Highlight of Quakers' year moves online
Book the dates now: Yearly Meeting in Session 2021 will be held, largely, between 31 July and 8 August. This will be an online event for hundreds of Quakers to gather in stillness to listen to stories of experience and to the promptings of love and truth.
Public health advice over COVID-19 means that there is still too much uncertainty about booking a face-to-face event, which would be a substantial financial risk.
The decision follows the success of Yearly Meeting (YM) in November when 1,000 Quakers met online. Sessions were scaled down to deal with necessary business.
The dates for YM 2021were confirmed by an online Meeting for Sufferings, Quakers' representative body. They had heard from Yearly Meeting Agenda Committee about the eagerness for Quakers to come together as a worshipping community. They said, “We mourn the loss of a chance to have a physical gathering, even as we are excited by the possibilities of a digital gathering."
Reflecting on Yearly Meeting held online in November they wrote: “Although we had not planned much in the way of community building activities, we were pleased with the sense of gatheredness which was possible at YM 2020. It was clearly important for participants to be able to see each other…We have expressed our surprise at what a wonderful experience YM online was. Holding Yearly Meeting in this way allowed for a lower carbon footprint, the ability for international visitors, and Friends who would not be able to attend a yearly meeting in person, to join us with ease."
YM 2021 will be much larger, more adventurous and will seek to be all-age, diverse and inclusive of those who could not attend a face-to-face event.
Plans are at an early stage and include:
- Business sessions to be focused primarily on the two weekends
- Time for children and families, Junior Yearly Meeting and Young People's Programme, (provisionally set for 2 to 6 August)
- A number of lectures normally associated with Yearly Meeting
- A wide range of fringe events providing time and space to highlight Quakers' work and witness in the world.
Being wary of screen fatigue, some events will be held in the weeks leading up to YM 2021. These might include a series of webinars, to help listening and learning around themes (yet to be settled).
The Yearly Meeting Gathering planned for August 2020 was cancelled because of COVID-19. Those who paid deposits will be contacted shortly to arrange for refunds or conversion to a donation.