“Quakerism was always a very grounding space for me throughout my whole life,” says Calliope George, “but in college when I was away from my home community, I started to feel that longing for the space of home and stillness and reflection that Quakerism really brought.”
“This idea of constant conversation and queries and looking within and seeing good in other people and other things… I think my generation really appreciates that and in a lot of ways is searching for that,” Calliope says. “So I think continuing to be spaces where we uplift those challenging conversations and provide tools to have tough conversations is really, really important, now more than ever.”
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I would say a lot of my Quaker practice, when I really started to question and understand and intentionally decide to participate in meetings and in the Faith, really started to happen during my time in college. Quakerism was always a very grounding space for me throughout my whole life, but in college when I was away from my home community, I started to, you know, feel that longing for the space of home and stillness and reflection that Quakerism really brought. So yeah, I’ve kind of enjoyed continuing looking for that everywhere I go.
My Experience as a Young Adult Quaker
I’m Calliope George. I’m currently living at Pennington Friends House in New York City and I’m a sojourning Friend of New York Yearly Meeting.
I was first introduced to Quakerism as a two year old I believe. My parents were looking for preschool program and they found one at New Garden Friends School. I think learning so much about the Quaker process as a child gave me tools to really listen and search for conversation and understanding, and it became very much part of my life and it has remained part of my life.
How Quakerism Serves Young Adult Friends
I’ve spent time as a young adult Friend in several different meetings, and a lot of times I’ve been able to find other young Friends who are about my age in those spaces, but you know, we are somewhat far and few between (or can be). I think it’s easy to get caught up ad concerned about our different age brackets within the religion, but I think Quakerism speaks for itself in a lot of ways, as it always has, and especially Friends of my generation. This idea of constant conversation and queries and looking within and seeing good in other people and other things; finding bridges to have hard conversations, I think my generation really appreciates that and in a lot of ways is searching for that. So I think continuing to be spaces where we uplift those challenging conversations and provide tools to have tough conversations is really, really important, now more than ever, and that’s something that I incredibly appreciate.
Recognizing Generational Differences in Contribution
Something that I really want to uplift is the wisdom Quakerism, especially in very weighty Friends, is recognizing that young people’s schedules look very different from a lot of weighty Friend’s schedules, and I think that’s really beautiful to be able to have intergenerational relationships with one another and be able to spend time together. I think sharing actual time and space together, whether now it’s virtually or in-person, I think that’s really important that we do that and practice that. That being said, Friends (regardless of age) are going to have different responsibilities in their own personal lives that sometimes don’t allow for as much contribution. So I think recognizing that and really giving space to thank those who recognize that and are still able to be warm and welcoming and inviting for when Friends do have time and space is beautiful, and I’ve really, really appreciated all of the communities I’ve been part of acknowledging that it can be difficult to balance sometimes, but always always being open and inviting.
- Are you or your Quaker community worried about the number of Young Friends in your community? If so, why? What actions are you taking to encourage a variety of age groups?
- How does your community make space for members with differing schedules/obligations?
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