There are two annual meetings of Quakers who belong to Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Yearly Meeting is a week of gathering for worship, business and community interest meetings, held at Scattergood Friends School and Farm. This usually occurs at end of July.
The other is Midyear Meeting, which was just held last weekend, at my home meeting, Bear Creek, in the countryside a couple of miles north of Earlham, Iowa. Midyear Meeting has more of a spiritual focus. The usual pattern is to have an “outside” speaker/leader one year, alternating with having an Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friend lead the weekend. This year, Iowa Friends Rebecca and George Bergus lead us through discussions and exercises related to the topic of “Understanding Islam: Overcoming Fear.” They did an excellent job, and helped us explore our own understanding both by presenting information about Islam, and also posing questions to help us examine what we personally know and feel about Islam.
Both are occasions we all look forward to as opportunities to spend time with dear F/friends and learn about each other’s lives and activities. This is a perfect example of a Beloved Community, where people care for and love each other, and work together for a better world, a concept Martin Luther King, Jr often spoke of. Much of this is revealed by photographs from the weekend. Beloved Community is a key concept of the Quaker Social Change Ministry program I’ve been involved with at North Meadow Friends in Indianapolis, and that we have been discussing during our Peace and Social Concerns Committee meetings.
The following photo was taken by AFSC’s Jon Krieg during our Peace and Social Concerns Committee meeting at this year’s Midyear Meeting. AFSC’s Kathleen McQuillen is shown speaking to us about some anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) legislation currently before the Iowa Legislature (for some reason–not their area of responsibility).
More photos are available online here.