To Friends Everywhere,
Greetings! Great Waters Pagan Friends Gathering occurred 25-28 Fifth Month 2007 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. This is the first of these Gatherings in answer to a prompt to bring Pagan Quakers together physically and spiritually, particularly in the Great Lakes region of America but spreading wherever the spirit of great waters touches. We come from many traditions and experiences which could be categorized under the broad umbrella of Pagan, and primarily from yearly meetings associated with Friends General Conference.
Though we desired in part to spend time alone with each other in the woods, Spirit called us to meet in an established meetinghouse. It is clear we are called to name ourselves and publish our Truth to Friends and Pagans everywhere with great joy. We have felt challenged in being so open and others have felt challenged by our witness. As in all true ministry, Spirit has been with us and made Its Presence known, with strength and Grace. We are grateful to It, to each other, and to friends who have labored with us in openness and obedience to the Divine. We have felt deeply held by the spirit of Friends not able to be with us physically, and give thanks for the resources that many have brought forward. We note that several Friends came forward in response to the Jewish tradition of Tzedek or justice and to their experience as Jewish Friends.
Ann Arbor Friends Meeting held "the organizers and attenders of Great Waters Pagan Friends Gathering in the Light with love." It was a pleasure and a challenge to experience the energies of the Gathering and this Meeting blend during this weekend. We felt ourselves reaching up from deep roots and planting a seed, grateful to Spirit for helping us. We are clear that this was the right place to be.
We are very aware that putting the words Pagan and Quaker next to each other brings up deep spiritual issues. Conflict may distract from these deep spiritual issues. We are grateful to Quaker process which slows down the process so that these deeper issues can rise to the surface and helps us stay in and attend to the Light. Being faithful to this process allows us to come to know who we are in relation to these issues and the Light, and come to know our work in the world.
As George Fox and many other Quakers have said, "What canst thou say?" As one Friend here said, both Quakers and Pagans honor true listening and deep consideration, allowing Spirit to speak through us, ministering to and receiving ministry from each other in our diversity, including those with diagnosed mental illness. It has been and is deeply healing for us to be our spiritually whole selves here.
We had unprogrammed and semi-programmed worship together, both indoors and out, as well as Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. We ate together. We sang together We walked in the rain together, past the gardens of Ann Arbor. We shared our knowledge from our studies with each other of how Spirit, Goddess, the Gods, Christ, and the Light and dark of the Divine Spirit have been moving in our individual lives. We had fun and we look forward to gathering again. Some of us will meet at Friends General Conference Summer Gathering 2007 in River Falls, Wisconsin, on the south fork of the Kinnickkinnick River.
Yours in Friendship,
Zhanya (JoAnn) Poske