, and to walk in the Light.” Our power comes through surrender to Truth.
A New Rebirth in Pacific Yearly Meeting
Echoing Fox’s experience in 1648, Friends last year, with sadness yet gratitude toward those who had pursued it, surrendered another dream: the hope of a permanent location for Annual Sessions. Through generosity and grace, the financial resources of that endeavor are rededicated to a cause dear to us all: the nurturing and growth of our youth, their Life in the Spirit. Their passion and vision already bring fresh vitality and promise to Pacific Yearly Meeting. At the 2014 Annual Session we will ask what the prophetic power of “a new creation” means for us as a collective body. Can we be a corporate prophetic voice to the world? Our 2014 keynote speaker will be Jonathan Vogel-Borne, former Secretary of New England Yearly Meeting, who grew up in PYM. Jonathan is a gifted speaker who has led workshops at the FGC Gathering on “Practicing Prophetic Ministry.”
We will also feature a plenary session led by PYM youth.
Additional highlights of the 2014 Annual Session:
Attendance costs are lower this year.
First-time attenders will receive a $40 discount off their registration.
We have streamlined procedures for financial assistance.
Because of Walker Creek’s flexible hours, we can return to scheduling innovations that were well received at Annual Session 2012 (also at Walker Creek), including:
Two parallel options for worship-sharing daily.
A return to a mid-day slot for Bible study and “Transformative Quakers,” the popular adult studies series (rather than before breakfast!).
Threshing sessions will prepare us for plenary topics coming later in the week.
“Fellowship Friday” will bring us together through fun intergenerational activities, ending the day with our traditional Family Night and Dance.
Walker Creek offers a variety of food choices.
The relatively flat terrain will, we hope, pose little difficulty for those with mobility issues.
Because of Walker Creek’s proximity to Friends House in Santa Rosa, we hope to benefit from greater participation by our elderly members.
We will again enjoy the wildlife—deer, turkey vultures, raccoons, wild turkey, fox—and the spacious, striking natural beauty of Walker Creek’s remote site.
Questions regarding the program of Annual Session? Contact the Presiding Clerk through the PYM website (see below), the Assistant to the Clerk, or the Clerk of M&O.
Questions regarding the Walker Creek site? Contact the PYM Arrangements Clerk.
Please register through our PYM website, pacificyearlymeeting.org
I look forward eagerly to enjoying our fellowship and spiritual renewal at Walker Creek in July.
Steve Smith, Presiding Clerk