Each year the Young Adult Friends of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting share an Epistle at the close of Annual Sessions. Below please find their 341st Annual Sessions Epistle.
To all Friends everywhere,
Greetings from the 2021 gathering of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Young Adult Friends, coming together to be in community with one another and join in Spirit for the 341st PYM Annual Sessions. At this time we are all upon the native lands of the First Nations of Turtle Island as we meet online; acknowledging the colonial practices of cultural genocide and state-sanctioned violence that are ongoing today is one small act of naming the systems on which we have built our cities and our societies. This stolen land we stand on was taken by violence and then built upon using forced labor by stolen bodies.
Young Adult Friends joined together Wednesday through Saturday evenings to worship, bond, share our Quaker values, and be in community with each other. Throughout the week, Friends celebrated the movement of Spirit in our expansive expressions of our authentic selves, our passions, and our creativities. Friends welcomed the ministry of Pam/Tommy Greenler, our Artist in Residence, and our hearts welled with joy as the body reflected the celebration throughout their keynote and their ministry shared at our YAF session on Friday evening.
This is a time of change and discernment. During this time of shifts in coordinator leadership in PYM, Friends welcomed the spiritual grounding of the Young Adult Friends community from Kimani Keaton and Zachary Dutton. We lift up the minute shared during our Spring Retreat thanking the leadership and future work of Meg Rose.
Friends spoke of Quakerism being made up of communities of seekers. We are not only witnessing, but walking hand in hand with the greater PYM body as we strengthen our capacity to move forward together. This is a powerful continuing revelation.
We affirm the movement of Spirit through the body addressing the interconnections between climate change, inclusive membership practices, and centering racial justice, which includes reparations to those whose ancestors stewarded this land and built our cities and societies without being paid their due. We reaffirm the urgency of this work and lift up the ministries of our Young Adult Friends and our Annual Sessions keynote speakers.
When the fire within us shines, it is that of the Spirit within holding us with Light. We are each made up of star-stuff, and this body can be a constellation lighting up the sky for ourselves and for our communities, in which we create meaning and live our lives. Thus, it is our Quaker duty to hold up and celebrate the sacred in us and the sacred around us in the land we inhabit, and part of that sacrality is making reparations to those whom we have violated and brought violence to on this land.
Quakers and those aligned with Quaker values, need to step out of their cultural boundaries and seek to find understanding and grace in others’ experiences globally. Our voices are one of our greatest tools. Speaking up against injustice with loving-kindness does not constitute acting in violence… it is a step towards healing the world divisions and forming a more peace and spirit-filled globe.
Minute of Concern: To Friends everywhere, it is our Quaker duty to hold up the sacrality of the body of ourselves and of the land, and thus, Quakers ought to pay reparations in their deep commitment to the work of racial justice and social equity.
With love and peace,
Young Adult Friends
Image credits: Pexel