Some Yearly Meeting thoughts
When I was asked to write about my experience at Yearly Meeting this year, I hesitated – for a few reasons, but mostly because, while I had an amazing time this year, I haven’t enjoyed YM in the past. YM can be busy, and for some that can be stressful. The processes and format can seem strange and confusing initially. Its easy to forget how daunting and bewildering YM can seem to newcomers.
This was the first Yearly Meeting that I felt able to participate in fully. And I could do that from home! Having YM online made things much easier for me – I could still go to work for a couple of days per week, I didn’t need to travel interstate. Even better, when I had had enough “people-time”, I could log off and be on my own for a while. Despite the restrictions, an online YM suited me, though, I understand for some people it was less accessible.
The business process seemed to run smoothly despite the changes needed to accommodate zooming instead of face to face meetings. The combination of new and old social activities re-versioned to fit with the online format, opened up new possibilities for the future.
There were quite a few highlights for me this year. Hearing the words “siblings, sisters and brothers” used in the State of the Society Address made my heart smile. It is so lovely to hear inclusive language – language that embraces people who are non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer or others who don’t identify as either male or female. It reminded me again how ahead of the times Quakers are with regards to LGBTIQ equality (even though it doesn’t always feel that way).
Another highlight for me was the LGBTIQ Share and Tell, which functioned as the zoom version of the regular YM LGBTIQ lunch catch-up. I met some lovely people from interstate – who I now consider small ‘f’ friends. The social aspects of the S&T were balanced with business activity resulting in a new monthly 4th Sunday LGBTIQ Meeting for Worship (via Zoom).
Overall, I’m very glad I was able to be there, and that YM went ahead in a new format.
 Jess has asked that her full identity and affiliation be withheld for professional reasons.