Category Archives: Updates

The Recording Clerk’s Office Intern comes to YFGM

Emily Dervisevic was at Bristol Redlands in October and thought about what YFGM is doing well and what it could do better.

Whether it’s getting creative in the kitchen due to a lack of big pans or stepping in to man the front desk, the community spirit at YFGM is both immediate and infectious. In Bristol, it was energised by having twenty-seven newcomers at the weekend. They were supported by a fantastic newcomers program led by a caring Outreach team, who ensured that everything was explained clearly – including all the Quakery jargon!

Our guest speaker was Bristol resident, historian and activist Roger Ball. He gave a thought-provoking presentation drew on his experiences as part of the campaign to counter the memorialisation of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston, and I would have loved to have been able to attend a follow-up Special Interest Group to continue the discussion further and find out more. Instead, I decided to get some fresh air and joined the walking tour of Bristol. Others attended special interest groups (SIGs) on Challenging White Supremacy, Envisioning a Better Charity Sector and YFGM´s Mental Wellbeing Concern, all of which sounded really interesting and left me wondering if we could organise future YFGMs so that it’s possible to take part in the excursions without having to miss all the other SIGs.

YFGM has fewer, leaner business meetings these days, so there is more time in the weekend for young Friends to explore issues that they are passionate about. However, that means fewer opportunities to practice using the Quaker business method, and at times business meetings seemed to lapse into more of a discussion. I was left feeling that young Friends needed to support each other a bit more with upholding the spirit of the Quaker business method, perhaps by refreshing everyone’s memories at the beginning of the weekend in an entertaining way such as a skit, or interactively by discussing it in small groups.

Friday night’s epilogue of a simple Meeting for Worship provided a much-needed space for quiet reflection after a hectic, noisy evening. On Saturday, the spirituality session provided a welcome space for young Friends to discuss their faith. We also had a beautiful Epilogue inspired by the festival of Diwali. The meeting room was lit with fairy lights we listened in a spirit of worship to a traditional Hindu tale.

While there is always room for improvement, YFGM is a clearly vibrant and thriving community, and with so many newcomers, its future look is looking very positive.

Were you at YFGM Bristol? What would you like to see you at the next YFGM? Let us know!

This morning we have shared meeting for worship and tea with Friends from Bristol Redlands meeting, and will close with a short business meeting before lunch, as we say our goodbyes and look forward to meeting again for YFGM in Brighton in February. Love and Light,
Emily Dervisevic
Recording Clerk´s Office Intern

PS: More about the Countering Colston campaign -> Here

 

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Youth And Students Against Trident Replacement

YFGM was one of the contributors to the following letter, published in June 2016.

To the British government,

We are a collective of youth and student groups in Britain. We believe the Trident nuclear weapons system should be scrapped, and plans for its replacement abandoned. We want Britain to be a country free from nuclear weapons, and we call upon the British government to respect the wishes of our generation.In the text below, we outline our reasons for wanting Trident scrapped.

Movement for the Abolition of War Youth

Countless governments have created a legacy that has affected our lives in many different ways and the renewal of Trident is no different. Now as members of society we have the right for our voices to be heard. We The Movement for the Abolition of War Youth, stand together in objection to the further renewal of Trident. We take responsibility to act with and for future generations as previous generations have influenced the world in which we grew up. Cuts in public services that help us all in the UK, regardless of wealth or status, will continue to have profound effects on us all. So why is the government spending billions of pounds on weaponry that is unstable? The use of which is indiscriminate and the possession of which is unnecessary. The promise of ‘mass destruction’ from biological and chemical weapons only satisfies the power hungry in their cravings for complete domination. Their destruction transcends borders, eliminates lives and scars the environment. The development of these sorts of ‘defences’ are wasteful in the current political climate and the technology itself becomes out-dated almost as soon as they are manufactured. The Movement for the Abolition of War Youth are against renewal of Trident because we want a future that is progressive, peaceful and secure. We have suffered the most war-intensive decades ever known and the renewal of Trident obstructs our goal – we will not leave a similar legacy for future generations.

Plaid Ifanc

Yn yr oes sydd ohoni, does dim synnwyr buddsoddi can biliwn o bunnoedd yn adnewyddu system arfau niwclear Trident. Mae gwladwriaethau fel yr Almaen a Gwledydd Sgandinafia yn medru ffynnu heb system arfau niwlcear. Dyma wladwriaethau sydd yn buddsoddi’n sylweddol yn y wladwriaeth lês, mewn strwythrau trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus ac mewn addysg a diwylliant. Gwella’r strwythyrau hyn sy’n mynd i daclo problem mwyaf dybryd ein cymdeithas, sef anghyfiawndercymdeithasol, nid buddsoddi mewn arfau marwol na ddylai gael eu defnyddio.

In this day and age, it makes no sense to invest a hundred billion pounds replacing the Trident nuclear arms system. States such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries can prosper without a nuclear arms system. These states invest substantially in the welfare state, in public transport infrastructure and in education and culture. Improving these structures is the way to tackle our society’s most serious problem of social injustice, not investing in lethal arms that should not be used.

Student Christian Movement

Student Christian Movement support scrapping Trident because we are committed to nurturing the kind of society which we believe God wants to build – a society based on compassion, community, and peace. Replacing Trident would affirm all the things in our society which hinder this vision. By living out of fear, clinging onto power by threat of violence, and nurturing disregard for human lives, we would be creating a society which is neither sustainable nor just. On top of this, in order to fund the Trident replacement, resources are being diverted from people who are in desperate need. Jesus emphasised our duty to the poor, the sick, and the marginalised, and we feel that this should be reflected in our national spending priorities.

Young Friends General Meeting

As young Quakers we feel it is abhorrent that the UK should have the capacity to use nuclear weapons. We recognise that people with opposing views on Trident renewal can value life and the pursuit of peace. However, we believe that renewing Trident would be a step back from the pursuit of a peaceful world and, in its destructiveness, disregards that of God in every person. Renewing Trident would not provide any meaningful political status, and we believe that the UK should foster cooperative relationships with other countries rather than threaten them. As young adults, this decision could affect us for the rest of our lives. We feel that the UK’s resources should go into something that sustains life, rather than destroys it. We urge the government not to recommission Trident and to focus on peaceful approaches to national security and conflict resolution.

Young Greens

The Young Greens oppose the replacement of Trident because we believe it’s a waste of money, it’s outdated, and ultimately it doesn’t keep us safe. Trident’s replacement will cost over £100 billion over its lifetime – and with that money, we could fully fund all A&E services in hospitals for 40 years, or cancel tuition fees for 4 million students. And that money will be wasted, because nuclear weapons are not relevant to the threats we face today: in its last security review, the Ministry of Defence downgraded the threat of state-on-state nuclear attack and upgraded things like terrorism and cyber-warfare. We live in a world of complex threats, and spending increasing proportions of our defence budget on nuclear weapons we’ll never use leaves our conventional forces unequipped to respond to those threats. It’s clear, too, that the UK has a duty to lead the way in creating a nuclear-free world, and the only way to do that is full nuclear disarmament.

Youth and Student CND

With students facing rising costs of tuition fees and increasing cuts to education, Youth and Student CND stands strongly against renewing Trident. The £205 billion proposed to be spent on renewing our anachronistic nuclear weapons would be far better spent on reinstating EMA; a vital lifeline to education for students from low income households, eradicating extortionate tuition fees so that no young people face barriers to access higher education, and avoiding cuts to maintenance grants. As well as this, even military officers acknowledge that nuclear weapons are ‘completely useless’ against the security threats that face our modern world, such as terrorism and cyber espionage. Youth and Student CND unites with fellow youth and student groups in fully opposing the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

Please do all you can to prevent the replacement of Trident, and to make Britain nuclear weapon-free.

Yours sincerely,
Movement for the Abolition of War Youth
Plaid Ifanc Youth
Student Christian Movement
Young Friends General Meeting
Young Greens
Youth and Student CND

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Musings of a YFGM Intern

In a couple of weeks, my time as YFGM Coordinator will be coming to an end. In case you’re wondering, I haven’t been fired: a new coordinator is appointed every year, with the next one starting at the end of August.

Anyway, there are two things I want to write about in probably (or, let’s be honest, almost certainly) my last blog post.

The first is hyperlinks, specifically their accessibility. Part of my job has been to write the YFGM e-newsletter, and this often contains hyperlinks. When I first started, I thought I was being pretty cool by using link phrases such as ‘click here for more info’ and ‘read more here’, instead of using unwieldy web addresses.

Turns out I was being pretty uncool, as I discovered a few months into the job in a training session run by the straight-talking Plain English Campaign. Imagine someone using a screen reader to access a piece of text online. If they want to find a specific hyperlink in the text, they can get the screen reader to read out only the words acting as hyperlinks. This won’t be so useful if all they then get is a voice saying ‘click here’, ‘click here’, ‘click here’. So basically, for hyperlinks to be accessible (and stylish!) they need to provide enough information to make sense out of the context of the surrounding text.

I realise the above might seem obvious, but somehow or other it’s one of the things I’ve gained most satisfaction from learning in this job, and I’ve been meaning to share it for ages. Also, I spot non-accessible hyperlinks *all the time* now I’m aware of them.

The second thing I want to write about is a form of protest I’ve been involved with over the past months (not actually as part of my job, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved if I hadn’t been working here). Twice a month on a Monday lunchtime, a small group of us from Friends House join with a few other Quakers to go to the British Museum and a hold a 20-minute meeting for worship in the foyer; we’re standing in protest against the sponsorship of the museum by the fossil fuel company BP.

Against my expectations, these meetings haven’t felt much different from ordinary meeting for worship. I’ve experienced the same centred-down-ness, wandering thoughts, connection with others, discomfort, … , as I usually do.

I’m aware that some people don’t agree with the use of meeting for worship as a means to an end, and I’m not sure what I would previously have made of meeting for worship as protest. Now, having taken part in it, the reality seems a bit murkier, more paradoxical. Yes, what leads us to hold the meetings is a wish to raise awareness of and, ultimately, help end BP’s sponsorship. However, during the meetings I’ve also had a sense of the worship being more than a form of resistance: that it’s both complete in and an end unto itself. What’s more, it doesn’t feel wrong. And while feelings may not always be an accurate moral guide, I think they’re a pretty good place to start.

Well, that brings this post to a close. I (mostly) don’t do verbose and emotional good-byes… so farewell!

Iwona

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Musings of a YFGM Intern

In January 2016, I attended the FWCC World Plenary Meeting in Peru. This is an account of my time there.

A is for Andes. We can see the foothills from the hotel window in Lima, but it’s on the flight to Cusco that I catch my first real glimpse of the mountains. They are greener than I expected, more alive-looking.

Breathing is more difficult here. It’s an effect of high altitude: in Pisac, where the gathering is being held, we are at a height of nearly 3000 metres. Sitting down I’m usually fine, but after the ten-minute walk from our hotel to the main hall where we gather? Not so much. I’m also sleeping about 12 hours a day. Apparently, this could also be a side-effect of the high altitude and not just me being lazy.

Cicadas sing in the grass every evening as we make our way past the corn field back to our hotel.

Dogs everywhere! Despite all the warnings I had in England about them being rabid monsters, I find them generally polite and well-behaved. There are three dogs at the Royal Inka, the hotel complex where the Plenary sessions take place. One of them likes to spend his days dozing in the front pew of the chapel, surrounded by gladioli.

Excursions to nearby sites of interest take place on the second day after I arrive, and I get on a minibus for an eight-hour tour of various Incan ruins in the Sacred Valley. At the ruins in Pisac, there’s a mountainside covered with small apertures from where the Conquistadors raided the tombs within.

Flowing close to our hotel is a small river. We’re told that the water was once clear and carried fish, but is now contaminated by pollution from Cusco.

Granadillas on the breakfast table every morning. Quick! Get one!

Half-finished houses – roofless, windowless, doorless – are dotted along many of the roadsides in Pisac. I don’t know who they’ve been built for and whether they are work in progress or just abandoned. They’re made from adobe brick, a mixture of mud and straw that’s been dried in the sun.

‘If you want to do x, yes you can!’ This is the format in which our guide for the Sacred Valley excursion gives us permission. For example: ‘if you want to take photos, yes you can!’; ‘if you want to use the toilets there, yes you can!’ I don’t know whether it’s a quirk of the Spanish/Quechua language or a personal idiosyncrasy, but I like it.

Jenny Baines and Jenny McCarthy are my roommates, both for the unexpected overnight stay in Lima and during the gathering in Pisac. Surprisingly, sharing a room with two people both called Jenny leads to very little confusion, shedding new light for me on the (rare but not unheard of) practice of giving all your children the same name.

Kittens, geese, hens, rats and dogs are among the menagerie at the farm near our hotel. The farmer’s daughter has soon sussed out my desire to stroke the kittens, and when I walk past the farm in the morning, she often scoops one up and puts it in my arms.

Lima Airport welcomes us to Peru with a flight cancellation and a gigantic statue of coca cola bottles outside the front entrance. Cola is pretty much everywhere in Peru. You can even buy ‘Inca Kola’, a sweet, yellowish fizzy drink that tastes a bit like Lucozade.

Market day is every day in Pisac. The best purchase I make is also the cheapest: a cup of Chicha Morada, a juice made from purple corn.

Names and logos of presidential candidates are daubed on the walls of many of the houses. I spend the trip assuming the Peruvians are a super-political people. On the last day, I overhear someone explaining that, as part of their election campaigns, the different parties offer to repaint people’s houses in return for being able to advertise their candidate on the walls.

One hundred percent cocoa chocolate is for sale at the ChocoMuseo shop in Pisac, and I try a bit. It’s not as bad as I feared and not as good as I’d hoped. I don’t buy any.

‘Pachamama’ is the Incan term for ‘Mother Earth’. During one of the sessions in the Consultation for Sustainability, a Friend describes how Peruvian farmers don’t need any convincing that the planet is in trouble: he says they can tell just by the feel of the soil in their hands.

Quakers believe different things about God. For some of the British Quakers I speak to, experiencing a more programmed and theistic form of worship and discussion is one of their favourite parts of the Plenary. I find it more difficult, feeling like I’m under pressure to profess belief in an intervening God.

Riding in the back of a tuk-tuk for the first time, I’m surprised to see several brightly coloured stickers of Mary and Jesus above the windscreen. By the end of the week, I’m surprised if I get into a tuk-tuk and it doesn’t have Mary and Jesus stickers.

Shamanic retreats are advertised at a number of hostels and guesthouses in Pisac. According to my guidebook, these kinds of retreat bring a lot of tourists to Peru. It’s what the American guy who serves me in the ChocoMuseo shop says he’s come for, at any rate.

Terraces are flat platforms of grass descending down a hillside, each one ending a little further back than the one below. They were used by the Incans for agriculture. At Moray, our guide explains that the different levels create their own microclimates, so a variety of crops can be grown.

Ulrike’s is a German-run café just off the market square in Pisac. I sneak away from the gathering one lunch-time and have lasagna there. Beans and rice are nice… but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Vehicle checks are being carried out by police on the road between Pisac and Cusco on the day of our departure. It transpires that the minibuses hired to take us to Cusco airport aren’t legally allowed to go that far. We have to take a detour to avoid the rozzers and I miss my flight to Lima.

Walking to our hotel in Pisac for the first time, the two Jennys and I aren’t quite sure of where we’re going. We accost one of a group of young men walking past us on the lane and show him the map we’ve been given. Without any ‘Where shall I meet you?’ or ‘See you in a bit’ to his friends, he lets them go on, walks us to the hotel, and waits until someone arrives to let us in.

Xenophobia isn’t something I experience as a foreigner in Peru. Walking down the back streets of Pisac, I pass by the locals seemingly unnoticed. Part of me wishes my otherness would cause them to ask me questions and talk to me, but the closest contact we get is dodging cars together.

Youth and age become more blurred for me at this gathering. I meet many old people who seem young, and many young people who seem old.

Zonked out in the days after returning home, I start to scribble down the things that have stayed with me from the trip, unsure of how I’ll combine them into a cohesive piece of writing. Then I remember the poem ‘On the Difficulty of Imagining an Ideal City’…

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Christmas Musings of a YFGM Intern

At my school carol service, we always used to have a reading of T. S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi. It was the first non-straightforwardly jolly portrayal of Christmas I encountered. It was also my favourite part of the service. A couple of days ago, I discovered – well, someone else discovered and then read to me – another T.S. Eliot Christmas poem, one of a collection of six poems that includes Journey of the Magi. Here it is:

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish — which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By ‘eightieth’ meaning whichever is last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.

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Musings of a YFGM Intern

One aspect of my internship I really like is that I’m encouraged to learn from other members of staff here at Friends House. It isn’t just theoretical encouragement either. Soon after I started, my line manager and I drew up a list of people it would be interesting for me to talk to, and he’s helped me to set up meetings with them.

A couple of weeks ago I met with the Head of Outreach, Alistair, and asked him how the YFGM Coordinator could go about promoting attendance at YFGM. The key point I took away from the conversation was: why do I/we want to promote attendance? I’d been wondering about this question beforehand, but wasn’t quite sure of the answer. During the conversation, I realised I’d been working on the assumption that outreach is about bumping up numbers, that bigger YFGM = better YFGM. This assumption seems pretty questionable to me.

Alistair talked a bit about a different approach to outreach, that it’s about letting people know about – and thereby allowing them to experience – something that might be enjoyable and enriching to them. I think I’m basically in agreement with this approach, though it does throw up several questions. For me, the central question is: what does outreach carried out using this second approach look like in practice? In other words, what kinds of things would be said? And by what channels of communication?

I’ve also been getting on with less philosophical tasks over the past weeks. Trying to book a meeting house for October 2016 YFGM. Actually booking a meeting house for March 2016 Planning Weekend. Typing up the minutes from York YFGM. Investigating the possibility of paying people’s expenses online instead of by cheque. Getting my work computer screen lowered so I don’t need to crane my neck like a giraffe any more.

More to come,
Iwona

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I Choose Peace with NFPB

by Laurence Hall

At the May 2015 YFGM in Leicester I was selected by my fellow YFGMers to be their representative to Northern Friends Peace Board (NFPB). When I was first approached by Nominations, I was a bit confused. Why would they ask someone who was born, brought up and still living in London to be representative to a Northern Quaker body? Yet, as my brain started to properly process this information, as I researched NFPB’s amazing work and, of course, as I discerned the Quaker path in meeting, I came to the emphatic decision to become part of NFPB. I hope that, as I explain why I got involved and why that decision has been proven more and more right in my work with NFPB, you too will want to live the peace testimony adventurously and join NFPB’s campaign for Peace.

First, I should say that although I was born in and have lived almost all my life in London, I was bred a Northerner. Both my parents were born and bred in North West England, along with virtually all of my family. My Northern background really shaped me as a kid going to an inner city London school in which I brought that Northernness to the amazing cultural rainbow that was my childhood norm. Yet, as my mind moved beyond my Northern identity, I realised that it was the ‘P’ within ‘NFPB’ which was really the focus. The cause of peace – that central Quaker testimony – has no regional base, no accent, no cultural exclusivity, but is a universal cause that that must be actively lived by every Quaker no matter where they have been, are, or will be. This realisation of the universality of NFPB’s work, in that the advancement of peace anywhere is the advancement of Quaker values everywhere, made up my mind.

So in June and September, I travelled to Glasgow and Perth for my first NFPB meetings. There I found a new world of vigorous Quaker peace activism with exhibitions, plays, lobbying, demos, lectures, conferences, action groups, donation drives, community projects, nonviolent direct action protests and much more happening all over Scotland, Northern England and North Wales. We discussed national peace campaigns against Trident and the militarisation of education, as well as what peace and security really mean. NFPB’s peace work goes beyond simply campaigning for peace: it also campaigns for the society needed to create that peace. Its long term projects ‘Sustainable Security’ and ‘Building Peace in Diverse Britain’ actively go out into our communities to challenging the social roots of militarism. Where there is activism there are activists, and I met many amazing advocates for peace who have inspired me with their energy and commitment to our testimony. All this showed me that my decision to get involved with NFPB was one of the best I’ve made.

So if you’re a Northern Friend and want to get involved in NFPB’s work, then check out their website on www.nfpb.org.uk, email them at nfpb@gn.apc.org or contact your area meeting’s NFPB representative. You could even contact your YFGM representative to NFPB which is… me(!) by chatting in person at YFGM or email me at redloz17@outlook.com.

Even if you live south of the Trent, please spread the word about NFPB’s work and consider doing some fundraising so NFPB can carry the cause of peace further.

In Peace

Laurence

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Re-activate!

One of the things I’d like to do as YFGM Coordinator is resurrect this blog. Specifically, I’d like to give the YFGM community more of an idea of what the coordinator gets up to on their behalf, as I realise it’s not always that obvious.

So, to start at the beginning. My first two weeks in the job were mostly spent planning the imminent Planning Weekend. This involved lots and lots of little tasks that came together to form one behemothian task (only slight exaggeration 🙂 ). Stuff like learning how to use the YFGM computer database to create events, register people for said events, update dietary and medical information, etc. Then there was trying to find someone to cater for the weekend, which in turn involved learning that updating the coordinator’s facebook status is NOT the same as posting in the YFGM facebook group – who would have guessed it? (Not me.) Another job was learning how to edit the YFGM website, so that I could get it to stop sending out confirmation emails telling people they’d registered for YFGM instead of Planning Weekend.

The rest of my first two weeks was generally taken up with settling-in-to-a-new-workplace stuff. Finding out that I’m allowed to wheel my bike through reception (so cool) and tie it up in the central courtyard in Friends House. Getting a locker assigned. Taking full advantage of the staff discount in the coffee shop. Being taken on a tour of the building and getting introduced to other staff. Spending hours on the computer completing my Health & Safety induction modules (I learned some pretty good stuff, such as the fact that your eyeline should be roughly level with the top of your computer screen).

It’s now been three weeks since Planning Weekend, and my work load has become a bit more varied. I’ve been updating YFGM’s financial records with details of expenses claims and donations (I didn’t realise how much money we receive from local meetings from all over the country); contacting possible venues for next year’s YFGMs and Planning Weekends; helping to plan this year’s Quaker Youth Work Conference; and editing the YFGM website.

More to come next month!
Iwona

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YFGM adopts new concerns on mental wellbeing and against Trident renewal

At Young Friends General Meeting, held at Nottingham Friends Meeting House from 17-19 October, young Friends considered two concerns that had been brought before the meeting by members.

The first of these was on the issue of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons programme. Opposing nuclear weapons, and in particular opposing the renewal of the Trident system, has been an issue of personal concern for many YFGM members for some time, and at YFGM in Nottingham we resolved to adopt this as a corporate concern, and to campaign against Trident renewal as a community, particularly in advance of the General Election in 2015.

The other concern is one that affects many YFGMers on a personal level. Young Friends General Meeting has long taken an interest in mental wellbeing, including within our own community, in the wider Quaker community, and in society in general. In recent years we have seen mental health and mental wellbeing as regular topics for special interest groups at YFGMs, and in August 2014 YFGM ran a weekend event on the topic ‘Our Minds, Our Community’, allowing young Friends to explore issues around mental health and mental wellbeing. By adopting mental wellbeing as a corporate concern, we hope to work with renewed strength as a community to support and promote mental wellbeing within YFGM and beyond it.

Friends aged between 18 and 30ish who are interested in getting involved in either of these concerns are encouraged to contact yfgm@quaker.org.uk

Young Friends General Meeting is the national community for young Friends aged 18-30ish in Britain.


 

Minute 2014.18           Concern Arising: Mental Wellbeing

We have heard from Becky Riddell about a concern for mental wellbeing arising. This concern has been steadily growing within YFGM’s community for some time, reflected in special interest groups, speakers, YF(GM Free)s and above all the energy and enthusiasm of YFGM members.

As young Friends we can lead by example, and feel the time is right to stand up and say to the world – ‘this is important.’ We recognise that YFGM can nourish the mental wellbeing of all its members and feel a duty to further this within YFGM and in the outside world. Our spirit of loving, non-judgmental support offers something unique. We are excited at the prospect of the impact we could make in raising mental wellbeing in the social and political agenda.

We agree to adopt mental wellbeing as a concern. We recognise that where we take this concern will require careful discernment, being aware that the actions we take affect our own mental wellbeing. We ask nominations committee to nominate a working group at YFGM in February 2015, to consider this and bring ideas to future YFGMs. We envisage that the terms of reference of this group will be finalised as the structure of their activities becomes more defined.

We thank Becky Riddell and all those who have helped to bring this concern for their hard work so far.

Minute 2014.19           Concern Arising: UK Nuclear Weapons

Hannah Brock brought the concern of nuclear disarmament, significantly highlighting the opportunity we have leading up to the 2015 general election, of influencing decisions about the renewal of Trident.

We are acutely aware that as members of YFGM we represent the future of Quakers in Britain. With this in mind we have a responsibility to own and future generations to take the opportunity to try as hard as we can to create the world in which we want to live. We have a chance to have a tangible impact on our futures and to live our faith.

We adopt this concern as YFGM and ask Hannah Brock to convene a working group to consider ideas and actions. Due to the time constraints on this issue we recognise that this group will be self-selecting from this meeting and will be minuted at February YFGM.

We thank Hannah Brock and other friends for their work so far.

 

This story has been covered by The Friend here: https://thefriend.org/article/yfgm-adopts-new-concerns 

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Young Adult Leadership Programme – Sam Robinson

When I first heard about the Young Adult Leadership Programme I thought it sounded incredible. It had been described as encompassing spiritual practice, Quaker history, responding to conflict, group facilitation as well as increasing your involvement with your Quaker community, amongst other things.

I would have been interested in attending the course had it been just focused on any one of those aspects, let alone all of them in one! So why at first did I decide not to apply?

The Young Adult Leadership Programme (YALP) takes place over the course of a year and I was about to start my final year at University, which I expected to involve me drowning in work. On top of that I was concerned about the cost, which seemed like more than I could afford myself. After a few emails reminding me about it and a conversation at my local meeting however I decided I would apply.

A year later and two thirds of the way through the course, myself and some of the other participants have found what a range of Quaker trusts and grant funds there are, many of whom are very keen to contribute towards the education of Young Friends. We have also found support from the generous contributions of YFGM and our local meetings.

In terms of fitting it into a busy life, for me YALP has encouraged an ethos of ‘setting aside times of quiet’ rather than rushing to get things done, which if anything has made me far more productive in the long run.

You would be hard pressed to find a more all encompassing course on Quakerism, particularly one for Young Friends. After the first summer residential at Woodbrooke, l was amazed to find how little I really knew about Quaker history. I read more about John Wilhelm Rowntree and the Summer School movement, which was designed to awaken spiritual awareness in the Society and led to the establishment of Woodbrooke and a renaissance in Quaker outward action. It was inspiring to discover what an incredible influence J. W. Rowntree and other young Friends have had in shaping Quakerism as we know it today.

Recording clerk Paul Parker has described the confidence and outspokenness among Friends today as the stirrings of a new period of growth and revitalisation (or Whoosh!), perhaps not unlike the reinvigoration of the Summer School movement. It’s certainly an exciting time to be involved in the Young Adult Leadership Programme. This is particularly true in light of Britain Yearly Meeting’s Canterbury commitment, which calls on all of us to respond to the challenges of global climate change. In order for Quakers to lead the way we will need a new generation of leaders to do so. YALP seems to be the right course at the right time.

For more contact Michael Eccles at: michael.eccles@woodbrooke.org.uk or call 0121 415 6760

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