[saymaListserv] Re: [afmdiscussion] 2005 FGC Gathering

free polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Wed Apr 20 09:12:09 JEST 2005


Dear Friends,

I agree with Perry that FGC Gathering is a wonderful place to go and be 
with Friends of all persuasions from all over the world.   My children, 
Chad and Justin, still have fond memories of their FGC Gathering 
experiences, as do Janet and I.  We recommend it highly.

There was one important item that was omitted from the following press 
release concerning the FGC 2005 Gathering which has led me and our family 
to decide not to attend this year's FGC Gathering.  Unfortunately, the 
Tapestry which is being woven in Blacksburg VA will have one thread missing 
that had been a very important part of the Gathering since the early 1990's.

The Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience, which had been offered for many years at 
the FGC gathering until last year and which has seen around 1,000 Quaker 
Teens and Adults participate over the years, has been banned from the 2005 
Gathering by the Long Range Planning Committee.

This same activity has received the blessings of a Cherokee Medicine man 
(who lived near Asheville) and who attended a Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience 
with Friends when we met at Appalachian State College in Boone, NC many 
years ago.  The Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience has received the blessings of 
Native Americans whenever George has asked.

The Clerk of the 2006 Gathering has indicated that it should be offered, 
after reviewing all the arguments for and against and consulting with a 
local Native American leader she respects.   I would like to quote from a 
letter by George Price, the Friend who has been led to create and offer the 
Quaker Sweat Experience to Friends.   (George was invited to come to SAYMA' 
s Yearly Meeting at Warren Wilson, in 1995, to lead a Quaker Sweat 
Lodge.  It was very well attended.)

"I ask you to consider the following story.  Lynne Phillips, Clerk of the 
2006 FGC Gathering in Vancouver, had deep concerns about the sweat and 
voiced these at the two listening sessions we had in Philadelphia over the 
last two years.  Last month at FGC's LRCP (Long Range Conference Planning) 
committee gathering at Rochester she related the following:  She read my 
article in the February 2002 Friends Journal about the sweat and took it to 
a local Native American leader for whom she has great respect.  She said 
the Native American leader told her, after reading the article, that he had 
no problem with our use of the sweat.

This reflects my experience with many Native Americans.  Once they 
understand the honor and sensitivity that we have used to share the sweat 
they endorse our use of it.  Lynne further said that she would like to see 
the Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience take place at the 2006 Gathering."

I am praying that way will open for FGC Gathering Long Range Planning 
Committee to allow the Quaker Sweat Lodge Experience  to be offered in 2006 
on the West Coast and that they do not try to close a door to the Spirit 
through which so many have experienced the Light Within.

Blessings,

Free Polazzo
Anneewakee Creek Worship Group Attender,
Atlanta Friends Meeting, Member.

At 10:52 AM 4/14/2005, Perry Treadwell wrote:
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
>
>PLEASE USE FOR YOUR NEWSLETTERS OR OTHER PUBLICATIONS!
>You may request a digital copy of this release from gathering at fgcquaker.org
>
>Friends General Conference will hold the 2005 Gathering of Friends at
>the Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, July 2 - July 9, 2005. The
>theme is Weaving the Blessed Tapestry.
>We want to recognize all the threads that are part of our Quaker
>community, says Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch, co clerk of the Gathering.
>Our theme brings together all the elements of a Gathering, adds Frank
>Barch, who is co-clerking the Gathering committee. Frank and Jean Marie
>are members of Schuylkill Meeting (PhlYM) and attend Valley Meeting
>(BYM) in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
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