Closing Minute of Midwinter Gathering 2011
As F/friends arrived at Summit Conference Center in Haw Rivers State Park near Greensboro, NC for the annual Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns Midwinter Gathering of Friends 2011, there were warm greetings and welcome hugs for both long-time and first-time attenders. Friends looked forward to exploring together the planning committee’s theme, “Reclaiming the Past – Proclaiming the Future.”
Two panel presentations, one led by older seasoned Friends of the FLGBTQC community and a second led by younger seasoned Friends, helped us first begin the process of reclaiming our past, and then considering what we might proclaim for our future. We were moved by stories of the faithful and powerful witness of early members of this community who made it possible for us to grow more closely into who God calls us to be today. We were equally moved by younger F/friends who boldly challenged us to joyfully move into our future, asking who might still be waiting to be welcomed to our table. They invited us to continue to grow in Spirit, faithfulness, and as a beloved community that is called to be radically inclusive by witnessing to the both the oppressed and the oppressor with radical love.
During meetings for worship, worship sharing, memorial meeting, and meetings for worship with attention to business, we became aware of the breath of the Spirit moving among us, ministering through us and to us, giving us glimpses of a vision we seek. We were challenged to continue in Friends’ rich tradition of walking cheerfully in the world (even in places that may not be welcoming or safe),
seeking and speaking to that of God in everyone. There is still work to be done.
We sought ways to include our youngest members more fully in our community, welcoming them into our worship. And during meals, over puzzles and card games, while walking in the beauty of the state park, during precious one-to-one conversations, dancing together, and joyfully celebrating during the talent show and auction, we all have continued to deepen and broaden this beloved community –
rooted and grounded in Divine Love and Joy.
We ask ourselves, “What is it we are called to proclaim for the future?” Perhaps it is the same Truth that early Friends proclaimed, that early members of our FLGBTQC community felt led to build upon, that we too feel planted in our hearts. We are invited by That Which Has No Name to live in the radically inclusive Love offered freely to us with each breath, and to find ways to share it with each other and the world. We have celebrated where we have been and where we are today, and we look forward to a time when we will even more closely reflect who we are called to be. Opportunities of radical Love are always before us, and our work will continue as we leave this beloved community to return to our homes, our meetings, and the wider world.
Our business coming to a close, we now adjourn planning to meet again Seventh Month 3 to 10 at the 2011 Summer Gathering of Friends General Conference at Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA.
Deborah Fisch, co-clerk