The magnolia buds are slower to bloom this year but the sight of them means it is time for the PYM Annual Grant Makers potluck at Arch Street Meeting. The PYM Granting Committee sponsors two annual gatherings for the many Friends who are led to support the yearly meeting by being stewards of our grant funds. The fall Grant Makers Appreciation Luncheon will be held Saturday, October 6th at Friends Center.
A group activity at the 2017 spring gathering shared that with only 42 Friends at lunch, there were over 500 years of experience of grant making experience present. Now that Granting Groups gather together it became obvious that we needed to share our stories. On March 10th it was time for the oldest PYM committee, the Indian Committee, to share the rich history of our bond with Native Peoples. Friend Tom Armstrong, Granting Committee Liaison to the Indian Committee, began the program by sharing that the Granting Committee had formed a publicity sub-committee to assist Granting Groups in telling their stories.
Friends were encouraged to either write stories themselves or give them to their Granting Group Liaison to be shared with the yearly meeting. Tom then introduced Friend Tricia Shore, Clerk of the Indian Committee. Tricia began by sharing the committee’s mission and with help from other IC members answered questions. The committee reminded Friends that the Philadelphia Quakers have never broken the treaty that was signed by William Penn and the Native Peoples. Tricia also shared some of the tools they use to publicize the Indian Committee’s work.
Friend Jim Murphy then closed the program by sharing the wampum belt that signifies Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s bond with the Native Peoples. The wampum belt that Jim carefully unwrapped from its deerskin is the latest belt presented to PYM in 1985. It was made of carved shell and sinew.
In 1795 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting appointed the first standing committee on Indian Affairs. The committee, now known as the Indian Committee, is the oldest in the yearly meeting still working. The work is financed by dedicated endowment funds going back as far as the 1790’s.