World Gathering of Young Friends

The World Gathering of Young Friends is the name of several gatherings of members of the Religious Society of Friends between the ages of 18-35. There have been two gatherings by this name; the first in 1985 in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States and the second in 2005 in Lancaster, England and Mombasa, Kenya. Though these gatherings are the first that were truly worldwide in scope, they followed many gatherings of a similar sort of Friends from North America and Europe.


The WGYF was held in 1985 in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the campus of Guilford College.[1]

Seen as a defining moment for the Religious Society of Friends worldwide, this gathering is generally considered to be the beginning of the thawing of many of the strained relationships which exist amongst divided theologies of Quakers around the world. Many participants and organisers went on to take up key roles of leadership in their respective Yearly Meetings. The epistle from the 1985 WGYF and the report of the process of its creation get cited in many Quaker contexts and it makes inspiring reading, whatever one's background may be.


The aim of the World Gathering of Young Friends 2005[2] was to bring together, at Lancaster University, Friends aged 18–35 from around the world to build community within the next generation of Quaker leaders. They studied and learnt from their heritage, shared their present-day expressions of faith, and tried to discern how Christ is guiding them to facilitate understanding within the Quaker family. By sharing experiences of living Quaker testimony from their varied cultures, they sought to ask humbly for guidance and to open themselves to the possibility of transformation. Unfortunately, the British government refused even temporary visas to many attendees from India and Africa (see below). Therefore, a second conference was held in Kanamai, Mombasa, Kenya from 20–24 October 2005.[3][4][5]

Refused visas

The British government refused a large number of visas. In some cases names were given that did not match other documentation, some applications were made late, and some were made to the wrong office. It is highly debatable where the fault lies in many of these cases.



  1. the official report was Visioning a future for Friends : [a report of the World Gathering of Young Friends], New Garden Friends' Meeting House & Guilford College, Greensboro, N. Carolina, USA, 19-27th Seventh month 1985. - London : World Gathering of Young Friends, 1986. ISBN 0-901856-07-X. An alternative title was "Let your lives speak".
  2. World Gathering of Young Friends 2005
  3. The Friend 19 August 2005 Link to Online archive, 26 August 2005 Link to Online archive
  4. The Friend, 21 October 2005 Link to Online archive
  5. Blog from the WGYF Africa 2005
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