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.
Friends Who Care For Youth
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
Meetings may be seeking to create meaningful Christmas programs that keep Friends connected while also being safe about Covid-19. Two online Conversation Circles were hosted by the Youth Religious Life Coordinator to share ideas and support each other with how to plan for celebrations in this challenging time. [Read more…] about Christmas Together in New Ways
Parents have been holding a lot in these past eight months. In addition to the multiple stressors of life during a pandemic and social unrest and violence in the news and neighborhoods, the intensity of the election cycle is an experience both for us as adults and for our children. Depending on their age, children and teens may be aware of the anxiety of the adults around them and experiencing their own anxiety about the outcome of the election next week. [Read more…] about Parenting + Presidential Election + Pandemic
We are in a liminal space right now: there is uncertainty about what is ahead, but it is also a threshold to a new place. Thinking about planning for First Day programs this fall, I wonder what new possibilities are emerging during this de-stabilized time? In March, there was a crisis response and many meetings pivoted into online spaces; now the shift is to the new normal. Friends are thinking about how and when to return to meeting houses and what the implications are for children and young people gathering with the meeting. Some questions we might consider in this moment of community planning:
[Read more…] about Fall Religious Education Planning: Connection and New Directions
Photo: Young Friends (high school group) together in program on Thursday, July 3
This year, we start our Sessions days with all-ages worship and All Together Time on Zoom. In the last part of the hour of worship, Youth Programs staff transition us from waiting worship to All Together Time. This is when we do something all together in a worship space that uses our spirits and bodies and connects us with one another. When we gather for Annual Sessions, we are an all-ages spiritual community, even in virtual spaces. [Read more…] about We Are . . . PYM Youth!
Families and young people are a vital part of our PYM community and when we gather for Sessions it is to be an all-ages spiritual community. The time of Covid-19 has changed the shape of our gathering this year — and the shape of this summer for many families. We hope PYM programs will support parents and children at home who are seeking experiences of online camp and community this summer.