Change of Status for the PYM Clerk Role


Dear Friends,

After March Continuing Sessions Presiding Clerk Penny Colgan-Davis communicated with Melissa Rycroft, Clerk of Nominating Council that, due to health concerns, she was stepping down immediately as Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Penny simultaneously shared this news with the Clerks of Administrative and Quaker Life Councils, the PYM Treasurer, and our General Secretary, and then with our three Alternate Clerks. We are tremendously grateful to Penny for her faithful, grounded, and heartfelt service to the yearly meeting in this role and hold her in the Light as she moves forward in this next chapter of her life.

Nominating Council intends to bring forward a nomination for Presiding Clerk as the first order of business at our Annual Sessions in late July. Until then, we need to chart our way forward without a presiding clerk until the start of Annual Sessions. The PYM Governance Handbook does not make provision for this, so the Council Clerks, the Treasurer, and the three Alternate Clerks have come together to craft a plan, which they revised and refined following consultation and input from members of the three councils on a joint Zoom web/phone conference. It will allow us to move forward and be prepared for Annual Sessions this summer. It takes into consideration the published job descriptions for Presiding Clerk, Rising Clerk (which we do not have right now) and Alternate Clerks, as well as each individual’s available time and familiarity with matters before PYM which require attention to get us to Annual Sessions in good order. Throughout this process we have worked outward, continuously including a broader range of input to arrive at this plan.

The three Alternate Clerks, Amy Kietzman, Tom Hoopes and Chris Lucca, and the clerks of Quaker Life and Administrative Council, Amy Taylor Brooks, and Bruce Haines, will function as a collaborative group to perform the duties of the clerk that are necessary to get us to Annual Sessions in July. The two council clerks will convene this group.

We have learned a lot in the course of making this plan. One is that the job description for Alternate Clerks is very much to assist and serve as a support, as requested by the clerk. As a result, each alternate clerk has unique and defined experiences and knowledge. It also is clear that the Alternate Clerk role was not designed to be a full substitute for a presiding clerk and they have not inhabited it that way. A big part of our goal right now is to support the Alternate Clerks in preparing to take a greater clerking role coming into sessions and have greater participation in sessions planning than before. It is much harder to clerk what you have not helped prepare! This aligns with two of the more urgent and time-consuming roles in the clerk’s job description for attention before Annual Sessions which are to “work closely with the process for planning annual-sessions” and to “consult regularly with the General Secretary of the yearly meeting, and receive minutes and relevant correspondence for attention.” Quaker Life Council already oversees the Sessions Planning Committee and Administrative Council has oversight responsibility in regard to support these roles in addition to their background knowledge of the activities and business of PYM between sessions.

The Alternate Clerks have been invited to attend council meetings going forward, as the clerk would, and to become as engaged with Sessions Planning Committee as they can. Amy and Bruce will jointly receive communications to the email address and share responses with the team. The five of us are committed to making sure that the role of clerk is well covered for the next four months.

We know some of you may have questions to more fully understand this process. We are therefore scheduling two Zoom meetings to take your questions. These will be at 7:30 PM on Wednesday and Thursday, April 11 and 12. We invite you to join us. Instructions to participate are below.


Amy Taylor Brooks, Clerk, Quaker Life Council
Bruce Haines, Clerk, Administrative Council
Amy Kietzman, Alternate Clerk
Tom Hoopes, Alternate Clerk
Chris Lucca, Alternate Clerk

Conference Calls

Date: Wednesday, April 11th, 2018
Start Time: 7:30 pm
Duration: 1 hours
Internal Phone Number: x 7110
External Phone Number: (215) 241-7110
Access Code: 89209543

Date: Thursday, April 12th, 2018
Start Time: 7:30 pm
Duration: 1 hours
Internal Phone Number: x 7110
External Phone Number: (215) 241-7110
Access Code: 22786837

To access these conference calls dial either the internal or external phone number and enter the access code when prompted. To mute or unmute your line press *1 .