The Quaker Life Council (QLC) continues to meet twice a month (with the exception of December, during which we met once), in order to address the needs rising from the Body. While our work has kept us busy and deeply involved, it has been joyful and guided by the Spirit moving through us, and how we have experienced Spirit moving through the Body. Together, we discerned that racial justice and equality work is integral to the health and vitality of our Yearly Meeting, and it is a priority that has been threshed and named by the body, rising from Annual Sessions in 2014 that lead us to a Called Session in 2015, and it continues to guide our work today. As a result, we’ve elevated this body-raised priority to a level of special focus, and we will continue to work with the Friends led to Undoing Racism and racial justice work to implement this work as an essential component of how we conduct our Spirit-led work together as a Yearly Meeting.
We have also created two ad-hoc groups to address our upcoming Continuing Sessions and Annual Sessions, with thoughtful discernment about how both will continue to be planned in the future. We have asked Friends outside of our Council who have a special interest or passion about planning our Sessions together, and we’re grateful for their help.
In December, the QLC took on the task of naming PYM’s representatives to the Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC), with help from a representative on the Council and advice from outside of the Council. After this task, we realized that there would be many more issues that need our addressing that may pop up unexpectedly. To address this issue, we created a Mapping Sprint to name the tasks for which we are responsible, and to create a structure by which we address our tasks.
Currently, our time and energy are primarily focused on discerning applications for new work in our new structure. This process has been time-consuming due to the depth of the thoughtfulness and Spirit-led discernment in which we are engaged. We deeply appreciate the patience of Friends who have submitted applications, all of which have been a pleasure and a joy to read. With the help of Friends outside of the Council, a letter of notification and process by which applicants will be informed are in process.
Stewardship and accountability, along with applicant budget discernment processes will be our next steps together. In response to an application from Undoing Racism to request additional scholarship funds that would allow Friends throughout the geography of PYM to attend the White Privilege Conference, we have released an additional $5,200 for that purpose.
This release of these funds was possible in part due to the Administrative Council responding to the General Secretary’s request for additional funding for PYM programmatic funding, under the care of the General Secretary and the QLC. The QLC is grateful beyond words for the Administrative Council’s thoughtful discernment of this request.
Lane Taylor, Clerk of the Quaker Life Council