Dear Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,
It is with joy that we write to you about our revival of state of the meeting reports! We, the Quaker Life Council, invite all monthly and quarterly meetings to restart or continue the annual custom of conducting a spiritual self-assessment. As our new Faith & Practice illuminates, this tradition provides, “a deep and meaningful opportunity that draws the community together.”
Issuing a state of the meeting report that details the process the meeting community undertook and the insights at which the meeting arrived also helps other Quaker communities. When we see what others are celebrating, mourning, and witnessing across our yearly meeting, we can be inspired, drawn even closer together, and moved in our spiritual development.
We have been working on how best to steward the revival of the practice of issuing state of the meeting reports. Overtime, we will develop an online archive of state of the meeting reports so that anyone in our yearly meeting community can be inspired at any time! Of course, we will redact anything that needs to remain confidential.
We outline below the process that we will use to steward state of the meeting reports:
- All monthly meetings are encouraged to forward their state of the meeting reports to their respective Quarterly Meetings.
- In turn, the Quarterly Meetings are encouraged to forward their own state of the meeting report in addition to the reports of their monthly meetings to the Quaker Life Council.
- Worship groups and any other community that is part of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting may also submit a state of the meeting report, forwarding it directly to the Quaker Life Council.
- If desired, monthly and quarterly meetings can use this online form to submit their state of the meeting report. Friends can also email the reports directly to the PYM office. Or mail hardcopies to: Quaker Life Council, c/o Zachary T. Dutton, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1515 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
- The 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.
- The Quaker Life Council will issue its own state of the meeting report to be presented at the July 2018 Annual Sessions and then shared widely with Friends thereafter.
This year, we encourage meeting communities to 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 reports. We also encourage meetings to include a description of any specific issues of concern they have experienced in the past year.
Lastly, the Quaker Life Council is especially curious about how meeting communities are thinking about the purpose and importance of membership. We’d also like to hear about any anti-racism work that any meeting communities might be exploring, large or small.
We hope to receive and review state of the meeting reports during our meeting in June of 2018 and request them by May 31, 2018, if possible. We acknowledge that every monthly and quarterly meeting has their own way of writing and managing their state of the meeting reports. Some meetings will not yet have completed their most current report, so we invite meetings to send the report from the most recent year in which one was completed by May 31, 2018.
Amy Taylor Brooks
Interim Clerk, Quaker Life Council