Note from the Young Quakers Participation Day 2016
Friends House, London, 3 December 2016
38 Young Quakers came together alongside Meeting for Sufferings to discuss Quakerism and our position as young people in the society.
Our morning started with getting to know one another. After a few name games we began to discuss questions such as:
Why we are Quakers?
How engaged we feel with wider bodies of Quakerism? (Area meetings, Local meetings, National Quakers)
What do you find hardest about being a Quaker?
We used a continuum to explore how we behave, believe, and belong in Quakerism and discussed our varying positions and priorities in small groups before having an opportunity to see how one may have changed their opinion.
Our final activity allowed us to explore what Quakerism is to us as an individual and express ourselves through silent discussion and art. As a result of this reflection we collected what we believed were our barriers to participation and opportunities for engagement.
Some of the main barriers highlighted were lack of time, distance, the high cost of many Quaker events, fear of standing out and not being good enough, and the overall lack of awareness of many events. Some also found the task of explaining Quakerism left them frustrated so they would ignore it when explanation was necessary.
However many people felt that there were opportunities for them to engage at youth Quaker events due to the welcoming, friendly atmospheres they found there. They found these events helped them develop their beliefs and make connections with other Young Quakers around the country as well as informing them of future events. Some also felt that the Participation day would help them relate more to their area meeting and local meeting in the future.
In the Afternoon, we looked at how young people could be engaged with Quakerism in their area and discussed possibilities for improving the engagement of young people with the wider Quaker body. Over 18 year olds also spent some time with the engaging Young Adult Friends project.
We then reflected on the day by writing our thoughts on Post-it notes and stuck them on the wall for others to contemplate as well.
Signed in friendship and on behalf of the Quaker Youth Participation Day,
Gwen Da Sousa Correa and Jess Kendell; JYM Clerks.
Photos from the day are available on Flickr.