2009 WILMINGTON YEARLY MEETING EPISTLE

Greetings to Friends everywhere:

The 118th annual session of Wilmington Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends convened July 9-12, 2009 at the Maryville Friends Meetinghouse, Maryville, Tennessee. Our theme, “Listening is an act of Love” was based on Scripture taken from James 1:19-20 which exhorts everyone to be quick to listen and slow to speak. The Pre-Yearly Meeting Retreat on Thursday at Friendsville Friends gave us time to settle into an attitude of worshipful listening: listening to each other, listening to the Holy Spirit, and listening to the dulcet sounds of piano, stringed instruments and voices from our Rafter Chapel Friends.

Friday and Saturday morning Bible meditation was led by Larry Fowler, pastor of Friendsville Friends Meeting in Friendsville, Tennessee. His messages challenged us to listen to God and stand firm on the foundational truth of Scriptures. Friends must follow the vibrant example of Acts where the early Church served the Lord in one accord.

Epistles from Yearly Meetings from around the world were shared and visiting Friends were welcomed, including Tom and Patti Kent, pastors of the Music City Friends, a newly formed meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

As business sessions opened, Friends heard reports from various boards and committees. Challenges were presented to the Yearly Meeting to consider ways of reversing declining membership which is also a concern shared by other Christian bodies. We heard an encouraging report on the health of Wilmington College. One other note of interest concerned “Ellen C.”, the 1927 Friendship Doll sent from Wilmington, Ohio to Nagasaki, Japan. Ellen C. survived the bombing of Nagasaki and will have a homecoming in 2010 as part of an exhibit co-sponsored by the Peace Resource Center and the Quaker Heritage Center, both of Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio.

Young Friends provided Friday and Saturday lunch for Yearly Meeting attendees and they held their own Yearly Meeting gathering based at Friendsville Friends Meetinghouse.

Friends met Friday evening at Monte Vista Baptist Church in Maryville for the USFW/Quaker Men banquet. Special music was provided by Christine Lindsey of Maryville Friends and Patti Kent of Music City Friends. Christian and Louise Grandouiller were the guest speakers. They are Wycliffe Bible translators who have spent 20 years in Niger translating the Bible into various dialects. Louise is a daughter of Harvey and Dorothy Smith, retired pastors of Wilmington Yearly Meeting.

Saturday evening Friends met at Ballplay Friends in the fellowship building for a sumptuous supper prepared by Ballplay Friends. Friends convened at the meetinghouse for the annual peace lecture given by Ralph Hutchinson, a retied Presbyterian minister who has served as Coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance since 1990, from Knoxville, Tennessee.

On Sunday, the final day of Yearly Meeting, we celebrated the recording of Jacquelyn Speicher and Dan Kasztelan as Ministers of the Gospel and heard a challenging message from Larry Fowler, pastor of Friendsville Friends Meeting.

We send our love and extend our hearts to you in warm fellowship as we rejoice in the grace and love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27.

This meeting adjourned and Wilmington Yearly Meeting will convene again for the 119th session July 22-25, 2010 on the campus of Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio.

In Christian love,

Lois Hackney, Presiding Clerk
Andrea Scott, Recording Clerk pro-tem