The Fellowship Committee of Birmingham Meeting plans an evening, intergenerational event of fun and good food once each winter to brighten the season of long nights. [Read more…] about Light Up the Night: Tacos and Lanterns at Birmingham Meeting
Communications & Outreach
Three times each year, Friends in local and quarterly meeting leadership (clerks, assistant clerks, treasurers, committee clerks) gather online with the presiding clerk and General Secretary. The gatherings include timely announcements and shared conversation, and are one way that we connect across meetings in the yearly meeting. The January 2024 gatherings included several announcements to share back to meetings, and small group discussions around topics of interest. [Read more…] about Monthly and Quarterly Meeting Leadership Gatherings
Warm greetings from the Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council. We trust this communication finds you well, grounded in Spirit and in your community of faith. All meetings are invited to submit their Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports for 2023 no later than April 15, 2024. We look forward to learning about your meeting and having the opportunity to share that learning more widely. Reports will be carefully read by members of M&C to guide our work in the next year and inform the Spiritual State of the Meeting Report for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. To learn more about how these reports are used and how they are typically composed, see these advices. If you have further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. [Read more…] about Spiritual State of the Meeting Report Invitation
A message from Plymouth Meeting
During Eleventh Month Business Meeting, our Monthly Meeting united in sending in a letter conveying our love and concern for Ramallah Friends Meeting, Friends School and all people of Palestine during this time of violence against the people of Palestine and Israel that has escalated to war in Gaza and continual random violence in the rest of Palestine and Israel. The letters and reply can be found on our website. [Read more…] about Ramallah Friends School Christmas Song
In this issue of the The Tote Bag: PYM Religious Education and Family Resources newsletter we’re preparing for winter and seasonal holidays and focusing on our testimony of peace.
[Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Winter
Originally minuted on November 15, 2023
Wally Evans has served as a tour guide at Arch Street Meeting House for many years, coming on a weekly basis to share his knowledge about the building, Quakers and history with visitors. This outreach is at the heart of the mission of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust. Tourists who meet Wally likely realize that they encountered an expert tour guide. What they don’t know is that they just met the person who worked the hardest over the past decade to welcome them to the property, given to Quakers by William Penn, which tells the story of Quakerism to visitors from around the world.
Wally Evans is a founding member of the Board of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust, which held its first meeting on June 18, 2013. Because initial terms were staggered, ASMHPT has been able to benefit from Wally’s leadership on the Board for ten years. According to the by-laws, it is now time for him to rotate off the Board.
The Trust is successful today in large part to Wally’s thoughtful planning and implementation. At the Trust’s second meeting on July 16, 2013, Wally was appointed Clerk of the Board, a position he held until two years ago. He guided the Trust through the initial Strategic Plan, the Resource Development Plan, the Interpretive Plan, the Marketing and Communications Plan, and the Master Space Plan. For this work, he engaged with the SNAVE Foundation which provided substantial financial support. The installation of outdoor exhibits in 2021 was a high priority for Wally. New signage welcomes people onto the property and into the meetinghouse when it is open for visitors. Wally championed the idea that even when the building is closed, people who stroll the grounds can learn something about Quakers from the well-designed exterior exhibits.
For the past two years, Wally has served as Treasurer and a member of the Executive and Resource Development Committees. As Treasurer, Wally was instrumental in improving the budgeting and reporting process.
Wally guided the Trust in planning for a capital campaign that will preserve the National Historic Landmark building, including a modern electric HVAC system and a fire suppression system. Design for new interior exhibits is underway to further improve the visitor experience. Wally helped to select the campaign consultants, Partners for Sacred Places, who work with religious properties nationwide to help preserve buildings and strengthen service to their communities. Wally now co-clerks the Steering Committee for the capital campaign, a position he will continue after he concludes his board service.
The Board of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust minutes its deep appreciation to Wally Evans for his sustained support for the mission of the Trust.
Today 11/12/2023 Harrisburg Monthly Meeting approved the following minute on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Nov 12, 2023
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) testimony on peace, justice, and nonviolence is based in our experience of the divine in all of creation and within all persons:
Thus, we are deeply troubled by the suffering and injustice caused by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and we are concerned that our government perpetuates that violence by continuing to send billions of dollars of military aid to the region. We affirm the right to self determination for both Israel and Palestine.
We call upon our nation to:
* Work for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to save precious human life
* Cease sending United States military aid and selling weapons to Israel and work to end military aid and arms sales from all outside countries to all parties in this conflict
* Continue diplomatic efforts with all parties and remain in dialogue even with those who have acted violently
* Work towards a just, comprehensive resolution that allows all people of the region to live in security and equality, and repairs harm that has been done
* Join the international court system and accept its jurisdiction
We call upon all nations to:
* Support efforts based in international law to bring justice, peace, security, and reconciliation to all parties in the conflict
* Take measures to assure that international laws are applied universally
We call upon all individuals and communities to:
* Support and learn from organizations that bring Israelis and Palestinians together for justice and peacemaking.
* Examine how anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and privilege affect our understanding of the conflict
Adapted from here: https://www.fcnl.org/updates/2017-12/quaker-meeting-minute-israel-palestine-conflict
Why does your meeting want to grow?
What tools and resources do you need?
These were among the questions considered at the November 21 Thread Gathering focused on Outreach and Communications. Membership development was explored through lenses that include why people are seeking religious community, community outreach, newcomer follow-up, and welcome for families with children. [Read more…] about Outreach and Communications Thread Gathering: Support in Community
All along the way there has been God’s Grace. Matt and I started out as, “father and son,” and now we are like brothers. (Journal entry, September 8th, 2023)
I met Matt Rosen at Pendle Hill. He was there for the spring term, 2023. He was totally different from what I had expected. As a philosophy major, coming from Oxford University, and as the Cadbury Scholar, I assumed he would be highly intellectual, very aloof, and difficult for me to make connections with. Instead, I met a young man who had a strong intellectual gift, but was clearly following his heart as well, and had two feet firmly on the ground. As it turned out, our faith journeys were very similar, despite our age difference (four decades!) and we soon became close friends.
We were both brought up in suburban Quaker Meetings, even in the same Quarter! We both struggled as youth, trying to understand the Quaker Meeting for Worship and not finding the strength within ourselves to be, “good Quakers.” We both left Quakers looking for answers elsewhere. We were both totally turned off by religion and found it empty and meaningless. We were both spoken to deeply within by a Power greater than our own. Both of us were drawn to read early Quaker writings and found real Life and Hope in them. Both of us were “convinced” deeply by an experience of Jesus as our Living Teacher, within us, and among us. We both returned to Friends to try to share our experiences and call Friends to connect to the vital faith in our roots. Pretty amazing. I was gobsmacked!
Matt and I visited the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College. He was working on a paper about Quaker “convincement,” what it means, and how it relates to membership. I suggested we take a break and explore the new cafeteria building. As we were looking around, a staff member came up to greet us and asked if we were enjoying our visit. He clearly thought that we were a father and son, looking at Swarthmore on a college tour. From that point on at Pendle Hill, Matt was referred to as my son. My wife, Verona, also “adopted” Matt. He quickly became a part of our family.
It was hard to say goodbye (after six weeks) when Matt left to go back to Oxford. Not long afterwards, an unexpected email arrived saying that Matt was, “feeling called to travel in the ministry” and visit meetings in the Oxford area. I shared the email with Verona and she said, “You have to go!” Friends at Middletown Meeting agreed, and some of them even offered financial support for the trip. So, with some trepidation, I wrote back and asked Matt if he had a traveling companion (elder) to go with him. I told him that I might know someone who is interested. He wrote back encouraging me to come.
This began a journey together that provided an extraordinary opportunity for us both. It helped Matt to, “find his voice,” and it helped me to close a circle and find my way forward.
I had been called to travel in the ministry among Friends as a young man (around Matt’s age) and didn’t know what this meant or how to proceed. Some older friends had encouraged me and traveled with me to help me find my way. Now I could do this for Matt. Coincidence? To me it felt like it was a gift from a Divine Hand, something I had never planned or anticipated.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, invited Friends in monthly and quarterly meeting leadership roles to gatherings on Zoom on September 21 and September 28. Many leaders attended to share, listen, and learn from each other.