[saymaListserv] Fwd: World Gathering of Young Friends 2005 Epistle

free polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Mon Sep 19 15:14:36 JEST 2005

Hi Friends,

An Epistle from the World Gathering of Young Friends.

>    You can find further information about this at http://www.wgyf.org/ .
>                                            To All Friends Everywhere
>To all Friends everywhere,
>Greetings from the World Gathering of Young Friends 2005. 226 
>Friends gathered together in Lancaster University, United Kingdom, 
>from 16th - 24th August 2005. Our theme was 'I am the vine, you are 
>the branches. Now, what fruit shall we bear?' taken from John 15; 
>and William Penn's challenge 'Let us then try what love will do'. 
>Among us, 58 Yearly Meetings and 9 monthly meetings and regional 
>groups were represented, with speakers of more than twenty different 
>languages. We were called to be gathered together at the place where 
>our Quaker movement first bore fruit, the heart of 1652 country. We 
>returned to our shared roots, to the birthplace of our collective 
>spiritual identities. Through climbing Pendle Hill as a community, 
>to live out George Fox's vision of a great people gathered together, 
>we found a unity with the place and one another, among the bright 
>green hills, surrounded by grazing sheep.
>We felt great joy in being together and many Friends gave thanks for 
>being here. However, our hearts were filled with sadness too. In the 
>hall where we met there were many empty chairs, and we were always 
>aware of those Friends who could not join us here in Lancaster. Many 
>were absent because they were denied visas, others because they 
>found when the time came that they could not join us after all. 
>Their loss is our loss as well, for without their presence we could 
>not feel their truth reflected in their words, their experiences, 
>their faces and their smiles. However we could feel their presence 
>in our hearts. We have selected 2 representatives from each region 
>to go to a post-WGYF gathering in Kenya to share with these brothers 
>and sisters the Love and Spirit that we felt in this gathering.
>Twenty years have passed since the last World Gathering of Young 
>Friends, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. To what purpose 
>were we summoned once more?
>Here we tried each others' forms of worship, silent and programmed, 
>songs in many different languages, scriptural readings, hand 
>holding. We were open, amazed, stretched and blessed. We learned 
>that the great presence in our lives can be called by many names, 
>Jesus, Christ, God, Inner light, Spirit, Love or many others. 
>Ultimately, through listening to the Spirit that moved us, not the 
>words in which we expressed our movement, we strived to become one 
>organism, one body made up of many different parts (1 Corinthians 
>12:13). We were united not so much in the expression of our faith as 
>in our common desire to be unified and by the power of the Spirit 
>amongst us during these 9 days. We were challenged to put aside the 
>labels we hide behind, programmed, unprogrammed, liberal, 
>evangelical, and come together as Friends of the Truth, seeking 
>together for the common truth behind our language. We have not 
>finished this process. We are only at the beginning of a long path, 
>but the love and joy we have felt in being in this place together 
>have allowed us to come this far, and we pray that they will lead us 
>further yet.
>The time here has been a chance to reflect on our lives. We have 
>been challenged to recognize ourselves as God's children, and 
>respond in willing devotion. The love we have found here is not for 
>us to own but to share. We desire to show our love by doing good and 
>avoiding harm to all people and to all the Earth. We must let others 
>see this love and know its source so that they may come to share it.
>The Spirit present in our gathering summoned us to be a gathered 
>people, and spoke through the many different people and cultures 
>here to remind us of its glory, power and purpose. The Spirit is at 
>work in all of us, and it is calling us not to judge one another's 
>forms of worship but to examine our own hearts, find our own 
>calling. We are called to take what we have experienced here and 
>give it back to our communities.
>Far away meetings now have faces, stories and friendships that make 
>them real to us. Bridges have been built at our Gathering which we 
>call on Friends everywhere to nurture and support. We will keep this 
>contact alive through exchanges, more frequent gatherings and 
>opportunities to work together. Through this contact we will give 
>strength to each other and share our gifts. We must face the future 
>challenges of the Religious Society of Friends together.
>Where we explored the theme of the vine and the branches we found 
>that its fruits are born from love. We have experienced what Love 
>can do in this Gathering, now let us try what it can do in the world.
>                                            WGYF Epistle

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