Dear Friends everywhere,
Young Friends would like to recognize the epistle put forth by the members of PYM. With more than 20 people attending, we began the gathering with several games focused on community building and had our opening programs. For many days, a group of Young Friends accompanied the Middle School Friends and the children’s program to the pool but sadly on the last day couldn’t attend due to lack of life guards. Through this partnering and the multi-generational morning worship sharing the experience helped promote the inter-generational community. During Young Friends business meeting, we approved a standing clerk and an assistant clerk to lead us in the absence of our presiding clerks and a Friendly Adult Presence to serve as recording clerk. At this meeting we completed the yearlong review of our guidelines in order to make our community a more welcoming, comfortable and safe place for us to express and explore who we are. On our final evening together we had a rich worship sharing time amongst ourselves, and then spent the evening watching movies and enjoying each other’s’ presence.
On Thursday friends participated in an eye opening and inspirational workshop lead by Pamela Haines, we did a small bit of worship sharing and created signs about issues involving the intersection of race, environment, and social justice. The signs were then placed around campus.
Young Friends enjoyed hiking up the Glen Onoko Falls. We felt spiritually fulfilled and our hearts were warmed despite the chilling water engulfing us. It was really fabulous to connect with Middle School Friends and talk to rising 8th graders about our excitement for them to join our community and make new friends.
Young Friends attended the session on Addressing Racism as a Community Saturday morning. Some Young Friends entered the session with weary hearts and nervous emotions. Young Friends, particularly our Friends of Color, felt moved to share in a transformational worship. We enjoyed participating as active members of the PYM body to deepen the relationship with the wider community.
A Friend shared a powerful poem that showed our willingness and ability to participate strongly in the greater PYM community. The experiences of Young Friends have prepared us individually and as a community to continue work with the PYM body in leadership roles on racism.
Young Friends were deeply moved and grateful for the keynote presentation by Victoria Greene, founder of EMIR, Every Murder is Real. After the murder of her son, Victoria founded EMIR to offer support, education, and healing to those affected by homicide. Her personal story of loss moved many of us to tears. We hope to take her messages with us in our collective future.
Our time at annual sessions was an exceptional experience and we are grateful to the staff, and other F/friends who created an environment for spiritual enrichment.
With love and in worship,
Epistle Committee Annual Sessions 2015: Lilly Basgall, Hayden Dutton-Shen, Tenaja Henson, Henry Mohr, Rachel Sidener