Atlantic Friends Gathering 2023

Camp Geddie: a Presbyterian Church camp near Merigomish, NS about 18 kms from exit 27 of Hwy 104.
Victoria Day Weekend, May 19 to 22, 2023 Friday Evening – Monday at Noon
Click here to register Click here for directions to Camp Geddie
See photos from 2016, 2018, 2019 AFG’s

Children performing at Atlantic Friends gathering 2019 Family and Friends Night

Atlantic Friends Gathering is an annual event linking members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from across Atlantic Canada.


A weekend of creative activities to refresh and rejuvenate


We gather at Camp Geddie near Merigomish on Nova Scotia’s north shore. Camp Geddie is owned and operated by the Presbyterian Church in Canada and is accredited by the Camping Association of Nova Scotia. See the Camp’s website at

NOTE! Camp Geddie is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, and recreational drug-free zone, and does not allow pets on any part of the premises.

The spacious grounds include nature trails and a spectacular beach on the Northumberland Strait (adjacent to a piping plover protected area). The healing atmosphere of being in a welcoming nature retreat offers an opportunity to open ourselves up to whatever we feel leads us, and to make this a weekend of renewal of our individual and our group spirit. This is a weekend for fun and enjoyment for Friends and friends of all ages. There are no compulsory activities.

We hope to welcome members and attenders from our Atlantic region, as well as guests. Those who are interested in learning more about Quakers are also welcome to attend. Please feel free to enjoy the weekend in your own way.

AFG 2023 is once again offering a “hybrid” experience. The option of joining the Gathering on Zoom will enable Friends who are unable to attend in person to still be a part of AFG. See further information below.

AFG 2023 Planning Committee

  • Jessica Tellez (Clerk)
  • Brenda Bratton Blom (Co-Clerk)
  • Daphne Davey
  • Helen Lofgren
  • Mary Petrie
  • Ex officio Matthew Hayes, Registrar

For general enquiries, email: .

The Planning Committee will operate AFG following Nova Scotia government and Camp Geddie guidelines. We ask all Friends to be mindful about both their own and others’ feelings regarding COVID. You are welcome to wear a mask, although this is not compulsory. If you wish for others to maintain a greater distance, please let us know in the Comments box of the registration form so that we might prepare your nametag appropriately and arrange “distance” sitting at mealtimes.

Those Friends unable to attend in person have the opportunity of joining some parts of the program on Zoom, and will receive advance eBulletins containing technical and other information. Tech Support Friends will be available to smooth away any technical bumps. The registration fee for “Zoomers” is lower, since their fee does not include costs for food and accommodations.

“Zoomers” will have access to those sessions marked with a double asterisk (**) in the Program schedule below.

A Weekend of Enjoyment and Spiritual Renewal for All Ages!
Enquirers are Welcome to Attend!

We are offering a variety of intergenerational creative activities throughout the weekend. Be prepared to make some choices between concurrent activities. Two activities will run concurrently in each of the three main time slots on Saturday, and may also be scheduled for further time slots during the weekend as arranged among themselves by the Friends who have joined these groups. Other activities not requiring a main time slot will also be scheduled during the weekend.

Other formal activities include​ Meeting for Worship, a Children’s Program, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Meeting for Readings, Meeting for Healing, and (of course!) Family and Friends Night. Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting for Business will also be held.

Please bring musical instruments that you can play (any level of competence), and Songs of the Spirit and Rise Up Singing, if you have copies.

Delights of the Spirit” main activities

(Click on each title for more information)

With Kathryn Belzer

Carve a turnip or find or bring something from nature to print as pattern on fabric.

We will have fabric to print on, or you may wish to bring a T-shirt, table napkins or other small items to print on. The ink (dilute acrylic) dries permanently so you may want to wear old clothes. The workshop will be open and available from Friday evening continuously throughout the weekend for more extended projects. We’d appreciate knowing in advance if you’re interested in participating, but all are welcome last minute, too.

With Maida Follini
Download the instructions for the memoir writing exercise here.

This can accommodate singers and instrumentalists at any level.

To prepare for this session, Marilyn requests that Friends who would like to participate let her know in advance. We can accommodate any instrument, or singers. Marilyn needs to know your instrument and your level of competence, i.e., can you read music? can you sightread music? can you play by ear? are you a beginner on the instrument? or intermediate level? or advanced? Please contact Marilyn via the Registrar at , at least a month before AFG if possible. Marilyn can then design the program to suit the abilities of the participants and a musical presentation will be prepared for Family and Friends Night!

Anchored in prayer and silence, F/friends will be guided to share about how their gardens and their plants bring and reveal Delights in the Spirit, and how they connect us to the whole mystery of Creation. F/friends are urged to bring stories, seeds and cuttings to share. After the main time slot, possible self-organized conversations and follow-ups may be arranged.

This group is for Friends who can play the recorder (any range: soprano, alto, tenor, bass) at any level of competence. This might lead to a performance at Family and Friends Night!

Please contact Marilyn via the Registrar at  if you wish to play in the recorder group and which instruments you can play. Do you read music?  Do you sightread music? What is your level — beginner, intermediate, advanced?  With this information, she will design or bring appropriate music for the recorder group. It would be helpful for Marilyn to have this information a month before AFG.

Marilyn invites Friends who already can do Tai Chi to join her for a shared meditative experience.

Dick will mark 10 trees on Camp Geddie grounds, and Friends can search them out during their leisure time and identify them.

Dick will gather with interested Friends for a short introduction on Saturday morning. The 10 trees will be clearly marked with ribbons, within easy walking distance from the lodge and visible from the lawn. The group will then get together on Sunday to share results. Dick will set up a display table showing the location of the 10 trees to be identified. He invites Friends to bring any tree identification books they have to add to the display.

Sharing our imaginations and feeling-based associations.

Beginning by sharing whatever comes to mind after viewing photographs, we will then explore the styles of writing we can draw upon for saving our thoughts about images: little poems, brainstormed free-form notes, mini essays.  We will have experiences of pieces we read or have read to us that bring about feeling-based reactions giving rise to inner images.  If time permits we will make some photographs that are chosen for a feeling for the subject, a subject that brings words to us.  There are no right or wrong answers, it is all about allowing what comes naturally to us to get our inner recognition. All are welcome to participate.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

A time slot is available on Sunday for SIGs. Friends wishing to present a SIG should include details in the Comments box of the registration form. Note that the SIGs will run concurrently. We will be unable to accommodate last-minute requests. Spaces for SIGs will be negotiated at AFG.

Display tables

Some tables will be available for Friends to set up displays. Please indicate your interest in the Comments box of the registration form. Note that room space is limited, so please be prepared to squish into half a table if necessary. Tables will be assigned on site. Separate tables will be available for the exchange of free books and clothing. A box for voluntary donations to the Peace Library (Jocelyne Tranquilla’s project in Rwanda) will be on the free book table.

Other highlights

  • Meeting for Readings
  • Sing-along
  • Family Night


The Camp will be open to receive Friends attending AFG from 3:00 pm onward. Friends who arrive between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm will have access to the Lodge but may be asked to wait until 5:00 pm to register and locate their room. Please be patient as there is much work to be done to set everything up during the afternoon.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Fabric printing (those wishing an early start for a longer project are welcome)
Helen Lofgren and Kathryn Belzer

5:00 – 8:00 pm: Welcome. Soup is on!
Registration and room assignments.

8:00 – 8:30 pm: Introduction and orientation **
Jessica Tellez, Clerk, AFG Planning Committee

8:30 pm: Fabric printing (continued from afternoon, and with new arrivals)
Helen Lofgren and Kathryn Belzer

Sign up for theme activities and volunteer tasks. Set up display tables.

11:00 pm: Lights out

6:30 am : Early-bird worship, meditation, walks

7:00 am: Tai Chi
Marilyn Manzer

7:30 – 8:30 am: Breakfast, clean-up

8:30 – 8:45 am: Close encounters of the tree kind (introduction)
Dick Cotterill

9:00 – 10:15 am: Welcome and introduction of Friends / Announcements **
Ellen Helmuth, Clerk, AHYM

Comfort break

10:30 – 11:45 am:
Session 1a: Musical Group
Marilyn Manzer
Session 1b Fabric Printing
Helen Lofgren and Kathryn Belzer

12:00 – 1:30 pm: Free time, lunch, clean-up

1:00 – 1 :30 pm Recorder Group
Marilyn Manzer

1:30 – 2:45 pm:
Session 2a Memoir writing? **
Maida Follini
Session 2b Images & Words, Words & Images
Roger Davies

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm Free time
Follow-up time for theme activities

4:00 – 5:15 pm:
Session 3a Our Gardens – Teachers and Testimony **
John Calder
Session 3b Musical Group #2
Marilyn Manzer

5:30 – 7:00 pm: Supper, clean-up, free time
Follow-up time for theme activities

7:00 – 8:15 pm: Chair yoga, followed by Meeting for Readings **
Kathryn Belzer

8:30 – 10:00 pm: Sing-along, snack and social time

11:00 pm: Lights out

6:30 – : Early-bird worship, meditation, walks

7:00 am: Tai Chi
Marilyn Manzer

7:30 – 8:30 am: Breakfast, clean-up

8:30 – 8:50 am: Chair yoga
Kathryn Belzer

9:00 – 10:00 am: Meeting for Worship **
Barbara Aikman, Clerk, AHYM M&C
A traditional unprogrammed meeting. Friends sit in a circle in silence, listening for the voice of the Spirit. When moved by the Spirit, participants share the message with the group. Between each spoken ministry, a silent time gives space for individuals to absorb the message and discern how it speaks to Friends’ condition.

10:00 – 10:30 am: Free time

10:30 – 11:45 pm: Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

12:00 – 1:30 pm: Free time, lunch, clean-up
Follow-up time for theme activities

1:00 – 1:30 pm: Meeting for Healing
Barbara Aikman, Clerk, M&C

1:45 – 3:00 pm: Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting for Business **
Ellen Helmuth, Clerk, AHYM

Comfort break

3:15 – 5:30 pm: Free time
Follow-up time for theme activities
Maida Follini session #2 (if poss. with Zoom)

5:00–5:30 pm Close encounters of the tree kind (wrap-up)
Dick Cotterill

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Supper, clean-up

7:00 – 9:00 pm: Family & Friends Night **
Individuals and small groups may put on any kind of performance they choose: stories, poems, skits, songs, instrumental music, magic …

9:00 – 10:00 pm: Snack and social time

11:00 pm: Lights out

6:30 am: Early-bird worship, meditation, walks

7:00 am: Tai Chi
Marilyn Manzer

7:30 – 8:30 am: Breakfast, clean-up

9:00 – 10:00 am: Evaluation, plans for the future
Ellen Helmuth, Clerk, AHYM

10:15 am on: Group clean-up, packing, departure

Farewell until next AFG!

The Children’s Programs will have something for children of all ages, offering fun and age-appropriate activities that will include learning about Quakers.

Possible activities: Nature walks, crafts, outdoor games, drama – and much more. Would you like to be added to the list of volunteers, especially for younger children? We welcome your assistance for an hour or two during the weekend with these programs.Pleaseindicate your willingness to volunteer in the Comment section of your registration form. Children of all ages are welcome to attend any other parts of the weekend program. Parents, let us know your children’s ages and the activities they might like to do, so that we can plan for them. Click here to register.

IMPORTANT! Children under 18 years who are attending without a parent or guardian must be accompanied by an adult sponsor and bring the signed consent form.

REGISTRAR: Matthew Hayes, 263 St Peters Rd., Sydney, NS B1P 4R2 403-678-1483,

NOTE! The Registrar’s email is for general registration enquiries only. Please see below for instructions for sending fees by e-transfer.

Please register online at this link. If you prefer not to go this route, please contact the Registrar by phone or email (see above).

Every person attending AFG, whether in person or by Zoom, must pre-register. Friends planning to attend for the day(s) only, with no overnight requirements, should still register. The Registrar, Kitchen Coordinator, and others need to know.


  • Early Bird   MAY 1
  • Regular  MAY 15
  • Registrations received after May 15 will be charged a late fee of $10.

After the May 15 deadline, a series of eBulletins will be emailed to all registrants, including one for Zoomers containing technical information. It would be helpful for Zoomers to register by the Early Bird deadline, to set up training dates, if needed.


  • Children under 18 years who are attending without a parent or guardian must come with an adult sponsor and bring the signed consent form. (Click link to download.)
  • Friends who register after May 15 and who want overnight accommodation in the Main Lodge will be placed on a waiting list in case of a cancellation, or can optionally be assigned to a cabin.
  • Friends planning to attend for the day(s) only, with no overnight requirements, should still register. The Registrar, Food Coordinator, and possibly Youth Coordinator need to know!

NOTE! Please see below for instructions for sending fees by e-transfer. The Registrar’s email is not for this purpose, but for general enquiries. Advance payment is strongly preferred.

Registration for In-person attendance (click here)
To encourage all interested Friends to attend, we are holding the registration fees at the 2022 level. Registration fees for attending Camp Geddie in person include Camp rental fee, accommodations, food staples, honoraria, and technical equipment.

Early Bird (by May 1) $125 per adult for the weekend (Friday evening to Monday noon)
Regular $135 (by May 15) per adult for the weekend
Teens $65 for the weekend
Children 12 years and under No charge
One overnight (two days of programming and meals) $90
Day rate (no overnights) $50/day
Late fee (after May 15) Add $10

Registration for Zoom attendance (click here)
One fee of $25 per household for any or all of the weekend. The link provided will permit unrestricted access throughout the weekend.

Payment options
E-transfers: Transmit to the Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting account (set up for auto-deposit) using the email address .

Cheques: Mail in advance, payable to Atlantic Half-Yearly Meeting, to Dick Cotterill, Atlantic HYM Treasurer, 17 Eastmoor Drive, Bible Hill, NS, B2N 2X2.

Cash: Payable at Camp Geddie. Exact change will be appreciated.

Financial assistance

Those who cannot afford the registration fee may pay less or nothing. Those who can pay more are invited to donate towards costs for those who cannot pay. If you need financial assistance for registration fees or travel expenses, please approach your local Meeting first, before contacting CYM Education & Outreach Committee for funding assistance: (attention Leigh Turina).

If you still need financial assistance, please do ask! Email the AFG Planning Committee at for a confidential consultation. We will reply to your request promptly. Please know that we desire there to be no barriers to your participation, and will work hard to make sure everyone who wishes to attend may be able to do so with the full support and blessing of Friends.

If you need assistance, please give details on your registration form, or as soon as possible after registration:

* Halifax airport pickup: date/flight number/arrival time

* Car pooling: pickup location

Driving time from Moncton to Camp Geddie is approx. three and a half hours, including a comfort break (260 km).

Driving time from Halifax to Camp Geddie is approx. three hours, including a comfort break (190 km).

Click here for directions to Camp Geddie

Friends are encouraged to bring any of

  • – pre-cooked casseroles which only need heating
  • – cooked side dishes
  • – breads, rolls
  • – sandwich makings
  • – cereals
  • – butter, nut butters
  • – yoghurt
  • – salads
  • – desserts

We will need hot meals from Saturday morning breakfast through Sunday evening supper. Staples such as teas, coffees, milk and orange juice will be provided by the organizers.

Please note: We will endeavour as much as possible – and ask you also – to provide local, sustainably sourced, fair trade organic produce and products.

All prepared dishes must arrive with two copies of the ingredients (especially meat or meatless, or gluten-free), one for food storage and one to be displayed on the food serving tables in the dining room. If you have serious dietary concerns, please arrange to bring your own needed materials. The Kitchen Coordinator will coordinate menus for breakfasts, lunches, and suppers. Friends are expected to sign up for food preparation, dining room set-up and/or clean-up.

MAIN BUILDING (Irwin Lodge) is a heated two-storey building with stairs (no elevator). This heated building has an upstairs sleeping capacity for 30-35 in double and single beds, and shared bathrooms. NOTE: Rooms with more than one bed will not be assigned to one person only, unless there is plenty of room for all. The main floor of the building includes a kitchen, dining area, comfy central lounge/meeting area with fireplace, library, laundry room, and two single all-gender washrooms.

A-FRAME (Margaret MacDougall Lodge) is a small, heated single-storey wheelchair-accessible building. The A-frame is heated and sleeps five with a kitchenette and bathroom. If more than five Friends need accessible sleeping accommodations, the first five to register will be assigned rooms in the A-frame. Other Friends will need to seek other options on or off site.

The cabins are unheated. The nearby washhouse building is unheated, but has hot water and showers.

AFG is unable to financially support Friends needing off-site accommodations or assist with bookings. The following websites offer local options for Friends to explore (use the Camp Geddie address, 3555 Shore Road, Merigomish, NS, to narrow the search):,,

Friends wishing to stay extra nights during the weekend (additional to those they registered for in advance) may do so. However, they will have to move to a cabin if a bed cannot be found for them in the Main Lodge without inconveniencing other Friends.

In all types of accommodation, participants must provide their own bedding and other personal needs. No linen is provided, but spare blankets are available. See What to Bring, below.

Camp Geddie has a wide-open field, spectacular beach, a place for a campfire at night, and many hiking trails, with an amazing view of show-stopping sunsets. No pets are allowed on the site, so the field should be free of at least domestic doggy-doo. This area is an ideal place to let off youthful steam flying kites, playing soccer, etc.


Friends, especially parents, should be aware that ticks found at Camp Geddie may be carriers of Lyme Disease. If anyone finds a tick on themselves or another person, they should report to a member of the AFG Planning Committee (listed at top). There is a safe way of removing ticks. Tick-collection kits will be available with the first-aid kit so that affected Friends can choose to send off the tick for identification. An information sheet about Lyme Disease and how to safely remove ticks will be posted in the Main Lodge. Refer also to

* Health Canada at

* Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) at


  • Sleeping stuff: Sleeping bag, blankets, pillow. Remember that while the rooms in the two lodges are heated, the cabins can get really cold at night, and you have to bring all of the items necessary to keep yourself warm. Mattresses only are provided in the lodges and cabins.
  • Let there be light! Bring a flashlight and spare batteries for walking between buildings in the dark, and for the cabins.
  • Toiletries: Soap, towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
  • Scent-free items: Please do your utmost to make this a scent-free event. Avoid wearing or bringing scented products such as soaps, shampoos, lotions, creams or gels, as well as other personal-care products or perfumes. Use scent-free laundry soap and softeners. We will provide Down East hand soap (contains no dyes, scents or fragrances) made by Bebbington, Dartmouth, NS (
  • Clothing: The Camp is located on the shore of the Northumberland Strait. During the daytime it can be quite warm, but the evenings are still brisk. Bring a range of clothing options, from T-shirts to mittens/sweaters, rubber boots and rainwear. We suggest that you think about this carefully, as we will probably have open windows for INDOOR events as well, giving extra circulation for COVID protection.
  • Readings: Consider bringing a short reading (story, poem, inspired reading) that you enjoy or that reflects a deeply held belief or concern of yours. You will have an opportunity at “Meeting for Readings” for people to get together in worship-sharing about the readings and ideas that Friends bring. Perhaps choose something that relates to our AFG theme
  • Musical: Bring a musical instrument that you can play (any competence level), and don’t forget to bring Songs of the Spirit and Rise Up Singing song books.
  • Other items: Fly repellant (natural alternatives such as lemon eucalyptus or citronella are an option), sunscreen, canoes, kayaks, and swimsuits for the extremely brave. Also books or clothing you’d like to rehome on the free-exchange tables.
  • Smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs (not!): The Camp is a Smoke-Free (including vaping) and Alcohol-Free zone.
  • Pets (not!): The Camp does not permit pets on any part of the premises. Service dogs excepted.
  • Humour and fun: DEFINITELY!

Info last updated: 2023-03-30 3:08 PM ADT

Click here to register.

Book display for Quaker Institute for the Future at Atlantic Friends Gathering