What Came Back to Durango from Intermountain Yearly Meeting?
Seventeen Durango Friends joined more than 300 other IMYM Friends the week of June 7-14 at Ghost Ranch for Quaker worship, study, business and fellowship. Under the theme of “Discernment: Where Does the Light Lead Us Now?" with experienced Santa Cruz (CA) Friend Diego Navarro, Friends provided many examples of being led by Spirit in areas of social concern, including immigrant detention, environment, youth programs, Quaker Indian schools, economic injustice and influence peddling, to name just a few.
Several Durango Friends met a few days later to reflect on what we each harvested from the gathering to nurture the spirit, strengthen our Quaker understandings, and help further the Quaker work of ourMeeting. Additional reflections were sought from those who could not attend the debriefing session.
One Friend, emailing to the group, wrote “I was going to say I hoped you had all recovered from IMYM, but after thinking about it, I decided I hope you haven't! It's a terrific experience that will help carry us through our year here in Durango (and outlying villages like Buena Vista, Crestone, etc.). “ This observation captures the overriding feeling of everyone, that we shouldn’t recover from yearly meeting, but put into action our bountiful harvest so that everyone in our Meeting can share in the benefit.
What came back to Durango? Contacts and ideas for retreats and programs, try Joys and Concerns at end of Worship, deep spiritual and fellowship experiences, vivid reminders of the strength of Quaker process and faithfully waiting in the Light for unity, refreshed identities as Friends, a commitment for patience and generosity of spirit in our own business meeting, relying more heavily upon the silent waiting, knowing that we are not isolated but rather woven into a fabric of Friends in southwestern US and beyond, being immersed in a wider circle of Friends which broadens our picture of Quakerism, coming home inspired by what so many Friends are doing with more issues than our Meeting can handle on its own. One Friend ached for those in our meeting who do not experience this wider Quaker fellowship that “softens the heart and transcends what we grow accustomed to in our secular world.” Another Friend, referring to a particularly moving business meeting, wondered about Quaker process, “Can’t we just bottle it up and bring it back to our meeting.”
Attending yearly meeting took time, money and energy, but it brought feelings of fresh spiritual energy and a renewed sense of understanding and commitment. May those feelings endure.