Sunday, July 01, 2007

The best laid plans

Saturday afternoon, about 3:30

I had it all planned. I’d meet Lovely Wife and the children at the high school registration table at about 15 minutes before it opened at 2 pm. I’d already registered Youngest Daughter & her friend and all I needed to do was get Only Son signed in; the High School group doesn’t let anyone register early, or in abstentia. So I planned to be as early in the H.S. line as possible.

The first part worked; we were there before 2, and there weren’t more than a handful in line when it officially opened. But then, for reasons inexplicable to me even in hindsight, the line moved slooowly. Like molasses in the other part of the year. It took 40 minutes before we were done. The request to fill out a form that I had already filled out but had gotten lost was only a minute or two of that time. Otherwise, I can’t explain the rest of it, unless it was the one-person-one-job organization of the tasks.

All of which is of no great consequence, other than to take a half hour out of my afternoon to spend time with Lovely Wife and the other children before I had to get to the 3:15 workshop leader meeting, where I am now.

The clerk just did a very fine thing by reading the Purpose of FGC’s Gathering, a very nice statement approved by the Long Range Conference Planning Committee. As it reads from the chart on the wall:

The purpose of the Gathering is to help Friends

  • Know and deepen their relationship with the Spirit and with each other;
  • Strengthen their identification as Friends a among other Friends; and
  • Testify to the presence of unprogrammed Friends as a vital and unique faith community.
I like this. I wish it were more prominently publicized; it would put a lot of the things we do here in perspective.


Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...


Speaking as a Conservative Friend, I might wish that the Purpose Statement did not presume to speak for "unprogrammed Friends" as if they were a single "faith community" that FGC's Gatherings can somehow represent.

Liz Opp said...


It's a good thing there were so many Friends at the orientation for workshop leaders, otherwise this clerk might have been offended if she had seen a blogger blogging! smile

Like you, I wish that this statement of purpose for the Gathering were presented much earlier to the Gathering Committee than it was... and I wish it were more directly connected to FGC's Long Term Plan. I can't help but think how the Workshops Committee might have gone about our work differently in selecting workshops had either item been made available back in the early fall.

Marshall, I appreciate your comment here and agree that FGC can "overreach" with its good intentions.

As clerk of the Workshops Committee, I'll be drafting a report for the 2007 Gathering Committee, which in turn (I think) presents a report to FGC's Long Range Conference Planning Committee. I truly wonder what it is I will be given to say/write when the time comes.

But for now, I am still very very groggy.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Paul L said...

Liz -- I guess we each have our way of recovering from Gathering, but I'd never have guessed that yours would be grog. . . .

I certainly hope you'll be led to report that the workshop continues to be the most central experience for most Friends at the Gathering, the place where they are most able to connect most deeply with others. And, from my limited perspective as a workshop leader, I hope you will pass on whatever it was that you and Karen did that was invisible to me to help the workshop go smoothly and well.

I'd be curious to know whether there will be many comments asking for more workshops involving music or singing -- ours was the only one this year, I think -- and whether any affirmative action should be taken to solicit more of them. (I led the Singing from the Sacred Harp workshop for the second time in Normal in 2002 only because I got a call from a workshop committee member specifically asking for a musical workshop proposal since too few had come in.)