Laying Down Working Groups and Standing Committees

Implementation Committee

The letter below was sent from Jonathan Snipes, Clerk of Implementation and Jada Jackson, Presiding Clerk to PYM standing committee and working group clerks.  It was sent to standing committee clerks on Wednesday, April 15th following a conference call the previous evening with the clerks, Jonathan, Jada, Penny Colgan Davis, Rising Clerk and General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer.  The letter was then sent to the clerks of working groups on Thursday, April 16th.  

Fourth Month 15, 2015

To the Clerks of Standing Committees and Working Groups,

“Re-kindling Our Fire” is the 5-year plan approved by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting at its 2014 Annual Sessions. As the group of Friends tasked to bring this plan to life, the Implementation Committee has held a vision of this fire and its re-kindling central in our work. We feel the passion and faith that Friends of PYM possess, and we are seeking to implement new structures that will support it in deeper and stronger ways.

We are at the point now in the re-structuring process where we begin to lay down the present structures of the Yearly Meeting, including standing committees and working groups. By the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015, we expect this transition to be complete. Before that date, the Quaker Life Council and Administrative Council will have been appointed at Annual Sessions and begun their work. In the budget for the coming fiscal year, funds formerly allocated to working groups are budgeted to the Councils. The Councils’ discernment of how they carry out the priorities of PYM, as defined in the strategic directions in the 5-year plan, will determine how those funds are spent.

Granting groups will not be laid down, and will be overseen by an interim Grants Committee over the summer. This committee is appointed by the Implementation Committee and approved by the Nominating Committee. We anticipate changes to the ways that granting groups relate to each other and to PYM, and the Implementation Committee is communicating separately with them. In the event that a working group has a granting function, the granting aspect will continue under the Grants Committee.

PYM representatives named to other bodies will continue in their capacity.

Responsibility for management of the Arch Street Meetinghouse is being transferred from the Arch Street Standing Committee to the Arch Street Meetinghouse Preservation Trust. This process has begun and will be complete before the end of the fiscal year. We are grateful for the dedication to a smooth transition evidenced by the Arch St. Standing Committee and all involved.

As committees and working groups plan for being laid down to make space for the transition to the new structure, any materials from their work that should be preserved can be sent to the PYM office. It will be crucial for each committee and working group to prepare a one to two page document describing the most important and impactful aspects of their work. This will inform the Councils as they discern how the work of the yearly meeting will proceed. This document will most helpfully include descriptions of any outstanding issues or commitments that may not be closed by September 30, as well as lifting up work that needs to be celebrated. The reports may be emailed to the General Secretary’s office at mthomas@pym.org.

The Implementation Committee has faith that the witness of PYM Friends will continue. Our hope and vision is that our new structure will foster deep discernment of the Spirit’s movement among us. We anticipate broader connections between Friends, allowing for spiritual community and action. We feel the weight of this transition period, and know that it will be challenging. We need to deal tenderly with each other as we engage this work. The Implementation Committee is truly grateful for the work of so many Friends in so many ministries in the Yearly Meeting and the important and powerful work that has been done over the years.

We appreciate your sharing this letter with the members of your standing committee or working group. There are several ways that Friends can be in touch with us with questions and concerns. First, there are two conference calls scheduled that working group and committee members are invited to participate in (see details are below). Second, anyone can provide feedback to the Implementation Committee via an online form. Third, you are also welcome to contact us directly, our cell phone numbers and email addresses are below.

Yours in the Spirit,
Jonathan Snipes
Clerk, Implementation Committee
Jonathansnipes@Hotmail.com
215-880-1231 (cell)

Jada Jackson
Presiding Clerk
clerk@pym.org
609-668-5158
Conference Call Dates and Instructions:

• Friday, April 17 at 2:30 PM (access code: 28321064)
• Monday, April 20 at 7:00 PM (access code: 48769554)

Dial into the call using one of the numbers below and enter the access code when prompted
215-241-7110
or toll free:
1-866-700-6254
1-866-845-6255
1-866-318-6941