PYM runs on the work of many dedicated volunteers. Here, friends say in their own words why they volunteer. Click on a name to read a friend’s story.To add your story, please contact the Community Engagement Coordinator.
Becca Bubb- PYM Alternate Clerk, Young Adult Friends Working Group, Youth Programs
Becca Bubb has been a lifetime member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, but first became actively involved when she was in middle school and began attending the youth programs. She continued through the PYM youth programs, and returned after graduating college to serve as the Young Friends Program Assistant for 3 years, as well as be active in the YAF programming. For most of her life, she has felt that the PYM youth programs are at the heart of Quakerism, and have helped her discover who she is as a Quaker (over and over again). Most recently, she has served the PYM YAF community as a member of the working group, as well as the clerk of the Pastoral Care Committee. She values the sense of community and groundedness that the youth programs have always provided her. In her new role as Alternate Clerk for the Yearly Meeting, she hopes to help provide some connectedness throughout the ages in PYM, as well as continue to serve the community who has been integral in helping her become the person she is today.
Paul Sheldon-Lansdowne Friends Meeting, Fund for Sufferings Granting Group
Paul serves as a member of the Fund for Sufferings Granting Group, which provides financial relief to Friends who are suffering because of action they took in obedience to conscience. The group stands ready to respond with spirit-led discernment to requests on an as-needed, often urgent basis. In recent years, disbursed funds have supported a lawyer whose income was drastically affected due to his following a leading to take on pro-bono work, helped pay fines incurred due to war tax resistance, helped with unexpected personal expenses of Heeding God’s Call, and contributed toward an individual’s legal fees for establishing conscientious objection.
Paul says of this work: For me, the importance and significance of the Fund for Sufferings is its connection with the historic mission both of Quakers being willing to suffer for the sake of conscience and also of Quakers being willing to support those who have suffered for the sake of conscience. The Fund not only provides support for individual Quakers, but enables other Quakers (and the Yearly Meeting as a whole) to share in leadings of individual Friends, perhaps when those giving support are unable to participate more directly.
Although I have never personally applied for support from the Fund for Sufferings, I feel uplifted knowing that friends would likely be willing to share my witness should there ever be a financial need.
In this manner, the Fund for Sufferings continues to fulfill its historic mission as it has since its founding in 1756 as the Meeting for Sufferings, the first standing committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and the ancestor of our current Interim Meeting. Paul and his wife Fran are war tax resisters and activists with a number of organizations including Brandywine Peace Community and various environmental groups. In fall of 2011 they walked to the White House in support of GMO labeling. Paul is a member of Lansdowne Friends Meeting and hosts a website http://www.peacefulways.com/.
Carter Nash- Harrisburg Monthly Meeting, Support and Outreach Standing Committee, Legacy Granting Group, PA Council of Churches
Carter Nash is a member of the PYM Support and Outreach Standing Committee, and has served a member of the Legacy Granting Group and as a PYM representative on the Pennsylvania Council of Churches. In his own words, here is Carter’s story of his path to Quakerism, Harrisburg Monthly Meeting and to serving in various roles with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting:
I was a “Navy brat”, having grown up with a father who served 20 years in the US Navy, While christened into the African American Episcopal Church, one of the results of dad having been in the Navy was that no attachment was ever made to a particular denomination. Neither parent having been religious (I would call my mother spiritual) we were able to be seekers. One thing that I recall about my mother and her direction on my spiritual journey was her telling me that she didn’t care what I believed in, but that I needed to believe in something, even if it was the leaf on the tree in the back yard.
Like many military men, my father came to dislike war to the point that as I approached draft age he told me one day that should they try to draft me, he’d take me to Canada (this was toward the end of the US engagement in Vietnam.) I spent much of the next 20 years drifting and seeking in more than one way.
In 1992, while staying at a mission just up the street from Harrisburg Monthly Meeting, I made my first visit to a Quaker Meeting. I felt welcomed during that visit and I continued to attend, joining the meeting on December 15th, 1993. While things haven’t always been peaceful in our meeting it has been both my home and my family. It was through being our meetings alternate to Interim Meeting that I became involved in serving PYM on the Support and Outreach Standing Committee, representing PYM on the Pennsylvania Council of Churches as well as serving on the Legacy Granting Group.
I have long believed that we are all put here to be God’s hands. Let us learn to allow God to guide us in listening and seeing in such a way that we know when others are in need and we help them as we are able.
Jane Keller- Pennsdale Meeting, PYM Recording Clerk, Spiritual Formation Program
As a member of Pennsdale Meeting, I joined the Quarter Oversight (now Organizing) Committee about 20 years ago at the time when we were seeking PYM funding for a Quarter Coordinator and then searching for someone to fill the position. At the time, I was quite content to function within the confines of my Monthly Meeting. But a subsequent coordinator, Wade Wright, encouraged me to step beyond my Monthly Meeting, get on the road, and attend Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions.
The next year, I accepted a nomination to work as a Recording Clerk, a role I served in for 6 years. That role enabled me to see first-hand how our Yearly Meeting functions and to meet a wide variety of Friends, many of whom I grew to deeply admire and respect. I learned so much by knowing, working and just being among them. So my “blessed community” expanded exponentially.
Now my energies are focused on the Spiritual Formation Program. It has been an enormous privilege to work with the devoted and faithful Friends who both facilitate and participate in this program! Time and again, I have witnessed the Spirit at work among them, as their spiritual lives are enriched and deepened through their journey. My Yearly Meeting work has also served as a springboard to volunteer work with the FGC Sessions Planning Committee, a new venture which I am gratified to begin.
Richard George- Frankford Monthly Meeting, Friendly Adult Presence with Middle School Friends
Richard George gives the gift of time to our yearly meeting as a Friendly Adult Presence at Middle School Friends gatherings. He has served as a member of the Middle School Friends Working Group and was a 2011 participant in PYM’s Emerging Leadership Scholarship Program. In a reflection after a Middle School Friends Gathering, Richard wrote “My favorite part, and the most touching part of the whole gathering was a brief second…Matt Sanderson asked the question, ‘What can you tell Quakers who don’t come to Middle School Friends Gatherings?’ The response was one that made me as proud as ever to be a working part of such an important community. ‘Seriously?’ one Middle School Friend replied in disbelief that there were actually Middle School aged kids that don’t come to gatherings. ‘You haven’t lived until you come to a MSF Gathering.’ We all should be proud of where these kids are taking this program. Because without their effort and energy, I, or any of the other great people who work it, wouldn’t be able to have such a blast and get spiritually uplifted when I need it as well.” Richard is a member of Frankford Monthly Meeting.
Liana Hershey- Mount Holly Monthly Meeting, Children's Program Volunteer
Liana Hershey has been volunteering with the PYM children’s programs since she was in 6th grade. For the past 6 years Liana has played with and cared for our youngest members during March Sessions, Summer Sessions, and at the monthly Junior Interim Meeting. She has always loved working with younger children. Liana recalls “When I was in 6th grade my family was going to March Sessions and my mother thought that I should be a part of the Middle School Friends program, but I wanted to help out at the Children’s Program. My mother and the program leader agreed and I have been volunteering with the Children’s Program ever since.” Liana and her mother Ventina are members of Mount Holly Monthly Meeting.
Jada Jackson, Trenton Monthly Meeting and Burlington Meetinghouse Worship Group, Clerk of the Yearly Meeting
Jada Jackson is a PYM volunteer who helps to guide the processes and leadership of our yearly meeting. She is the Clerk of yearly meeting, and serves on the Advisory Committee, Development Services Working Group, General Secretary Oversight and Evaluation Committee and is an ex officio member of the Sessions Planning Group. Jada recalls “six years ago, when I was asked to be an alternate clerk of interim meeting, it was a faithfulness of trust for me to say yes to that invitation. I was not aware of the people or customs of interim meeting, but I trusted the Friends who were asking for my service. We all hold a responsibility to look within ourselves for our gifts and to look in each other and support them amongst us.” Jada is a member of Trenton Monthly Meeting and the Burlington Meetinghouse Worship Group.
Gregory Barnes- Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, Arch Street Interpretation Working Group, Peace and Concerns Standing Committee
Gregory Barnes gives his time to the work of our yearly meeting in many ways. He serves as the Recording Clerk for the Library Services Working Group, the National Historic Landmark Working Group and the Interpretation Outreach Working Group, and is a member of the Peace and Concerns Standing Committee. For the past six years, Greg has been an interpreter at the Arch Street Quaker Meeting House, which inspired his current project to write a biography of the meeting house. As a volunteer at the PYM Library, Greg wraps the books in an effort to protect and preserves the collection. Greg loves to be surrounded by books and says “carrying on a ministry of books is to me very important.” Greg and his wife Yoko are members of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting.
Melinda Wenner Bradley- West Chester Monthly Meeting, Committee on Friends Education and Faith and Play Working Group
Melinda Werner Bradley is a PYM volunteer who nurtures the spiritual lives of our children. Melinda is a member of the Committee on Friends Education and serves as Clerk for both the Children’s Spiritual Life Committee and the Faith and Play Working Group. For the past four years, she has been one of the volunteer leaders at the children’s program during yearly meeting annual sessions. “The work I do with our yearly meeting is fulfilling because it connects me to the larger community of PYM. Over the years I have met a lot of extraordinary people and learned a tremendous amount about Quaker process and leadership,” Melinda explained, “above all, it is really spirit lead work.” Melinda, her husband Matthew, and their children James, Ellie and William are members of West Chester Monthly Meeting.