The Religious Society of Friends witnesses to the truth of our times. In this moment, we recognize that we are facing an existential crisis that requires a response greater than individual actions. The systemic structures as well as the daily choices of peoples, governments and faith communities across the globe must act in radical concert to address the climate catastrophe we have created. [Read more…] about PYM Statement on the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28)
In this issue of the The Tote Bag: PYM Religious Education and Family Resources newsletter we’re preparing for winter and seasonal holidays and focusing on our testimony of peace.
[Read more…] about Religious Education Resources & Events for Winter
Originally minuted on November 15, 2023
Wally Evans has served as a tour guide at Arch Street Meeting House for many years, coming on a weekly basis to share his knowledge about the building, Quakers and history with visitors. This outreach is at the heart of the mission of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust. Tourists who meet Wally likely realize that they encountered an expert tour guide. What they don’t know is that they just met the person who worked the hardest over the past decade to welcome them to the property, given to Quakers by William Penn, which tells the story of Quakerism to visitors from around the world.
Wally Evans is a founding member of the Board of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust, which held its first meeting on June 18, 2013. Because initial terms were staggered, ASMHPT has been able to benefit from Wally’s leadership on the Board for ten years. According to the by-laws, it is now time for him to rotate off the Board.
The Trust is successful today in large part to Wally’s thoughtful planning and implementation. At the Trust’s second meeting on July 16, 2013, Wally was appointed Clerk of the Board, a position he held until two years ago. He guided the Trust through the initial Strategic Plan, the Resource Development Plan, the Interpretive Plan, the Marketing and Communications Plan, and the Master Space Plan. For this work, he engaged with the SNAVE Foundation which provided substantial financial support. The installation of outdoor exhibits in 2021 was a high priority for Wally. New signage welcomes people onto the property and into the meetinghouse when it is open for visitors. Wally championed the idea that even when the building is closed, people who stroll the grounds can learn something about Quakers from the well-designed exterior exhibits.
For the past two years, Wally has served as Treasurer and a member of the Executive and Resource Development Committees. As Treasurer, Wally was instrumental in improving the budgeting and reporting process.
Wally guided the Trust in planning for a capital campaign that will preserve the National Historic Landmark building, including a modern electric HVAC system and a fire suppression system. Design for new interior exhibits is underway to further improve the visitor experience. Wally helped to select the campaign consultants, Partners for Sacred Places, who work with religious properties nationwide to help preserve buildings and strengthen service to their communities. Wally now co-clerks the Steering Committee for the capital campaign, a position he will continue after he concludes his board service.
The Board of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust minutes its deep appreciation to Wally Evans for his sustained support for the mission of the Trust.
Today 11/12/2023 Harrisburg Monthly Meeting approved the following minute on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Nov 12, 2023
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) testimony on peace, justice, and nonviolence is based in our experience of the divine in all of creation and within all persons:
Thus, we are deeply troubled by the suffering and injustice caused by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and we are concerned that our government perpetuates that violence by continuing to send billions of dollars of military aid to the region. We affirm the right to self determination for both Israel and Palestine.
We call upon our nation to:
* Work for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to save precious human life
* Cease sending United States military aid and selling weapons to Israel and work to end military aid and arms sales from all outside countries to all parties in this conflict
* Continue diplomatic efforts with all parties and remain in dialogue even with those who have acted violently
* Work towards a just, comprehensive resolution that allows all people of the region to live in security and equality, and repairs harm that has been done
* Join the international court system and accept its jurisdiction
We call upon all nations to:
* Support efforts based in international law to bring justice, peace, security, and reconciliation to all parties in the conflict
* Take measures to assure that international laws are applied universally
We call upon all individuals and communities to:
* Support and learn from organizations that bring Israelis and Palestinians together for justice and peacemaking.
* Examine how anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and privilege affect our understanding of the conflict
Adapted from here: https://www.fcnl.org/updates/2017-12/quaker-meeting-minute-israel-palestine-conflict
It was a brisk Saturday morning on November 11th as Friends gathered at Arch Street Meeting house in Philadelphia from all over the PYM network of meetinghouses for our 2023 Fall Continuing Sessions. [Read more…] about A Look Back at 2023 Fall Continuing Sessions
In 2010, Hazele Goodridge, member of Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (MMFP) at Arch Street Meeting House and longtime Philadelphia resident, felt the call to serve her community and joined Philabundance’s Community Food Center Choice Food Pantry as a volunteer. During those days, Philabundance’s food pantry drew an estimated 300 people daily seeking assistance and support. Hazele differentiates the benefits of a choice food pantry versus a traditional food bank as one allows people in need and struggling with food insecurity to shop for what they needed instead of simply accepting what was given that may or may not serve either their dietary restrictions or an immediate need. [Read more…] about A Friend’s Love for Extreme Couponing Turns Into an Old City Food Pantry
On October 30, PYM Friends gathered for a workshop about lobbying and its place within the world of political advocacy. The workshop was facilitated by the Senior Director for Quaker Leadership, Alicia McBride, from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). For twenty years, Alicia has worked in multiple roles with FCNL . She’s a member of Sandy Spring Meeting, part of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting footprint. She was joined by Deb Hejl, member and Friend of Gwynedd Meeting, who has been actively involved with FCNL for a quarter century and serves as a PYM representative to FCNL. [Read more…] about PYM Friends Learn to Lobby with FCNL
Friends of all ages are encouraged to attend Fall Continuing Sessions on November 11. Throughout the day, the current Sessions theme, “Living with our neighbors, Growing into beloved community,” will be centered in our worship, fellowship, youth programs, and the business of the yearly meeting. We’re also sharing a preview of Sessions in 2024 and how a shift in this summer’s Annual Sessions creates new opportunities in the coming year.
[Read more…] about Sessions is Coming! A Look at November 11 & the Future
A movie focused on the life and work of Friend Bayard Rustin is being released in the coming days, joining the 2002 documentary Brother Outsider and offering a new way for the wider public to learn about the peace, labor, and civil rights organizer and activist. [Read more…] about Feature Film about Friend Rustin Bayard Opens November 3rd
Young Friends and Middle School Friends gathered this weekend at Arch Street Meetinghouse for fellowship and Halloween-y fun.