What an incredible week we had at the Friends General Conference Gathering! Sixteen hundred Friends gathered near Tacoma, Washington, for a week of worship, workshops, plenaries, and fellowship. There were many circumstances that made this Gathering feel special: views of Mt. Rainier, planting peace trees, the songs of stones clattering on musical bricks, and the leafy, pastoral feel of Pacific Lutheran University’s urban campus. Nearly half of this year’s Gathering attenders came from Western states!
But when I asked Traci Hjelt Sullivan, FGC’s new conference coordinator, what was most special for her about this Gathering, she listed a few specifics and then said, "But the most special aspect was that it wasn’t special. It was like every other Gathering I’ve attended: a week to step away from the world and recharge one’s faith, an opportunity to surround oneself with Friends with similar yearnings and similar challenges, a concentrated time to explore and to express what it means to be a Friend."
I agree with Traci. I heard many stories of personal blessings at this Gathering. Many participants have tales of travel that transformed to pilgrimage, chance encounters that led to deep listening—such gifts of the Spirit flowed all week long. Most have stories of special experiences, of moments when the Light became a little clearer. These experiences make the Gathering special, and they happen every year.