Introducing Quakers: Young Friends
The life-stage of young people and young adults requires them to be developing a richer, more robust, and individual sense of their own identity. This is achieved by trying things out, perhaps by trying new identities on for size; forming many more relationships outside their parental home and thus developing a peer group; and experimenting with more intimate (not necessarily sexual) relationships. It is also at this time that young adults begin employment, maybe in apprenticeships, or they enrol at a university, and are therefore moving beyond the familiarity (and in many cases security) of their parental home.
Many people who become Quakers a little later in life discover the Religious Society of Friends as a result of a, sometimes lengthy, perhaps even tortuous, spiritual search. Young people, on the other hand, have a different experience. For the young person, many things are new, and therefore not always easy to fit into the context of their lives. A peer group has the merit of being able to accompany, to encourage, and to help steady a person when they are encountering and exploring new ideas. Young Friends, who are already familiar with at least some aspects of the Society, its purpose, and what it represents, can provide that peer group. Young people and young adults who have been brought up in families in which one or both parents are Quakers are quite likely to have some shared values and some experiences in common. This means that when they gather together, some of the uncertainties of new relationships may be rapidly swept away. (This may just be a long-winded way of saying that they know how to enjoy themselves.)
However, this does not make all Young Friends, never mind young people in general, the same. Some young people are entirely comfortable with long periods of silent contemplation, whereas other are less comfortable. Some young people are comfortable using Christian terminology and handling religious concepts, whereas others may not be. Some young people are enthusiastic to take action on the environment, on poverty, and on injustice, whereas others may feel apprehensive doing so.
Young Friends General Meeting is a sizeable gathering of young adults (18 to 30-ish) three times a year, with a programme of activity intended to explore faith and searching for Quaker ways of living life. It is open to Quakers, people familiar with Quakers, and to people who would like to know and understand more about Quakers.
In the Links section of this website, there is a link to Young Friends General Meeting, and to a further Youtube videos made by Lucy Moon.