On the weekend of October 20-22, 2006, thirty-two Southern Appalachian Young Friends met for retreat at West Knoxville Friends Meeting. The theme of the retreat was creativity through spirit. Young Friends explored the theme through workshops on drawing, collage, haiku, and music. This is our witness:

Silence is truth. Out of this truth comes pure creativity. However, do not be so naïve as to think silence is only being still. For me, I find stillness & centeredness when I listen to music or hop around in circles. It is only then that I find true silence & can offer myself up to the creative spirit.

It is a relief to know that even though Matthias is not physically in this room, his legacy of crazy, make-up-the-rules-as-you-go-along games live on through Conrad’s delightful “Silent Football”. Thank you Mr. Fx. For this truly exquisite addition to Quaker entertainment. There is nowhere in the world I would rather be than in a swarm of rambunctious anemones wriggling & intertwining with my legs, toes, hair, elbows, etc. This has been one of the best birthdays in Bonnie history, it would definitely be on my

top 8. heh, alrighty then, fair thee well my fine Friendly friends.

            ♣ Bonnie

PS Anna Graves gives a holla of helllllooo all the way from Nashvegas.

When I first got here, I was feeling a little shy and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But everyone was so nice to me, I started to feel like I fit in right away. I had so much fun at this retreat and I can’t wait for the next one! Anyway, I’ve started to wonder how natural it is to worship in silence, I can’t imagine that worshipping in silence is a form of worship that most people naturally fall into, so why do we tell ourselves to worship in silence if it is such a deliberate activity? Moreover, are we banishing the spirit in our children by telling them to stay silent on Meeting? Or are their words not yet words of the spirit? Yeah, I’m just in the kind of mood where I ask stupid questions.

As for the query, I feel that silence can produce creativity but so can noise. Really, I believe that creativity is ever-present and sometimes, in silence, this creativity can be put towards some creation. Usually, I only need a few minutes of silence for my creativity to solidify. I can ponder an issue in any conditions. Then, I need a few minutes of silent planning within my own mind, and I am then able to carry out my plan in any conditions. But those few minutes are key to solidifying my creative plans.

Yeah, I know that all I’ve written here sounds...odd...and I’ve used the same words to the point that some have lost all meaning. But I don’t feel like I have the time to make this sound perfect; words fail me.

A piece of my heart resides with SAYF and with all my Friends here. I have little bits of y heart everywhere I’ve been. One’s heart can start to ache when more and more bits are given away. And yet; I can only hope that those with little bits of my heart take care of them. For my heart, though not the most beautiful, is beautiful. Thank you for helping make it so. I love you.

             - Jimmy

This was my first time at SAYF and my highlight of the weekend was definitely playing wink. My second favorite was playing ninjas with Conrad and Corrie. I have come to the conclusion that SAYF is very amusing, especially at 12:30 AM. I think it’s very sad that I got here when a bunch of cool people are leaving next year/this year/ year after next. Hopefully, a bunch of cool people will join soon.

This is my fourth SAYF retreat including two SAYMAS, and being here, in this loving environment, continues to confirm the fact that I should’ve come to more retreats last year. I especially enjoyed the workshops of this retreat because it was really great to be able to get a chance to freely express myself in a creative way. Among the workshops, I really enjoyed the collage, because it called for self examination which is something that I haven’t done in quite a while.

            With Much Love, Emily

Dear Friends –

Thank you for your friendship, your acceptance, love, and trust. I was a bit reluctant and a bit stupid last night about asking to be held in the Light. Like I want to think my surgery tomorrow is “no big deal” – lots of people have much bigger problems. But I am just stupid and too big- headed to think that I, alone, need no one’s concern and support. No, this is what sustains us more than meds, nutrition supplements or high tech medical procedures. When I finally asked to be held in the Light – I could actually feel it – love and concern in and around my body. Thank you for this and the hugs and expressions of care afterwards.

In Meeting just a wile ago I was feeling that while thre is so much wrong with our human world that we just don’t seem to know how to fix, what we really need is LOVE – ever flowing love that we generate and receive and generate more of until it flows into every corner of the world and to every heart. Especially where it has never been or has not been for a long time. And this means that we never quit trying to understand, trying to care for the OTHER, the Other Ones. Don’t hold back.

There is a wonderful old Shaker song which bleads “more love, more love...”

It speaks to my heart.

             Gary, Asheville Meeting

This was my first retreat. I came with my friend. I met some new people, and saw some that I had met before. I never really considered myself a quaker until now but I had fun with all of the games and activities and hope to come again.


 Colin Huera


Announcement to friends

Last month we lost a dear friend/graduated Sayfer to a tragic car wreck. Please hold Raj & his family in the light through this hard time.

I had other plans for this weekend. They fell through and were cancelled about 45 minutes before the retreat started on Friday night. So I threw some clothes in my bag and grabbed a pillow right at the last second. I know that everything that happened here is waaaaaay better than what would have happened if I had stuck to my original plan.

Thank you all for being such great humans, and making this retreat what it was. I probably won’t see most of you for a pretty long time....it’s too bad.

ANYWAY! Again – great retreat. Had a blast. Love you all.

Knoxville is a great location for a retreat as the seasons change. It was great to drive from Chapel Hill with a seasoned group of SAYFers relaxed in each others company.

There is a wonderful mix of personalities in the Knoxville SAYF community. I am saddened that Ernest did not let his light shine as he did last year. Ben was forthcoming in keeping us abreast of activities. Conrad did a good job of following the plan but we all would have benefited with leadership from Mark, Ben, Ernest. Joe has a delightful personality and after a few more SAYF retreats will be a terrific leader we he already is a presence.

I was surprised at my ability & willingness to spend hours on a collage. Haiku writing was a challenge and an accomplishment. Art & music are soul nurturing. I wish we had come together as a group to share the results of the experience; in particular our sense of ourselves in the larger community.

This is a great group of SAYFers. We seem to be headed for a year without great drama or personality conflicts.

With effort it should be a time for spiritual exploration and growth.


Crisp October day

Young Friends writing epistles

Joyful, sad, sleepy.

Thanks to all the wonderful young Friends for, once again, coming together to create our joyful and loving community. Your joining in spirit is the essence of creativity and your love for one another may be the highest form of self-expression. May we continue to find and honor this spirit in ourselves, our worship communities, and the world as a whole.

Thanks also to all who helped with planning, shopping, transportation and food. This wonderful weekend would not have been possible without you.

                          Mark LeMay

I was here Kody Kontz

OK, so everything I was about to write just exploded out of my head from my hair follicles....which is spelled wrong cause I’m good like that.

So instead, I’ll say what everyone else says, that it was a great weekend. All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t have speech issues and say ‘ulee’ after every hic-up. It would be a miserable life. Everyone would laugh at you all the time, and you’d never be able to pay attention to any one thing for very long. Think about it. Let’s say you’re walking down the street, and your shoe comes untied. So you stop and bend down to tie your shoe but in doing so you somehow give yourself the hic-cups. So you’re bent over, tying your shoes going ‘hic-ulee hic-ulee hic-ulee”! over and over. And then a hobo walks up and starts laughing at you, so you finish tying your shoe, stand up, look the hobo in the eye and say ‘Ya well, you’re a hobo, so go find some Chinese Take-out”. And the hobo looks at you like you’re crazy (which you are, because you’re still going ‘hic-ulee, hic-ulee) but then he turns into a giant man eating banana, and tries to eat you, but then a monkey jumps off a building and kills him, and you’re so happy that the monkey killed him that you marry the monkey (who looks like Sean Connery and sounds like Darth Vader choking on a chicken bone) and you have three kids and live happily ever after until you both get pneumonia and die.

But seriously, it was a good retreat. The last time I was at this meetinghouse, I was deathly ill and found out later I had whooping cough. And now I don’t know what to write.

So, dears, see you guys next month.


Ellen:   Will Harmon is beast

             with furry tail and face head.

             He reeks of sewer.

Will:    armer rhymes

             ith dirty slime snail covered

             n vomit nuggets

Ellen:   Will is the suck at

             the spelling of words and such.

             His brain is eaten.

Will:     ave face that reminds of gross

             ecaying slug poop.

Ellen: Vomitus reindeer

             crap is Will resurrected

             in the next life place.

Will:     I would bathe face in acid

             Make big improvement.

Ellen: Demon monster runs

             from Will’s face of doomness and

             rotten bologna.

Will:     ogs eating Ellen today

             ut it just Ellen.

This retreat was sort of different than I expected. I have been to every single retreat location besides Knoxville, I thought that it would be a huge meetinghouse that I would get lost in! but yet it wasn’t. Well the past 3 weeks I was waiting for this retreat because I needed it the most, I cannot wait for the next retreat! It has to be next weekend! Ya newho. Wink was intense! But I finally got across the room! The healing circle was great & the music stuff, poetry & or writing, drawing & the other thing from which I can’t spell! Oh ya “collage” lol ok....it was a reli quick weekend. Last retreat when I wrote in this i had a note book on my head, but this time I didn’t! I am going to try to convince my sister Becca 2 come but first I have to convince her mom....my sister (the actual one) skipped homecoming 2 come see you peeps! But yes I wish I could see ya’ll everyday but we all live apart. We didn’t get stuck in traffic this time! Well ya I lyk this community Wow a lot of scratch marks are this page...ya I hate my sister at the moment! I shall kill her on the way home! Just kiddin. I love you all sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!



PS Congrat to my sister & wink after she got trampled. It needs to happen more often!

This was my first Knoxville retreat and it was great. I had a lot of fun, and liked all of the workshops. I brought one of my friends which turned out to be a good idea. Mmmmm....tacos.

-     Joe LeMay



Hello friends,

             This being my one year anniversary of SAYF got me to thinking about how much I have changed and grown over the last year. We all have, but seeing how much I have learned from and developed was really surprising to me, because of the fact that I have been feeling so bare lately. Like my soul flew away to live in the clouds.

             This retreat was wonderful. Like all the rest. Always changing always flowing.

             I love this community embrace one another throughout their changes.

             You all are beautiful, in the true sense of the word.

                          Love, Winona



This has been a wonderful retreat! Many thanks to the planning committee and to Mark LeMay, everything went very well.

When I think about creativity and the silence, I think of how we as Quakers are guided by the spirit. When we listen to the spirit to guide our creativity, we let go and let the voice inside us guides our activity. We also listen for the spirit to tell us if we are following rightly- sometimes it is a feeling of “this is right” and sometimes “This is no good”. When we practice creative activities, we may be more attuned to this guidance, but we should try to follow it always.

          Out of the silence

          We find our inspiration

          The spirit that guides us.

With love, Mark Wutka

While I haven’t felt creative in drawing or writing this weekend, I did knit more than usual. I enjoyed seeing all that was created by you. Knitting to the beat of all the creative music lifted my spirit.

I am reluctant to leave the beauty that surrounds me here in the West Knoxville Meetinghouse. I will continue to hold each of you in the Light after returning to Atlanta. You each have a piece of my heart.





Dear Friends, I enjoyed this retreat very much, but now find myself very tired and incapable of complex thought. My mind is scattered, so I heed this wisdom. If you don’t have anything profoundly enlightening to say, don’t talk for to long. With this understood, I would like to say that I love you all and can’t wait til next retreat. – Austin




This retreat was interesting, there were a lot of things that I didn’t expect to happen, some bad, some good. The aspect of this retreat I enjoyed the most is the same as last time, the worship circle with attention to healing. After this retreat I can safely say that I have people that I consider family, Casey, Buffie, I love you two and on a larger scale, I love all of you. The last great thing about this retreat was the food, every meal we had was amazing and if possible I’d like to kiss the cook.






I came to this retreat tired, frustrated, and with a massive number of things on my mind, most of which I’ve already complained and cried about enough to a few of you. I wasn’t entirely sure hoe this weekend would go for me, and was somewhat nervous. I’ve had a few down moments, but coming here did me a lot of good, as it always does. All of the activities were really laid-back, but still somewhat organized – a great balance that encouraged creativity, calmness and fun. I enjoyed making my collage (even if it took to long) and having a haiku non-battle with Conrad. Austin gives wonderful massages and we should all be grateful even if he is mean sometimes. I could probably go on for awhile longer, but I’ve had very little sleep thanks to the aforementioned Conrad (in addition to the fact that this is, well, SAYF), and my writing will soon become absolute gibberish.

                         - Brittany



Everyone come to the Asheville retreat! We’re having a contra dance again.

          Love, Ellie



You know it was a good retreat if every single pair of pants you brought got ripped.



Dear Sayfers, Dear Southern Appalachian Young Friends. Friends Fr-i-i-i-i-i-i-ends. We are Quakers and despite how creedless or religious diverse we are, we should all take into consideration that silence should be a key component in our worship, and our being here. As any planner of a retreat would know, it is very distressing to have to shout in order to get some of this silence. I only mention this because as a Quaker and in the mind set of creative thinking I find silence to be the opportune time to be creative. I would like to tell you that I’m in a good mood right now, but I’m not. This weekend, however, fun/awesome/filled with all you awesome creative individuals, I’m slightly annoyed by my being. Perhaps it is because my body didn’t get enough sleep last night because I was cramped or just the general stress of being a planner. Sorry if I’ve been passive aggressive with anyone, it wasn’t you, it was....an accident. Hehe.

Would you look at that. I feel better even after writing. That is the power of silence.


Ps Join the SAYF myspace group!



Will’s chest spasms much

What a freak. He’s not very

Comfortable. Sucks.


Sucks so much, does not

Even write a haiku back

What a lame face head


Brittany’s haiku

Reminding me of two re-

Traded suck monkeys


Will’s haiku so bad

Will prejudiced against apes

His knees are lump of stupid.


If only Brit-knee

Was as smart as she stupid

Then she would be smart



Well...as usual, this retreat was Amazing! It was different than I expected it to be because some people that I expected to come....didn’t! But it’s kool! I met some new people here, and they are awesome! They are kind, loving and caring like everyone here! We had some interesting games we played too..... which most of them I didn’t understand! The collage pictures turned out very interesting and the drawings were awesome! Wink was fun, but I think I got hurt the most that game...maybe! The healing circle was great and so was the music! Oh! This time we didn’t get stuck in traffic because of a car accident! So....that means the ride up here was better than last! Well....I guess I’m threw now! I u guys sooo much!



PS Congrats to Sam...I don’t know why...She told me to write that!

This retreat went well. The separate activities were cool but it felt as if we were separating the community. What was up with no taco meat? Besides that, everything went well and now I must go home to do more work than one student should in a day


PS I’m graduating this year, believe it!



I can’t believe this is the second time I’ve been here at this meetinghouse! It’s been a year and I see new faces and old but the reaction is still me running up and hugging them. I wish people wouldn’t tickle me so much. It’s mean but I am glad to see so many friends! The drawing and collage activities were cool. I loved the music and was inspired by the late activity on Saturday nite! The candle was amazing! I would like to pray for the hurting people. Great to meet Terra aka Angel. And good to see everyone again.

                        Love ya,




Baaaa The black/gray sheep.



Yey for Atlanta not getting stuck behind an accident! Oh dear, I find myself at a loss for words. It feels like it’s been forever since I was here, but no, only a year. And once again it was well planned. Excellent food – meaning I will refrain from saying tacos – activities and people. And again, I’m at a loss for words, so....

                       As always,


PS Seriously, how many guitars were here?



I just wanted to say that I wasn’t sure what to expect on this retreat, as it was my first. Now, everyone is leaving and the retreat has wound down, and I can honestly say it has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. Furthermore, I think it is a credit to the Quaker spirit that I was so openly and easily accepted into the family of friends gathered here this past weekend, and I hope to return for many more retreats in the future.

                          George Rettis



Creative spirit – what a good idea for a theme. I especially liked the enormous amount of music that happened. Everybody, keep bringing your instruments to retreats. Yah. Something about the relaxedness of creativity goes really well with SAYF. All that creative calmness was nicely contrasted by our wild, spiffy game of wink. Well, props to the Knoxvillians for a wonderful weekend; 1 whole penance point reducted from each of you. Bleh, my thoughts are so sleepy and jumbled. See you gnarly people in Asheville in November.

             Love, Sophie


October 22nd, 2006, in a meetinghouse whose location in West Knoxville can not be disclosed. The long run war between spirit and creativity was found to be a circle war, therefore it stopped....and that’s gold.

Out of this silence of epistles (misspelled most likely) I’m ending the feud between the Chinese and the horiscoper astrologists with a new system of combining the two ways.

1st step is year: Chinese symbol.

Next is Grecko Roman symbol.

Then add a hyphen

I make better. That was random.

I think my spirit is in need of a strong ADD medication, but not me, I’m on something that starts with M.....or W....It’s on the bottle.

The retreat, right....very fun. I’ve missed all you guys so much. School & swimming I will use as my excuses. Because they are what kept me from ya. Ya is plural right?

And then I come here and play five hundred with Ernest, the really cool newbie whose awesome @ guitar and looks like a male Starling, Mark P, Else, and a very reluctant Cassie. I’ve also noticed that it seems like people have grown up a lot since last time I was around them (physically and mentally) AKA Alise pronounce Al-as; Bonnie, pronounced Bon-e, Dex, well that was last year, 2 years ago he was small enough to punt, then last year he could punt me but he wouldn’t, and every one else I didn’t mention. Man that was long.

             With a line,

                          Ben Hamill

PS Let me read this first

PPS Masie said I’m not dead yet.