And that wraps up the 342nd Annual Sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting!
We began the week with an online “roll call” in the form of a word cloud, gathering us into community from across the four states in our PYM region. On Sunday, we joined from across geography, generations, and Zoom links in our first All Together Worship online — more than 300 people attending, from their homes and 19 meetinghouses. The worship was held in the prayerful care of elders, and was an opportunity to glimpse teens and children we’ve been missing this week in their homes and meetinghouses.
We have held three online Annual Sessions, and the ability to come together using Zoom has perhaps forever changed our understanding of how we can gather. We yearn to be together in person and we also know that we can create “all together” in this way. We heard a reminder today of our Saturday evening keynote speakers’ encouragement to find ways to be fully accessible — hybrid Annual Sessions 2023, here we come!
Our business on this final day was to hear reports from other Quaker organizations, which were shared by representatives of Friends General Conference, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quaker Earthcare Witness, and Friends Committee on National Legislation. These reports can be found on the advance documents page. The second reading of the outgoing epistle created space for reflecting on Spirit moving in our time together and how the words we use are important; we were reminded by our co-clerks that our discernment is corporately held and our unity is grounded in faithfulness. Epistles will be published on the website along with the minutes of these Sessions.
More than 400 people registered for Annual Sessions this year, and there were 331 unique logins to Zoom events during the week. This number doesn’t include the many folks who attended Workshop Saturday on June 25, the attenders and visitors to Quaker Fun Day on July 22, and participants in Affinity Groups in July 23. Over these weeks and days, we have been reaching out to each other in old and new ways; the poem read at the beginning of waiting worship on Sunday spoke to our yearning, reaching, and connecting.
Art by Kandy Lippincott (Moorestown Meeting)
to the fabric of worth.
in purpose, with earth.
Feel the essence of breath,
coalesce with the living air.
To grow, build, bridge—
this inner island, somewhere.
Thither, across the stormy waters,
at last, touch that distant release.
Bridge—the heart, bind, embrace
with the life of love’s peace.
Watch the PYM calendar and your Quarterly and local meeting newsletters for information about Fall Continuing Sessions, the weekend of November 4-6, 2022. See you there!