Minutes & Epistles from the YAF Community

Minutes from the Young Adult Friends community

Here are selected minutes from the YAF community. Some are from the minutes of Young Adult Friends meetings for business when we gather in community at weekend retreats and Annual Sessions, and some are from when there was a YAF Working Group.

April 9, 2017: At our Spring Retreat, the Young Adult Friends community approved a Minute of Concern on PYM Staff Cuts. (read the full minute of concern)

Introduction
We, the Young Adult Friends (YAF) of PYM, minute our grave concern that the recently-announced changes to Yearly Meeting staff are out of alignment with our Quaker values and witness in the world, and with PYM’s own vision.  We honor the faithful service of our staff leadership, and hope that this decision came from a place of desire to improve the Yearly Meeting. However, as a ministry of inclusion in the Yearly Meeting, we feel called to ask the General Secretary to consider and redress the ways in which the changes do not honor the full experience and differing needs of some of its members.

We stand with Green Street Meeting and other Friends in calling the Yearly Meeting to examine whether unconscious racial bias influenced the decision to cut or demote the jobs of staff who were challenging the organization to live up to its commitment to become anti-racist.  We take seriously the testimony of Marille Thomas regarding the racism she experienced and continues to experience at PYM.

We stand with Youth Programs in calling the Yearly Meeting to pause the restructuring of their staffing pending further input and threshing.  

We are also concerned for the YAF community in particular, as the changes to the YAF Coordinator position deeply affect our ability to sustain ourselves as a program, and ask that the YAF Coordinator position be reinstated beyond the currently-promised two years.

We ask that PYM does not sideline the voices of Young Adult Friends, young Friends, and Friends of color. We believe that PYM’s Spirit-led witness and ministry in the world is more important than administrative concerns, and should be funded accordingly. We believe that religious education ministries for all ages at the Yearly Meeting level are vital and essential to who we are as a spiritual community. We know that racism is real and harms us every day, both Friends of Color and white Friends, albeit differently.  We know that we need to work actively against racism in ourselves and in our organizations to be able to heal ourselves, our community, and our society.  We are PYM, and we ask that you hear our voice.
(read the full minute of concern)

April 9, 2017: Minute of Appreciation for outgoing YAF Clerk, Allison Letts, and outgoing YAF Coordinator, Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt

July 2015: Expectations for Young Adult Friends Events

This is our vision for YAF events: The YAF community of PYM holds events to build loving community, deepen our spirituality, support one another, and live out our faith in the world. We come together with a wide range of identities and experiences, and seek to be respectful and welcoming to all. Our event guidelines support our intention to provide a fruitful, safe, and loving space for all of our members.

These are our guidelines:

We expect that all participants will accept collective responsibility for the community’s wellbeing.

We recognize that people have a wide range of boundaries. In caring for the community, it is important to get enthusiastic consent when engaging in physical contact or conversations. We know that someone is giving enthusiastic consent when they agree to the interaction both verbally and with their body language.

We are prepared for problems that may come up at this event, such as conflict, injury, and spiritual or mental distress. The YAF Working Group, as a part of PYM, has procedures in place for how to handle problems and conflicts that may arise. As a last resort, these procedures may include asking individuals to leave the event. Many of our procedures are available at [location]. If you have any questions about how to handle a particular situation, please speak with the YAF Coordinator or the YAF clerking team.

Affirmed July 31, 2015 by the YAF Community at PYM Annual Sessions

July 2014: Minute of Appreciation for Zachary Teague Dutton for his service as co-clerk of the Young Adult Friends Working Group

May 2014: Policy on alcohol use at YAF social events

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.

Approved May 17, 2014 at the PYM Young Adult Friends Spring Retreat

– Background on the discernment of the Alcohol Policy
PDF of the policy

July 2013: Young Adult Friends Working Group Report to PYM Annual Sessions

January 2013: Minute of Appreciation for Colin Bussiere-Nichols for his service as clerk of the Young Adult Friends Working Group

May 2011: Young Adult Friends retreat expectations

The YAF working group of 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 retreats is that all participants accept collective responsibility for the upholding of this loving space.  In extreme cases, so far as the presence of any individual impedes upon the physical or emotional safety of any other member of our community, we will ask the individual(s) to either cooperatively participate in a conflict mediation process, meeting separately or together with involved individuals and member(s) of the pastoral care committee, or request that person or persons to leave the retreat facility as promptly as possible.

Approved in May of 2011 by the PYM YAF Working Group