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.
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
Queries from PYM Faith and Practice are read at the beginning of worship each month at my meeting; one of the youth in our Young People’s Group is the reader. In May, they were the ones about religious education: Nurturing Our Community: Religious Education in the Home and Meeting. As we think about returning to weekly programs for our children and youth, what guidance do these queries offer? This summer is a moment to pause and consider the experiences and lessons of these past months and how they might shape our programs and support for young Friends and families in our meetings. The PYM queries ask us is place in the center of our religious education programs preparation, formation, and belonging.
[Read more…] about Part 2: Where are we going? Supporting Families and Religious Education
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.
This is the first of a two-part story focused on local meetings and their experiences with programs and support for children and youth, and their families, in the last fourteen months of “pandemic times.” Families in our local meetings come in all different varieties; these stories are focused on families with children and the people parenting them (who also come to that relationship in a variety of ways, including foster parents and grandparents).
The people who support children and youth programs in meetings, in their Quarter, and the Yearly Meeting have expressed many feelings in this time — sadness at separation, joy in creativity, mourning for connections lost, delight in new ideas, frustration with lack of support, fear that families will not “return” when others resume community in person. I’ve written about the liminal time we’re in, and the opportunities this disruption/interruption provides to think in new ways. I’m also holding a keen awareness of the exhaustion and longing to return to “normalcy” that Friends may be feeling; it feels important to balance encouragement about new possibilities and succor for what feels lost or overwhelming. [Read more…] about Part I: Where have we been? Where are we going? Supporting Families and Religious Education
The Runway to Annual Sessions launched on May 4th. Our first gathering engaged 80 participants who convened virtually to share concerns and hopes regarding the process of re-opening to in-person gatherings by the end of 2021. The evening was facilitated by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s (PYM) Associate Secretary for Program and Religious Life, Zachary Dutton, and supported by General Secretary Christie Duncan-Tessmer.
Warm greetings from the Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council!
We trust this communication finds you well, grounded in Spirit and in your community of faith. This a reminder that if you haven’t already sent yours, we would like to receive the Spiritual Life of the Meeting report from your meeting by May 1, 2021. This will give the Ministry and Care Committee ample time to receive and read what you share, and to craft a document describing the Spiritual State of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and send it to the Quaker Life Council in advance of PYM’s summer sessions, July 27-August 1. [Read more…] about Reminder – Spiritual Life of the Meeting Reports
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
Back in the fall of 2020, two gatherings took place – one for monthly meeting leaders and another for quarterly meeting leaders. Worship during the pandemic was a big topic of discussion, so we had a follow up meeting on January 26, 2121 wherein we asked monthly and quarterly meetings to let us know who in their communities had experience with virtual and hybrid meetings. These are the notes from that meeting. [Read more…] about About Hybrid Meetings: How They Work
Dearest Friends in PYM Monthly and Quarterly Meetings and other PYM Quaker Groups,
We trust this finds you seeking to be grounded in Spirit and in your community of faith. 2020 has certainly been a year filled with both opportunities and challenges! The Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council is once again asking for your help as we look to better understand the spiritual state of our yearly meeting through this past year.
To accomplish this, we are asking meetings to consider responding to the following queries: [Read more…] about Share Your Meeting’s Spiritual Self-Assessment