In addition to the people in the group photo taken on January 26, 2020 by Doug Morrison, the right window shows part of a mural across Herr St. that depicts some famous guests who stayed in Jackson House, an African-American hotel there, when other hotels in the state capital were segregated.
One of the wonderful things about going to Meeting for Worship each week is that you never know who will be there.
This January, Haverford Meeting welcomed two distinguished South African Friends, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and her husband Jeremy Routledge.
Sitting in the sunny corner of the Meeting house, they brought a bit of South African Quaker Spirit to our chilly winter. Nozizwe was first elected to Parliament in 1994, and later served her nation as Deputy Minister of Defense (1999-2004), then Deputy Minister of Health (2004-2007) and finally, Deputy speaker of the National Assembly (2008-2009).
She fought for scientifically grounded AIDS treatment under Mbeki, and has been similarly active in the struggle against sex trafficking.
Walter Sullivan, Director of Quaker Affairs at Haverford, said that Nozizwe is in the region to teach a spring semester course: After the Sunset: Lessons in Transition to Peace – The South African Example. She is also serving the community as a Friend in Residence. The course she is teaching will ‘cover the issues, theories and methodologies of nonviolent and violent struggles, peace negotiations, transitional justice, post conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding by looking at South Africa as a case study.’
The course will also examine the roles played by Quakers in ending the South African conflict and supporting a negotiated peace process.
PYM Online will be interviewing Nozizwe for our web news a little later in the spring, after she and Jeremy are settled, and she’s taken up her Haverford College teaching responsibilities.
Yesterday Nozizwe emailed us that she is “excited to be a visiting scholar and Friend in Residence at Haverford–where I received an honorary doctorate in 2008. Yesterday, I visited the Quaker Collections Reading Room with Jeremy where we plan to spend time delving into Quaker history and being inspired.”
The history of Quakers in South Africa is itself inspiring, and we are lucky to have Nozizwe and Jeremy here to make their South African Quaker experience relevant to us, in the Philadelphia region, as we head into the 2020 elections.
Don’t miss Nozizwe and Jeremy’s Haverford College talk on February 24th from 4:30-6:00 PM. Titled Race Power and Quakerism in South Africa, it is sure to be interesting.
Mid-November 2019 to Mid-January 2020
Business and Finances:
- The Christmas appeal was mailed on December 4th and launched electronically on December 3. We are still counting the gifts and it looks like response is on par with the previous year.
- As last year, the final emailed appeal in late December focused on asking Friends to make a gift to their monthly meeting. There were almost 50 MM gifts that came in that day and for the whole month we collected 320 gifts for monthly meetings. Online giving to meetings was up 13% in December over last year.
- We completed the work for the FY19 audit, almost. The required new format has necessitated additional detail work for 2019 and re-formatting for 2018 so the two years can be compared.
- The General Secretary made a presentation to the Friends Fiduciary’s board (on which she sits) on PYM’s finances since 2012. It was well received, and Christie will adapt it for the Councils and other audiences when it is updated for FY 2019 on completion of the audited financial statements.
- A major renovation project started at Arch Street in December with the long-planned relighting of the East Room. Flexible new lighting will enhance the East room’s service as a multi-purpose room for exhibits, events and performance.
- Staff met with archivists from Swarthmore to learn about best practices for digital archiving.
Program and Ministry:
- The Associate Secretary for Advancement and Relationship convened Quarterly Meeting reps for lunch and conversation on the next printed newsletter which will feature the Quarters and how they serve and engage our yearly meeting.
- The Youth Religious Life Coordinator visit facilitated multigenerational forum after worship at Old Haverford Meeting.
- The Youth Religious Life Coordinator facilitated the first of 3 Saturdays in Godly Play and Faith & Play training for PYM Friends at Pendle Hill, January 11.
- The Religious Education and Youth Work Thread Gathering was held at Wilmington Meeting to explore the ways in which our meetings can support religious education and programs for children, youth, and families.
- Friends in Business in November featured dinner and talk by Scott Wallace on super PAC funding and the way it sways election outcomes with 55 people in attendance.
- At the Quaker Family Meetup parents shared experiences and support of parenting during the holidays at Birmingham Meeting.
- Young Adult Friends held a Holiday Potluck on 12/14/19 which 21 people attended.
- The Young Adult Friends Winter Retreat was a “Skill Share” weekend. 23 people came, including 5 new people and a 6 week old baby!
- The Young Friends Christmas Gathering at Woodstown Meeting featured workshops by young Friends relating to identity and exploring the ways in which we are all superheroes.
- The Winter Family Overnight was held on January 11-12 with 12 families and 30+ participants at Camp Onas. They played, worshiped, prepared meals together and explored their theme of “Use your voice!”
Inclusion and Anti-Racism:
- We continue to refine our onboarding procedures as a way of being transparent about the way in which we function as a community. Part of our process is for each new staff member to meet with each current staff member about their work. We are catching up for those who are already on staff by asking each person to give their onboarding spiel to all staff at staff meetings.
- The General Secretary and two Associate Secretaries began individual coaching with Prototype Entities.
- We completed our third all-staff training with Prototype Entities. This final training focused on microaggressions. The staff is forming a sprint to consider the next steps for expanding and operationalizing those learnings.
- We received a preliminary report from Prototype Entities based on the documents they reviewed and the staff they met with. A summary of that report was shared with staff and discussed. We will prepare a summary for PYM Friends as well.
Communications and Technology:
- PYM website was redesigned and relaunched over Christmas. The new framework has better technical support and improved user experience. We now have improved legibility, mobile experience and SEO possibilities as well as faster page load times. The home page, interior page layouts and most of the content did not change.
- The website navigation was improved so that it works better for all our intended audiences (Members, Attenders, Seekers, etc.) by being simpler, not relying on insider knowledge of PYM and concentrating on the most visited pages.
- The PYM graphics on all social media channels were upgraded
- A reporting method was developed to document how people search on the Grants and Quaker Aging Resources webpages.
- December and January editions of “Tote Bag” religious education and family resources e-newsletter were sent.
Staff and Administration:
- Open enrollment just ended and PYM’s health insurance is basically status quo for 2020. The platinum-level plans that we can offer in 2020 are nearly identical to what was offered in 2019 and very similar to those we offered in 2018. The cost of health insurance coverage will increase by a maximum of 4.5%, which is within our budget and the employee contribution remains stable.
- We implemented a new policy that provides a monthly stipend to offset the cost of health insurance for staff who are part-time and do not qualify for PYM health benefits. Nearly all of the part-time staff immediately provided required paperwork and began participating.
- We hired New Children and Families Program Assistant, Crystal Hershey. Crystal grew up in PYM’s youth programs and now is one of the adults nurturing our current crop of children!
- National searches were launched for two positions: Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House and Director of Human Resources & Inclusion. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultants are supporting the HR & Inclusion search.
- The Office Assistant had her baby and is on parental leave. Jess Purvis who has served in this role on an interim basis in the past stepped in to help out again.
- Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Religious Life Coordinator, and Meg Rose, Young Adult Friends Coordinator, met with Pendle Hill Education program staff for a regular meeting on how our organizations can collaborate.
- Grace Sharples Cooke, Associate Secretary for Advancement & Communications, visited Lansdowne meeting to talk about how to increase the effectiveness of Monthly Meeting Fundraising.
- Christie Duncan-Tessmer, General Secretary, attended the Conference of National Black Churches as an invited member of the National Council of Churches Board
- Christie attended the National Council of Churches gathering for “Heads of Communion” for a silent retreat and sharing.
Please join Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for a discussion via Zoom call on January 28th from 7:00pm – 8:00pm. The call will be facilitated by PYM’s General Secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, joined by presenter, Jim Fine, and other members from PYM’s Middle East Collaborative.
- After a brief welcome and worship, the conversation will begin with an overview of the situation in Iran as well as some learning and sharing of the responses from other Quaker organizations.
- Next, we will explore how Friends and local meetings have responded and briefly hear about their work from others on the call.
- Before closing, we will spend some time to identify the next steps that we, as a religious community can take and who will be supporting them.
Zoom Call information
- Topic: Iran Call
- Time: Jan 28, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
- Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/3531120145
- Meeting ID: 353 112 0145
- Dial in:
- 929 436 2866
- 669 900 6833
- 929 436 2866
- Meeting ID: 353 112 0145
Resources to explore
- After Soleimani: How the US-Iran clash is changing the world
- The International Crisis Group’s webpage on Iran
- Washington Memo: Faith statements
- Friends Journal Bob Dockhorn’s article Feb 2019
- AFSC: 5 things to know about Iran
- FCNL toolkit
Jim Fine’s Bio
Jim Fine is a member of the Middle East Collaborative of PYM. He served most recently in the Middle East as Mennonite Central Committee interim representative for Iraq, Iran, and Jordan. In this position he was based in Amman, Jordan from March through June 2019.
Jim and his wife, Deborah, also served as MCC service workers in Iraq from 2010 to 2014. Based in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Region in northern Iraq, they administered MCC’s relief, development, and conflict prevention work with Iraqi partner organizations throughout the country. They returned to their former positions in Erbil as interim staff for four months in 2018.
Prior to serving with MCC Jim worked on Iraq, Iran, and other Middle East issues at the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington from 2006 to 2010.
Jim served with the American Friends Service Committee in Jerusalem in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as co-director of the Quaker Legal Aid Office and Quaker International Affairs Representative for the Middle East. He holds an MA in comparative religion from Columbia University.
On a beautiful and snowy morning at Germantown Monthly Meeting, more than 40 Friends gathered on Saturday, January 18th for a Thread Gathering to learn, share and discuss how to effectively address the environmental justice and climate crisis.
Over the course of the day, folks learned much more about the urgency of cutting emissions in half in the next ten years, and how to meet this challenge.
Together, participants built a vision of a sustainable energy future for the region and developed a set of action steps that can be taken as individuals, local meetings, and as a corporate body. Quakers have much to offer and want to contribute to solving this crisis.
The Eco-Justice Collaborative is asking Friends to make the climate crisis part of the PYM community’s corporate witness and will be taking a climate crisis ‘minute of concern’ to individual meetings and the Quaker Life Council for consideration this spring.
To be involved in future climate work or to receive follow-up information about this Thread Gathering, please email Pat Finley of the Eco-Justice Collaborative firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a letter below from the new PYM Ministry & Care Committee of Quaker Life Council. The letter went to our community on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, describing the value of Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports as the capstone to the spiritual self assessment process, and requesting engagement from all of the communities in our yearly meeting.
As one of its very first tasks, the new Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council has turned attention to the Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports. Friends may wonder why. We believe that the annual custom of conducting a spiritual self-assessment deepens and enriches our spiritual community.
These reports support monthly, quarterly and ultimately the yearly meeting in moving toward shared understanding of and greater obedience to Truth. Gifts and needs can be identified and shared through this process, both internally for each meeting and throughout the yearly meeting as a whole. Concerns expressed in the spiritual state of the meeting report can evoke support from and provide guidance to other meetings. With wider awareness of needs, more appropriate allocation of resources becomes possible at all levels.
Crafting a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report is a transformative opportunity for the meeting, and can serve to draw the community together more closely. Meeting members and attenders can profit from sharing their spiritual condition and relationship with the Divine and looking together at experiences that have enriched them throughout the year. Communication of felt needs allows meeting members and attenders to express their yearnings and learnings within the meeting community and to share them with the broader fellowship of the yearly meeting.
Issuing a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report detailing the process a meeting community undertook and the insights that resulted helps the wider Quaker community. When we see what others are celebrating, mourning, and witnessing across our yearly meeting, we can be inspired and moved in our spiritual development. We benefit when we learn we are not alone in our spiritual journey.
We continue to support the process outlined in 2018 by the Quaker Life Council for developing and sharing Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports:
• All monthly meetings are encouraged to craft a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report and forward it to their respective Quarterly Meetings.
• Quarterly Meetings are encouraged to craft their own Spiritual State of the Meeting Report and to forward it along with the reports of their monthly meetings to the Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council.
• Worship groups and any other communities that are part of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting may also submit a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report, forwarding it directly to the Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council.
• If desired, monthly and quarterly meetings can use this online form to submit their state of the meeting report, either by responding to the questions, or by inserting or appending your report to the form. Friends can also email their reports directly to the PYM office, or mail hardcopies to: Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council, c/o Zachary T. Dutton, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1515 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
• The Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council will read every State of the Meeting Report that it receives and use the reports as a basis for its assessment of the state of the spiritual and religious life of our whole yearly meeting community.
• Based on these communications, The Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council will submit its own State of the Meeting report to QLC to be presented at the July 2020 Annual Sessions and then shared widely with Friends thereafter.
Friends may desire some direction in developing a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report. It may be helpful to consider the meeting’s journey in worship, religious education, witness in the world, preparation for worship and work, pastoral care, ministry, vocal ministry and also those operational processes which have been supports or stumbling blocks throughout the year. Meeting communities may also refer to the queries in our new Faith & Practice as a guide for conducting a spiritual self-assessment and for writing the state of the meeting report.
The Ministry and Care Committee of QLC is interested in the spiritual life of your meeting. In addition to the elements outlined above, we would be interested to learn of specific issues of concern your meeting has experienced in the past year. How has God led your meeting to face and address conflict and/or misunderstandings when they have arisen? How is your meeting community thinking about the purpose and importance of membership? Has the meeting undertaken any anti-racism work, large or small, that your meeting might be exploring? What are those learnings and yearnings particular to your meeting that you would be willing to share?
The Ministry and Care Committee of QLC plans to review state of the meeting reports in late May 2020; in order that the committee may provide a summary report to QLC in time for their June meeting, please submit your report by May 15, 2020. Meetings who have not responded to this invitation by that date may also receive direct inquiries from the Ministry and Care Committee of QLC in order that the experience of as many meetings as possible can be reflected in the Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report. We acknowledge that every monthly and quarterly meeting has their own way of writing and managing their State of the Meeting Reports, and ask to receive whatever commentary best reflects the current spiritual state of your meeting at this time using the suggestions in this email as guidance where you find them useful.
Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch, Clerk
on behalf of the PYM Ministry and Care Committee of Quaker Life Council