Our 197th yearly meeting just ended. Attendance increased quite a bit over the immediately preceding years, which was a blessing. We had attenders from the Yearly Meetings of Canada, Australia, Great Plains (QQ's Micah!), Lake Erie (QQ's Tyler and Tom!), North Carolina and Intermountain. Several other QQ folks also attended, including Isabel, Laura, Faye, Raye, and Arthur. The business was somewhat uneventful, and there was little controversy this year. We had three very good speakers in the evenings as well as two weighty times of worship and a presentation by the youth.
The ministry seemed particularly blessed this year and was again well-focused on the lordship of Christ and the need we all have of following His daily direction in our lives. We missed the presence of Ed Kirk, a 90-year old acknowledged minister with a particularly well-developed gift; he died two months before YM time. On the last day, two female ministers gave a report on a lengthy travel they made under religious concern throughout the western United States. This is a tradition that Ohio Friends have maintained - pairs of Friends travelling under religious concern. Our visitor from Australia wanted someone to demonstrate the ancient sing song ministry, but no one seemed willing to do that. Although the sing song was generally universal among all Friends in 1850, only a small handful of Friends were using it in ministry by 1980, and today only two Friends use it at all, in a somewhat understated way.
During the past year, our Stillwater Quarterly Meeting established a new monthly meeting in Michigan. Twelve Friends from there attended our YM. We also had 14 members and attenders from our other new MM, Keystone Fellowship in Pennsylvania. This is the first time since 1866 that Ohio YM has had two new MMs established within a two-year period, and we trust that it was the Lord and not ourselves that brought this to fruition.
After YM ended, Stillwater Quarterly Meeting held a called session to transact some business related to the new Monthly Meeting. No one was aware if a called session of a QM had ever happened before. We discussed dividing Stillwater QM into two smaller QMs, since it is somewhat unwieldy, stretching from Michigan down to Texas, across to Georgia, then north through western Virginia to eastern Pennsylvania. We didn't have a clear sense of the rightness of dividing the QM, so no action was taken.
That same day, a carload of Friends went to visit a virgin forest nearby. I went on a different trip to see our old Yearly Meeting House at Mount Pleasant. It was built in 1814 and is now owned by the Ohio Historical Society.
The YM adopted an alteration to the Oath section of the Discipline. We also discussed revising our Queries, that were mostly drafted in 1958. We had a good session on the purpose of the Queries and then appointed a committee to consider the ideas and report back next year.
The YM chose to appoint me as a Custodian of the Records. This means that I have the combination to the YM vault! Friends have always been curious about the vault, even though it's really not that interesting. We opened the vault so that I could extract a minute book to deliver to Swarthmore. While in there, I took out Ohio YM's copy of George Fox's 1694 Journal and allowed those gathered outside to look at it. This is another thing that I don't find all that interesting, probably because I have held it before, but the younger Friends were excited to see it and to have the opportunity to go inside the vault.
Overall, it was a very good time. It is a good place for me to be, since I have a clearer sense of Christ Jesus's direction for my life when I am there. I realize that His Light and Spirit are with me whenever and wherever I open myself, but for some reason I am able to open up more there than many other places.