Over the past year, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Young Adult Friends (YAF) community has been in discernment for the creation of a policy on alcohol use to guide us at future social events. The Working Group has heard a growing desire from Young Adult Friends for there to be more informal social events for the YAF community. Friends met one another at our quarterly retreats or Annual Sessions, and longed for more frequent opportunities to be in fellowship with one another. The YAF Working Group recognized that these events could take many different forms, but some of the most frequently requested events from the YAF community included happy hours and other situations that could involve alcohol consumption.
The YAF Working Group brought these ideas to our meeting for business on June 10, 2013. There had been occasions where the YAF community had informally convened in a bar, such as for discussion & fellowship following the William Penn Lecture. The concept of a happy hour for young adults organized by their spiritual community is one that is growing in other religious bodies. For the sake of integrity, inclusiveness, moderation, and safety, the YAF Working Group decided that an alcohol policy would be needed to guide us as we worked to support such social events.
Versions of the policy were brought to the YAF community over the past twelve months at working group meetings and retreats, incorporating feedback and discernment along the way. After several iterations, the policy was approved at the YAF Spring Retreat on May 17, 2014.
The YAF community is clear that the purpose of social events is to provide more opportunities for YAFs be with our spiritual community of peers, not to consume alcohol. It’s been clear from the beginning that it’s important that YAF social events be inclusive of those who cannot or do not drink, and that we continue to have alcohol-free events (our weekend retreats have been, and will remain, alcohol-free.) Other suggested events have been potlucks, movie nights, picnics, spiritual support groups, and visiting meetings together. Many of these events the YAF program has hosted over the past year, or will sponsor in the near future. In adding more frequent, shorter events to the YAF program, our hope is not just to strengthen the existing community of PYM YAFs, but to provide more entry points for young adults to meet one another and get involved in the life of our Quaker community.
– Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt, Young Adult Friends Coordinator
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Young Adult Friends Working Group
Policy on alcohol use at YAF social events
Approved May 17, 2014 at the PYM Young Adult Friends Spring Retreat at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting
The Young Adult Friends (YAF) Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) is committed to upholding the needs of all the members of our community to the best of our ability, and it is our intention to provide a fruitful, safe and loving space for all of our members to grow spiritually together and as individuals. Accordingly, the basic guideline for our events is that all participants accept collective responsibility for the upholding of this loving space. To supplement this guideline, the PYM YAF Working Group establishes the following policy for alcohol consumption at certain social events like a happy hour or quizzo/game night officially associated with the Working Group. In promoting such events, the advertisement(s) will state whether alcohol consumption will, may, or will not occur. The policy is proactive, and we do not draft it in response to any alcohol-related incident. PYM YAF weekend retreats have been, and will remain, alcohol-free.
The policy follows accordingly:
The Young Adults Friends Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting accepts that alcohol consumption may occur at select social events (such as a happy hour or quiz night.) Any such social event will be open and welcoming to all YAFs throughout our age range (18-35ish), regardless of whether or not YAFs are able or choose to consume alcohol. All attendees are expected to follow the law; those under 21 will not consume alcohol at YAF events. The YAF community will work together to hold each other accountable and maintain a safe, responsible, and respectful social environment. As we continue to deepen our fellowship with one another, we can use this policy to grow a Young Adult Friends community that is inclusive, safe, and intentional.
View the alcohol policy as a PDF
Read the full history of the discernment of the alcohol policy