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.
4 Reasons to Attend Fall Continuing Sessions!
#1 Spirit-led Discernment and Fellowship
Meeting for worship with attention to business takes place on Saturday morning as a hybrid model. Friends can join onsite at Arch Street Meeting house or from home using Zoom. Please register to receive the Zoom link for the weekend! Items on the meeting for business agenda will connect with the theme of sharing our gifts in service of our faith. Community connections continue over lunch; the meal will be provided onsite at Arch Street, and Friends online can bring their lunch and enjoy fellowship on Zoom between 12:30-1:30pm. Contributions to a “lunch dessert potluck” will be gratefully received at Arch Street!
#2 Intergenerational Worship
For infants to elders (and every age in between) the weekend includes opportunities for worship in community. On Friday evening, there will be an online time of waiting worship (7-8pm) to ground our Sessions weekend in community and Spirit. Worship on Saturday is hybrid in the morning and closes the onsite afternoon program. Then on Sunday morning, we continue the Sessions weekend tradition of All Together Worship. From across meetinghouses and homes, Friends are invited to worship all together from 10-11am. This time in worship will be held in the care of Yearly Meeting elders and the presiding clerk.
Note: the link for All Together Worship is the same as the Sessions link all weekend; Friends who register will have that link.
#3 Children & Youth Programs
How do we cultivate the next generation of Friends? By engaging with them now! Families are encouraged to bring children and youth for a day of fun, learning, crafts and worship in community. Youth programs for children in kindergarten through high school-age youth in the morning, and the afternoon intergenerational program on living into our spiritual gifts, are both onsite-only on Saturday. Child care is available at Arch Street Meeting House all day for children younger than kindergarten. Lunch will be provided at Arch Street Meeting House — including kid-friendly mac and cheese.
#4 Giving to Neighbors
Fall Continuing Sessions is held at Arch Street Meeting House, a place both grounded in Philadelphia history and also seeking to serve Friends and neighbors today. Did you know that The Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (MMFP) and Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust (ASMHPT) have collaborated to create the Friend’s Food Pantry to assist those struggling with food insecurity and other household needs? On Saturday, the PYM community will be there to support the inauguration of the pantry’s community refrigerator at a ribbon-cutting ceremony after lunch. Friends attending in person at Arch Street Meeting House are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to contribute to the Friend’s Food Pantry.
Looking Ahead to Annual and Continuing Sessions 2024
The Gathering, Friends General Conference’s annual program for Friends from across North America, is coming to the Philadelphia area this summer and will be held at Haverford College from June 30-July 6, 2024.
This is cause for celebration and a rare opportunity for PYM Friends to worship, learn, and share fellowship with the broader community of FGC here in our Yearly Meeting footprint. Yet, it also raised for PYM’s Sessions Coordinating Committee the question of how our Annual Sessions might work in conjunction with The FGC Gathering? Both annual events happen in the month of July, and participation can mean a significant investment in time and financial contribution.
Sessions Coordinating Committee created a proposal to creatively address the opportunity and concerns, and it was approved by the joint Councils on October 20 — PYM will adapt the format and schedule of Annual Sessions for 2024!
Annual Sessions 2024 will happen immediately following the FGC Gathering at Haverford College. We hope all Friends will participate in a day-long program focused on attending to the Yearly Meeting’s business. There will be options to join online with Zoom, continue on at Haverford College after attending the Gathering, or join on campus post-Gathering. The FGC Bookstore will remain open for our extended time on campus.
Along with this creative summertime solution, Continuing Sessions in March and November will expand in 2024 to be Friday-Sunday weekends together, with time for business, worship and fellowship. SCC and the Councils offer the assurance that we will have the equivalent hours for business spread throughout the year that we typically have during our summer Annual Sessions.
This change is a unique circumstance intended only for 2024.
Save the Dates
- Spring Continuing Sessions: Friday, March 8 – Sunday, March 10th, 2024
- Annual Sessions: Saturday, July 6th (with a possible addition of Sunday, July 7th)
- Fall Continuing Sessions: Friday, March 8th – Sunday, March 10th, 2024
2024 gives Sessions Coordinating Committee a rare opportunity to pause and think about our longer-term needs and planning. SCC will be seeking input on your hopes, ideas and needs for Annual Sessions in years to come. If you are interested in joining SCC and would like to share your gifts and skills as we vision our way forward, please contact the Director of Program and Religious Life.
- Tara Rubinstein, Sessions & Events Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melinda Wenner Bradley, Director of Program & Religious Life, email@example.com