On Saturday, December 7, almost 30 Friends from 15 local meetings gathered at West Chester Meeting for a Thread Gathering to explore in community the connection between religious education and how a meeting welcomes and includes newcomers. Some came in pairs and groups from their meetings, bringing questions, examples of resources, and stories of experiences in meetings to the conversation together. The afternoon program included a presentation on welcome and belonging, small group conversations with queries, and threshing of the issues raised in the larger group. As we parted into the evening, overheard was the word, “hope.” [Read more…] about Hand in Hand: Religious Education & Outreach Thread Gathering
Resources for Meetings
Onward into the new year and new opportunities to learn and grow together in our Yearly Meeting in 2023! Two of those opportunities focus on intergenerational worship and Bible study. We have so much to learn from one another in our approaches to these topics, and the PYM “Worship & Care Package” is one way we will explore new possibilities together. Friends who support religious education in our meetings are a community of practice; let’s consider about how we might accompany one another in the next year, sharing the ways that children, young people, and their families are part of our meeting communities. [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Winter 2023
On Thursday, September 29, Friends gathered online for a presentation and discussion exploring the roots of Quaker religious education and our condition in meetings today. PYM Participants were joined by Friends from meetings across the US (all the way to Hawaii) and Costa Rica, to “rethink” the way we approach children’s religious education in meetings. Is it time to release a scholastic, lesson-based model focused only on Sunday morning?
Queries anchored both small group and whole group discussion and themes that emerged included: sharing about intergenerational programs, including youth in activism and witness, and understanding religious education as the responsibility of the whole meeting. It was an inspiring conversation! [Read more…] about Rethinking “First Day School”
In the Fall of 2020, as children returned to school online and many meetings settled into hosting worship on Zoom, the question of how to support religious education programs and community for children and families in meetings was on many minds. Local meetings did amazing things in the depth of the pandemic — care packages, calls and notes to young Friends and their families, outdoor programs when possible — even online Christmas pageants! The PYM Children & Families program was also experimenting, and Giant Children’s Meeting was born from both necessity and hope. Now we’re ready to discern what’s next for creating children and their families in our wider PYM community. [Read more…] about Giant Children’s Meeting: What’s Next?
When the afternoon sunshine softens and the crickets take over for the cicada chorus, I know it’s back to school time. The former classroom teacher in me feels the tug to get ready for the new year, and of course in meetings we may be getting ready to welcome children and youth back from summer adventures to school-year routines. One of the ideas I’m thinking about a lot is rethinking “First Day School” — both that language and the scholastic model. It’s not “the way we’ve always done things” as Friends, and the interruptions of the pandemic continue to create opportunities for new ways of exploring, listening, and being community in our meetings. Join me for a conversation on this! Below you’ll find resources for Fall and events for conversation, service, and fellowship.
[Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Fall
Happy summertime, Friends! In the coming weeks, children and teens will be done with school and families will shift into summer routines. I’ll be back in touch in August with ideas for looking forward to the Fall, and if you’re ready to start thinking in that direction this planning guide is still a good place to begin this summer. The resources and events offered below for June and July include Juneteenth, FGC’s “YAY!” gathering, and what’s for families and youth at our Annual Sessions. I hope you will pass them along to families and youth in your meetings and communities! [Read more…] about Religious Education Resources and Events for June & July
In the last two weeks we have been repeatedly confronted with the legacy of gun violence and ongoing, communal trauma in this country. The three events in recent days have happened in the kinds of everyday places that should be safe — the grocery store, church, and school. How do we talk to children and adolescents about gun violence, racialized violence, and senseless tragedy? Parents and caregivers are helping their children process their feelings alongside their own, and signs of anxiety are different in children and adolescents when compared with adults. Pastoral care for children begins with pastoral care for their caregivers, and the resources below are offered to support parents and families—please share.
A workshop was held on Saturday May 7, and we returned to the questions we’ve held since 2020 about navigating the new normal of life through the ongoing pandemic. We highly recommend to readers the guidance on virtual gathering authored by Emily Provance, a Traveling Minister of New York Yearly Meeting. [Read more…] about Workshop on Gathering Virtually
Quaker practice invites Friends to listen deeply to the Inward Teacher and then to follow the leading that comes as a result. This is foundational to our faith, and individuals and meetings expect ourselves to be guided by Spirit in our daily decisions and with the direction of our lives. One way of responding to Spirit is through political action, including creating lasting and structural change through local, state, and federal legislation. Individuals may do this without limitation. When monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting engagement is political, in addition to seeking unity in spiritual discernment we must also consider what is legally necessary for our non-profit organization. [Read more…] about Policy on Advocacy Explained
Administrative Council, after months of research and listening, approved a Policy on Advocacy in our yearly meeting which encourages Friends to follow their individual leadings and also articulates the limitations of a religion under the law. This story shares the policy and offers context and examples.
[Read more…] about Approved Policy on Advocacy