Monday, March 21, 2011

Hello all! Tonight we had vegan cream of mushroom and spinach soup for dinner. We thanked PYM (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) for the mushrooms, and NYYM for the spinach. How did this come to be?

Franklin, who is on NYYM's Young Adult Concerns Committee (YACC) spent this past weekend in Purchase, New York, where he and other members of YACC lead a retreat for Young Adult Friends in NYYM. The theme was "Opening Our Hearts: Deepening Connection Through Vulnerability."
Here is the description provided by YACC:
Connection is what we're all here for - as humans, and as Friends. Connection to ourselves, to others, and to our spirituality. Fear and shame prevent and unravel connection, making us doubt that we are worthy of connection and afraid of rejection. Vulnerability is at the core of these fears, but it is also the wellspring of joy, faith, love, and belonging. This weekend we'll explore how vulnerability can enrich our spiritual and emotional lives, and how to find the courage to live vulnerably: to take on endeavors with uncertain outcomes, to say "I love you" first, and to have faith in that which is unknowable.

Franklin brought back to BCH with him the food leftovers from the retreat, only to open the refrigerator and find that it had already been stocked by leftovers from my adventure in Pennsylvania.

Why was I in Pennsylvania this past weekend? Well, back in November when Franklin and I went to the Young Friends Consultation in Indiana, I met Stephen Dotson. Stephen is PYM's Middle School Friends Coordinator. We talked a little about our respective work, and Stephen invited me to be a FAP (Friendly Adult Presence) at one of his retreats. YFIR's schedule being what it is, the first weekend that worked was in March. On Friday I packed up my air mattress and headed to Harrisburg, PA, using a GPS that I borrowed from my parents (that my sisters and I got them for Christmas, and that they carefully keep in a box on a shelf so that it doesn't come to any harm, or use).
It was really wonderful to observe the differences between PYM's MSF (Middle School Friends) gatherings and YFIR and Powell House retreats. I learned a few new games and approaches to scheduling, and shared (or tried to) about Put Ups and Molly's Game with them. The youth, and other FAPs, were incredibly welcoming and hilarious. I'm hoping to get some of the FAPs that I met to come and AP at a few YFIR retreats. It was a joy to connect with other Young Adult Friends with a leading to do youth work, to share past knowledge and build new experience together.
And, to bring the story full circle, I was sent back up the Susquehanna to Newfield with leftover mushrooms, peppers, carrots, and cucumber.

Franklin and I, while recovering from the past two weekends of retreats, are planning another retreat for this coming weekend. It's a Middle School Retreat - Finding the Inner Me. Here is the blurb:
A large part of connecting with others comes from our ability to connect with ourselves. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages about who we should want to be, what we should want to look like, and what things we should want to own. These external voices can be so loud that it can be hard to hear the internal voices of our souls. This weekend we’ll talk about ways to turn down the volume of the outward noise and search for avenues into our inner selves...

We're still excepting registration, so if you or someone you know would like to attend, please e-mail us at by Wednesday. Hope to see you there!