To the planners attenders and Friends of Young Adult Friends — Greetings:
I greatly enjoyed the Young adult Friends gathering in 2010. We spent Memorial day weekend together, from Friday evening to Monday morning. At this gathering I met new people, saw old friends, gained new insights. It is always interesting to speak and worship with people who have different views and backgrounds. Many questions were raised which I have never thought to ask. I will meditate on these questions for some time to come.
To the planners, I offer my great thanks. To those who lead the workshops on “Friend’s work in the world”, and on “starting new meetings”, I again offer my gratitude. I found Tony Lowe and Tyler Hampton’s presentation on new meetings greatly encouraging. I was also happy to learn that as I meet and talk with people, strawmen dissolve and I see the human face. With God’s help, though people are fragile and imperfect, I can see God’s image, even while debating. [I regret that I too often speak before listening.]
I came out of the conference meditating upon the nature of mystery. I grew up with every question having an answer. Later in school and in private study, I learned that in many cases there is honest debate. At this conference, I was reminded that dead trees and living flesh share ideas quite differently. One advantage of this conference was the ability to dialog with people with different viewpoints and allow them to challenge and sometimes affirm my own view. I found that there was much common ground as well as argument.
I send my thanks to the pastoral care staff. I am grateful that we were not only a single age group. I am grateful that you were there to remind us to be kind to one another, to speak and share with us, and to gently elder us when we spoke more quickly than we listened. As a young adult I thirst for the ministries of eldership and oversight. As a Friend who hopes to be faithful in the gospel ministry, I need such care for myself. The pastoral care team was faithful, even when we were difficult and for this I am grateful.
During my time there, I did notice that several people were uncomfortable. Many people find that Kansas is uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, I find that Kansas is my home. I am a graduate of Friends University, and accustomed to everything that our guests might find foreign. Most were gracious and open in spite of the strange environment — I don’t know if I could do as well as they.
Morning and evening, we worshiped together in the manner of Friends. In addition, there were many opportunities to speak in a casual environment. I feel bad for my roommate, as I never found my bed at a decent hour — I always lost track of the time. I was able to speak of new meetings with Friends from Illinois YM, about various ministries and opportunities with friends from New England Yearly Meeting and I was able to meet people who I had only known as case studies (those who gave the new meeting workshop). It was wonderful to see a human face and hear the human side of struggles.
I am left with many questions for Friends I hope to develop a relationship with in the future. I regret that the names are running together in my mind — but I will whisper any name I can remember in my prayers.
Michael Jay from Hutchinson KS.