Tommy Greenler (stage name Pam) is a drag performer and musician living in Atlanta, Georgia. They were born into a Quaker Family and raised on a small farm in rural Wisconsin, spending much of their childhood very involved with Monthly Meeting, Yearly Meeting, and FGC Quaker Youth programs. Pam’s keynote address will be Thursday evening, and this interview gives you a sense of the person, performer and Friend you will be meeting virtually next week. A composer, musician, and artist, Tommy/Pam talks about their identity and its expression through performance art.
On Tuesday, July 20, PYM Treasurer, Andrew Anderson welcomed Friends to the Q&A session for the budget for Fiscal Year 2022. After opening worship, Andrew briefed the community on topics covered in four financial documents posted as advance documents on the Annual Sessions pages. A report follows. [Read more…] about Takeaways From the Budget Q&A Session on July 20, 2021
Cherice Bock is our Keynote speaker for Saturday, July 31st at 4:30 PM. She lives in Oregon and is an adjunct professor of ecotheology at Portland Seminary. Cherice serves as the Creation Justice Advocate at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.S. in environmental studies from Antioch University New England. She is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
Cherice is an editor of Barclay Press’s Illuminate (Bible study curriculum written by Friends, for Friends). She also edits the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain as well as curates web content for the watershed discipleship website. As a recorded Quaker minister, Bock sees environmental concerns as one of this generation’s most important social justice issues.
In the interview below she shares some of her thinking around this important issue and its relationship with her faith. [Read more…] about Interview: Annual Sessions Keynote Speaker Cherice Bock
PYM Annual Sessions 2021‘s affinity groups continue to be an integral part of Annual Sessions every year. They are important because affinity groups offer a space to connect, and strengthen community by bringing people together to support each other in safe spaces.
In powerful way, listening can really generate a sense of community and belonging. This was felt recently when eighteen Friends from across the yearly meeting gathered for a Clerks’ Listening Session Tuesday, July 13th, from 7:00 to 8:30.
They shared joys, concerns, and experiences of the past year as well as particular hopes or questions they wished to share as our yearly meeting community heads into our annual five-and-a-half day gathering to worship, learn, and grow together in fellowship and business.
Nikki Mosgrove is an active Member of Trenton Monthly Meeting who serves on the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Administrative Council. Additionally, she serves as Trustee for both the Friends Foundation for Aging and the School of the Spirit Quaker Ministry. A grants professional, Nikki is a public servant in the truest sense of the word. She devotes her grant writing and grants management expertise to securing and tracking funding for the City of Trenton.
There is both energy and faith within Nikki that feeds a rich inner life and spiritual vocation beyond work. This led her to found Nia Ministries, Inc. which connects people closer to God and a life of purpose in service to others.
In Kiswahili, Nia means “purpose” and to make our collective vocation the building of our community. Nikki has compelling ideas about how Friends can address our world’s faults, possibilities, and blessings. Her ideas are pragmatic and direct; invest in the local community. They are also centered in the heart’s truth; don’t look for people to knock on your door – go out and meet people.
This conversation with Nikki, and her opening Annual Sessions keynote on July 28, shares some of the faith-led purpose that makes Nikki such a compelling and beloved member of our Quaker Community.
The Young Adult Friends (YAF) program has flourished through years of service by Meg Rose, Young Adult Engagement Coordinator, and her predecessor, Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt. As we look ahead to when Meg is leaving Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to begin a career in social work in late July, it is worth looking back at all that ties this engaged set of young adults to one another, to their leadership commitment to peers, and to this Faith.
The YAF program supports the spiritual vitality and community of PYM by creating programming specifically for young adult Friends (age 18-35-ish), as well as strengthening commitment and involvement of young adult Friends in PYM’s multigenerational community.
One of the experiences of the pandemic has been the incredible strain placed on people parenting school-age children. This was acute during times of isolation and work/school from home, but the residual trauma may be felt by children and youth for some time. While no shared experience is the same for everyone, in many ways the circumstances of the pandemic uncovered or underscored an isolation and need for support being felt by families in our society today. This includes our Religious Society; when a family walks through the door of a meeting, there are three sets of needs we should be prepared to support: the spiritual formation of their children, the spiritual journey of the adults as individual seekers drawn to Quakerism, and the family unit as they search for a spiritual community for their family to grow and contribute in. [Read more…] about Support for Families in the Circle of Meeting Life
On June 24, the Runway to Annual Sessions hosted a workshop, Uncovering What Covers Us: Our Clothing facilitated by Yoko Koike Barnes. The workshop explored alternatives to the demand-driven, low-cost, low-wage, mega-corporate fashion production cycle. During the workshop, Yoko screened the documentary film, The True Cost which uncovered the questionable practices within the clothing industry and featured the people who actually sew the clothes.
Yoko is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. Since 2011, she has been an active advocate of Fair Trade. She is the founder of Fair Trade Philadelphia and worked on forming the CPMM Fair Trade initiative. She is working to engage and unify the Quaker community across the yearly meeting to advocate for fair trade products by offering informative workshops on fair trade ministry. Below Yoko reflects on the Fair Trade issue and explains what she hopes people will take away from her recent workshop highlighting the compelling documentary, The True Cost.
Mai Spann-Wilson is giving an Annual Sessions Keynote talk and offering a series of workshops during Annual Sessions. His keynote address on Friday, July 30 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm will engage All-Ages work on Anti-Racism. An experienced, licensed social worker, Mai has worked with people of many different backgrounds. Learn more about his calling and his vision for his workshops in this interview.