Why do young adults come to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions? It’s 5 days in the middle of the summer (this year: Wednesday July 29 – Sunday August 2) on a college campus in Allentown – not the usual vacation destination. But there’s something really precious and powerful about coming together as our whole Yearly Meeting family.
I asked some young adults – some long time Sessions-attenders, and some brand new – for one sentence on why they come to Sessions. Here’s what they said:
I come to Annual Sessions because I love to experience the diverse ways that God is moving through the hearts and minds of my spiritual community! – Pamela, West Philadelphia Friends Meeting
I come to sessions because I want to engage with other Quakers from the Philadelphia area, and because I want to be involved in the present and future of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. – Carl, Chester Monthly Meeting
My favorite part of annual sessions is (re)connecting with F/friends. I love feeling like part of such a special community! – Becca, Abington Monthly Meeting
I love the emphasis on the intergenerational community that PYM emphasizes every time we meet at Annual Sessions! The Youth programs are included and important at Sessions. For me, morning worship sharing and vespers were the highlights of my last Annual Sessions. Middle School Friends provide the safe and fun atmospheres in Vespers. Vespers is an appropriate way to settle your spirit after Meeting for Worship with an Attention to Business, and the Young Friends’ contribution to the morning intergenerational worship sharing is phenomenal! As one of few Young Adult Friends in my Meeting, Annual Sessions is a time and place to meet others your age that creates the safe space for spiritual growth relevant in Young Adult Friends’ lives. – Joel, Newtown Monthly Meeting
I come to Annual Sessions to connect and engage with the wider PYM community. – James, Chester Monthly Meeting
What I love about Sessions, from my experiences over the years:
Young adult friends often live transient lives as they move through college, starting careers, and figuring out life in general; an overwhelming feat. This often happens without the comfort, guidance and comradery of other YAFs in their daily lives to connect with. Attending Sessions is a special yearly opportunity to do just that; connect, celebrate, grow, play, cry, wander, ask questions and above all, feel part of a community that accepts and cares for you *exactly* where you are at. Quaker or not, spiritual or not, lost or clear, you are welcome. It’s a tremendous loving gift. And there’s usually ice cream too. 😉 – Jennifer, Camden (DE) Monthly Meeting
Join us at Sessions this year! Registration is open, the deadline for housing is June 30th (there’s a YAF dorm!), and there’s financial aid available. See you there!
– Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt, Young Adult Friends Coordinator
P.S. If you’re still not convinced, I have way more reasons why YOU should come (send me an email to find out!) Or in the meantime, learn more about this year’s program, and check out the photos and epistles from last year’s Annual Sessions.