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
Friends Who Care For Youth
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.
Our children are watching, and listening, and learning. This is a deeply challenging time. Families are experiencing a global pandemic that has changed the shape of home and school life. There is economic uncertainty and hardship. Our children are watching and experiencing a nationwide response of fury and protest after the latest tragedies in centuries of Black lives brutally taken. For those of us who live with children and serve young people in our work, it is a moment to be present to them. [Read more…] about Talking About Racial Injustice with Children
Providence Meeting Middle School Friends’ concern for immigrants began when we saw pictures of immigrants on the news and how they were being treated at the US Mexico border. That led to our first fundraiser and learning more about the immigrant situation. We heard that families were being separated, and knew we needed to learn more about migrant life at the border and how we could help. [Read more…] about Youth Call for Action in Support of Immigrants
What do you need?
A small and vital question to be asking one another in these days. What do families in our meetings, and the adults who have care of religious education programs for children and young people, need to support the spiritual lives children and young people?
What do you need to gather?
There is no “right way” to be gathering in this time, when the needs of Friends and our capacities to meet them are unique and sometimes changing: [Read more…] about First Day Programs: What do you need?
View a downloadable/PDF version of the report here.
The bulk of this report is made of minutes of exercise taken by PYM Recording Clerk, Jim Herr. The minutes review the proceedings of the day. Following the minutes of exercise, the report contains a transcription of collections of “advice to the yearly meeting” in response to several queries that participants wrote down in small groups. Find in Appendix A the advance documents that were provided ahead of the threshing session.
The September issue of “Vital Friends,” the e-newsletter from Friends General Conference (FGC), highlights “Religious Education Programming for Children.” Melinda Wenner Bradley, serving PYM as Youth Religious Life Coordinator, was asked to contribute to the issue.
FGC staff write, “Melinda’s work as a consultant and trainer for religious education programming has produced several worthwhile resources for Quaker parents and teachers. Here, we’ve included highlights of her work, beginning with a beautiful essay about her ministry.”
The essays and articles shared can be found — along with other great resources for children’s religious education programs — at this link. They include pieces on fostering community, exploring vocal ministry, a lesson on being present and worship, and nurturing children’s spiritual lives.
See the PYM website page, “Writings on Religious Education: Practical and Prophetic” for more resources for welcoming and nurturing children, their families, and the people who support programs for youth in meeting communities.
Our wider yearly meeting community is made of many local meetings and worship groups across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. We value the gifts, leadings, and ministry of everyone of every stripe! This includes the families and parents among us and their children.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting therefore commits to offering childcare as much as we are able at committee meetings, PYM-sponsored events, and even quarterly-meeting-sponsored events. By making childcare consistently available with no requirement for pre-registration, the hope is that families, parents, and children will feel they are welcomed to participate to whatever extent sparks joy!