Sunday, July 31, 2005

Epistle from FGC Gathering High School Program

I was just going to add this to the bottom of the relevant Gathering post (from my series), but felt that it could stand for itself, even without the details prior to it. It's such an important document. So, I'm posting it here, as well as adding it to the bottom of the relevant Gathering post. Hold it in your hearts, dear Friends.

Epistle from the High School Program
July 7, 2005

It was brought to the attention of the High Schol Program duing the course of the Wednesday night Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business that members of the community have used alcohol and marijuana during the course of the gathering. The clerks introduced a chance for worship, stating that they themselves were struggling with the issue. From this worship, a wide array of emotions arose, including anger, confusion, and grief. Many felt sadness and pain knowing that trust could be lost not only between members of the comunity, but also between the program and the larger gathering. However it was clear that the community felt that those involved are surrounded by love and acceptance. Many members shared stories of substance abuse and addiction in their lives. It was affirmed by many that drugs and alcohol are simply not needed in such a warm and loving environment, yet it was understood that isolation and pain can be channeled through these substances.

The community struggled to determine how to move forward following the period of worship, and wrestled to develop the appropriate consequences for thses circumstances. One defining sentiment was that it is absolutely not an option to remove any members from the community, and that such actions would only tear us more deeply. To prevent any similar situation from occuring in years to come, many felt that each year the community should reexamine the emotional gravity of the drug guideline experienced during the night through a written statement or discussion at orientation each year. We will also make an effort to ensure that this experience will become part of the oral history of theHigh School gathering.

The entire program as a whole recognizes the break in trust that this event could create with the greater gathering, yet we hope that through our emotions, and the love we have expressed for each other, it is understood that this event will reverberate throughout our program for years to come. Througout the evening as well as early morning, the importance and strength of our community guided the spiritual leadings that allowed for such forgiveness and compassion for all of our members. Healing the tear in the community created by these actions will only develop through love and understanding.

We offer our experience to the wider gathering as testament of our strength and with a hope that trust can be maintained.

Friends, hold this epistle in your hearts, as it was an intense experience to go through. Reading this epistle myself, I hope that our experience is never forgotten and left behind as an echo of things past. This is something, as it says in the Epistle, that will "reverberate throughout our program for years to come"; I hope it doesn't fade too much, as reverberations tend to do.

Love and Light,


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