Yearly Meetings Hold Joint Pastors Retreat

From May 20-22, 2024, fifty Quaker pastors, their spouses and family members, from Western and Wilmington Yearly Meetings, New Association of Friends, and some unaffiliated Monthly Meetings, gathered for a retreat at Ohio’s Hueston Woods State Park. The retreat featured opportunities for worship, free time to rest or explore, good food and informative and thoughtful breakout sessions, allowing everyone space for fellowship and rest.Pastors and their families were treated to a gentle and refreshing engagement of time and attention. Attendees ate, told stories and laughed together, and shared tender, vulnerable moments with one another. Information and skill-building sessions were blended with lightly-paced time for restoration and relaxation.The pastors were offered time to reflect on creating a sustainable trajectories for their lives and ministries. One pastor shared a study she had conducted about what adults between the ages of twenty to forty want when they attend a Quaker Meeting or church. Several Friends offered information about upcoming projects in the Quaker world. Pastors were invited to think productively about the future with hope and intention.

The unique challenges of the Quaker pastor were discussed, as the gathered pastors learned that they are not alone, and that there are others who experience similar struggles. Pastors were reminded that ministry harmony and community begins in the heart—as we acknowledge there is that of God in everyone.As pastors arrived amid the Lodge’s seventy-fifth anniversary grand reopening, two park rangers stood outside. One ranger held a red-tailed hawk, and the other a barred owl. The festivities added to the welcome this small group of Quaker pastors experienced.