FGC Gathering: It's Not Too Late!
We had a really good time at the FGC gathering last year, it was busy and fruitful in many ways. (I met a LOT of Quaker bloggers.) But Chris wasn’t sure he could justify taking a week off of work to go to a “Quaker-themed summer camp for grown-ups and their families.” We already take a week in August to go to Pacific Yearly Meeting, plus there’s cost of registration and the plane tickets, etc.
But then, an entirely unexpected opportunity arose. I was asked by one of the co-clerks of the Junior Gathering to serve as Friend-in-Residence for the Junior Gathering. (Who me? Yes, you!) He explained that it involves facilitating early morning worship for the staff of the children’s program, including some “ministry of the chairs,” as Chris and I like to call the physical setting up for worship, and attending worship opportunities with the children during their programs, and generally being available for consultation with anyone who needs or wants it. It would be instead of taking a regular workshop, but it comes with a full work-grant.
My rambling answer went something like this: “Gosh, I’ve never done anything like that before. Are you sure you want me? I’d have to talk to Chris. We aren’t sure we’re even going this summer. This would be a growth opportunity, that’s for sure. I’m really honored to be asked. I think I’d like to do it. When do you need to know by?”
Since then, we decided that we will take our whole family. It’s a lot of money, but we have asked for assistance from our Meeting and FGC. (Another one of my commitments in life is to (try to) be unashamed about asking for assistance when we need it.)
Things I didn’t know I was supposed to do when I agreed to take the job include attending one of the Gathering Planning Committee meetings. But there’s only one left, it’s going to be in Wisconsin, and it’s the same weekend as my last session as clerk of the children’s program committee for our Quarterly Meeting. So I got an exemption.
I still don’t know exactly what the work will involve. I’ve only been to the FGC gathering once before, and I didn’t know there was a Friend-in-Residence. Do I just walk around radiating Friendliness? I know I get a cool t-shirt that matches the rest of the Junior Gathering staff. Do I get to wear a special hat? I guess I’ll find out when I get there. In preparation I will be contemplating the theme of the gathering, “And who is my neighbor?” and possibly writing something for the Gathering Blog soon.
I would have liked to spend a couple of extra days in the Minneapolis area, visiting the Laughing Waters Worship Group and Solomon’s Porch, but since I have to go early to work at the orientation for the Junior Gathering staff, Chris can’t take more time off to stay afterwards too.
Anyway, I encourage Friends to come – there’s a lot to learn by being with 2,000 Quakers for a week. There are some wonderful workshops being offered. I always hear good things about the early morning bible study. The afternoon worship sponsored by FLGBTQC is an opportunity for daily refreshment. I don’t know how many of the evening speakers I’ll get to hear – I still think it’s awfully late for young children to be up, even in their age appropriate programs, but I am very tempted. And Liz Opp and I are exploring how to be faithful to our concern for faithfulness. :-) I know Chris is looking forward to the Sacred Harp singing again, but I’ll let him tell which workshop he signed up for. (I am a little bit envious – I wanted to take the same one last year, but it was full before I registered.)
As they say, see you at the Falls!
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