This is the 343rd Annual Sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting! We’re sharing the Mott Memo daily recaps here on the website, a loving tribute to the august Quaker, Lucretia Mott. Each Mott Memo is a brief look-back on the day’s events. We hope you enjoy taking part in Annual Sessions through this tradition. Shared below is the news from Thursday, July 27.
It was a very full day at Annual Sessions! Early morning worship grounded a day of connection, sharing, and laughter.
Thursday’s Bible Study continued a theme from the Spiritual Formation Retreat’s exploration of the Good Samaritan, and explored the Parable of the Sower. Participants had the choice to work with the parable in a discussion group or in a breakout room where the Godly Play version of the story was shared, and they reunited for final reflections. The conversation included themes of generous/wasteful spreading of seed and pondering the identity of the sower, the seed, and the places where the seed fell. When have we each been the sower, the seed, the rocky or thorny ground — and the good earth ready to receive and grow? A resource lifted up in the time was The Gospels: A New Translation by Quaker scholar Sarah Ruden.
The Spiritual Formation Collaborative shared their second spiritual grounding program for these Annual Sessions, moving the question about being a neighbor out into the world. Participants explored intentions for reaching out in relationships they want to nurture and considered questions related to our Yearly Meeting community — pondering our individual and corporate responsibility: How do you see Philadelphia Yearly Meeting functioning as a blessed community? In what ways? What could we do to move Annual Sessions toward a more blessed community? Many thanks to the Spiritual Formation Collaborative for their excellent planning and facilitation in the last two days!
Midday spaces for connection included lunchtime fellowship, worship sharing, and an Affinity Group gathering for Friends of African Descent, facilitated by rising clerk Nikki Mosgrove (Trenton Meeting). The first meeting for worship with attention to business followed, with Thursday’s agenda focused on “Interconnection.” A report from Nominating Council, stories from Friends’ intervisition travels around the Yearly Meeting, and the 2024 budget discussion (approved!) all centered in some way the joy that comes from collaborative service. Deep gratitude was expressed to Andrew Anderson (Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia) who is completing his service as PYM Treasurer at these Sessions. Read what’s on the agendas for meeting for worship with attention to business in coming days.
And this evening, we played Quaker Jeopardy! Wow, that was fun. Our amazing Youth Programs staff led us in a carefully planned online version with Friends put into teams and categories that included Worship, Lingo, Quaker Trivia, and Famous Quakers. Humor, playfulness, and excellent teamwork were highlights of this event — It seems a given that we’ll be doing this again!
Have you checked out the “Mott Minutes” (think: “hot minute”) the 60-second(ish) messages shared on PYM social media at the end of each day to reflect back and look forward? Catch Alix Vallery, Middle School Friends Co-Facilitator from the Youth Programs team, in the Thursday edition on Facebook and Instagram!
Tomorrow, staff and clerks already on campus welcome Friends registered as commuters and overnight guests to The College of New Jersey. We’re ready! And though Annual Sessions is underway, you can still register to attend online. Please check out the schedule for the week and join the shared worship, fellowship, and witness!