Invitation to Discernment



This is an invitation to be part of a discernment process with me.

When I meet Friends from all over the Yearly Meeting, I find near universal agreement that our children are crucial to our experience of the divine, and that we desire to support their spiritual journeys in whatever ways we can. Meetings across the country offer fantastic First Day School programming for thousands of Quaker young people. Many of us have fond memories of being part of these lessons ourselves.

The Children’s Program of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (K-5th grade), in its current format, is a newer opportunity. The Young Friends (High School) and Middle School Friends programs have a many decades of history for events in a weekend long overnight format. Children’s events like Junior Interim Meeting, Family Overnight, and Children’s Thread Gatherings have joined Children’s Sessions in the last few years as a time for kids to gather across Monthly Meetings and live out their Quaker Faith in a joyful community- but are in many ways still experiments. These programs create friendships and allow kids to express their powerful witness in the world, and we continue to refine our offerings so that they suit the contemporary life of Quaker kids and parents.

With the upcoming change in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s structure, there will be new opportunities and needs for our young people. Continuing Sessions will be a home for children’s programming. There may be others as well, as the needs of the Yearly Meeting community and the needs of parents continue to grow and change. I will continue to explore the best ways for the Yearly Meeting to support the religious lives of our children, and I can use input on that.

I invite parents and caregivers to get in touch- at an event, by phone, or by email, and let me know your desires for a program that connect kids and parents across Monthly Meetings. What would your kids be excited about? What formats work in your life? How can we partner with your Monthly and Quarterly Meetings? What do you most value about your kids’ time with other Quaker children? This is a moment to listen carefully for the ways that spirit weaves us together. I look forward to connecting with you.

—Benjamin Camp