- Young Friends General Meeting
Young Friends General Meeting is the national organisation for young Quakers (from 18 to 30-ish) in the
United Kingdom. The General Meetings alluded to in the title are held in February, May and October each year, in various places in the country.
The Young Friends Movement in the United Kingdom, emerged in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, inspired by
John Wilhelm Rowntreeand led by Neave Brayshaw[Kennedy, Thomas Cummings "British Quakerism 1860-1920: the transformation of a religious community" Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0198270356 pp.285ff.] . The first National Conference of Young Friends was held in August 1911. Among the first generation were many conscientious objectors, who suffered badly during the Great War.
The movement has influenced London/Britain Yearly Meeting strongly during the Twentieth century, for instance on the issue of Ethical Investments ["Responsible investment : a challenge to Friends" was published by Young Friends Central Committee in 1980. "See" [http://staff.bath.ac.uk/hssal/crm/phd/crm-phd.pdf Ethical Investment and the Challenge of Corporate Reform- A critical assessment of the procedures and purposes of UK ethical unit trusts. Submitted by Craig Mackenzie for the degree of PhD of the University of Bath, 1997, Page 61.] ] .
The name changed from Young Friends Central Committee to the present name in 1993 ["Quaker Faith & Practice" (1994) Paragraph 10.25] .
In 1998, YFGM gave the annual
Swarthmore Lectureto Friends gathered at Yearly Meeting in London, with the title "Who do we think we are? Young Friends' Commitment and Belonging" ["Who do we think we are? Young Friends' Commitment and Belonging: Swarthmore Lecture 1998", Quaker Home Service, 1998. ISBN 0-85245-299-3.] .
Young Friends General Meeting now has two representatives on
Meeting for Sufferings["Enjoyable Sufferings? Laura Wirtz of Young Friends General Meeting reflects on how Meeting for Sufferings works": "The Friend", 8 June 2007.] .
Various local chapters exist, and hold regular meetings. They carry out a special project each year, based on the concerns of the members in regard to the needs around them. The organization also publishes a monthly magazine entitled "
Perhaps summing up its work is a statement from
'Our work is based on the thought that 'What you have inherited from your forefathers, you must acquire for yourselves to possess it'. That is to say that each generation of Young Friends by its experiments must discover for itself the truths on which the Society is built, if it is to use those truths, and to continue and enlarge the work of the Society. Hence the occasional separate meetings of younger Friends and our desire to have means of expressing corporately our own experience' ("Quaker Faith & Practice", 21.04)
YFGM also currently operates the
Pardshaw Young Friends' Centre, near the Lake Districtin Cumbria.
While Young Friends General Meeting has historically organised a range of events, there are currently a total of 8 YFGM-run events each year:
These Meetings comprise the main events of YFGM, and are the main venue for conducting the business of the Meeting. They also serve as spiritual gatherings, and act as the hub of the community.
Smaller events, Planning Weekends serve a dual purpose. Primarily, they exist to plan the proceedings of the General Meeting held in the following month. They also serve as a venue for the meeting of committees, encouraging cooperation and awareness between them.
Links and references
* [http://yfgm.quaker.org.uk/ Young Friends General Meeting homepage]
* [http://www.youngquaker.tk/ Young Quaker magazine homepage]
* [http://www.quaker.org.uk/ Britain Yearly Meeting homepage]
* [http://www.yqspace.org.uk/ Young Quaker space (UK)]
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