In this issue we reflect on our first ever Australia Yearly Meeting by Zoom. The first reaction seems to be astonishment that it was done at all, and admiration and gratitude for those who arranged it at short notice. There have been positives in this new arrangement -isolated Friends were drawn in, everyone could afford to attend. We were also driven to streamline our decision making, avoiding a lot of busyness and labouring over minutiae. On the negative side was extra stress put upon our Yearly Meeting officers, and the loss of social time. Chat rooms have the advantage that everyone is included in the conversation, and the disadvantage that the conversation is never private.
The focus on new technology has not prevented us from trying to take forward our traditional concerns. Peace and Earthcare sessions inspired us to continue to make our lives speak, even under lockdown. Nonetheless, we often feel that our lives are on hold.
However, this is a great time to write articles for the Australian Friend! We have some excellent reflections on the Yearly Meeting experience. Michael Searle has reflected on the theme of Friendly School – how do we conduct our Business Meetings? Greg Rolles shares his passion for climate action. QSA tells of efforts to keep Project Partners safe during the pandemic. Others have been reflecting on religious freedom, our understanding of God, the nature of the Resurrection. We look forward to a rebirth of Quaker activity in the months to come, though it may take different forms.