The 334th Annual Session of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was one of worship, fun, challenging work and fellowship! Over 80 newcomers joined us this year! We had one of the largest numbers of Middle School Friends ever in attendance! And a record-breaking attendance overall!
Friends, we have approved a new way forward, one that will help us better carry out the ministries we have been called to do. I am excited! The 5 Year Plan for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting 2015-2020 was approved at Sessions and Friends have been making good use of time since its approval a few weeks ago. The Nominating Committee will bring forth recommendations for appointments to the new Implementation Committee for approval by Interim Meeting this fall. We have also created an online form for you to submit your questions, concerns, and suggestions at www.pym.org/implementation-committee/questions-and-feedback . We are not letting any grass grow under our feet!
At Annual Sessions we also approved a sound and balanced budget and for the first time since we discontinued March Sessions we did it before the fiscal year actually begins, I invite everyone to thank the members of the Financial Stewardship Committee and its clerk Andrew Anderson (Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia), our Treasurer Ron Ploeg (Willistown Monthly Meeting), members of the Financial Oversight Working Group and its clerk Joyce Moore (Unami Monthly Meeting) and our staff financial team. All worked overtime to ensure good financial practices so we can all be comfortable that we have a sound budget and plan going forward. Now we need your support through Covenant and Annual Fund contributions!
At Annual Sessions we also approved Penny Colgan-Davis (Germantown Monthly Meeting) as our new Rising Clerk. She is the second Friend in our history to accept this new leadership position that was created for the incoming clerk to work closely with the Clerk for a year and to make any necessary life adjustments in order to carry on the work as Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. At the end of our 335th Annual Sessions next year Penny will become our new Clerk.
We also approved Alison Anderson (Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting) as an Alternate Clerk, joining Becca Bubb (Abington Monthly Meeting) in that role. Alison previously served as a standing committee clerk and as one of our Elders. Alison replaces Steve Olshevski (Radnor Monthly Meeting) as Alternate Clerk and we minuted our gratitude for Steve’s faithful work. Contact information for all of our officers and clerks is available on the PYM website at www.pym.org/contacts.
We also welcomed Christie Duncan-Tessmer as our new General Secretary. She will start in this role in September. Friends enjoyed welcoming her as a community during Annual Sessions. We also gave deep gratitude and ‘said goodbye’ to Arthur Larrabee as he retires from his position as General Secretary. Arthur has served us in this role for seven and half years. We are excited for him as he enters a new chapter of life and in knowing that he will continue to remain an active member of our community.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to the members of the Sessions Planning Working Group, and its clerk Ken Park (Providence Monthly Meeting) and to our wonderful staff, in particular our Sessions Planning Coordinator Tricia Coscia. These Friends have worked tirelessly to ensure all of our needs were met and that everyone had a wonderful time together.
As we continue to attend to the work before us, I ask all Friends to remain engaged. Decisions will be made and updates will be given during upcoming Interim Meeting sessions and we will continue to inform you through our website, PYM Today Online and other publications.
Luke 12:48 is often quoted as “To whom much is given, much will be required” however the entire sentence reads: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask for more.” (NKJV)
God is looking of a return on His investment. Friends, much has been given to us, individually and as a religious society – our gifts, finances and buildings. I look forward to joining with you this year as we continue to strengthen our ability to give the maximum return on what has been invested in us.
Jada S. Jackson