The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how Friends General Conference (FGC) is serving individual Friends, spiritual seekers, and Quaker communities throughout North America.
In April, FGC began holding Saturday evening worship virtually and expanded web-based opportunities for Friends of Color (including Wednesday afternoon worship and a biweekly Friday open house). In response to growing demand for more virtual events, FGC plans to continue offering virtual worship opportunities for the foreseeable future, and to host more Spiritual Deepening offerings this fall.
The pandemic also prompted a transformation of the FGC Gathering from an in-person event to a virtual conference. Over 1,000 Friends from North America and around the world participated in virtual workshops, afternoon activities, evening plenaries (including presentations from Amanda Kemp, music group City Love, and Valarie Kaur), and Carl Magruder’s Bible Half Hour. Videos of available plenary recordings and the Bible Half Hour are on the website.
In July, staff member Ruth Reber retired from FGC. Reber became conference coordinator of the Gathering in 2015, though she previously served as the Gathering assistant for two years beginning in 2000 and was a volunteer for many years. During her tenure, the Gathering deepened its commitment to creating an actively antiracist community of Friends. Her calm, approachable demeanor made her a beloved colleague. She is succeeded by Lori Sinitzky, who has worked with Reber since March.