Johanna Jackson (she) is a member of State College Friends Meeting. She travels in the ministry with JT Dorr-Bremme, a Friend with a gift for eldering. They formed the Listening Project, a series of creative conversations rooted in love. Johanna writes about the spiritual community that sustains her, imagining how similar groups could help sustain others, too.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s upcoming Continuing Sessions on March 27th will feature three issues of importance to Friends; Membership, Climate Change, and AntiRacism.
It is hoped that Friends at every meeting or worship group will feel led to participate, and that these issues will be brought back to your communities to inform and sustain Friends in an ongoing partnership towards a better world.
PYM Presiding Co-Clerks Frank and Jean-Marie Barch presented the following report in the called December 8th Meeting for Business in Continuing Sessions. They shared information gathered from Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in response to the three PYM Initiatives launched at Annual Sessions in July 2020.
Clerks of Meetings who have not already submitted feedback to Jean-Marie and Frank Barch may use this form to do so.
Meeting for Worship with Attention Business at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is held at Fall and Spring Continuing Sessions and during the summer at Annual Sessions in late July. Nominations are approved and yearly meeting wide initiatives are reviewed or established.
The following minutes were taken by recording clerk, Kri Burkander and approved in Sessions on December 8th. There were 104 participants in the meeting, which began at 6:30 and closed at 8:45. [Read more…] about Minutes of PYM’s Meeting for Business in Sessions – December 8, 2020
Land acknowledgments connect us with the rich heritage and spiritual thinking of the native people of this land. They appear as prayers and help convene Friends in the truths of the past and opportunities of the present. Each time we gather for Sessions, a land acknowledgment is offered as vocal ministry out of worship. This one was offered on Tuesday, December 8th by sandra o’scheyichbi (Boone Murphy).
A total of 81 Friends gathered for a morning of worship at continuing sessions on Saturday November 7th. Presiding clerks, Jean-Marie and Frank Barch welcomed convening Friends, as participants joined and “box after box” appeared on Friends’ computer, I-pad and I-phone screens. [Read more…] about A Spiritually Centered Continuing Sessions
This is a check-in to see how you and your meeting are doing in these unique times. The physical distancing required by the Covid-19 pandemic has created unexpected opportunities for discerning how to feel connected when physical contact is not possible. Some meetings are also struggling with how to complete their Spiritual State of the Meeting Report given the challenges of Covid-19. We offer some guidance here. [Read more…] about Ministry & Care Letter to Our Meetings
When planning for Saturday, March 28 and youth programs at Spring Continuing Sessions took an unexpected turn with COVID-19, it didn’t take long for staff to shift gears and think about what is important when we gather in our youth communities, and how to recreate that same energy in a virtual setting. Both Middle School Friends and Young Friends gathered virtually during the weekend of March 28-29 using Zoom. MSF brought the positive middle school energy and their typical warm welcome to a gathering with both new staff members and new faces among the youth participants. Young Friends used two meetings to do much of what they usually engage in at gatherings: fun and fellowship, committee work, meeting for business, worship, and loving one another in community. [Read more…] about Youth Programs Zooming!
At 9:45 on Saturday March 28th, Friends began logging into our PYM all All Ages Sessions Worship. By 9:48 we had 50 people; four minutes later we reached 78; and finally we reached 115. Friends used the chat function for helpful messages about how to manage the technology and offered their greetings. Computer screens were filled with images of Friends everywhere, and some five or six friends also called in by phone. It was wonderful for Friends to see everyone.
Jonathan Rhoads, Alternate Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM), welcomed the community to PYM’s virtual joining in Worship. We were meeting under conditions of physical distancing imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but our virtual community is strong and growing.
Melinda Wenner Bradley, PYM’s Youth Religious Life Coordinator, offered her own message of welcome to the all-ages gathering. She noted that whether families were worshiping in Zoom at their meetings, or together at home, we were all connected by spirit. She reminded friends that even as some hearts may be heavy with our condition, when children are present Friends can be mindful of lightening that weight.
Soon afterwards, we heard, in a humble acknowledgement, that today’s gathering place is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape; land where Lenape Tribal Nations people have continuing presence and relationship with their territory. We affirmed the aspiration of harmony between the Lenape people of this land and early Quakers.
Outside many of our homes rain fell, and the sky promised that the land would not suffer drought.
Friends shared several messages of Spirit and hope during the hour of worship. It is Friends’ practice not to record vocal ministry so we’ll simply capture here that the messages included a prayer, a hymn, a biblical passage and gave some shape to the practical and spiritual experience of being in this time.
Melanie Douty Snipes and Johnathan Snipes broke worship with the song “Give me Oil in My Lamp.” It was remarkable to see some 100 faces singing together at one time. After a second song, “Jubilate Deo,” Melanie and Jonathan closed with the African-American Spiritual “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”
Christie Duncan-Tessmer, PYM’s General Secretary, then concluded our Spring Continuing Sessions with a statement that we Friends of PYM create an “architecture of love in community” when we are together. She offered; “what a joy it is for us to be with one-another in this way. This day has been a perfect illustration of what a yearly meeting is and can be. Each of us–from our home spaces–are joining across the geography of multiple states; we share spirit among us. As we walk across the larger world – we are here together. Be well!”
A group of Friends continued to share their reflections in conversation at the rise of meeting via the zoom call. Friends were reminded that virtual events can be posted on the PYM website and were also invited to log in to other Friends’ Zoom Meetings for Worship as they wish.
Melinda Wenner Bradley noted that Middle School Friends are doing a virtual hangout later today and Young Friends are continuing with their virtual meetings and sharing digital space as well. All Virtual Events are listed on the community calendar at pym.org/virtual-events/
PYM is launching a new digital program of Wednesday Evening Worship for Children and Families at 7:30 each week.
Meg Rose, our Young Adult Friends Coordinator, noted by Zoom chat that Young Adult Friends meet for worship each Thursday.
Friends with pastoral care needs can email our Care and Aging Coordinator George Schaefer.
With rain still falling in the background, our Zoom call closed at 11:50.
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.