I think we've about covered the first week of traveling around England. Luckily there are many more stories we haven't told (the windshield wipers... =) so we'll have plenty of stories when we return home. It is Tuesday now, the last full day of the Gathering. I have not shared much of my experience yet.
I have been glad to read the girls' experience, and to talk with them and others. As a member of the admin team I think I've only been able to experience about half of the Gathering. I've been running about doing a lot of work, organizing this and that, been in a lot of meetings, and been involved in some pretty heavy stuff (that i don't feel at liberty to share here).
I've made a few connections with people and had some good conversations and interesting experiences. I'm starting to ask myself now, what will I take away from this experience? What have I learned? How have I changed? What has impacted me? Where do I go from here?
I'm afraid I've been 'on' so much that I haven't had much time to just stop and listen and think. Interestingly, listening has been one of the common themes I've heard. Everyone has been very willing to listen to one another. I think we all expected there to be a lot more division and strife and arguments, but I haven't seen a lot of that. People have been very open.
One interesting story is that I met a girl who thinks that perhaps the 'other' Quakers (unprogrammed) don't really know God, they only think they do. She said that a couple days ago and I didn't have a chance to talk to her more about that. Today we were in a group and had to draw pictures of what we thought the future of Quakerism was. This girl drew a picture with the word 'God' written at the top, then EFI, FUM, FGC - all crossed out, and a crowd of people below that. She hoped that in the future Quakers could move beyond those divisions and have more in common. I really appreciated hearing that from her.
I've gotten to the point that I have a lot of thoughts... and no thoughts. This week has been really, really interesting in many ways. I don't know if/when I'll be able to share them on this blog. I apologize to my 'fans' that there aren't more travel details. My traveling has mostly been from my room to the dining room to the office, to the great hall, to the office, to the dining hall, to the office, to my room. =) I did go on a trip to Swarthmore Hall (and sat in both George Fox's and Margaret Fell's chairs!) and also climbed Pendle Hill. I will try to post about those soon.