History of CYFYM

Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting (CYFYM) is an independent body of Young Friends whose role is to serve the Young Friends community in Canada and to represent them to other Quaker bodies, including Canadian Yearly Meeting.

In the first half of the 20th century, there were three Yearly Meetings in Canada who were meeting separately due to doctrinal splits. The roots of CYFYM began in 1928, during the the first joint meeting of Canada Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) and Genesee Yearly Meeting. After meeting together in person, the Young Friends at that meeting decided to create their own unified body, and in five years time had also officially included Young Friends from Canada Yearly Meeting (Conservative). CYFYM, the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), and Camp NeeKauNis (run by CFSC and CYFYM) were the only “unified” organizations at that time, and were instrumental in unifying the three yearly meetings in 1955.

Since then, CYFYM has continued as a body with varying levels of activity and energy. It has organized youth retreats, pushed for change within Canadian Yearly Meeting, and has been a “training ground” for many who have taken leadership roles among Friends.

Regional Contact Report from Representative Meeting, Spring 2018

Dear Young Friends,


We, the Young Friends Regional Contacts, met twice this winter in Ottawa. Over the course of these weekends we engaged in conversations to clarify our roles as contacts, developed a communication strategy for the immediate future, and laid the groundwork for Young Friends events in 2018.

As contacts, our roles for the time being are the following:

  • Keeping channels of communication open between Young Friends and CYM
  • Facilitating an open conversation regarding how Young Friends want to function as a body and within CYM at CYM 2018 in Barrie
  • Reporting back on our business to Canadian Young Friends and the wider CYM community
  • Receiving and disseminating information relevant to Young Friends

Much of our role involves keeping Young Friends informed with the greater goings on of the CYM community, and receiving, considering, and acting on concerns of Young Friends. As such, our communications strategy is an essential part of our work. We have determined the following channels of communication:

  • Creating a contact list of Young Friends
  • Renewing the yf.quaker.ca page
  • Posting to the various Young Friend facebook groups

We recognize that electronic correspondence only gets us so far and encourage all Young Friends to connect and help keep each other informed.

Planning has begun for another Young Friends gathering at Camp NeeKauNis from the 2nd to the 4th of August to coincide with the beginning of CYM 2018. Young Friends from the age of 13 to 35 are encouraged to come out and enjoy a couple days together before heading as a group to CYM in Barrie. The planning committee for the gathering is Angelica Dixon, Daniel von Schulmann, and Rebecca Ivanoff. Anyone feeling led to help with the planning for the gathering should contact a member of the committee.

Young Friends Contacts have felt led to offer our support to the CYM Teen Program facilitator to foster the inclusion of teenage Young Friends in the conversations and empower them to participate in the greater body of CYM. Other Young Adult Friends are encouraged to be a part of this initiative if they feel so led.

With the closing of Quaker Book Service, Young Friends Contacts felt led to take on the care and distribution of the remaining 50 copies of Christian faith and practice in the experience of the Society of Friends published by London Yearly Meeting in 1960, last reprinted in 1988.  If anyone is interested in a copy of this Friends’ classic, or has suggestions as to how this resource should be managed, please e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required.

This has been a season full of joys and hard work. The Contacts would like to thank; David Raymond and Lillia Fick for their hospitality and thoughtful contributions over the course of the weekend; Angelica Dixon and Rebecca Ivanoff, for their continuing work on the 2018 Pre-CYM Gathering; Education and Outreach, for their unwavering support both spiritually and financially; and Cameron Fraser, who’s facilitation and support has been invaluable to us in our work and discernment as Youth Contacts.

We look forward to continuing work from our many regions, and hope to see many of you this summer.

If you would like to stay in touch, please sign up for our e-mailing list here.

Best Regards,

Young Friends Regional Contacts:

Daniel von Schulmann: British Columbia

David Summerhays: Quebec

Wesley Weima: Ontario

Zaley Warkentin: Prairies and the North

Western Half-Yearly Meeting, Spring 2019

The 2019 spring gathering of Western Half-Yearly Meeting will take place on the May long weekend (May 17-20) at the Sorrento Centre east of Kamloops. We invite all Friends and friends of Friends to join us in this vibrant gathering of Western Friends.

Registration is at whym-registration.ca, along with more information available there about costs, accommodation, etc.

Please note that the deadline to register is May 1.

This year’s gathering will have a theme of rising up in difficult times and will include an interactive workshop, led by Meredith Egan on Saturday evening, on “Taking Care of Creation: Self-Care in these Savage Times.”

The usual items will all be included in the Half-Yearly Meeting schedule – worship-sharing groups, special interest groups, Meetings for Worship including business Meetings, and the phenomenal Family Night sharing of talents and fun. There will also be the traditional “retreat day” on the Friday of the long weekend, for those who are able to arrive early.

To see the schedule, agenda, and welcome letter for Western Half-Yearly Meeting, please visit the Spring WHYM 2019 page on the business side of our site. (Note that you will be prompted to login into the business section of our website, or create an account, to see that page).

Canadian Young Friends Gathering 2019

Dear Young Friend Community,
Join us this August for Fellowship and Community Building!

This year’s Young Friends Gathering will take place Thursday August 1st to Sunday August 4th on the Campus of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The gathering is open to those between 13-35 years of age. Children of YF attendees are welcome to attend!

Our past two gatherings have taken place at Camp NeeKauNis, and this year marks a departure as we move to an urban setting where new adventures and opportunities await!

The registration for the YF Gathering has been combined with the CYM registration process. YF can register for the YF Gathering only, CYM in Session only, or a combination of both events. Young Friends must complete the CYM in Session registration (TBA) to register for attendance at any of these events.

Education and Outreach Committee is providing support for the costs of the YF Gathering. For those who are able, we suggest a registration fee of $50 per person to help offset costs – this fee is not mandatory.

Young Friends can work with the CYM Secretary to pay for travel expenses up front, or can apply for reimbursement by the Dec 31st, 2019 deadline, by completing the CYM Form for Committee Travel (under forms):https://quaker.ca/resources/other-materials/ 
Financial assistance may also be available through your Monthly Meeting!

Accommodations are in the Poettcker Hall Dormitory. Rooms are double-occupancy with a shared bathroom down the hall. Tenting option is also available! Please let us know if you require special accommodations. 

Please register by July 15th 2019!
*Registration can be accessed at: 

https://quaker.ca/yearlymeetinginsession/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2019/03/CYM-Registration-Form-2019-fillable.pdf

*Friends who may be interested in aiding with childcare during the gathering should contact the Gathering Committee at:email hidden; JavaScript is required

Website: yf.quaker.ca
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5872430401/
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2178703738859062/

Carpooling Coordination:
Use this Google doc for any travel / ride sharing:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ws6cGn0GzbYBPfFkPR9Q6YUMFOsDQq79s_iP_hip6_w/
If you’re having trouble with the Google doc, contact Evelyne by email at email hidden; JavaScript is required or call her at 416-272-1448, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Donations in Memory of Isaac Miller

Hello Friends,

A message from Ellen Helmuth after New Brunswick Monthly Meeting’s meeting for worship for  business: some interest was expressed in making donations in memory of Isaac Miller, the Young Friend who passed away suddenly earlier this year.  A few options were put forwards:

  • NBMM is setting up the “Isaac Miller Memorial Fund”, which will support Quaker Youth and Quaker Youth Activities. They can accept cheques made out to “NBMM” (with a note specifying that it’s for the Memorial Fund) and sent to their Treasurer Lesley Read (contact the webminder for her address). Tax deductible receipts are available.

Isaac was an avid fan of skateboarding and film-making; a pair of local non-profits were suggested as well.

  • Skateboard Fredericton, Inc.
    520 Queen St.
    Fredericton, NB
    E3B 1B9
  • New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-operative
    Charlotte St. Arts Centre
    P.O. Box 1537
    Fredericton, NB
    E3B 4Y1

A Reflection on CYM 2010 in Winnipeg

By Ben Segel-Brown

I am a birthright Friend and have attended Quaker meeting all of my life. I attended Canadian Yearly Meeting in Winnipeg as a CFSC intern and also as a delegate of Ottawa Monthly Meeting. These dual obligations overlapped with the Young Friends programmed time, and my obligations to the Food co-op, so while constantly busy, I was also constantly missing events. This was my second time attending yearly meeting, as well as my second time as a delegate of OMM. Having multiple roles kept me engaged with CYM, but also made be somewhat of a worse delegate as I had to ask Rachel Urban Shipley to attend nominations meeting on my behalf and catch me up when I was free.

I joyfully participated in a worship-sharing group, which was a wonderful open experience. It was a refreshing experience to hear what people really felt about their families, F/friends, and issues that are on their minds. It felt awkward at first hearing such personal thoughts, but it was a great experience to have people speak so honestly.

One issue discussed at the worship-sharing was the Peaceful Energy Minute considered within a special interest group I had attended. I found that I and two other participants had completely different perspectives on the productiveness and nature of the working group.

The Peaceful Energy Minute, which Ottawa Monthly Meeting discussed (then John Dixon reported on) arose out of the Uranium Working Group’s research into the harmful environmental and health impacts of Uranium mining as well the link between civilian nuclear fission use and military fission use. These points were demonstrated by their research are generally agreed upon. Unfortunately, the minute that the working group brought to CYM last year essentially called for a ban on nuclear power which conflicted with many Friends’ view that stopping Global Warming is our highest priority and that as a transition power source nuclear power is essential to the phase-out of fossil fuel use. This Peaceful Energy Minute was rejected last year.

My impression of the peaceful energy minute was that there was no unity (within the SIG or within CYM), either on the statement or its underlying ideas. I had felt the SIG was hurtful, frustrating, and unproductive. Surprisingly, a fellow member of my worship sharing group felt that the SIG was revealing, healing, and had done much to improve communication and move towards consensus on the underlying issues. I learned that conflict and breaches of procedure can be interpreted very differently by those who attend it. A similar contrast of perspectives arose when the Uranium Working Group was thanked by CYM, in lieu of approving any minute as no minute was approved by the SIG. One member, who had expressed his opinions passionately but politely at the SIG, spoke asking for a condemnation of Nuclear Fission. When the clerk rejected discussing the ideas as it had already be rejected at the SIG the member’s comments turned personal and accusatory against the clerk who was forced to discipline him. Likewise, many sympathised with the member for speaking what he was passionately led to say, and felt that the Friends spoke their mind quite contrary to my impression of the incident.

At the Peaceful Energy SIG I attended where the Peaceful Energy Minute was discussed, rather than bringing forward last year’s minute, which had been presented to CYM, the working group began by presenting a minute from Saskatoon Monthly Meeting, which few attendees had read.  This minute did not incorporate the concerns of many meetings and I questioned the suitability of using it as the working text for the minute. I found this SIG very frustrating, because being inspired by the previous day’s presentation organised by the working group (by Rick McCutcheon on the viability and necessity of sustainable energy) and frustrated by the presentation of last year’s rejected text, I had written my own version of the minute. I had also scrabbled to have it edited and deemed acceptable by each member of the committee and a variety of people with identified interests in it, which I and another Friend managed just as the SIG began. The SIG then proceeded to identify the same issues that had been raised in consultation with MMs, which I had read and attempted to address in my version, but many of which had not been addressed in Saskatoon MM’s minute. There was high tension and speaking out of turn over accusations relating to MMs refusal to host presentations from the uranium working group on the basis that they were not open to feedback and attempted to force their ideas upon MMs, rather than attempt to understand people’s objections. If this was healing or hurtful was apparently up to interpretation.

There were however many clearly wonderful experiences at CYM, for instance the shedding of tears and expressions of joy when a minute from Quakers Fostering Justice was approved almost without modification. In the ministry of one Friend, “This is why I became a Quaker!”  It was also a very energising experience being surrounded by people passionate about the same social issues I’m passionate about.

The little time I got to spend with Young Friends was also amazing: we learnt some swing dancing, we had our annual actually-helpful-and-somewhat-relevant sex talk, we sang as we walked together, and we played Wink with only minor injuries.

During the Tar Sands SIG I presented my findings on the oil sands leases, which was one piece of work I had done as an intern for CFSC. This SIG was entirely different from the Peaceful Energy SIG as it was run as an information session informing people about the issues, before proceeding to seeking an agreement on a statement on which there was already a strong underlying consensus. This statement, which proposed that Friends work with KAIROS on the tar sands, summarised feedback from MMs, and accepted Rachael Singleton-Polster and my reports on the oil sands.

CYM was a great and productive experience overall and I am very thankful for the support of CFSC and Ottawa Monthly meeting.