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PYM

A Journal of Our Quaker Faith and Practice

Spring 2013

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

ANNUAL SESSIONS 2013 Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future Preparing for Sessions Long Range Planning Stewardship and Charity


VITAL AND GROWING

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Being in Community Arthur M. Larrabee General Secretary Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

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ur yearly meeting’s Annual Sessions begin this year on Wednesday, July 24. These are the once a year gathering of our faith community and I would like to suggest that not one of us can afford to miss this opportunity to join in spiritual fellowship with one another. I say this because community is central to our Quaker spirituality. We may think of being in community as a spiritual practice. It is in community that our understanding and experience of God is nurtured and enlarged. It is in community that each of us brings our own unique manifestation and experience of God to each other. It is in the diversity of community that we know God more fully.

It is in community that we are cared for and where we have the opportunity to care for others. We have experienced the blessing of being gathered in community in our local meetings. There is a sense of connectedness and oneness. There is a sense of spiritual immediacy and vibrancy. There is a sense of richness and collective power. Imagine the power and depth of these experiences in the presence of our larger, yearly meeting community at Annual Sessions! But for community to happen each of us must participate in the work of it. There is no one to do it other than ourselves. Each of

Contents 2 Vital and Growing Being in Community A Message From the Clerk Long Range Planning 4 Preparing for Annual Sessions The First Query The Second Query One Meeting’s Response 6 Annual Sessions Gathering Together our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future Spiritual Growth and Awakening Worship at Annual Sessions Children and Youth Programs All Together Now What is Children’s Sessions to Me Young Adult Friends 2

us who takes something from the experience of community has a responsibility to do the work - the work of showing up. It is the work of staying in touch, of reaching out, of volunteering to do the jobs that are necessary for community to happen. It is the work of taking leadership, of taking risks, of being real and authentic and of having the courage to step into our fear and to say “community matters to me and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.” Community begins with showing up. I invite you to show up at Annual Sessions on July 24. It will be a spiritually rich and meaningful opportunity for all of us.

Arthur is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. SPRI NG 2013

Workshops at Annual Sessions Keynote Speakers Logistics and Fees 15 Annual Fund Some Thoughts on Stewardship and Charity 16 Caring for Our Community Quakers & Mental Health Nominating Committee 17 Spiritual Growth and Renewal Preparing Hearts and Mind for Worship 19 Witnessing Our Faith A Quaker Freedom Memorial Afterword

Annual Sessions 2013:

Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future July 24-28 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA

PLEASE REGISTER by June 20, 2013 at www.pym.org/ annual-sessions-2013

Contact 215/241-7238 or email sessions@pym.org


VITAL AND GROWING

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A Message from the Clerk Jada Jackson Clerk, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

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his year our Worship with the Attention to Business will again have an open agenda - business that will be addressed as the Spirit so leads us, allowing us to be faithful to the needs of the body, responsive to how we are being led and respectful of the time and effort needed to bring forth well-seasoned business. This year all of our business will be in the morning and afternoon, allowing us the time neces-

sary to sit as a community with some universal concerns such as “How do we witness corporately with integrity?” and “What and why do we ask for minutes of witness, ministry, or action?” I ask Friends to join me in preparing ourselves completely. Sessions Planning Group is ensuring that we have all the travel, childcare, and other needed logistical information. We will post submitted pre-Sessions business items on our website to inform our minds so we can prayerfully consider them. But the preparation of our

heart and souls, dear Friends - only we can do this work. As we move towards Sessions I ask you to give special attention to your personal grounding practices: midweek worship, daily meditation, mindfulness practices, prayer and spiritual readings. When we gather as grounded individuals we move with the full strength of a grounded people. I hope you, as I, are excited to see what Sessions will bring. n Jada is a member of Trenton Monthly Meeting.

Long Range Planning as Continuing Revelation Suzanne Day Westfield Monthly Meeting

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recall sitting on a bench in the Arch Street Meeting House in more than one session over long past decades where the subject of long range planning for our yearly meeting came to the floor. I was among those for whom it seemed unnecessary. Wouldn’t the future of our yearly meeting evolve with continuing revelation? Through Friends moved to share their leadings and lighting passion in other Friends? Through emerging leadership? Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) is a religious community of over 9,500 Quakers in 103 local meetings spread across a large territory in four states. PYM is also a non-profit organization from which members, seekers, grant recipients and others receive support or services from a staff of 20 and many members who serve on committees, working groups and granting groups.

If Friends want our yearly meeting to be a meaningful, relevant community of seekers as times change and resources grow scarce, we need to be intentional about our adaptations. Being intentional is the heart of strategic planning. This feels to me fully compatible with our religious practice as Friends. While continuing revelation may alter my own leadings quite quickly, course changes for our yearly meeting involve longer timeframes and wider discernment on how ways forward may open for us. The Long Range Planning Group (LRPG) was established two years ago by yearly meeting in session. Our group’s task is to facilitate our yearly meeting’s discernment of a community path forward. Through spiritual discernment and input from many mem-

bers over the past two years, through listening sessions and conferences, we are preparing recommendations about possible goals for our faith community, goals that are faith-driven, manageable and achievable. For each goal we are working to identify implementation steps, indicators of accomplishment and clarity about who may be responsible for each goal. A most important lesson we have learned is that our work is not about the production of a Philadelphia Yearly Meeting organizational plan – it is about facilitating the development of strategic thinking among members as a means to decide together what we can and will take on in the future! As we work together to develop our ability to be intentional as a religious community and as an organization, more concrete Continued on page 18

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PREPARING FOR ANNUAL SESSIONS The First Query:

Meeting for Worship

ence – a gathering of a faith community with each other and with the Divine spirit. • Are our meetings for worship held in stilled, exThe silence is rich, welcompectant waiting upon God? ing and soothing with a deep • As we worship is there a living silence in which sense of peace that is needed we are drawn together by the power of God in in the hectic lives we live. our midst? The combination of our wonderful meeting houses, • Is the spirit of our worship together one that nurthe many people that have tures all worshipers? come before us, as well as • How does our Meeting respond when the vocal each one of us who is here ministry seems inappropriate, or when the meettoday helps to create the ing for worship is consistently not gathered? opportunity to open ourselves to each other and to • Do I faithfully attend meeting with heart and the Divine presence. There is mind prepared for worship, clear of any predeteroften a strong sense of a livmination to speak or not to speak, and expecting ing silence and a sense of that worship will be a source of strength and sacred space. At times the guidance? Divine presence is made • Does worship deepen my relationship with God, known through messages we increase my faithfulness, and refresh and renew share with each other - somemy daily life, both inwardly and in my relationtimes someone speaks our ship with others? mind and sometimes messages have a similar thread. • Have I experienced in worship that direct leading We are blessed to have access to listen or to speak, and have I been faithful to to this opportunity to be in my own experience? the heart of God. We come together in the spirit of community. There is a gladness as we greet each other, as we light up when we see each other. We recognize our charge of overseeing and nurturing Meeting for Worship Worship & Ministry Committee and the spiritual life of our meeting. London Grove Monthly Meeting Our committee has recently lost longtime members and has acquired several new members. We are currently working eeting for Worship is one of our to deepen the spiritual life and connecigreatest treasures. Although the tions of our committee underlying tone may vary from week to members, as we also week, month to month or year to year look to accomplish simiranging from an excited festive feel at larly within our meeting Christmas time to a deep-felt sadness at large. We agree that when one of our cherished members we need to take care of has passed, or a feeling of shock as a ourselves spiritually, as result of global news or global weather, well as each other, that there is consistently a gathered experi-

One Meeting’s Response

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The Second Query:

Meeting for Business

• Is our meeting for business held in the spirit of a meeting for worship in which we seek divine guidance? • Are we careful to keep in the spirit of worship each of the concerns that emerge, whether of nurture, of Spirit, of social concerns, of property, or of finance? • Are Meeting decisions directed by prayerful consideration of all aspects of an issue and are difficult problems considered carefully with patient

we can learn to be spiritual friends, find ways to share our spiritual journeys, that everyone of us is on a journey and is growing, and that it is helpful for us to check in with each other. The Worship & Ministry Committee has a desire as well as an intention to hold the sacred space for our larger community, to teach by example, to be a resource - for meeting members to know that we are here with a very deep caring, with a love. We aspire to manifest God’s love for everyone as we go about our daily lives, and nurture the oneness that is so apparent during Meeting for Worship. n


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PREPARING FOR ANNUAL SESSIONS

search for truth, unhurried by the pressures of time? • How do we respond if we notice the meeting has lost an understanding of the presence of God? • Do we recognize that we speak through our inaction as well as our action? • Do I regularly attend meeting for business and in a spirit of love and unity? If unable to attend, how do I attend to my responsibility? • Do I consider prayerfully the many concerns that are lifted up on any issue, acknowledging that the search for truth in unity involves what God requires, being open to personal transformation as the community arrives at the sense of the meeting?

One Meeting’s ResponseMartin Committee of Clerks London Grove Monthly Meeting

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riends may be gifted with some of our most profound spiritual experiences while seated in our Meetings for Business. Meeting for Business is where we have opportunities to practice our PRACTICE of mutual spiritual discernment. Meeting for Business is the place where change happens, especially corporate changes for us as a Meeting. Meeting for Business is where we are challenged most profoundly to work on spiritual discernment with each other. Generally, it seems we do conduct Meetings for Business in the divine Spirit, seeking to ensure all voices are heard, and seeking for the sense of the meeting.

But sometimes it is hard. Sometimes we speak out of personal desire or need. We are called upon to pause and consider whether we are a conduit through which the Divine spirit may speak or simply expressing our individual human desires. It is difficult to give up our human desire for power and to have our own way but in the mystery of the Divine it is possible for us to submit ourselves to a greater truth if we are consciously willing to forego our personal desires and agendas in the interest of true corporate spiritual discernment. We truly seek that state in which some of our most powerful spiritual experiences may occur in Meeting for Worship for Business and in our committee meetings. It has been said that Meeting for Worship for Business works best when all are fully present in Friendly worship, each person seeking to discern the will of the divine and being open to the possibility of a changed heart - for, after all, of what good is continuing revelation if we never change our minds? It is a big gift and affirmation to be carrying this task with us on our individual spiritual journeys. It brings us closer to our questions and closer to our dear Friends here at meeting, including our clerk. There is an affirmation here about the true integrity and inspiration that may be with us if we are open to it, and how we bring our light to each other. It is well to consider that sort of affirmation. It is part of our wholeness and an affirmation about Friends who seek the light. We asked questions of each other in the Committee of Clerks as we considered this Query, and some questions have the power to take us deeper into exploring how we are doing in our PRACTICE, such as:

• Are we aware that we speak through our inaction as well as by our action? Are we offering ways for newer members to learn what discernment is, while reviewing for each of us the practices and gifts contained in discernment? • For a thorny issue, do we supply abundant patience? If an issue requires weeks or months, do we allow the issue to be held among us rather than dropped or neglected? And generally, do we supply a full measure of time to hear all voices? • What do we do with dissention that appears to come from mysterious places? Are we able and willing to hear difficult truths even though we wish not to hear them? • Let us recognize that Divine mystery is indeed present when two opposing points of view show up and each seems to hold some truth. In our Meetings for Business do we create a safe place and offer love and respect for each voice? Let us go deeper into these queries and continue to develop a loving space for all. May each Friend continue to hold and nurture our Meeting for Business as a container for the Divine. Let us continue to ask if, in our business in committees and in our monthly meetings and yearly meeting, do we create full, safe places and offer love and respect for each voice? This is the path toward whole spiritual openness as we nurture the blessed meeting community that we are. n

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ANNUAL SESSIONS

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Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future Ken Park Clerk, Sessions Planning Group Providence Monthly Meeting

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essions Planning Group spent many hours in discernment of this year’s theme for Annual Sessions. We wanted to move our yearly meeting forward and share a vision of building the yearly meeting community with the inclusion of all Friends. After much hard work, we sensed unity in expressing the need to celebrate who we are, the importance of our past and future while looking at the presence we hold to each other and the world. A recent conversation with a close Friend gave me a way of expressing the concept of our theme. She was sharing about the number of trees her neighbor-

hood had lost in a recent hurricane. I would like to use the metaphor of a tree to explain our vision for this year’s Annual Sessions. I see our Quaker “presence” as a complete tree. A tree grows upwards from the tips of its branches, downward from its roots and outward slowly from its trunk. The roots and the center of the tree - the heartwood - represent our history and provides the strength to withstand time. As the trunk widens slowly and the roots continue to grow downward, we get stronger. We are nourished by Spirit that provides the energy to make our roots and buds continually grow. Our future is the PYM

buds and branches that continually reach to the light. Please join the many people of our yearly meeting community in our experience at a new residential setting. Muhlenberg College is a beautiful, treelined community. The facilities are unlike any we have experienced before. All age Friends will be in contact constantly throughout our time there. Is there a better way to build community? n

Spiritual Growth and Awakening: What Annual Sessions Has Meant to Me Lane Taylor Plumstead Monthly Meeting

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ihave shared with many Friends that iSessions always feels like a special experience and as a result I am drawn back year after year. I have yet to find another community gathering which provides the kind of experience that Philadelphia Yearly Meeting gathered together in Annual Sessions provides for me. It is here where I have learned how to minister to others in our community and the world, and it is here that I have gained confidence as a minister and leader. I chose to attend Sessions for the first 6

time in 2007. At the time, I felt removed from our community and my faith because I was no longer able to regularly attend my own monthly meeting. I felt disconnected from something that I held dear - and way opened in the summer of 2007 for me to reconnect. I remember attending Young Friends’ Gatherings while in high school and feeling spiritually and emotionally renewed and I was hoping to find a similar renewal at Annual Sessions. I was in the midst of recovering from a serious illness and was hoping for an experience that would allow me to step away from that, if only for a few hours each day. I had the pleasure of working with

Children’s Sessions that year and my need for a break was readily and happily met. I was moved by the fact that we were asked to help the children prepare an Epistle to be shared with the yearly meeting and it was a joy to be part of their sharing. When I was not with Children’s Sessions I was able to attend my first-ever Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business; while it was unlike anything I had experienced before and admittedly a challenge, I knew that I wanted to envelop myself in


ANNUAL SESSIONS

PYM TODAY • SPRI NG 2013 our process and become a contributing part of it. I have returned to Sessions every summer since 2007. Each year I have felt more and more a part of our community. In 2008 I was acknowledged by the Clerk during a plenary session and it was there that I shared ministry for the first time - nervously and with deep emotion. Prior to that experience, I would “sit on Quakes” and not acknowledge the voice of the Spirit within me. But the Clerk’s acknowledgement allowed me to be faithful in the ministry I receive and I gradually became more confidant and comfortable rising to speak. Sessions also connected me with the Young Adult Friend (YAF) Community, whose phenomenal coordinator brought me into a nurturing community that would more deeply foster my spiritual growth. Sadie Forsythe and the YAF Working Group reached out and encouraged me to offer a workshop at Annual Sessions. I was anxious and reluctant to do so but with their encouragement I offered my leading for pastoral care through a Meeting for Worship with Attention to Healing in 2011. It was a transformational experience; not only was the presence of the Spirit strong among us but Friends who attended humbled me by sharing what my workshop had meant to them. This kind of encouragement from Friends was not new to me. It is thanks to the loving words of Friends that I have been able to fearlessly share my leadings and ministry, and it is thanks to them that I have the confidence to actively participate in committee work. I found this love and encouragement first at Annual Sessions. n

Worship at Annual Sessions Ken Park Clerk, Sessions Planning Group Providence Monthly Meeting

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ommunity worship is an essential part of our annual gathering, and an essential part of being a Friend. There will be many worship opportunities during our time together during Annual Sessions: Daily worship will be held before breakfast, Thursday through Sunday mornings. Worship Sharing will be held before morning Meeting for Worship for Business. We began this practice last year and it was greatly received by attending Friends. This sharing helps prepare Friends for the following Meeting for Worship for Business, with queries presented for guidance. This year we will be blessed to have Young Friends deeply involved with our Worship Sharing.

“We see worship sharing as an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for spiritual renewal. We do this by offering powerful queries concerning the state of Friends’ practice, the maintenance of love among us, and the quality of our worship.” “For me, our small group worship sharing is among my most powerful leadings for things to which I absolutely had to surrender. My awareness of this experience has added a powerful new dimension to my experience of God.” John Ellsworth, Gwynedd Monthly Meeting They will help write the queries and co-facilitate some of the groups. Friends will be assigned to worship groups as part of the registration process. Vespers. This year we are adding evening Vesper Services, Wednesday through Saturday nights. This will join all of us together to end our day in worship and prepare for the next day. n

Lane Serves as Assistant Clerk, Sessions Planning Group.

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ANNUAL SESSIONS

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Children and Youth Programs

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on’t miss the fun in store for all ages at this year’s Annual Sessions! Children and Youth gather during annual sessions for fun, fellowship, worship, and to discern God’s Big Idea – what is the work that the young people of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting are called to do? 

Young Friends (high school): The Young Friends Program will be a roundthe-clock, residential program that is open to anyone who would attend a Young Friends gathering or anyone in high school whose family is attending

Annual Sessions. While we will join the larger yearly meeting community for many activities (worship sharing, All Together Now, Business Meeting items of interest, most workshops, speakers, and vespers),

Children’s Sessions and Middle School Friends: Infants through middle school age children will meet in agebased groups each morning and evening. The afternoons will be free-play for all ages - art, music, recreation and conversation – in addition to time to be together as a community in the All Together Now program.   In the evenings community continues in the Family Neighborhood - families will be housed together centered around a lounge - a place to hang out, play with friends, and (for parents!) keep the conversation going after bedtime. 

All Together Now Lane Taylor Plumstead Monthly Meeting

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essions Planning Group is passionate about creating a fulfilling spiritual experience for every Friend who attends Annual Sessions. We have heard a call and a discerned leading from Friends who are aching to connect with one another in a very real, spiritual and philosophical context. Youth Epistles have repeatedly called for inclusion and multigenerational connections; and older Friends have not been silent about their desire to hear and learn from younger Friends. 8

This desire for connection draws me to Sessions each year and is the basis for something a bit more ambitious in this year’s program that we are calling, “All Together Now.” All Together Now will be a daily event that will provide an opportunity for everyone in attendance, regardless of age or reason for being present, to gather with one another to engage in a topic that is relevant. The focus of All Together Now will be multigenerational programming for Friends of all ages and levels of experience including children and youth (childcare will be available for our very youngest Friends). Friends have discerned a number of topics including “Sharing Our Experi-

ence with God,” “Embracing Our Multigenerational Experience,” and “Living into the Future.” Together we will ask ourselves and each other, “How do we experience our faith,” “How do we share our faith,” “How are we present with all of our generations,” and “How do we care for ourselves and our community?” All Together Now will provide space to examine the unique aspects of our faith, to share our experiences with others and to connect with each other on common ground through rich ministry that will flow through all of our generations. n


ANNUAL SESSIONS

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much of the time we will be engaged in workshops and other programs specific to Young Friends (similar to our Young Friends weekend gatherings). Highlights include a day hike, time in the pool, and seeing the Muhlenberg College production of Jesus Christ Superstar! Young Friends will sleep in our own dormitory wing. Scholarships are available to help Young Friends defray the cost of attending sessions.  Please check the Young Friends page on the PYM website for more details about the Young Friends program as we approach the date for Annual Sessions (www.pym.org/annualsessions-2013/childrens-and-youthprograms/young-friends) All of the youth programs will be led by gifted, enthusiastic adults who will follow each child’s agedefined group throughout Sessions. Volunteers are always needed to provide a fun and grounding way to connect with our young people. We will explore this year’s theme – Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future - in our own programs and together with the whole community during our All Together Now gatherings. We have many great plans in the works to encourage children to share their Quaker faith, grow spiritually and have fun at the same time. Residential and program spaces at Muhlenberg College are close to each other, surrounding an open space for outdoor play. Nothing grows community like time and adventures together! For more info, contact Gracie Coscia, Children’s Sessions Coordinator at childrenssessions@pym.org or 215-2417526; Matt Sanderson, Middle School

Friends Coordinator at msanderson@pym.org or 215 241-7171; or Hannah Mayer, Young Friends Coordinator at youngfriends @pym.org or 215 241-7222. n

What is Children’s Sessions to Me? Julia Carrigan Mickleton Monthly Meeting

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 ello PYM! My name is Julia Carrigan. I am in 5th grade. This year I’m moving into Middle School Friends, and I have been a part of Children’s Sessions since I was 5 years old. Children’s Sessions has been a fun-filled experience, from playing tag outside the Arch Street Meeting House to the Ice Cream Social at Annual Sessions. I will miss Children’s Session’s summits, field trips, and most importantly the friendships I have made there. I am Annual Sessions 2013:

Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future July 24-28 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA

looking forward to having just as much fun in the Middle School Friends programs! The Summit is a big meeting where all of Children’s Sessions members get together to discuss “God’s Big Idea” and what we can do to make it happen. Recently we decided that we needed to help people who did not have enough food. In 2013, Children’s sessions will once again meet to decide what God needs us to do now; maybe it will have to do with animals, maybe it will be about someplace on the other side of the world. It depends what happens in the Summit. Children’s Sessions to me is about making memories, memories of friendship, memories of laughs, memories of what it means to be Quaker. No matter who you ask, they will agree, Children’s Sessions is unquestionably fun! n

PLEASE REGISTER by June 20, 2013 at www.pym.org/ annual-sessions-2013

Contact 215/241-7238 or email sessions@pym.org 9


ANNUAL SESSIONS Wednesday, July 24 7:00

9:30

Thursday, July 25

Friday, July 26

Worship Sharing 8:30-9:15

Meeting for Worship for Business 9:30

Worship Sharing 8:30-9:15 Youth Programs 8:15-12:15

Meeting for Worship for Business 9:30

Worship Sharing 8:30-9:15 Youth Programs 8:15-12:15

Worship Sharing 8:30-9:15 Youth Programs 8:15-12:15

Meeting for Worship for Business 9:30

12:30

Lunch Recreation Conversation Tents 12:30-2:30 Registration Opens

4:00

Opening Worship 4:00-5:00p.m.

5:30

Dinner and Registration

7:00

Gathering Celebration 7:00-8:30 Opening Keynote:

Meeting for Worship for Business 4:00-5:30

Youth Programs 4:00-5:30

Workshops 7:00-8:30

Youth Programs 7:00-8:30

Youth Programs 4:00-5:30

Dinner and ReCreation 5:30-7

Jennifer Karsten The Spiraling Journey: Lessons from the perpetual return to Quaker Community

8:40

Lunch Clean Up Pack Up 12:30-2:30

All Together Now – 3:00-4:00 p.m. Meeting for Youth Meeting for Worship for Programs Worship for Business 4:00-5:30 Business 4:00-5:30 4:00-5:30

Workshops 7:00-8:30

Youth Programs 7:00-8:30

Meeting for Worship for Business 9:30

Youth Programs 8:15-11:45

All Ages Worship and Epistles 11:45-12:30

All Ages- 12:15 -12:30

2:30

Sunday, July 28

Breakfast 7-8:15

2013

Gathering Together Gathering Together Our Past, Our Past, Our Presence, and OurPresence, Future Our and Our Future

Saturday, July 27 Early Morning Worship

Welcome to PYM Welcome to PYM Annual Sessions 2013 Ann ual Sessions

8:30

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Keynote Speakers: 7:00-8:30

Youth Programs 7:00-8:30

Lucy Duncan & Niyonu Spann Truth, Heart, Healing: Working with Spirit Transforms!

“The place of prayer “The place of prayer is is I aa precious precioushabitation; habitation; I saw this to to saw thishabitation habitation be safe, to be inwardly be safe, to there be inwardly quiet, when was quiet, whenand there was great stirrings commotions in theand great stirrings world.” commotions in the 1770 John Woolman, world.” Peaceful Travels! And John Woolman, 1770 please save the date: Peaceful Travels! And please save the date: PYM Annual Sessions July 23 -27, 2014

PYM Annual Sessions July 23-27, 2014

Vespers 8:40-9:00 Late Evening Programs 9:15

Young Adult Friends at Sessions Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt YAF Communications Coordinator

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oung Adult Friends (YAFs, ages 18-35) participate in all aspects of Annual Sessions, facilitating workshops, participating in business sessions and providing leadership for youth programs. Young Adult Friends will have our own dorm area where we will host late-evening program & fellowship, often including discussion, worship sharing, board games, and checking in about the day! YAFs also find ways to have additional informal time as a peer group, including shared meals, amidst the myriad of offerings during Sessions!

At the Young Adult Friends Winter Retreat in January, we began to envision an intergenerational mentorship program potentially incorporating peer, YAF - high school, and older Friend Young Adult mentoring relationships. The Young Adult Friends Working Group will host a listening session during Sessions to gather input and ideas for such a program. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt, YAF Communications Coordinator, at youngadultfriends@pym.org or 215-241-7075, or visit our website at www.pym.org/young-adult-friends. n Elizabeth is a member of Swarthmore Monthly Meeting.


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Workshops at Annual Sessions A

nnual Sessions Workshops are scheduled for Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26, 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the Muhlenberg Campus. This year’s workshops will address the theme, Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future and other ways that help strengthen our faith and commitment as a community of Friends. You may sign up for workshops during online registration or on-site at Sessions. For a complete description of each workshop please see our website at www.pym.org/annual-sessions-2013/ programs

THURSDAY EVENING WORKSHOPS Releasing Friends Leadings Viv Hawkins, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting with members of the Support and Outreach and Peace and Concerns Standing Committees.

Conscious Consumerism Colleen Warmingham, Unami Monthly Meeting

Healing from the Hurts of Racism Victoria Green, Green Street Friends Meeting; Kathy Miller, Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting

Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy: What Can Friends Say? Michael Shank, FCNL Foreign Policy Director; Lucy Duncan, Goshen Monthly Meeting and AFSC Friends Liaison

Moving Into Mindfulness Amy Ward Brimmer, Fallsington Monthly Meeting

Fundraising Strategies for Monthly Meetings and Other Non-Profit Organizations Jennie Sheeks, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting and PYM Director of Development; Ralph Henninger, Plymouth Monthly Meeting

Communicating with Members of the Yearly Meeting Martin Reber, London Grove Monthly Meeting and PYM Director of Communications; Naman Hampton, PYM Web Manager

The Renewal We Seek Chris Stern, Middletown Monthly Meeting and other Middletown Friends

Saving our Future and Honoring our Past: Native Americans and Quakers “Idle No More” Today Kate DeRiel, Haverford Monthly Meeting with Members of the PYM Indian Committee

Peer Listening- A Tool for Trauma Healing Pamela Haines, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting with members of Friends Peace Teams

Understanding Our Story Styles and Our Conflict Styles Warren Heydenberk and Robin Heydenberk, Richland Monthly Meeting

A Quaker Behind the Dream: Charlie Walker and the Civil Rights Movement Brenda Beadenkopf, Concord Monthly Meeting

Quaker Voluntary Service: Supporting the Future of Quakerism Ross Hennesy, Germantown Monthly Meeting; Bruce Birchard, Central Philadelphia Monthly

Meeting,; Howard Cell, Germantown Monthly Meeting

FRIDAY EVENING WORKSHOPS Friendly Fabric: Weaving Threads of our Past and our Future into our Presence as Covenant Community Therese Miller, Lewisburg Monthly Meeting; Margaret Wood, Towanda Monthly Meeting; Erik Pedersen, Schuylkill Monthly Meeting; Karen Dillon, Haddonfield Monthly Meeting

Moving Away from Economic Inequality (and Toward Connection and Access) Tucker Taylor, Providence Monthly Meeting; David George, Germantown Monthly Meeting; Pamela Haines, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting

The Meeting, the Community, Navigating Assumptions, Building Trust Joan Broadfield, Chester Monthly Meeting

Young Adult Quakers, Nones, and the Future of Friends: How Earlham School of Religion is Observing and Adapting to Changes in American Religious Life Matt Hisrich, Earlham School of Religion

Continued on next page

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Change the Story, Change the World: Building a Culture of Peace with AFSC

Call and Response - Exploring the Music inside Us

Spiritual Nurture/ Direction: A Rich Resource for Friends

Scilla Wahrhaftig, Pittsburgh Monthly Meeting, AFSC Program Director PA Program; Lucy Duncan, Goshen Monthly Meeting, AFSC Friends Liaison

Tim Simmons, Old Haverford Monthly Meeting

Wade Wright, Millville Monthly Meeting; Nancy Bieber, Lancaster Monthly Meeting; Jane Keller, Pennsdale Monthly Meeting

There is a Spirit ... FCNL’s Call for Constructive Dialogue Mary Lou Hatcher, Lehigh Valley Monthly Meeting; Margaret Mansfield, Mount Holly Monthly Meeting

Exploring Vocal Ministry

Quaker Quest: Joyfully Embracing the Present and Future Trudy Rogers, Chester River Monthly Meeting; and Gita Larson

The Future of Friends: Growing into Paradox Tom Gates, Lancaster Monthly Meeting

Understanding Bullying-From Risk to Resilience Warren Heydenberk and Robin Heydenberk, Richland Monthly Meeting

Making Ourselves Known: The Expanded Grants Presence on the PYM Website Carol Walz, Mount Holly Monthly Meeting,

Benjamin Lloyd, Haverford Monthly Meeting

PYM Director of Grant Making

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Keynote Speakers A

nnual Sessions 2013 will open on Wednesday, July 24 with dinner, followed by a gathering celebration at 7:00 pm. This year we are delighted to have three keynote speakers, all of whom are members of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting! Please join us for this year’s keynote presentations on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

Wednesday, July 24, 7:00-8:30 Opening Keynote: Jennifer Karsten: The Spiraling Journey: Lessons from the Perpetual Return to Quaker Community Jen is Executive Director of Pendle Hill, the Quaker center in Wallingford, PA. In childhood, Jen was a member of Doylestown Monthly Meeting. In her adult years, she returned to the region and reconnected with Friends. Being shaped by time with and also away 12

from Quaker settings has given her a heightened sense of belonging as a Friend and wider perspective of the world. Her path also encountered discomfort – all of which has been transformative. In her presentation this evening she hopes to be helpful to Friends by sharing how trials may be great teachers and how bringing our lessons back home can enhance community among us. Jen and her family are members of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting.

Saturday, July 27, 7:00-8:30 Keynote Speakers: Lucy Duncan & Niyonu Spann: Truth, Heart, Healing: Working with Spirit Transforms! Lucy is Friends’ Liaison for the American Friends Service Committee. She sees gardening as a metaphor for how God might be calling Quakers as a community. She says, “We can’t do it alone, we need to remember that tilling and planting the soil of

transformation can only bear fruit if we do it in collaboration, that we need each other and God to grow anything nourishing.” Lucy is a member of Goshen Friends Meeting. Niyonu is a musician, community activist and consultant to non-profit organizations. She is the founder of Beyond Diversity, cofounder of CoCreating Effective and Inclusive Organizations and director of the singing group Tribe. She taught Quakerism at two Quaker schools and has served on the boards of FGC and Training for Change. Niyonu is a member of Chester Monthly Meeting. n


ANNUAL SESSIONS

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Logistics and Fees Location

Parking

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions 2013 will be held at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Meetings for Business, Children’s Sessions, meals and other activities will be housed comfortably in one building. Dorms and additional program spaces are clustered nearby with shady outdoor spaces between. PYM Sessions Planning Group researched many possible sites for Annual Sessions and chose the Muhlenberg College campus based on the suitability of the campus for our programs for all ages, and with appreciation for Muhlenberg’s commitments to diversity and sustainability. Our Group also made note of the availability of the good food and the friendly staff at Muhlenberg College!

Plenty of free parking is available in designated lots on campus. Maps will be available for registrants. If you need access to a handicapped-designated parking space, please indicate this when you register for Annual Sessions.

Housing Staying together on a single campus means plenty of opportunity for fellowship during Annual Sessions. Housing and meals are available at affordable prices (see Fees and Financial Aid below). All of the dormitories are close to the Seegers Union building where Meeting for Worship for Business, Children’s Programs, meals and more activities will be held. Housing options include: • The Family Neighborhood where families with children can stay together in one hallway with a common lounge • Air conditioned and non-air-conditioned dorm rooms

Meals

• Young Friends will be together in a single dorm area with staff and Friendly Adult Presences • Young Adult Friends have the opportunity to stay with other young adults in a designated dorm area

Directions

Meals will be served in the Wood Dining Commons in the Seegers Union building. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options will be available. Our first meal together will be dinner on Wednesday July 24. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available; on Sunday, breakfast and lunch will be served. Note that dorm rooms are not equipped with refrigerators or microwaves, although some have shared mini-kitchens.

By Car The Muhlenberg Annual Sessions is one of the most important events College campus is easwe can participate in, a time and place where all who ily accessed from the embrace our faith community – members and seekers East or West via I-78, alike - may gather to share worship, fellowship and the and from the North or work we are called to do to bring the light of God’s South via I-476 or US spirit to the world. 309, connecting with the PA turnpike. DeAccessibility tailed directions are available on our Seegers Union, Moyer Hall and the website at www.pym.org/annual-sesLife Sports Center/Field House are fully sions-2013 or the Muhlenberg College accessible buildings, as are most of the website at www.muhlenberg.edu. dormitories we will use. Paved walkBy Public Transportation ways connect all the buildings and the Greyhound and Carl Bieber Bus lines longest distance between buildings we serve two locations near the Muhlenwill use is about one city block. If you berg campus – the Allentown bus termi- require a wheelchair-accessible room nal and Wescosville. Susquehanna(or any other assistance) please indicate Trailways also serves the Allentown bus your needs when you register for Anterminal. nual Sessions. Speech-to-text transcription will be 13


ANNUAL SESSIONS provided during each Plenary Session. If you have any other special need please contact our Sessions Coordinator at 215 241-7238.

Fees There are no program fees for attendance at Annual Sessions this year! The PYM General Fund is covering the location, logistic and program costs of Annual Sessions. Participants only need to pay for their own food, housing and personal expenses. We invite Friends to make voluntary contributions to help offset the costs of Annual Sessions and reduce our reliance on the General Fund.

Fees for Housing and Meals Adults Full time registration $300 – all meals plus housing in air conditioned room $220 – all meals plus housing in a NON air conditioned room Day registration $30/day – all meals (per day) $45/night – housing with air cond tioning $25/night – housing without air conditioning

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Financial Aid Adults: Work Grants and Scholarships help defray the cost of housing and food at Annual Sessions. Work grants are based on the number of hours worked. Both types of aid are subject to availability, so apply early! Over 60: The PYM Aging Granting Group has generously provided funding for scholarships to help cover the cost of housing and food for Friends over the age of 60. During registration, just let us know you would like to obtain this support. Young Friends: Scholarships are available from the Sergei Thomas and Haley Yarmark Memorial Scholarship Fund. Young Friends may apply for this aid when you register for Annual Sessions. Children: Middle School: This year, housing is subsidized by the PYM General Fund for all children aged infants through middle school. There is no need to apply for this subsidy. Individual assistance from your Meeting: Monthly and Quarterly Meetings are encouraged to support their member’s participation in Annual Sessions. Please contact your local meeting for more information.

Children (Infant-Middle School) Full time registration $88 – full time registration including all meals and housing. Note: the housing charge is $0 (subsidized) if the children are in a double room with parents Day registration $22/day – all meals (per day)

We Are Called to Support Annual Sessions Financial Contributions. There are many costs associated with renting a facility and providing all the logistical support for our Annual Sessions. We encourage Friends to make voluntary financial contributions to help offset the costs of Annual Sessions and reduce our reliance on the General Fund. Please consider making a monetary gift when you register, or while you are onsite during Annual Sessions. Time and Talent Contributions. Volunteering is a great way to get to know others at Annual Sessions and be involved in our yearly meeting community. Sessions works because of the support of many volunteers who assist with programs, registration, information, youth activities and more! Please consider volunteering your time, talent and energy during registration, or stop by the volunteer desk on-site during Annual Sessions. 14

Young Friends Full time registration $209 – includes all meals, housing in a double room in the Young Friends area and one ticket to see Jesus Christ Superstar! Day registration $28.50/day – all meals (per day) $20/night – housing in a double room in the Young Friends area How to register Visit www.pym.org/annual-sessions-2013 to register for this year’s program. Friends who do not have access to a computer may register by phone at 215-241-7238. This year’s registration deadline is June 20, 2013. We highly recommend that you register as early as possible. It is possible to register onsite during Annual Sessions however no housing and only a limited number of meal tickets will be available. n


ANNUAL FUND

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Some Thoughts on Stewardship and Charity Maia Simon Trenton Monthly Meeting

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s I attend our monthly Meeting for Worship with a concern for Business, I hear repeated concerns about the financial state of our giving, both to our monthly meeting and to PYM Annual Fund. As I consider our call to give beyond ourselves, I am reminded of my own journey of learning about the blessing of giving. During my late incarnation as an Episcopalian, I was tapped to serve on the Stewardship Committee. I thought that this was to be simply a fundraising activity but I was mistaken. As a committee we explored our individual experiences, ideas, hopes and concerns about supporting the financial needs of our worship community. In time, we undertook a program of “proportionate giving” and each of us delivered a sermon that fall, sharing our experience about the issue of supporting the church. It was a powerful witness to the power of Spirit and community to transform our resentment and fear about giving from what we perceived as

our limited means. Our program of proportionate giving invited us to examine our individual decisions about charitable giving including giving to our faith community. We were asked to calculate what portion of our income we were giving away and what portion of our charitable giving was going to the church. There were no guidelines provided about what these proportions should be. We were simply asked to do the math and then ask ourselves if this proportion seemed right. At the time I was giving about $5 a week in the basket, being reluctant to pledge a given amount. My reluctance was grounded in a belief that others wanted “my” money and whenever others asked for “my” money my emotional response was resentment and defensiveness. I needed to protect “my” money. As I recall, when I did the math it turned out that this $5 represented about .5% of my income. That is one half of one percent. That was a revelation. I had thought it was a lot of money. (This was in the early 1980’s). That year I pledged $520 a year, which was

Nurture Quaker faith and practice with a gift to the Annual Fund

about 1% of my income: $10 a week. The next year it was $20 a week. And it grew from there for one simple reason: the more I gave, the more I seemed to have. I never once suffered lack because of my charitable giving. I started to recognize that “my” money was not really mine, but a resource granted me by the Divine to handle with love and responsibility. Over the years I expanded my giving to include gifts that are not tax deductible. For instance, I know a Quaker healer who lives on donations and I am privileged to help support his work. I get to have the vicarious experience of providing a healing presence in the world. On the other hand, I sometimes encounter folks who are in need and, having this mindset that half of my giving is not tax deductible, opens my mind to stepping in when I see a need. It may be a person at the supermarket struggling with food stamps and $5 short of what they need. I have been richly blessed. I found that even when I lost my career to illness that there was still “enough” to go around. It still seems that the more I give, the more I have. I invite you to consider your giving: to your monthly meeting, to the PYM Annual Fund and to the larger community. Does the amount you give reflect your values? Is it appropriate in your eyes, and in the eyes of the Divine? n

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is a community of Quaker meetings, members and attenders who support and strengthen each other in Quaker community, faith, practice and witness. Please help nurture the work of your yearly meeting by making a gift online at www.pym.org/nurture or call 215/241-7115. “Use your capabilities and your possessions not as ends in themselves but as God’s gifts entrusted to you. Share them with others; use them with humility, courtesy and affection.” (Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 2002, p. 83) 15


CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY

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Quakers & Mental Health The Friends Counseling Service of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting emotional challenges. At the time it was ground breaking in its ingenuity. The Retreat inspired other progressive facilities including the American Brattleboro Retreat, the Hartford Retreat, and, in 1813, Friends Hospital right here in Philadelphia. The Friends Counseling Service continues to emphasize this professional treatment of emotional concerns. Friends Counseling Service was founded in 1940 by Dr. Lovett Dewees, a member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting who recognized the need for a counseling service staffed by mental health professionals who were also Friends and active in the life of their meetings. Since that time, meetings have continued to support the Friends Counseling Service as a program essential to members and attenders. The Service is staffed by experienced, li-

Kenneth Brick Coordinator, Friends Counseling Service

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f the many things that attract me to Quakerism, the biggest factor has always been the passionate willingness of Friends to take clear, firm initiatives about some of the deepest questions of living. Quakers demonstrate that through opposition to war and violence; through the empathic care of prisoners; through aiding a bold confrontation of slavery in America; through excellence in progressive education; and more. Quaker initiatives on mental health have been no less profound. Quakers have long been pioneers in the field of mental health. As early as 1796 Quakers took initiative in England with the opening of The Retreat (or York Retreat) to support Friends facing

censed psychologists, clinical social workers and professional counselors. The intent continues to be to provide professional therapy at rates that are affordable to all, and a very significant subsidy is available for those who qualify. Research has shown that millions of Americans have mental health concerns. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 18% of the United States population has some type of anxiety disorder; and a 2004 National Institutes of Mental Health study Individuals, couples, families or groups interested in obtaining assistance from the Friends Counseling Service may contact Kenneth Brick, Coordinator at friendscounseling@pym.org or by calling 215-241-7019. All contacts are held in strict confidence.

Nominating Committee Paula Cell Germantown Monthly Meeting

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hy Nominating Committee? Is that your view? Well yes, because you know our work is never done. And yes, because you know it is sometimes difficult to find the right people to fill positions. Consider who we are: • representatives that you have chosen to do this job • indispensible to the functioning of our yearly meeting which depends on volunteer committees for every 16

aspect of our work as an organization Twenty-five years ago we were a committee of 40 to 50 people. We met face-to-face ten times each year. We staffed a myriad of committees and working groups. We attended Quarterly Meeting because it was the only way to find people to serve the committees. It was a way for newer Friends to find their way into the yearly meeting structure. Now we have only one or two people from most Quarters - 15 loyal and excellent members. Expanding on the traditional role of finding willing Friends for PYM committees, we have

recommended changes in terms of service, defined new roles, staffed major short-term project committees, and run a leadership training program for current and potential activists in the yearly meeting. We see our role as crucial to helping our yearly meeting organization function creatively and effectively within a new reality. Our dream is that members of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting will yearn for vitality in our monthly meetings; that we will express passion for peace and justice in our society with such Friends organizations as AFSC and FCNL; and that youth and young adults


SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND RENEWAL

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Preparing Hearts and Mind for Worship found 20 million Americans are subject to mood disorders. Only a small fraction of those needing treatment actually receive it, often because of the costs involved. And Quakers are not immune to having mental or emotional concerns. Friends Counseling Service is available at preferential rates to help members and others facing a variety of challenges and difficulties including depression, anxiety couples conflicts, adolescent development issues, addictions and other concerns. All Friends Counseling Services staff are affiliated with medical psychiatry professionals and the program is well equipped to help individuals with concerns ranging from personal counseling to crisis-oriented intervention. n

in our midst will participate more fully in the life of meetings and worship groups, and in the work of the yearly meeting because they know the weight of our message. Nominating Committee will find and nurture the leaders who are eager to participate actively in our yearly meeting and provide them with skills they need to participate and lead fully. n Paula serves as clerk of the PYM Nomination Committee.

Christie Duncan-Tessmer Associate Secretary for Program & Religious Life

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aith and Practice encourages us to come to meeting for worship with our hearts and minds prepared. There are many stories of our community which lift up the efforts Friends have taken to prepare themselves and their meetings for worship. Here are stories from 4 meetings where the worship has deepened in a clear and powerful way . Wilmington Monthly Meeting was surprised by a serendipitous experience which deepened their community and their worship. The meeting decided it wanted to offer religious education for adults. They created an ad hoc committee which offered a class once each month before meeting for worship. The class format and content was very simple. They used the 2011 One Book One Yearly Meeting book selection, Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead. Each month, a different member of the committee would choose a poem for the group to read. During the class the facilitator would read the poem and talk about the imagery or metaphor that had meaning for him or her; other Friends in the group would share their own responses. Over time a strong sense of community grew in the group as the sharing became personal. In response to the poetry, Friends shared their own struggles, needs, joys and issues. Over the eight months of the class, the experience spilled into meeting for worship: worship became more centered and the ministries that were offered became more powerful. In turn, this seemed to strengthen our meeting and we reveled in it. The surprise was that deepening worship

per se wasn’t what the meeting was trying to do. Steve Dutton says of the experience, “We’re always having conversations about how to deepen or enrich worship but this class is what did it. You could say that participants were preparing for worship in a way we hadn’t done before. I think the fact that this group got to know one another better and got to know personal needs and issues better meant that we grew as a community. Maybe this is one way to think about religious education – it’s about helping to prepare for worship, which is at the center of what we do. This was a spontaneous movement of the Spirit.” About four years ago, Media Friends Meeting began extended meeting for worship on the third Sunday of each month. A handful of Friends gather one hour before regular worship time to begin a period of extended worship. Other friends join worship in progress during the extended hour or at the regular worship time. Since implementing this practice, Friends have noticed a dramatic difference in worship on third Sundays; there is a deeper experience for most people and the messages that arise are experienced more profoundly. Friends have noticed that entering the meeting house where worship is already in progress has helped them to center more quickly and delve into a richer experience of worship. Preparing our physical space, in conjunction with preparing our hearts and minds, has transformed our worship and our experience of the Divine. The Lower School at Friends Select held a concern for the quality of worship and vocal ministry in their wor17


SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND RENEWAL ship. They addressed it in the manner of Friends … by forming a committee. The committee includes every 3rd and 4th grader who wants to participate and they meet during lunch and recess a few times each month. The classroom is packed with kids who choose to join the work. Clerked by a teacher, the kids discussed how to help their meeting for worship be one that everyone felt they could participate in. They implemented several ideas. Older children are carefully charged with not just sitting next to their younger worship buddies but helping them understand what is going on and serving as a mentor to them. They check in about how this is going on a regular basis. The kids are responsible for developing the queries that are shared in worship once each month. The committee decided that the query should be read several times by different kids in different areas of the room so that it was well represented and everyone could hear it. Over the 2 years that this practice has been in place they have heard increased ministry from more kids, including the youngest. Additionally, teachers share that they experience a deeper meeting for worship. Another important result of this process is that care of worship is clearly important to the kids, evidenced by so many of them using their recess time to participate in the committee. Several years ago, Lancaster Meet-

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ing* was going through a time when meeting for worship seemed noticeably unsettled for a variety of reasons. In response, Worship and Ministry undertook a commitment that at least some members of the committee would be present in worship 15 minutes before the appointed 10 o’clock hour. Thus, when people began to enter the worship room at 10:00, they found a core of people already deep in worship, providing, it was hoped, that critical mass of “kindled hearts.” Over time they noted that people no longer lingered in conversation just outside the door. Latecomers entered a still and centered meeting, so they knew that they were not only late by the clock but that they were missing something eventful. As a consequence, tardiness decreased. More importantly, worship seemed to gradually grow deeper and more settled, less distracted. Several years later, a few minutes before 10 o’clock you would find five or ten Friends in worship, preparing to welcome fellow worshipers into a hushed and sacred space. A second example from Lancaster Meeting is their engaging in the Spiritual Formation Program. In 1999, twelve Friends from Lancaster went through the first cycle of the PYM Spiritual Formation Program together. After the program ended they continued to meet and discuss readings on a regular

basis. With its willingness to regularly engage and discuss readings from our Quaker tradition, that small group came to have a ‘kindling effect” on the meetings for worship. The positive experience of the group in turn led them to plan and finally implement their own local adaptation of the Spiritual Formation Program. Almost 50 people participated. One key component of the Spiritual Formation Program is the encouragement of a daily individual spiritual practice. Having that number of members participate in this program and in daily individual practice had a very notable and tangible effect on the quality of the meetings for worship. Thanks to Lola George (Media Meeting), Friends Select Lower School, Steve Dutton (Wilmington Meeting) and Tom Gates (Lancaster Meeting) for sharing these stories. n

how change can be embraced - or feared. The Friends appointed to develop and propose a plan for our yearly meeting’s near-term future are dedicated and energetic about their assignment and joyfully labor together. Our faith community can be a vibrant, visionary, meaningful and powerfully helpful religious community making a differ-

ence in the world. However, we cannot do everything all at once, nor can we be all things to all people. Let us pray and prepare to exercise patience with our process. Planning is learning, Friends. And with divine assistance, we are good at that, aren’t we? n

*The stories from Lancaster Meeting are reprinted with slight paraphrasing from the PYM pamphlet Worship: “The Gathered Meeting” Revisited by Tom Gates. The pamphlet may be purchased from QuakerBooks of FGC or borrowed from the PYM Library.

Christie is a member of Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting.

Long Range Planning, continued from page 3

plans will emerge to help us take the initiative to respond to changing leadings and conditions. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting may be the largest yearly meeting in the United States, but we are not the first to engage in organized planning. Since I joined Friends in my early 20’s, I have participated actively in ten monthly meetings in four yearly meetings and observed 18

Suzanne serves as clerk of the Long Range Planning Group.


WITNESSING OUR FAITH

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A Quaker Freedom Memorial Avis Wanda McClinton Upper Dublin Monthly Meeting

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am the first African American member of Upper Dublin Monthly Meeting. I would like to tell about the leading that I have had to protect the earthly remains of the fugitives from slavery that have been buried in my meeting’s graveyard since before the Civil War.  When you deal with slavery it always leads to talk of racism, and nobody wants to hear it.  But we must be stewards of our Quaker history of anti-slavery activities. “Love one another as I have loved you,” said Jesus. It is a little-known reality that the abolition movement was the first time in our history that white and black people worked together for the common good. My vision has been to create another

Afterword Kitty Taylor Mizuno Haddonfield  Monthly Meeting

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have been deeply moved and changed by working on the Quaker Freedom Memorial project with Avis Wanda McClinton and others. It has made me more aware of the need for white people to listen to people of color in this country when they are able to share with us honestly about the realities of their history and their daily lives in our racially unjust society. I was not able to be at either of the memorial services, but I did see the video footage of the second service.  I was most impressed by the way partici-

opportunity for white and black to work together in my meeting to hold a memorial service in the Quaker manner to commemorate the lives and deeds of these fugitives from slavery.   We joyfully held two Friends’ memorial services during Black History Month.  We came together in reverent silence as a multi-racial, multi-generational gathering to share what was in our hearts.  We spoke.  We cried.  We sang.  You could tell that the minds and hearts of everyone present were one with God.  People are still telling me now, weeks later, that this spirit still resonates in their hearts.  I was most astonished when a descendant of the Underground Railroad stationmasters, Hannah and Thomas Atkinson, came to me and got on her knees and asked my forgiveness for the atrocities of slavery.  I forgave her.   God made a way for us to talk about race. I am so grateful to announce that a company has donated a memorial stone

to commemorate these fugitives who have never before had a memorial grave marker.  The meeting has also filed an application to the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission for an historical marker to honor these people. After each memorial service, we quietly filed out of the meeting house and walked to the graveyard where the fugitives are buried and just stood there in silent prayer. n

pants appeared so deeply moved by the occasion.  Avis told me that as a black person, she, her family and other black people she knows have learned the survival skills of treading carefully and saying what they think white people with power over them want to hear.  But at this memorial service all participants seemed to feel safe and able to say what they wanted to say.  Some spoke tearfully of never having known that such a hallowed site was right here in their township.  Some spoke of feeling the spirits of their ancestors when they walked in the graveyard. As a white person, I do not feel it to be the spirits of my own ancestors buried in the graveyard.  As is the case for many white people my family can document its history back several hundred

years, since before my ancestors immigrated from Europe.  I was humbled to be made aware of what a privilege it is to be able to take this knowledge for granted, when I heard black participants in the memorial service speak of the people buried there as their own ancestors.  The brutality of slavery has denied most of them the luxury of being able to trace their roots as I can. It is incumbent upon us in our privileged position as whites in this country to listen humbly and work with others to make our society a place where all people have equal opportunity to grow and flourish.  We can’t just talk about it.  The color line is real in our world.  Quakers have been abolitionists but we have also been slaveholders.  We need to take action to eliminate racial injustice in our world in our time. n

Related publications: The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves, by Andrew Ward Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad as Told by Levi Coffin and William Still, by Willene Hendrick & George Hendrick (Editors) Slavery and the Making of America, by James Oliver Horton, Lois E. Horton

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Today

PYM

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends 1515 Cherry Street Philadelphia PA 19102-1479

PYM Today is our journal of Quaker faith and practice, published by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and distributed free to members. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 1515 Cherry Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 Phone: 215-241-7211 Fax: 215-241-7045 Website: www.pym.org Jada S. Jackson, Clerk Arthur M. Larrabee, General Secretary Martin D. Reber, Director of Communications

Annual Sessions 2013 Annual Sessions 2013: Gathering Together Our Past, Our Presence, and Our Future July 24-28 Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

PLEASE REGISTER by June 20, 2013 at www.pym.org/ annual-sessions-2013

Contact 215/241-7238 or email sessions@pym.org

PYM Today and all our publications are made possible by the financial support of people like you! Please consider making a gift to help continue our ministry of the written word. It’s easy to make a gift online – just visit www.pym.org/nurture

Stay Connected With Our Yearly Meeting Community Subscribe to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting online newsletters. It’s free! PYM Today Online (monthly) News to help you stay up to date about the life of our yearly meeting PYM Thread Newsletters (bi-monthly) Information, insight and community about specific aspects of our Quaker faith and practice Finance Thread Newsletter First Day School Thread Newsletter Friends Education Thread Newsletter Outreach Thread Newsletter Pastoral Care Thread Newsletter Peace & Social Concerns Thread Newsletter Worship Thread Newsletter Youth Thread Newsletter To subscribe or manage your subscriptions please visit our website at: www.pym.org/online-newsletters/manageyour-subscription or use your mobile device to scan our QR code:


PYM Today - Spring 2013