Senior High Epistle—YYM 2015
Greetings friends, and great light to you. The youth of Northwest Yearly Meeting wish to extend our blessings and our encouragements to you, our sisters and brothers. For the youth of our yearly meeting, this week is a way to become reacquainted with old friends (in both the capital and lower case sense of the word), a chance to meet new people, and a time to practice business in the manner of Friends. As the Yearly Meeting began, the youth had many feelings regarding the week: excitement, joy, anticipation, and perhaps nervousness.
Through fellowship, worship and “pal times,” the youth of NWYM grow closer to God and to each other. To many of us, Yearly Meeting is one of the best weeks of the year. We spend all week with people we see rarely, but who are some of our best friends. On Thursday, we will spend the day at the beach just hanging out together, playing on a sand dune, and drinking coffee. Each year, the youth lead a part of our evening worship, a tradition well loved and known to be fun, interesting, and most likely messy. Laughter and silliness pervade the week, but so does an earnest desire to follow God’s leading, both at the yearly meeting and in our everyday lives.
During our business meetings and small groups this year we have discussed the query “do you acknowledge God’s ownership of all that is under your care? Do you give of your time and abilities in service to church and community and gratefully use your possessions as a trust to honor God?” We have discerned if and how the query should be revised in order to be more relevant to our culture today. In our gathered times, we’ve learned how a community can discern God’s will by putting opinions and preconceived notions aside to listen to Christ together. Our time is full of jokes, heartfelt sentiments, and a fresh sense of guidance. The community of youth this year is tight, and we have been both eager to serve and to allow others a place to serve.
This week, Timoteo and Elise Choque de Vargas of Bolivia Yearly Meeting visited us to bring greetings from our sister gathering and to deepen connections with us, in celebration of the Bolivia Yearly Meeting’s centennial. Ken Redford, this year’s speaker, spoke on the topic “Holding God’s Hand.” He asked us a yearly meeting to “relax, would you?” and to allow ourselves to take a break from needing to be needed. He also told the story of the workers in the vineyard who were paid the same as those who worked only an hour, and added that, while many of see ourselves as the first workers, perhaps we are really the last. In both our worship with the adults and our worship with the rest of the youth, we have talked about what it looks like to hold God’s hand and what it means to be pursued by God. We aren’t searching for a hidden God, because God is standing in plain sight waiting for us to turn around and notice.
NWYM Senior High Youth 2015
Kjiersten Schmidt, Assistant Clerk
Junior High Epistle—YYM 2015
Greetings from the 2015 Northwest Youth Yearly Meeting. We are writing to you to inform you of the happenings this week. Our week started on Sunday afternoon when we registered then later met in Woodmar to meet our officers and counselors.
Next we met our family group small groups and went on a scavenger hunt leading to dinner at Memorial Park. Later, we all gathered for combined evening worship before an ice cream social. We went to Woodmar to enjoy stories about Ramallah, Palestine. Monday and Tuesday we followed our regular schedule which included worship, business meetings, and attending workshops. Currently, we are discerning the new Junior High arrangements for next year as well as discussing query 4.
Our discernment topics this week included plans for next year’s Junior High Youth Yearly Meeting as well as query 4: “Do you acknowledge God’s ownership of all that is under your care? Do you give of your time and abilities in service to church and community and gratefully use your possessions as a trust to honor God?” The discussion around these topics carried over into our family groups as well. In thinking about next year it was clear the youth appreciate the process of discernment and our involvement with the adults of the Yearly Meeting. We believe the Junior High section to be a great part of the Yearly Meeting and we want to keep living into that by continuing to participate in discernment, even as Junior High Yearly Meeting arrangements change. We, with both hesitation and excitement, anticipate the changes to come.
In all, this has been a fantastic week of learning more about God and each other. We are still waiting with excitement for “serve day” and “beach day” and although we are all a little tired and maybe homesick, we wish it could last longer.
Love and blessings from Junior High Northwest Youth Yearly Meeting
Anika Longstroth, Assistant Clerk