Work and Witness Workshop Descriptions

This year, we will continue the practice of gathering for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and multigenerational activity every morning and on most evenings.  The afternoon activities will be in the spirit of worship and include smaller Work & Witness Workshops between lunch and dinner. The Work & Witness Workshops will provide opportunities to commit ourselves to strengthening connections between our faith and activism. What a gift it is to be a part of our ever-widening mosaic!

Thursday Workshops

THURSDAY, July 27 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Anthem Music- The Soundtrack of a Movement- Gregory Corbin
Every movement has a soundtrack. In this workshop participants will time travel through the last 100 years along with the music that has vibrated behind the social movements. Participants will witness how artistic influences provide life and energy behind community building, restoration, healing and organizing work. We will be looking an wholistic overview of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and hip hop. Be ready to have your mind flipped open and your heart expanded as we explore the power of voice and imagination as it relates to social justice. Stay ready. You may just be writing, singing, performing in some way. The best ways to create magic are together.

A Very Brief Introduction to the Bible – Paul Joyce Collins Williams, Young Friends and Older

“Be Transformed.” The Bible relates many stories of transformations: Moses at the Burning Bush; the Israelites in the Wilderness; Elijah hearing a still small voice; the Transfiguration of Jesus; the Crucifixion and Resurrection and Paul’s trip to Damascus. Why read the Bible? What is the Biblical Canon? What is the best translation? How do Quakers read the Bible? Some lecture, some handouts, some shared readings, some reflection and lots of discussion. Bring your favorite translation, your most troubling quote and join us as we dip our toes into this most fascinating book.

Connecting Faith & Activism Using Nonviolence- Brenda Walker Beadenkopf & Valerie Walker Peery

Just what is nonviolence? Using stories such as early sit-ins in Chicago, the Freedom Rides, and 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, workshoppers will learn of the hard work and careful planning that went into nonviolence training. Then, we will use actual training exercises used in the Freedom Summer to practice particular disciplines that can be helpful in activism and daily living today.

Extended Worship

Extended worship is an option every day during work and witness workshop time.

Gun Violence in America – Where Is the Faith Community? Haddonfield Monthly Meeting

This session explores the current relative absence of the American faith community from the movement to prevent gun violence and bring levels of gun death and injury down to those endured by all other developed countries. It also provides concrete examples of entry points for people and communities of faith this live saving movement.

How to be an Ally to Indigenous Peoples- Indian Committee Granting Group

What can we do beyond supporting Native American issues verbally, such as Standing Rock and blocking the NJ pipeline? We agree that we want Native peoples to be heard, but what is PYM doing to ensure that? How can we help with tribes gaining recognition of their status from the state and U.S. government? Are we doing enough?

Keeping a Mothering Diary: Motherhood as a Journey of Faith and Action -Janet Benton

As many a new mother discovers at a deeper level, our society exacts harsh costs from mothers and children. We may be too often separated due to the mother’s need to bring in income; or we may be isolated together, in a world where most others are not doing this caring work at home. We may be separated at birth, when a mother is unable to keep a baby; or we may pay difficult costs while raising a child without a partner. Whatever a woman discovers on becoming a mother, it deserves to be examined and to become something she acts upon in the world. By keeping a mothering diary, a mother can follow the journey of her spirit, explore the effects of her experiences of bearing and raising children on her faith, and imagine a better world for mothers and children–which is all of us. In this program, we’ll begin these diaries, using exercises and discussion to put this practice into action, and sharing to the degree each participant desires.

Quaker Witness in & Around Trenton: Transforming Urban Education Through Community Schools and Preschools Focused on the Whole Child – Mercer Street Friends

The presenters will be Armstead Johnson, MSF’s Executive Director; Anniesha Walker, MSF’s Community School Director; and Glenda Gracia-Rivera, Chair of MSF’s Community School Committee. Mercer Street Friends was founded by Quaker Friends in 1958 to help those living in poverty in and around Trenton make the journey out of poverty. Receiving an excellent early education is a key to making that journey. MSF provides two such keys. One is its full-year academic pre-school, with a summer school made possible through the donations of Quaker Meetings and members. The second is its leadership in the community school movement rooted in the Luis Munoz Rivera Community Middle School and now spreading to other Trenton schools. This session will show how a Quaker-emphasis on caring for the needs of the whole child from the earliest age on up can support public schools, improve academic results, and transform neighborhoods.

Spiral Q: Art and Stories

Spiral Q builds strong and equitable communities characterized by creativity, joy, can-do attitudes and the courage to act on their convictions. This will be a hands-on, creative, interactive workshop following up on Wednesday evening’s multigenerational program. Wear something that can get messy! Children will need to be accompanied by an adult family member or their designee.



Friday Workshops

FRIDAY July 28 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Climate, Race and Justice: we are all in this together- Eco-Justice Collaborative

This workshop is a project of the Ecojustice Collaborative and centers around a 30 minute DVD which features excerpts from presentations by Cornel West, Juliet Schor, Van Jones, and Naomi Klein about the relationships among climate disruption, racism, economic inequality and economic growth. It highlights stories from a diverse group of committed PYM Friends on how they have been inspired to respond to these crises and queries for worship-sharing about ways Friends can engage with integrity, resilience and spiritually grounded faith to them.

Councils, Collaboratives, and Sprints – How to Get Involved, Form a Group, and More- Community Engagement Team and Council Members.

This is a chance to meet some Friends who serve on PYM Councils, to learn how to form a collaborative or sprint, and other ways to engage with the wide community of PYM Friends.

Extended Worship

Extended worship is an option every day during work and witness workshop time.

First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative 101-Sandy o’Scheyichbi & Jim Murphy

Talking points to introduce the “New” First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative. Address Friends’ immemorial concerns, learn historic truths, understand sources of oppression, and discover faithful revelations.

Government Involvement in a Hostile Age- Legislative Policy Collaborative

Friends from the Legislative Policy Collaborative, FCNL Staff and Young Adults who attended FCNL’s Spring Lobby Weekend will offer an update on current efforts to engage our Congress on issues of peace, justice, community building and environmental stewardship. We will practice several ‘hot tips’ for more effective engagement while networking with other Friends from our home districts.

Moving Beyond Our Fear: Middle East Peace and Justice – Middle East Collaborative

Moderated conversation with two experts to be followed by worship sharing of Friends gathered. Mr. Jacob Bender, Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations and Dr. Sa’ed Atshan, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College [and a PYM Middle East Collaborative member] have both agreed to be featured in our conversation. In consideration of events, current issues related to the Middle East both here in the US and abroad, what do we experience? How do we react both within ourselves and toward others? What direct action is possible as we move beyond our feeling reactions?”

Quaker Witness and Work for Public Schools- PYM Public Education Concerns Collaborative 

Friends working for public schools provide direct service to struggling schools and also lobby government for more resources.  This session will present powerful data on inequitable school funding from P.O.W.ER. (People Organized to Witness, Empower and Resist),  church congregations in Philadelphia who have effectively lobbied for a Fair Funding Formula in Pennsylvania. The session will explore the connection between Friends belief in equality and community and the reality that in PA the richest school districts get $2000 more state funding per student than the poorest districts.  Most people do not know this. When Friends know, what can they do?

Spiritual Formation Collaborative: Joining Friends to Build Community and Nurture Spirit- Wade Wright and Jane Keller

Joining with others throughout the Yearly Meeting to facilitate the building of community that nurtures the Spirit more deeply and effectively working in our midst. We will introduce participants to the Spiritual Formation Collaborative, with explanations of the Spiritual Formation Program and what leads us to do the work. We will discuss the program’s components as well as the skills and spiritual maturity needed to be a facilitator. We will invite participants to share how this program has impacted their lives and their Meeting and to tell stories of the varieties of programs and ministries that have emerged as a result. We will thresh together how the Collaborative can support this movement in the future.

Using Faith & Practice: When? Where? How? – Andrew Thompson, Sallie Jones, tonya thames taylor, Suzanne Day with much participant participation.

Our book of Faith and Practice is a rich resource for personal and corporate inspiration, information, “how-to”s, context, quotations, and more. Familiarity builds confidence in our Quaker “ways” which knit faith with practice, which bond Friends as we worship, do business, live our lives. Take a look at our book here!

Ujima Friends Peace Center: A Black Quaker Witness in North Philadelphia- Members of Fellowship of Friends of African Descent

This will be an interactive workshop designed to share the work of the Ujima Friends Peace Center, a Black Quaker worship community in North Philadelphia doing intergenerational work to stand against state sanctioned violence and stand for peace and justice in the community.  Participants will be engaged in exercises from the Mpatopo:  Peace Works curriculum  – a cultural responsive adaptation of the alternative to violence program.  In addition, participants will learn about the activities happening at the center including the Ujima Freedom Schools summer project.  Finally, participants will be invited to worship/ dream with us about what it means to build a Quaker worship community in the heart of North Philadelphia, while strengthening the Black presence in the Quaker community.

Saturday Workshops

SATURDAY, July 29, 2017 3:30 PM -4:30 PM

Extended Worship

Extended worship is an option every day during work and witness workshop time.

How can Philadelphia Yearly Meeting impact the Black Community? Jondhi Harrell -TCRC

Jondhi Harrell, Director of The Center for Returning Citizens, we lead a workshop on ways Friends can engage to help the black community.

It Takes a Community- Mentoring Leadership- Joan Broadfield and George Schaefer

How do Friends see leadership? What is our response to ‘leading’? How do we mentor leadership and followership? What do we experience about anger and conflict in our Friends community? Friends have assumptions about the words we use, historic and contemporary. Words are understood in the context of our growing up at home, community, and meeting. Do we really understand each other? This workshop will offer space for conversation and exercises to help us see what assumptions we hold in common and what we see differently. Both are important as we all grow into who we would be… now and in the future.

Quaker Witness in & Around Trenton: Feeding the Hungry in Innovative & Effective Ways- Mercer St Friends

The presenters will be Kyle Williams, Food Bank Director of Mercer Street Friends (“MSF”) and Brian Peterson, MSF’s Community Resource Liaison. Mercer Street Friends was founded by Quaker Friends in 1958 to help those living in poverty in and around Trenton make the journey out of poverty. MSF runs the only Food Bank in Mercer County. Two new programs are providing innovative and effective ways to feed the hungry. The first program, in partnership with ShopRite and Princeton Theological Seminary, turns ShopRite produce that would otherwise be wasted into PTS compost into new food distributed by the MSF Food Bank to pantries serving food deserts in our community. The second is our Send Hunger Packing Program that sends food home with hungry schoolchildren on weekends and educates all school children about hunger and nutrition, enlisting the energy of youth to collect food and raise consciousness. This session will show how Quaker values of simplicity, sustainability, and social justice can be applied to defeat hunger.

Quakerism from Different Perspectives – Christian White

Are you a first-generation Quaker or a Quaker who was raised in a different denomination or none at all? Well, this is the workshop for you! I invited Quakers raised both in the Religious Society of Friends and other denominations to attend and feel encouraged to share your story. All are welcomed! In this workshop, we will share our stories on how we were led to Quakerism and how our walk with the divine is influenced by our upbringing.

Sourcing Identity: Judgment vs Discernment- Elliott Robertson and Rita Varley

Would you like a chance to explore the questions, “How has my self-portrait been keeping me from seeing God’s glory and power within me?” and “How can I source my self-image from the heart and/or Christ within?” This workshop creates a space for you to simply notice how judgments may be informing your identity. It also invites you to practice falling into your heart where you can detect, discover and discern your identity as God sees you. Finally, we will explore how activism from the inside out might be supported by releasing judgments and living in discernment if this way of being makes prejudices and misperceptions of others less likely and seeing God’s divinity in brothers and sisters more easy and natural.

Spiritual Formation with Quaker Voluntary Service- Ross Hennesy

Quaker Voluntary Service is re-thinking how to invite young adults into a holistic life that integrates spirituality and social justice activism. During this workshop, participants will be introduced to a “Rhythm of Life” framework for thinking about how to live lives of integrity. This is the framework that QVS is currently using in its spiritual formation programming with both young adult Quakers and seekers. This workshop is open to all ages.

The Gospel of Thomas- Irene Oleksiw and Alex Miller

Upon discovery, the Gospel of Thomas was deemed to pose “grave danger”to the church establishment. The Gospel consists of simple verses, many of which match the language in the Bible, word-for-word. What can be so dangerous about that? Even folk with no interest in the Bible will find a measure of intrigue in the harsh reaction.The Gospel may challenger its readers, but it opens new spiritual vistas and better grasp of the Bible. It surfaces unexpected Quaker motifs as continuing revelation, the Inner Light, and unity of the Spirit. It also affirms the belief that all of world’s answers reside in God’s creation—and that is awesome. The workshop provides an overview of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke—and brings to the participants the kernels of wisdom gleaned by Downingtown Friends Friendly Bible Study group over six plus years of continuous seeking in the Light.

post-modern quakerism

Using experience as the basis of our learning together and with a focus on Friends decision making process, we will question what is essential about “Quakerism.” We will explore what we know about our experience of spirituality within the Quaker Way and the ways in which this connects (and does not connect) to the processes that guide us during business meeting. The workshop will include various exercises, large- and small-group reflection, and concrete application. Richie Schulz and Zachary Dutton.