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
Friends Who Care For Youth
We’ve scrambled our plans for Annual Sessions and made something new! Register here for all programs described below!
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
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.
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.
This April, Haverford Quarterly Meeting convened to discuss the offering of conscientious objector (CO) training by Winifred Shaw Hope. The training (open to all) will be hosted on June 12 and 19. Participant costs will be defrayed by grants from some of the Quarter’s meetings. Below we unpack some of the history around how very precious the CO service option is. Training is necessary if meetings and schools are to be prepared to help 18-26 year-olds understand and access their options around registering as COs or becoming subject to compulsory military service in the event of a draft.
Ujima Friends Peace Center is a worshipping Quaker community of people of African Descent who have committed themselves to the village with residents of North Philadelphia to decrease various forms of violence that arise from systems of oppression. The Center can be contacted at email@example.com. Below is a story about their summer plans.
As the pandemic continues, and this week our nation struggles once more against the legacy of racial injustice and violence, our children look on.
Children and teens are experiencing the continued uncertainty of Covid and its impact on school, peer relationships, and future plans. Additionally, the events in Washington D.C. on January 6 were deeply disturbing and young people may feel anxiety, confusion, fear, sadness, or anger, and have questions about what they see and hear in the media and from friends. As parents, we’re holding space for our children’s feelings alongside our own anxiety, fury, and questions about moving forward. What follows are resources specifically for children, youth, and families.*
PYM’s Committee on Friends Education reminds families that monthly meeting members’ children attending or applying to Friends Schools are eligible to apply for educational support for the 2021-22 school year. Funding for all grants comes from the National Friends Education Fund and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting endowment income from the Jonathan Rhoads Fund and other PYM education endowments. [Read more…] about Tuition Aid for Friends Children in PYM Friends Schools