On a regular schedule PYM’s General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, publishes a report to PYM Councils detailing work that PYM Staff has completed. You can read a full archive of reports to councils or read her report for November 2021 below.
Program and Ministry
Connect Friends and meetings to one another so that we may experience vibrant, Spirit-led faith community Broaden engagement and deepen relationships in our yearly meeting.
The Care & Aging Coordinator, General Secretary, other members of staff and leadership reached out to meetings affected by Hurricane Ida to ensure they have the support they need to navigate challenges.
- The first ever BIPOC YAF Retreat was held in October. 14 people attended.
- The Youth Religious Life Coordinator provided consultations with several Friends schools about Quaker life/curricula.
- On October 15 to 17, the Spiritual Formation Collaborative held its fall in-person retreat at Pendle Hill. The retreat has sold out.
- The Youth Religious Life Coordinator has facilitated several workshops and programs including:
- A 4-part series of programs for parents at West Chester Friends School (who gave the grant money for this to PYM) using Faith & Play Stories
- Religious Education Resources Workshop to help RE committees in meetings prepare for the coming fall.
- Open Office hours for Religious Education people in meetings to drop in and check in about the coming fall.
- A parenting workshop at Powell House program for “Second Thirds”.
- The Young Friends Late Summer Gathering was held as a two-day event at West Chester Meeting.
Communications and Technology
Connect Friends across the yearly meeting through effective communications and technologies. Simplify and focus governance and administration.
- The website is conducting a brief survey about its navigation. Read about it online and take the survey.
- Completed revision of RE resources section of website and consolidating web pages for children, middle school and high school programs into a more easily navigable Youth Programs multisite.
- The top web story was on the topic of Afghan Refugee resettlement with that story outperforming all others so far this year by more than 200%. The October 9 fall festival hosted by Downingtown Meeting and the PYM conference call on Afghan refugee resettlement generated the highest event interest.
- Website Visits and users are up for late summer. The visitors are viewing slightly fewer pages compared to last year. As usual, Faith & Practice is the most visit part of the website.The Religious Education Tote Bag newsletter continues to be published at the beginning of each month.
- We publicized Annual Sessions through Friends Journal since they were virtual and Friends from other monthly meetings have been increasingly attending our online programming. There was modest success in click rate.
Business and Finance
- We ended the fiscal year well ahead of our annual fund goal. We’d met the $300,000 goal nearly a week before September 30. Final numbers will likely be more than $20,000 above goal.
- Fundraising activity for the end of the fiscal year was successful. The print appeal landed in homes right on schedule, follow up emails, calls and notes were nearly universally received with appreciation.
- Administration and employee engagement in the Friends 403(b) Plan at the end of its first quarter demonstrated that it is functioning successfully.
- PYM has purchased a cybersecurity insurance policy covering privacy and security breaches and PYM website material that may infringe intellectual property rights or be viewed as defamation. The insurer provides training to help avoid those risks.
- We are working with an architect to consider possibilities for space use in the office at cherry Street. Since the space was originally designed we’ve had a dramatic decrease in staff numbers (in 2012) and increase in Friends Center tenants in the same space, we’ve moved all supplies previously stored in the basement to the office (after the Race Street building was sold to Friends Select) and there has been a pandemic. All of these point to a need for re-envisioning the best use of space.
- The annual review process is shifting to be more of a continuous and goals based process supported by HR software that organizes hiring, onboarding and maintaining staff.
- Given several factors including the lack of a viable vaccine for small children and the risk of the Delta variant of Covid 19, staff suggested that we postpone a return to the office for one day a week starting in October. Based on the feedback given by staff regarding concerns about safety, we will revisit this again in December as we approach the next quarter. There have been a few staff changes:
- An Interim Young Adult Friends Facilitator was hired
- The Database Coordinator moved to a new job. That position is posted and interim measures are in place
- Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust has named a new live-in site manager to provide night and weekend security as well as support the front-of-house operations on the weekends. She lives with her cat in two rooms on the lower level and is also pursuing a PhD focused on colonial architecture in Philadelphia.
- The program and exhibits staff position at Arch Street was vacant when the coordinator moved to a new job. The position was filled in less than 6 weeks.
- A project-based Quaker College Fair Organizer has been hired who will support synchronous and asynchronous information sharing and relationship building for students heading to college.
(photo courtesy of Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash)