How Did It Happen? The Organizers Describe the Leading to Hold “Sharing Our Stories: The First Annual Gathering of Friendly Mystics”

It was our first-ever face-to-face meeting. The editors of WCTS met at Scattergood School the last weekend in October of 2012: Mike arriving from Rochester, Minnesota, Judy from Belize by way of Fairfield, Iowa, and Mariellen from Champaign, Illinois. Shortly before Mariellen climbed in the car for the trip to Scattergood, she emailed Mike and Judy suggesting that we need to figure out how to assure the long-term future of WCTS. Mike had a long drive before picking up Judy. He was praying, and as he thought about the strange spiritual things that happen on the spiritual path and the solitary lives we often lead, he longed to spend more time with other mystics. But then he worried that his desire to be with other mystics was selfish.

The whole meeting was a wonderful experience, with the flow of ideas coming together in marvelous ways.  When we turned to the question of how to foster a future for WCTS, Mike said, “I think we need to host a Gathering of Friendly Mystics.”  Judy and Mariellen looked at him and each other and said, “Yeah!”  We considered where to host the Gathering and Earlham College seemed the most welcoming setting for a group of Quakers who were frankly and openly mystical. We had a couple of suggested weekends in early June, and were surprised and pleased that Earlham had one of them available for the next June, 2013. And so the First Annual Gathering of Friendly Mystics came to be.

Mariellen Gilpin, Judy Lumb, and Michael Resman