With excitement and hope, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is entering a time of transition. We are reminded by Friend Ruth Chandler, writing in 1764, that “…the Gospel Plow is not designed for Destruction when it is turned into the Field by the good Husbandman, who is concerned to plow up the fallow Ground before he sows the good Seed.” Throughout our history as Friends we have not been afraid of change, but have accepted Continuing Revelation. Our grounding in Truth provides the Root from which the fruits of our faith spring. Our present process of transition offers us an opportunity to seek the Root again, to discern the work of our Yearly Meeting and how to carry it out. The Implementation Committee is working deliberately and swiftly so that PYM’s process of laying down present structures and raising up new ones is one that Friends understand and can embrace.
In the past month we have engaged in quite a bit of forward movement. We communicated with standing committee clerks and working group clerks to let them know that as of September 30, 2015, those structures will be laid down. Our process included both written communication to clerks and conference calls with clerks and members of groups. We first spoke with all standing committee clerks on a conference call. We read the letter to them and responded to questions for approximately an hour. Following that we emailed the letter to them with the invitation to share it with their committee members. The next day the same communication was emailed to the clerks of all working groups. The Implementation Committee held two conference calls for any committee or working group members to call into. There were 15 people from 14 groups who participated in the calls. The questions that were asked have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions document.
Granting Groups will continue under the supervision of a new Grants Committee which is in the process of being formed on an interim basis. The permanent Grants Committee will be appointed by the Administrative Council as the Long Range Plan indicates.
Among the Implementation Committee’s most important work at this time is the defining of the new structures, outlined in the five-year plan approved in 2014, which PYM Friends will use to work together on issues of common concern and to manage the business of our Yearly Meeting. Specifically we are defining the scope of the authority and responsibility of each structure as well as how they will be held accountable and the resources that may be available to each structure.
Implementation Committee will continue to post regular updates on the PYM website, and we look forward to reporting during Annual Sessions in July 2015. Friends are always welcome to continue to use the online form or to contact clerk, Jonathan Snipes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The members of the Implementation Committee are:
Emily Blanck, Mickleton Monthly Meeting
Penny Colgan-Davis, Germantown Monthly Meeting*
Christie Duncan-Tessmer, Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting*
Jada S. Jackson, Trenton Monthly Meeting*
Gabbreell James, Green Street Monthly Meeting
Richard Morse, Harrisburg Monthly Meeting
Eric Peterson, Richland Monthly Meeting
Maia Simon, Trenton Monthly Meeting
Jonathan Snipes, Fallsington Monthly Meeting
tonya thames taylor, Fallowfield Monthly Meeting
Andrew Thompson, Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia