SHARING OUR STORIES: THE FIRST ANNUAL GATHERING OF FRIENDLY MYSTICS
“Sharing Our Stories: The First Annual Gathering of Friendly Mystics” was held June 14 – 16, 2013 at Earlham College with 44 Friends attending.
The gathering served Friends by providing a safe space and many opportunities to “share our stories” with one another. Sharing our mystical experiences, which is not always comfortable in our home meetings, helped us to become more certain that God is living and moving within and among us.
Friends gathered in meeting for worship, small groups, interest groups, during an open mic time, and informally over meals and during times open for conversation. There were no formal presentations and no business meetings.
Small groups were formed and met together three times during the weekend, exchanging experiences from participant’s spiritual lives. Trust quickly grew, and people were able to open up about aspects of their lives they rarely reveal.
Participants were invited to bring topics and these were used to form interest groups. The topics covered a wide spectrum, as they ranged from doing tasks, such as planning for next year and writing the epistle, to talking about topics that are usually taboo, such as experiences of spirits and how to relate to a person who is evil. Also included were topics that commonly speak to Friends, such as reflections on early Quaker quotes and the association of religious wounding to the spiritual health of the meeting.
During an open mic activity on Saturday evening, a heart-warming plethora of art, music, dance, song and writings were shared.
Time was built in between activities for socializing, and many friendships were formed. The gathering brought old F(f)riends together and built relationships between mystics from coast to coast. Many people were very grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many others in a safe, relaxed setting.