The Quaker Life Council approved the following minutes of appreciation as a sincere expression of gratitude to the Friends who facilitated the recent January 26 Threshing Session on Membership and to the monthly meeting that hosted. In addition to continuing a process of discernment about membership that has had many years of seasoning in our wider yearly meeting, this was an opportunity for intervisitation during which Friends from across our yearly meeting community could join a meeting for its worship on Sunday and take part in its community life. Intervisitation is an important part of Quaker tradition because it serves to reinforce the bonds we need in spiritual growth.
It is with very mixed emotions that I share the news with you that Chris Lucca has asked to be released from service as Presiding Clerk for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. In recent months, Chris has struggled to balance health concerns, family issues, and his responsibilities to the yearly meeting. It has become clear to him that he needs to prioritize his physical well-being and focus his attention on caring for his family.
Artwork by Roma Narkhede
Five years ago, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) gathered at Arch Street Meeting House and experienced the deep call to address racism in ourselves, our meetings, and our yearly meeting.
Since that time, monthly and quarterly meetings have engaged in training and held events for themselves and the public. At annual sessions on Saturday, July 27, Friends minuted the following work that has been done: [Read more…] about Creating Inclusive Communities of Friends
View a downloadable/PDF version of the report here.
The bulk of this report is made of minutes of exercise taken by PYM Recording Clerk, Jim Herr. The minutes review the proceedings of the day. Following the minutes of exercise, the report contains a transcription of collections of “advice to the yearly meeting” in response to several queries that participants wrote down in small groups. Find in Appendix A the advance documents that were provided ahead of the threshing session.
I want to make sure you are aware that we are nearing completion of the process to hire our first Youth Engagement Coordinator. We aim to complete the process by the middle of November, 2017. Another announcement will follow at that time. [Read more…] about Apply to Work with and for Our Youth
The following updates have been published to share further information about staffing changes:
- MAY 2, 2017 Staffing Update: Administrative Support in the Office
- APRIL 22, 2017 Communication from Leadership to PYM
- APRIL 14, 2017 Financial Impact: Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 23, 2017 Advancement: Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 23, 2017 Salaries: Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 23, 2017 Staffing and Inclusion: Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 23, 2017 Administrative Support: Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 6, 2017 Youth and Young Adult Programs Staff Changes Follow Up Information
- MARCH 4, 2017 Staff Changes
Dear beloved Friends,
We want to begin by thanking all of you who attended Continuing Sessions and all others who have shared their questions, support, and concerns about the recent announcement of changes in the staff structure. Our community is going through a huge transition with our new structure, and we are finding our way as we grow into it. Some parts of the structure have worked well from its inception; others have needed tweaking, and still others have created significant issues. The process of making a change in the structure of PYM staff is just such an example.
We recognize that we in the Religious Society of Friends are not isolated from our culture in which racism is structurally entrenched. The water from which we all drink is poisoned, and our yearly meeting is no different. The leadership of PYM acknowledges that in recent months there has been deep pain and hurt and that assertions regarding racism have been expressed in our yearly meeting. We understand that Friends may be wondering what we are doing to address the pain and concerns and we want to share what that looks like for us.
Since Continuing Sessions, PYM leadership has been in a process of discernment about how to respond to those concerns, how to care for our entire yearly meeting community, and how to be faithful to what God calls us to do. This letter is to share what we heard and learned from Continuing Sessions, and how we propose to move forward with love and compassion for all. [Read more…] about Communication from Leadership to PYM
In a moment of spontaneous celebration, Administrative Council (AC) members interrupted their meeting in January to march over to the next room and inform a meeting of the Quaker Life Committee (QLC) of the exciting news that they had just allocated $75,000 to create a Strategic Project Reserve for Fiscal Year 20016. This allocation was possible because PYM’s auditors had submitted an unqualified (“clean”) report—no discrepancies or looming threats were uncovered. So after applying $225,000 to the yearly meeting’s reserves, the AC was confident that this amount could be spent on behalf of strategic directions in the long range plan, including programming under the QLC. AC Clerk Bruce Haines writes, “We are hopeful that this reserve will allow PYM to engage in . . . the tested leadings shared by our members and that members of PYM will be pleased to see their financial gifts to PYM making a difference in what we can collectively fund and do as PYM!”
The AC is focusing its energies on PYM’s long range strategic goal “to simplify and focus governance and administration.” Other recent achievements of the AC include completion and approval of a job description for PYM’s treasurer and a conflict of interest policy for all councils. These documents, and the work of the AC’s committees on finance, governance, and property, are pursued with careful attention to concerns of stewardship, accountability, and integrity.
The council is now fully immersed in the work before us. First and foremost, the council is completing necessary tasks to keep PYM on-course for the current year, including authorizing disbursement of additional funds for programming after learning that PYM is clearly on-track in restoring its financial health.
The council’s Audit Subcommittee met with PYM’s auditors on January 13 and accepted an unqualified or “clean” audit of the FY 2015 financials. (In the opinion of the auditors the books and records of PYM fairly and accurately reflect the financial activity and current status of PYM.)1
Looking for the Governance Handbook draft? There was a misplaced link in the recent issue of PYM Today Online, and we apologize for the error.
Follow this link to view the Governance Handbook.[/vc_message][vc_column_text]The Administrative Council got down to business in a chilly East Room at the Arch Street Meeting House on October 17.
Led by the Spirit we quickly discovered members with deep skills in finance, law and good governance practices, as well as a depth of experience in service to the Yearly Meeting. We also seem to have a strong overall work ethic and delightful good humor. [Read more…] about Update: October 17 Administrative Council Meeting