Alicia @ SEYM: "Help Increase the Peace Project" classes, Worship Sharing, impressive resolutions

SEYM Friends at lunch April 2009

I attended Southeastern Yearly Meeting’s annual Business Meeting, held at the Life Enrichment Center  in Fruitland Park, Florida in April 2009. I was blessed in many ways. I got more information about Quakers in the U.S.  I met many friends from Florida and other states. I spent my breakfast, lunch, dinner and break time with them, telling them about the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, my life, Quaker schools, Quaker meetings, etc.

I attended the Help Increase the Peace Project class with teens on Wednesday night and Thursday morning; we started by meeting each other, giving a descriptive adjective in place of our names, then receiving an introduction about HIPP. We talked about violence and non-violence issues and we played games, too. I really enjoyed those classes. It was very dynamic.

I attended Worship Sharing after breakfast for 45 minutes every morning. I liked it a lot because we read a passage from the Bible and then we analyzed what that means in our life and spiritual life. At that moment I was doing a special meditation; I closed my eyes and tried to understand what the Bible passage means. It was like deep reflection in my life. I am a Quaker by birth but our meetings are programmed so we sing hymns, we have Bible lessons in class, we have a Pastor message, etc. When I arrived here it changed completely. I remember my first Sunday at Chapel Hill Friends Meeting where I was sleeping because when I close my eyes I was used to falling asleep.  I had many questions and I was asking my friends why they have that kind of meeting for worship. Now I am beginning to understand and beginning to answer those questions myself.

During the morning there were also Plenary Sessions where they approved very important resolutions. I was impressed with one of the issues about gay and lesbian people. You know monthly and yearly Quaker meetings who are member of Friends General Conference accept all kinds of people but Friends United Meeting (FUM) does not have that point of view so this yearly meeting is sending a letter to FUM supporting gay and lesbian Friends. In this case I can not say any thing because the Quakers in Bolivia do not discuss this issue. The Quakers in my country are very conservative and traditional.

Most of the afternoons we had interest groups. I attended some of them and during the evening there were different activities and meetings until 8:30pm or 9:00pm. I went to swim but the water was too cold. I also went to see the interaction dance, after that we had snacks before going to bed.

I came back to Durham, NC so tired, but it was wonderful. I enjoyed every thing alot.  I want to thank Carolina Friends School,  my friends from Greensboro, Newton Garver, and BQEF's donors for all their economic support.

Yuspagara!! Thank you!! Jikisiñkama  Bye for now.