On Saturday, April 13, the Parlor at Arch Street Meeting House was abuzz with Friends engaged in strategic planning exercises and discernment to help advance the charge of the Long Range Planning Group (LRPG). The one-day consultation, “PYM Today and Tomorrow! – Learning, Listening and Leading Together,” was organized and facilitated by LRPG members and consultant, Larry Peers, from The Alban Institute. For this event LRPG invited a cross-section of Friends representing the whole adult age-spectrum, the geographic realm of our 103 meetings and many perspectives and levels of involvement of volunteers and staff within our PYM religious community and organization.
Friends arrived with eagerness and commitment to spend a whole day together in work and fellowship on the tasks of identifying critical issues for PYM today and imagining possible strategic directions for PYM for the future. Approximately 55 individuals, divided into small groups, gave input from personal experience, paused for silent group reflection and recorded responses to separate, critical questions posed by the consultant, which were then shared back to the whole group. To the tourist who happened to enter the vestibule on a visit to the meeting house that day, there was a spectacle of people employed in some serious work together in a sea of tightly packed tables and easels – a constant hum – broken by occasional bursts of movement, applause and laughter. In addition to producing very helpful information for the ongoing efforts of LRPG, participants were able to learn and practice some of the strategic thinking skills that are useful and necessary to an effective, ongoing planning function for our religious community and organization.
Prior to the April 13 event, the LRPG have reached out to Friends across our Yearly Meeting at eight regional listening sessions in the Spring of 2012, in an exercise in the meeting for worship for business at Annual Sessions in Philadelphia last July and with a progress report in January. With gratitude for the efforts of Friends who have shared insights and experiences from a place of faith and hope along with their encouragement, LRPG members are in the process of reviewing input and selecting specific strategies to recommend in preliminary form to PYM at Annual Sessions this July. LRPG hopes Friends will come to Annual Sessions to help season the recommendations. Finally, LRPG anticipates bringing a full written report and plan to Interim Meeting in November of this year.
LRPG member and an Alternate Clerk of PYM
For more information about the Long Range Planning Group, please visit our web page.