Baltimore Yearly Meeting is the regional organizing unit for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the area of central Pennsylvania, Maryland, parts of West Virginia, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It is through membership in a Yearly Meeting that individual Quakers become connected with the larger Quaker movement worldwide. "In fellowship, in deep listening, in waiting worship, in commitment to each other, it richly rewards those who embrace the challenge of being a Yearly Meeting Friend." (2011 draft Faith and Practice)
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The Minutes of Third Month 2021 Interim Meeting are now available.
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We Are Gathering in a Virtual Space
In October, Friends General Conference Long Range Conference Planning Committee (LRCP) minuted their recommendation, “With sadness we agreed that we strongly recommend to the FGC General Secretary, Barry Crossno and to Lori Sinitzky, Conference Coordinator, that Gathering 2021 should be virtual.”
Central Committee, FGC’s governing body, has approved the recommendation of the Long Range Conference Planning Committee (LRCP) to hold the 2021 Gathering virtually instead of on campus at Radford University.
There were many reasons for this decision. The continued safety of our Gathering Community is one. Until we have an efficacious vaccine, with wide distribution and several months of delay time for immunity to develop, the Gathering Clerks, the Gathering staff, and LRCP could not see a way of holding an in-person Gathering with any expectation of safety.
Friends also felt the imperative of making this decision now after careful consideration of the reports presented by the 2021 Gathering Clerks, the Conference Coordinator, and the Long Range Planning Committee. These groups all reported that the uncertainty of the venue for 2021 effectively stalled all planning. This was impeding the work and demoralizing for the staff and volunteers.
We look forward to using the many valuable lessons we learned from the 2020 Virtual Gathering. We have a lot going for us now. Friends are more comfortable with Zoom and other online platforms. We know how to offer more ways for Friends to “meet up” in virtual spaces and spend time together.
We know we can experience spiritual community online. We can work to create a more inclusive and expansive Gathering. In this Gathering, we can use the tools of technology to be together, even though we have to be apart.
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