In the Fall of 2020, as children returned to school online and many meetings settled into hosting worship on Zoom, the question of how to support religious education programs and community for children and families in meetings was on many minds. Local meetings did amazing things in the depth of the pandemic — care packages, calls and notes to young Friends and their families, outdoor programs when possible — even online Christmas pageants! The PYM Children & Families program was also experimenting, and Giant Children’s Meeting was born from both necessity and hope. Now we’re ready to discern what’s next for creating children and their families in our wider PYM community. [Read more…] about Giant Children’s Meeting: What’s Next?
With great thanks to Alix Vallery and Elizabeth Croce, Youth Program staff for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and of course our meeting families, we had children for the first time since April 2021 at Western Quarterly meeting’s recent gathering! [Read more…] about Thank you to Youth Programs Staff
Throughout the month of June, Pride celebrations have happened across our PYM region. As the month comes to a close we can carry on that spirit of affirmation and inclusion. In this year when religious groups and government legislation are fighting to repress queer youth and their families, PYM celebrates the importance of our LGBTQ+ community. The Youth Programs Advisory Committee recently approved a minute of support for the LGBTQ+ youth, staff, families, and volunteers in our Youth Programs, which was accepted in June by the Quaker Life Council. There is more work to do! Shared here is the YPAC minute in full, along with resources and reflections on how we can continue to educate and celebrate belonging for all in our local meetings and yearly meeting community. [Read more…] about Celebrating & Nurturing Support for Queer Youth
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is pleased to share the good news that Melinda Wenner Bradley is now serving our community as the Director of Programs. This newly created role holds responsibility for cultivating relationship and ministry amongst Friends and meetings and working with program staff to direct their energy and resources to engage PYM Friends. Melinda, a member of West Chester Meeting, has been with PYM as the Youth Religious Life Coordinator for the last four years and brings to this new role her insight on how we nurture our experience of community and the spiritual formation of Friends of all ages. The Director of Programs job description includes holding a portfolio of program-focused work and many Friends will be glad to know that Melinda will continue to support religious education.
Our strategic directions guide us to connect Friends and meetings to one another so that we may experience vibrant, Spirit-led community and deepen our relationships. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting has the gift of a devoted staff who support the community in making those connections. When there is turnover, as staff members move on, we have the opportunity to reflect on their meaningful contributions and to consider what new opportunities there are to continue to build on those contributions. [Read more…] about Retooling Our Staff Structure to Better Support Our Community
The months leading to Annual Session 2022 will have a different feel for our Yearly Meeting’s Youth Programs. Staff are eager to seek ways to rebuild the program communities that have been impacted by the pandemic. Decreasing attendance in youth programming is a trend that’s existed in US yearly meetings, however the pandemic has put into sharp relief the concerns. While PYM staff and volunteers have been consistently (and valiantly) creative and resourceful with online programming, outreach to youth and families, and gathering in person when possible, we need to rebuild community and connection. Let’s do this together, Friends! [Read more…] about Programs for Youth and Families: New Directions
Over the last four weeks, more than 50 Friends registered to gather on Sunday evenings for an online adult religious education series exploring Advent — the time of expectant waiting before Christmas — with scripture, discussion, guided activities, prayers, and readings. [Read more…] about Advent Program Invites Reflection and Transformation
On November 2nd, PYM hosted a second public meeting to provide a forum where Friends could hear and give feedback on the ongoing development of plans to shift PYM staffing structure.
[Read more…] about Report on Upcoming Staffing Shifts
In this story:
- Giant Children’s Meeting is Back this Fall!
- Young Friends Staffing Announcement
- October issue of The Tote Bag focuses on collegial sharing and connection
Zachary Dutton has been PYM’s Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life since September 1, 2014. In these seven years he has been a leader on PYM staff. He also stewarded implementation of our seven strategic directions, and grappled with how best to meet a complex set of community needs with smaller staffing footprints. Overall, Zachary has been a facilitator of change and has focused attention on new issues.