FGC Gathering: It's Not Too Late!

Unlike last year, you can still register for the 2007 summer gathering of Friends General Conference in River Falls, Wisconsin, even with kids... The deadline for registration with children is May 31, or whenever the program is full, whichever comes first, but my impression is that “there’s plenty of room for everyone, plenty of room for you.” (Five points to whoever can name the Tom Chapin song I’m quoting. If you have or know any children between the ages of 5-12, you should know about Tom Chapin.)

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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Blogger Chris M. said...

I certainly know which song it is, and can sing along with it, but I forget the title. Does that count?

Special hat? Perhaps. Radiating friendliness? No doubt that would be a plus.

How about lathering sunscreen? And tying shoelaces?

And you thought you were almost done with the co-op preschool phase of your life! :)

-- Chris M.

4/26/2007 11:37 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Well, I'm sorry Jeanne and I will miss you at the final 2007 Gathering Committee next month. Guess I'll have to wait til June!

Do I get any points if I can name the Jr. Gathering co-clerk that invited you to serve as Friend in Residence? ...Ooh, and you'll get to meet a very tall, very fun woman named Jane who is, to some, a Jr. Gathering goddess... err, minister.... err, you know what I mean.

Gosh, and I guess you and I ought to touch base again--soon!--to see if we are clear to move forward with proposing that interest group.

Anyway, all shall be well, and I'm glad to know you're whole family will be able to attend.

FACTOID: FGC has budgeted over $150,000 in financial aid for this summer's Gathering.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

4/27/2007 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome. You deserve it.

4/27/2007 12:12 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Nope, close but no cigar. Does no one even want to take a guess at the song title?

I can handle sunscreen and shoelaces. I probably should get a decent sun hat for myself in any case. Maybe I could make a bright green bonnet?

I look forward to meeting Jane. We may not see eye to eye, but that will just be because I am very short.

Liz, I sent you an email saying I really like your description for the interest group but we need a jazzier title.

I will write more about it on this blog soon, but for now, Friends can click on the link about our concern for faithfulness -that will take you to Liz's blogpost about our proposed interest group at the 2007 gathering.

Dave - thanks for the kind words! Come by anytime.

4/27/2007 3:26 PM  
Blogger Nancy A said...

You'll be great!

Sure wish I could meet you all.

4/27/2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Nancy, how far is Toronto from River Falls/Minneapolis? Could you come for a short visit? Seriously, and bring your story about starting Prism? I think I know a forum that might have room for something like that.

4/27/2007 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robin, are you still friendly with the emerging folks? I googled something and your blog popped up. I just heard Mark Scandrette speak at our church. I realize that you don't know me, but I'm interested and confused about the emergent stuff. I've been a Christian for a long time and this is just so different than how I live my life.
Thanks, liz in the east bay

4/29/2007 7:36 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Liz E,

Well, I don't really know Mark Scandrette or his fellow emergents very well, but I'm still happily on the Re-Imagine email list.

You are welcome to email me at the address in my profile if you have specific questions.

4/29/2007 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The St. Bernard would like to play a game of Gin...

I have little experience with Tom Chapin, actually. But I'm surprised that no one even guessed at the title since you put it in the post. Twice. :) "Plenty of Room" from the Family Tree album would be my guess.

4/30/2007 10:30 AM  

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