We’ve scrambled our plans for Annual Sessions and made something new! Register here for all programs described below!
As part of Runway to Annual Sessions, ‘We Are the Radical Monarchs’ is a two-part event for all ages (10-100!). The first event will be a community viewing of the documentary on June 11, followed by a facilitated discussion on June 13. Friends unable to join on June 11 can register and receive the link to view the film on their own time June 12-13 and join the conversation on Sunday!
This documentary film tells the story of a different kind of “scout troop” — a group of BIPOC girls in Oakland, CA who coalesce personal leadership around environmental, LGBTQ+, and disability issues of their time and community. The Radical Monarchs co-founders and leaders, two queer women of color, shape and motivate their work. Below is an interview with Melinda Wenner Bradley, PYM’s Youth Religious Life Coordinator, who describes “fierce sisterhood” and “multigenerational joy” as motivations to host these events.
The author of this post, Zachary T. Dutton, serves our yearly meeting as Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life. He is a white cisgender gay man working (imperfectly) to dismantle oppression in all its forms. He is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting.
While many Friends share Zachary’s concerns, the views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as a whole. Check out the Rainbow Railroad for information on one way to support international LGBTQ+ people. The PYM Website contains further resources on its page for Peace & Social Justice. [Read more…] about In Solidarity with LGBTQ+ People
No matter where you go in the Yearly Meeting region, someone is likely to know PYM’s Care and Aging Coordinator, George Schaefer, and to have felt his helping hand. A deeply knowledgeable Friend, and a trained social worker, George treads skillfully in those areas where many hesitate to go. [Read more…] about Care and Aging Coordinator, George Schaefer, on Sabbatical March 15-June14
PYM’s Friends Counseling Service (FCS) brings forward a spiritually sensitive, clinical expertise to care for the mental health and wellness of individuals in the wider Quaker community.
Janaki Spickard Keeler was recently appointed as the FCS Coordinator. As part of her daily job, she interacts with local Quaker communities, supports present counselors, recruits new counselors, helps promote the service, and attends events throughout the yearly meeting to speak on matters related to mental health and wellness.
Many local Quaker communities are in the midst of a discernment process as to whether, when and to what extent to resume meeting in person for worship or other activities. A multitude of resources has been shared, and we have included a short list of resources at the end of this message.
Most importantly, make sure you are following guidelines issued by your state government and the Centers for Disease Control. Links to the appropriate websites are also at the end of this message. [Read more…] about Guidance for Re-Opening: Abundance of Caution
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is excited to announce the new Friends Counseling Service (FCS) Coordinator, Janaki Spickard Keeler. FCS brings forward a spiritually sensitive, clinical expertise to care for the mental health and wellness of individuals in the wider Quaker community.
The FCS Coordinator interacts with local Quaker communities, supports present counselors, recruits new counselors, helps promote the service, and attends events throughout the yearly meeting to speak on matters related to mental health and wellness.
A snapshot of the Community Engagement Team’s work by Zachary Dutton, Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life
Linell McCurry has served PYM’s community as Associate Secretary for Business & Finance for the past eight years.
COVID-19 has thrust the United States, along with the rest of the world, into a period of recession.
The last major downturn in 2008 found PYM unprepared. The yearly meeting had posted a string of operating losses that decade and depleted cash to fund deficit spending. During the slow recovery that followed the Great Recession, PYM reduced staff by half through a series of painful layoffs. Other spending declined. Operations went into the black in 2012, and the bottom line has been positive for eight consecutive years.
We believe PYM is positioned today to ride out a period of economic uncertainty and continue providing services to meetings and our communities of young, mid-life, and elderly Friends. Thanks to Friends Fiduciary’s distribution, which is based on a rolling 12-quarter average, investment income should only flatten a bit in 2020-21. We also have a cash cushion in a rebuilt operating reserve that stands at six months’ worth of operating expenses. Staff remains small, but operating efficiencies and an embrace of technology allow us to provide as much or more service as in earlier years, all while spending less. PYM’s total expenses in FY 2019 were $200,000 less than its FY 2012 spending.
PYM has been working remotely since Monday, March 16. In the two prior weeks, as we prepared to work from home in the event of COVID-19-related limits on non-essential activity, PYM:
- Developed a protocol to make decisions about when staff would work from home, for example, if the Philadelphia schools closed or if any staff person’s home school district closed.
- Made sure everyone had a laptop and a secure internet connection.
- Developed protocols for paying bills and making grant payments remotely.
- Developed protocols for receiving mail and logging and depositing checks under work-from-home conditions.
- Developed protocols for closing the Arch Street Meeting House and having that staff rotate working from home and going in to check on the building and grounds.
- Expanded our Zoom capacity.
- Began planning for the possibility of virtual alternatives for Continuing Session on March 28 and youth programs and initiated weekly calls with monthly meeting clerks that began March 17.
The staff has adjusted to working from home amazingly well, and everyone is being paid their full wages.
The work of streamlining and automation has been in service of the broader community. For the March quarter just ended, more than one-third of PYM’s monthly meetings have been sent a check for gifts made to them on PYM’s website, a service where PYM absorbs the costs and remits 100% of the contribution. PYM offers meetings Zoom support, and 115 Friends of all ages worshiped together by Zoom on March 28.
PYM’s General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, concluded that meeting by saying PYM wanted to create “an architecture of love in community” Everyone at home was joined across the geography of multiple states, and we shared spirit among us.
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