Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s 341st Annual Sessions will be held virtually this year from July 27 through August 1, 2021. This Sessions embraces the opportunity to gather both local PYM community and welcome many seekers and Friends who span the US and live abroad.
We invite Friends to register for Annual Sessions now, joining us for the whole week or choosing to engage in those parts of Annual Sessions that most speak to you.
Please think about children and families you know who would appreciate the rich offerings of PYM’s multigenerational programs. Personally reaching out to members of your community to explain these programs will grow the Quaker Faith and its impact.
PYM’s Young Adult programs provide spiritual fellowship for Friends between the ages of 18-35 supplementing local worship groups and meetings.
Our week together in community will begin with the Spiritual Formation Retreat facilitated by .O, helping to till the soil for a grounded week in fellowship. This will be followed by our five keynote speakers, introduced in this article. They, along with our programs—like All-Ages worship, business, youth programs, affinity groups, worship sharing, and bible study— will be spread throughout the week.
- Wednesday, July 28, 7 – 8:30 pm – Nikki Mosgrove on Micah 6:8 and Sessions theme, ‘Uproot Injustice, Root Justice’.
- Thursday, July 29, 7 – 8:30 pm – Pam/Tommy Greenler on Drag Performance & Quakerism
- Friday, July 30, 7 – 8:30 pm – Mai Spann-Wilson on All-Ages Anti-Racism Work
- Saturday, July 31, 4:30 – 6 pm – Cherice Bock on Environmental Activism
- Saturday, July 31, 7 – 8:30 pm – Sa’ed Atshan on Quakerism and Constructive Conflict
Nikki Mosgrove is an active Member of Trenton Monthly Meeting and serves on the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Administrative Council. Additionally, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Friends Foundation for Aging and the School of the Spirit Quaker Ministry.
A native of Trenton New Jersey, Nikki has been a grants and fundraising professional since 2014. Prior to that, she worked in the Behavioral Health field. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, from Boston College, a Master’s degree in Counseling from Seton Hall University, and a certificate in nonprofit management from LaSalle University’s School of Business.
In 2019, Nikki was led to found, Nia Ministries, Inc. and proclaims that there is that of God in everyone and that we are called to live a life of purpose in service to others. In Kiswahili, Nia means “purpose” and to make our collective vocation the building of our community. To that end, Nia Ministries, Inc. endeavors to provide education and spirit.
Nikki Mosgrove’s keynote address is Wednesday, July 28 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.
Tommy Greenler and also known as Pam in Drag
Tommy Greenler, known more widely by their stage name Pam, is a drag performer and musician living in Atlanta, Georgia. They were born and raised on a small farm in rural Wisconsin to a Quaker family and spent much of their childhood very involved with Monthly Meeting, Yearly Meeting, and FGC Quaker Youth programs.
Currently, they are a member of West Branch Monthly Meeting, affiliated with Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). They have had an interest in drag since high school but started performing publicly in 2018, which is also when they adopted the name Pam. They have done drag in clubs and other LGBTQ+ venues in Wisconsin, Chicago, and Atlanta, as well as taken a leadership role in the organization of their university drag show in Atlanta.
While the pandemic has certainly limited the opportunities for drag performance, Pam is currently a university student studying music composition and has spent the last year channeling their creative energy into writing and producing original music.
Pam’s keynote address will be Thursday evening, July 29 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Pam also plans to facilitate the LGBTQ+ Affinity space, host a youth program space, and engage with the Young Adult Friends community and program.
Mai Spann-Wilson is an experienced licensed social worker who has worked with people of many different backgrounds. He is also a rapper, singer/songwriter, music producer and published poet. He has consulted with Good Shepherd Mediation Program for 10+ years implementing mediation programs in schools, serving as a mediator, and facilitating youth programs.
Much of his work has been leading group therapy sessions at the Men’s Center For Growth and Change working with men who are struggling with anxiety, trauma, substance abuse and challenges with parenting.
Mai also leads anger management groups, domestic violence groups, and psycho-educational groups for Project Dad. He facilitates workshops for people struggling with substance abuse at Jefferson Hospital, RHD, and the Interim House. Mai is an Adjunct Professor at Temple University teaching conflict resolution. He has made it his personal mission to inspire people through transformational engagement and providing safe spaces for people to heal.
Mai Spann-Wilson is delivering the keynote address that will engage All-Ages work on Anti-Racism, Friday, July 30 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.
During the week of Annual Sessions, the Young Friends (high school) program community will have a special workshop opportunity with Mai that will culminate in a multigenerational session on social justice work. In preparation for this multigenerational session, the July 6 Runway to Annual Sessions workshop led by Mai is for adults who are in mentoring or familial relationships with high-school age youth who plan to register for the Young Friends program at Annual Sessions.
Cherice Bock lives in Oregon, on the traditional lands of the Kalapuya (now part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde). She is an adjunct professor of ecotheology at Portland Seminary, and she works as the Creation Justice Advocate at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. She will be teaching in the theology department at University of Portland beginning in the fall of 2020.
In the 2018–2019 school year, she served as visiting professor of environmental studies at The Oregon Extension. Bock holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.S. in environmental studies from Antioch University New England, and she is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
Bock edits the Barclay Press curriculum Illuminate, edits the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain, and curates web content for the watershed discipleship website, a ministry of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. She enjoys growing and tending fruits, veggies, and chickens, hiking and camping in the mountains, and biking. She and her spouse enjoy spending time with their two children and the newest member of the family, an Australian shepherd named Kiona.
A recorded Quaker minister, Bock sees environmental concerns as one of this generation’s most important social justice issues. Her academic work focuses on nonviolent theology, Quakerism, contextual theologies, feminism, environmental justice, and ecotheology.
Her recent work includes Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability (2019), a co-edited volume with Stephen Potthoff, volume 6 in the Friends Association for Higher Education Quakers, and the Disciplines series. Bock’s contributions to the volume include the essay, “Quakers & Creation Care: Potentials & Pitfalls for an Ecotheology of Friends,” and the co-authored essay, “’Do What You Do in the Wisdom of God’: Theological Resources for Quaker Ecological Action in the Writings of George Fox,” with Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser. Other publications include “Climatologists, Theologians, & Climate Change: Toward an Ecotheology of Critical Hope” (Cross Currents, March 2016), and “Watershed Discipleship: communicating climate change within a Christian framework, a case study analysis” in Handbook of Climate Change Communication (Springer, 2018).
Cherice Bock was also a part of New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions 2020.
Bock’s keynote will be on Saturday afternoon from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm.
Sa’ed Atshan (Ph.D., Harvard University) is on sabbatical for the 2020-2021 academic year at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visiting Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies.
Dr. Atshan is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, where he is also Coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.
As an anthropologist and peace and conflict studies scholar, Atshan’s research is focused on contemporary Palestinian society and politics; global LGBTQ social movements; and Quaker Studies and Christian minorities in the Middle East.
Having authored two books, Sa’ed’s forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories, is under contract with Stanford University Press in their Anthropology of Policy Series. Atshan examines the politics of international aid provision in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020) traces the rise of the LGBTQ movement in Palestine and how it has then become a transnational queer movement in solidarity with Palestinians. Atshan also accounts for the transformation of the critique of empire into what he calls an “empire of critique.” The Moral Triangle Germans, Israelis, Palestinians, co-authored with Katharina Galor, (Duke University Press) draw on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with Israelis, Palestinians, and Germans in Berlin to explore these asymmetric relationships in the context of official German policies, public discourse, and the private sphere.
Sa’ed was recently interviewed for a PYM news story about Quaker educators.
Sa’ed Atshan’s keynote for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Annual Sessions is Saturday, July 31 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.