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Easter Family Gathering 2020 - A virtual, all-age, AYM event
The COVID-19 pandemic is an invitation to do things differently. In just over three weeks an
Easter Family Gathering was created that brought together over fifty Friends from across Australia, and one from the Philippines. We learned that we could show up, be genuine, have heart to heart connection, and feel full and socially nourished. And there was no cost, no travel and low risk involved. Feedback was positive as captured in the following comment:
“...paradoxically for this time of isolation, I haven’t felt this connected to the Quaker community in years!”.
The program flowed with the turning of the seasonal tide and used the Easter tradition as a framework and ritual for letting go of the old, waiting, and allowing the new to emerge. Gathering as family, using the platform zoom.us, and catering for all ages, we explored new ways to meet, eat, share, listen to stories and exchange ideas. It was an “Emerge-and-See” event!
Older and younger Friends partnered to lead sessions. Daily themes included David Johnson and Miriam Hope (Junior Young Friend) hosting a reading from the John gospel and Liz Shield and Clancy (Child) sharing a story of “Beginnings and Endings and Lifetimes in between”; Adrian Glamorgan and Lillian Robb (Young Friend) sharing the waiting and weaving story of Penelope from Greek Mythology; and Justine and Mahalia Shelton (Junior Young Friend) sharing the story of ‘The Sower ’ in story and music, respectively. There was also a guided meditation “Gone”; animal yoga (for ages 7 up); friendship band weaving and garden tours.
Each day included morning and afternoon sessions with time in break-out rooms focusing on engaging the head, heart or hands, respectively. The day concluded with an evening epilogue for the child or child within which recognised spirit as playful.
Friends contributed as hosts, facilitators, story tellers, cellists, gardeners and sharers. While older Friends tended to the spiritual holding of the gathering, younger Friends tended to the technical holding. This created a fine balance which allowed us to surrender to and trust in the gathered community.
Gina Price, Children & JYF Coordinator
Lucy Slevin, Camp Coordinator