Friends General Conference (FGC) continued its virtual programming with the 2021 Gathering, themed “Way Will Open,” in late June and early July. Pre-Gathering retreats were offered for young adult Friends and Friends of Color along with their families. More than 1,000 Friends registered for worship and fellowship for the second time during the global pandemic. Nearly 250 were first-time attenders.
Gathering evening programs for the week featured Lisa Graustein on the topic of “Sacred Vessels—Quaker Practices for Holding Us All”; Community Connections, where attendees could participate in seven different facilitated conversations on a wide variety of subjects; Niyonu Spann, who led an artistic, intergenerational plenary called “Show Me the Way”; Clinton Pettus and Friends, who led a plenary called “One Black Man’s Journey in a World of Othering”; and Tara Houska, who led a plenary called “Indigenous Wisdom and Living With Our Mother.”
Bible Half-Hours returned to Gathering, led by Benigno Sánchez-Eppler. Those recordings, as well as the evening programs, are available on the FGC website.
Workshops were held throughout the week on many topics, including race and justice, clerking, spiritual gifts, and Quaker history.
FGC is planning to return to an in-person Gathering next year at Radford University in Radford, Va., in July 2022. The theme will be “. . . and follow me.”