June was a big month for the Friends community as it emerged from pandemic conditions. A number of meetings have been “open” in one way or another for a time, others have met only via Zoom. Those that have been meeting in person for some time (including Centre, Quakertown, Little Egg Harbor, Plumstead, Horsham, and Third Haven) found that as (mostly) smaller communities they could find ways to safely meet. Some set up outside worship, developing and sharing safety protocols that were appropriate to meeting under the wide open sky. Numbers of communities–large and small–accessed indoor in-person worship once local restrictions eased by keeping windows open, or functioned safely by having plenty of space between people and requiring masks.
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.
How do Friends experience the fire of the Holy Spirit? What questions and images do we offer in religious education to contemplate the inner Light? How does Pentecost help us to come close to these ideas? Pentecost was absent from my own religious education in an unprogrammed Friends meeting, and it was through work in another church that I came close to this story and found how it resonated for me as a Quaker.
The Runway to Annual Sessions 2021 began on Tuesday, May 4, and runs through July 24. These weeks leading up to Annual Sessions week (July 27 – August 1) hold important workshops, gatherings, youth programs, a multigenerational documentary viewing and discussion, a Young Adult Friend retreat, a Collaborative Fair, Q&As, and reports from PYM representatives to other Quaker organizations.
The Young Adult Friends Spring Retreat is being held this weekend on May 14 and May 15. Young Adult retreats are open to Quakers and Seekers ages 18-35-ish and provide opportunities to connect with peers and explore shared interests.
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.
We invite you to share concerns, learnings, and hopes regarding how our religious society may begin a process of re-opening to in-person gatherings by the end of 2021. During the gathering, we will revisit the notes of our January 26th meeting about hybrid gatherings and explore the possibility of developing guidance to meetings and other local Quaker communities on re-opening.
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
We are a people full of stories. Stories help us create meaning, make sense of our world, and develop identity. Stories are how some of the greatest teachers, including Jesus of Nazareth, shared their message and showed the path of a faithful life. [Read more…] about Stories of Faith on the Road to Easter
Since the first week in February, Zachary Dutton has facilitated a Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting program that shares a new type of mid-week worship from 7:00-8:00 PM each Wednesday. In his role as Associate Secretary for Religious Life, Zachary Dutton listens deeply to Friends in the community; today’s interview focuses on worship, meditation, and upcoming ‘Runway to Sessions’ programming.
You’ve been running Wednesday Worship for more than a month now; how have they gone; what have you learned from them?
They have been wonderfully deep, moving, and illuminating. Attendees have expressed awe and inspiration at the diversity of techniques people have for settling into their center and embracing liberation in the spirit with each other. [Read more…] about Zachary Dutton on Wednesday Worship, Meditation, and Resources for Faith
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.