Worship Sharing

Worship Sharing (or Worship-Sharing) is a Quaker group process that “provides an opportunity to reflect deeply on a topic, to build community with others, and to feel the movement of the Spirit within the group.” [PacYM Faith & Practice (2001), p. 206]  Based on a format called “Quaker Dialogue” developed by Rachel Davis DuBois, the practice has evolved to become a staple element of PacYM’s Annual Sessions since the 1960’s.  For many, Worship Sharing is a deeply enriching experience and a highlight of Annual Session.

Worship Sharing groups at Annual Session consist of 6 to 9 Friends who meet daily in open worship, speaking to prepared queries as they are led.  These are the guidelines currently in use:

Worship Sharing Guidelines

The queries are to remind us of some common experiences.  It is usually better to pick one to labor with rather than to try to speak to all the queries provided.  If we are moved by the Spirit to speak on something else close to our hearts, we should follow the Spirit.

We come knowing that we will gather in stillness – to listen, to be still, to share.

We speak from our own experiences and feelings.  Experience, like taste, is real and complete; it is not a subject of discussion, but a window into another life.

We speak for ourselves out of the silence.  We do not answer, debate, disagree, or try to solve someone else’s problem.

We speak once on each round; we may pass or delay our turn.

We listen compassionately, striving to understand the feelings of the person speaking, whose experience and reaction may be very similar or very different from ours.

We take time in the stillness between speakers to hold what we have heard in the Light.

We notice the time to be sure everyone has time to share.  The convener will remind us if we lose track of time while speaking or when it is time to close.

We remember that everything said is confidential.

When the sharing seems complete and everyone has had the opportunity to speak once, we may have time to add to our own earlier contribution, some second thoughts or non-judgmental discussion, still maintaining a worshipful spirit.

New Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee and Survey (due July 31)

A message from the Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee Co-clerks

Dear Friends in PacYM Meetings, Worship Groups, Committees, Quarterly Meetings, and Related Organizations,

In February of this year, Ministry Committee of PacYM approved forming a subcommittee on Indigenous Concerns under its care. You can read more about it in the Indigenous Concerns report to RepCom from March 2021 and on the Indigenous Concerns web page. The subcommittee is still in a formative stage and seeks members and advisors/accountability partners. 

As part of getting going in service to the yearly meeting and all the local meetings, we are starting conversations, creating connections, and learning what Friends in our PacYM region are already doing on this topic, including via a survey.

The purposes of this email are:

1) To introduce this new subcommittee to you all. Aloha! Hola! Hello!

2) To ask you to designate someone to fill out this survey by July 31. (Estimated time to complete: 15-20 minutes.) Please see below for more information about the survey.

3) To invite recommendations and self-nominations of Friends –Indigenous and non-Indigenous– who might like to serve on this subcommittee and of Indigenous Friends who may prefer being an advisor or accountability partner. There is space to submit names on the survey, and anyone is welcome to email us. (Ministry Committee is responsible for appointments to its subcommittees.) Currently no subcommittee members are Indigenous.

4) To ask you to spread the word about how to sign up for the Friends for Right Relationship listserv, an online community of f/Friends, mostly in the US and Canada, for sharing information and asking questions. (See our web page for details on how to join.)

5) And to remind folks about the Braiding Sweetgrass Online Worship Group, currently 1st Mondays, 7-9 pm Pacific, via zoom. All are welcome. Hosted by PacYM Unity with Nature Committee and co-sponsored by Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee and Youth Programs Coordinating Committee. See this post about the worship group and this google doc for updates.

Please read on for more details about the survey:

Survey deadline has been extended to July 31(Estimated time to complete survey: 15-20 minutes.)

https://forms.gle/P7vswpApy1jdSWdT9

This survey is formatted to be filled out by designees from each Meeting/Worship Group, PacYM Committee, Quarterly Meeting, and related Quaker organizations. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Individual Friends may email us any input or questions.

Our intention is to compile a summary of the actions that local meetings, orgs, and committees are taking via our page on the PacificYearlyMeeting.org site to promote sharing, networking, learning, and action. We will update the page from time to time as we all learn and grow in these efforts and as meetings, committees, and organizations have new information to share. No individual person’s name or contact info will be shared on the website without prior consent.

Please keep in touch to tell us what you’re already doing and where you’d like support. We can play a connecting role to put meetings/committees/orgs in touch with each other as needs and interests arise. The subcommittee has no expectation that any meeting or organization is trying to take on many of the actions listed in the survey all at once. Continuing revelation can come slowly or in leaps and jumps: we’re all learning and growing into awareness and actions together.

Thank you!

The new PacYM Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee:

  • Lisa Hubbell & Alyssa Nelson, Co-Convenors
  • Sophie Wood Brinker
  • Jim Summers and Gail Eastwood, Liaisons from PacYM Ministry Committee

CONTACT: IndigenousConcernsClerk [at] PacificYearlyMeeting [dot] org 

WEB PAGE: https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/committee-newsletters-and-reports/indigenous-concerns

Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group

The Unity with Nature Committee, Indigenous Concerns Sub-Committee, & Youth Programs Coordinating Committee are proud to cosponsor Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group (BSWG). In this group we are moving chapter by chapter through Braiding Sweetgrass by Anishinabekwe ecologist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.

For more information and the current schedule, click here.

This book has been profoundly impactful on both the Unity with Nature committee and Indigenous Concerns Sub-Committee. We feel strongly that this book has enormous potential to deepen Friends’ connection with the natural world, heal our relationship with it, and inspire new forms of action in our times.

This Worship Group is for all Friends, but may speak particularly deeply to those who wish to explore the intersections of Climate Courage, Ecological Justice, Eco-Grief, Spirituality, Indigenous Wisdom, and our Relationship with The Living World.

We look forward to you joining us!

Clerk’s Call to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session
 July 23 to 28, 2021

Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us

 “God, who made all, pours out his spirit upon all [people] in the world, in the days of his new covenant, yea, upon blacks and whites, Moors, and Turks, and Indians, Christians, Jews, and Gentiles, that all with the spirit of God, might know God and the things of God, and serve and worship him in his spirit and truth.”
George Fox

 “Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, that to turn all the treasure we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives.”
John Woolman, “A Plea for the Poor”

As this is being written, we are holding a deep concern for the epidemic of racism―systemic and overt white supremacy in our country. The COVID 19 epidemic and global climate crisis have also greatly impacted Friends this year and many in our community have experienced loss, uncertainty and ongoing grief. And yet we know that these affect Friends in our Yearly Meeting in markedly different ways. Both COVID 19 and the climate crisis disproportionately affect Friends in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We are called to move toward love and justice.

The virtual Annual Session 2021 of Pacific Yearly Meeting will be held July 23 to 28. Our keynote speakers are Avotcja Jiltonilro, a poet, storyteller and multi-instrumentalist from Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting and Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, a second year college student at the University of Pennsylvania and a Young Adult Friend from Sacramento Friends Meeting. These two women will share their poetry and will engage in a dialogue on the theme.

Together we will take the time to connect with the Power of the Spirit within us. The indwelling Spirit connects us to one another and to all of creation.

This interconnectedness requires us to reevaluate how we relate to one another. The dominant culture within our country and our Religious Society of Friends of the Truth has centered whiteness for too long. What acts of love and justice are necessary for us to re-center our Society to a place of justice, of love, for all? How do we begin to move from entitlement to humbly giving our energy to a different way of being? How do we grow our abilities to cherish one another and develop a culture of dignity within our Yearly Meeting and beyond? Ongoing learning, truth telling, and willingness to repair are needed to break the bonds of racism. Each of us can see a portion of Light, but we need all of us to see the way forward, guided by Spirit.

You are invited to the Pay as Led online Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting July 23 to 28, 2021 from wherever you are tending your heart. When registration is open you will be able to choose which activities are right for you. Together at Annual Session we will seek the guidance of the Divine Spirit in worship, in learning, and in rejoicing together.

Sandy Kewman
Presiding clerk

Clerk’s Call to PacYM Representative Committee 2021

The theme of our Annual Session in July will be Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.

 WHEN/WHERE:

RepCom will be held virtually in 3 Zoom sessions Saturday February 27 and on Saturday March 6 (10:00-11:30 AM, 1:00-2:30 PM, and 3:30-5:00 PM). There will be a meeting of Monthly Meeting Representatives to PacYM from 7:00 to 8:30 PM on Friday, February 26.

REGISTRATION:

You must register for RepCom in order to receive the Zoom links.  Register by SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 by filling out the form on the PacYM website.

Before coming to RepCom, please review the advance documents on the website carefully.

PRESENTING AND REPORTING:

Please submit written reports by Monday, February 4 to Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk (email address below).  Guidelines for reports are on the PacYM web page. Reports sent after 2/8 might not be posted prior to RepCom. In preparation for this summer, any business that committees, officers, or representatives to outside organizations intend to bring to Annual Session must be brought for a first reading to RepCom. Contact Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk (email address below) if your committee wishes to present at RepCom. 

INTEREST GROUPS AT THE 2021 ANNUAL SESSION

The process for getting Interest Groups scheduled for Annual Session is on the PYM website at www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2017/documents/how-to-schedule-an-interest-group-at-pym-annual-session/. Please submit your proposals by Sunday, March 7.

JUNIOR YEARLY MEETING:  Plans for meetings of the youth leadership of Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) and JYM  Adult Committee to plan the JYM Annual Session program are in progress.  If you have questions, please contact the clerk of the JYM Adult Committee, Dan Strickland danstrickland2001@yahoo.com.

Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk of PYM, will preside at RepCom. She and I will send you further information, including an agenda, in one or more follow-up mailings. 

If you have questions for the Presiding Clerk, contact Sandy at PYMclerk@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you,Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk, assistanttotheclerk@pacificyearlymeeting.org

Clerks Call to RepCom 2021 (this page as a PDF)

2021 RepCom Reports and Minutes

Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2021 Representative Committee meeting (“RepCom 2021”) took place Feb 26 & 27 and March 6, 2021, via Zoom.  Minutes for the meeting are available on the PYM Minutes page.  This page contains information and materials in preparation for RepCom 2021. For information about Representative Committee in general and links to info about other years’ meetings see the Representative Committee page.

Overview

This year’s meeting of PacYM Representative Committee (RepCom) will be unlike anything we have done before. As always, everyone in PacYM is invited to RepCom–you don’t need to be your Monthly Meeting’s representative and you don’t need to be serving the Yearly Meeting in any particular role. New this year is that RepCom will be held virtually on Zoom (like so many things are these days) and the schedule will be very different from previous RepComs. In order to make good use of our time and not over-Zoom ourselves, we will meet on 2 successive Saturdays:  February 27 and March 6. The times have not been finalized, but we are planning three 90-minute sessions each day:  one in the morning and two in the afternoon. We will have substantial breaks between meetings. In addition, there will be a meeting of Monthly Meeting Representatives on the evening of Friday, February 26 (exact time TBD).
 
The theme of this summer’s Annual Session will be “Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.” The theme is further explained in the Clerk’s Call to Annual Session 2021In preparation for this summer, any business that committees, officers, or representatives to outside organizations intend to bring to Annual Session must be brought for a first reading to RepCom. The deadline for reports to RepCom will be  Monday, February 8 and proposals for Interest Groups at Annual Session are due by midnight on Sunday, March 7.

Evaluation

If you attended any portion of RepCom, please fill out an evaluation form by Friday, April 16, 2021.

Some Deadlines

Registration

  • The registration deadline was extended to Feb 19 and registration is now closed.

Advance Materials

Advance Packet

  • Packet of Advance Materials  This all-in-one PDF includes the Clerk’s Call, the schedule, and all committee and representative reports below that were submitted by the deadline.
  • Correction: Ministry Committee wishes to correct an error in the Friends of Color Subcommittee section of their report in the Advance Packet.  The worship group in Spanish is not an offshoot of the Friends of Color Subcommittee.  It is an independent worship group that welcomes all who want to worship in the manner of Friends and give their ministry in Spanish.  More information and the link to worship can be found here:https://westernfriend.org/qwfo-reunion-en-espanol.

Additional Materials

Committee and Officer Reports

All documents below are also contained in the Advance Packet (a single PDF) except where indicated otherwise.  Most will also be contained in the Minutes Packet when it is posted.

Representatives Reports

Reports from our Representatives and Observers to Outside Organizations.  These are also in the Advance Packet and will be in the Minutes Packet afterwards.

News from Outside Organizations

Newsletters and other communications coming directly from outside organizations to which PYM sends Representatives or Observers.  Because of their size, these documents are not included in the Advance Packet nor in the Minutes Packet.

Minutes Packet

  • In a break with past practice, minutes for this meeting are only posted on the PYM Minutes page.  That is where you will find minutes for not only this meeting but all other RepCom and Annual Session meetings as well.

Deadlines that Have Passed

  • INTEREST GROUPS FOR ANNUAL SESSION:  Sunday, March 7 (the end of RepCom weekend) was the deadline for committees to submit seasoned proposals for Interest Groups at Annual Session 2021.  See  How to Schedule an Interest Group at Annual Session for details.  Contact Sharon Gates if you need to discuss a possible late submission or modification of a submission.
  • REPORTS  deadline was Monday, Feb 8. Instructions are below.
  • REGISTRATION deadline was Friday, February 19.
  • BUDGET REQUESTS: RepCom is where we approve the Annual Session Budget as well as handle any mid-year General Budget augmentations. Requests should have been submitted to the Finance Committee well ahead of the Feb 8 report deadline.
  • EVALUATION: If you attended any portion of RepCom, please fill out an evaluation form by Friday, April 16, 2021.

Instructions for Authors of Documents for this Page

  • Officers, Committee Clerks and other authors of advance documents please do the following:
    • See the Guidelines for Reports to Representative Committee 2021 for more detailed style guidelines and a template Word file you may use.
    • Send in your report as a .doc or .docx file –or equivalent– (rather than as email text or .pdf).  This will help the Secretariat and Recording Clerks have access to the text and formatting as well as simplifying our document management process.  You are encouraged to use this template Word file.
    • Name your report file like this: CommitteeName-Report-to-RepCom-2021.doc or .docx.  For example:
      • Ministry-Report-to-RepCom-2021.doc,
      • Latin-American-Concerns-Report-to-RepCom-2021.docx
      • Note that the names are quite long enough without adding the word “Committee”.
    • Email by Feb. 8, 2021 to the Assistant to the Clerk (Sharon Gates) <pymassistanttotheclerk@gmail.com>.
    • We will post your report here as a PDF that we will create from your .doc.
    • Documents received by the deadline (Feb. 8) will be assembled into an “advance packet” distributed electronically to all participants.  Documents received late will be more difficult for participants to find and may be overlooked.  So please submit your report by the deadline or earlier if you can manage it.

2021 Annual Session Information

This is the information page for Pacific Yearly Meeting’s upcoming 2021 Annual Session, which took place online July 23 – 28, 2021. The theme this year is “Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.” See the Clerk’s Call for more about the theme.

See also AS LIVE 2021 (information for registered attenders only) and the PYM Minutes page for the minutes from Annual Session.

Before You Leave

  • Show your appreciation and help make Annual Sessions even better by sharing your feedback while the experience is still fresh in your mind.  You’ll find the Annual Session Evaluation Form on AS LIVE 2021 to fill out before you leave.

Get Involved

  • The year-around work of Pacific Yearly Meeting is conducted almost entirely by volunteers. Without the many, many volunteers none of it would happen. Working on committees is also a great way to deepen your spiritual life and to enlarge your circle of F/friends beyond your local community. The Service Survey form (available on our Get Involved page) is where you can communicate your gifts and interests to the Nominating Committee, whose job it is to match people with the best place to put their talents to use.

Epistle

  • Pacific-YM-2021-Epistle
  • Note: As the 2021 Annual Session was conducted online via Zoom, there were no epistles from the younger Friends this year.

Minutes

Advance Information

Advance Packet

  • PacYM-2021-07-AS.Advance-Packet
  • The Packet of Advance Materials is an all-in-one PDF containing the Clerk’s call, the schedule, interest group descriptions, and (nearly all of the) committee reports.  If you just want an individual report, you will find it below under Reports
  • Additions and Corrections:  Also check under Reports below for items marked in red “not in Advance Packet.”  These have been added or revised since the Advance Packet was put together.

Registration

Clerk’s Call

Sacred Space Witnessing

Sacred Space Witnessing during PacYM Plenaries (from the Racial Justice Subcommittee)

Friends of Color Retreat July 17

Information for Specific Age Groups

During the Session

AS LIVE 2021

The AS LIVE 2021 page contains links to the Zoom meeting rooms and other information for registered attenders only. The password for AS LIVE was included in an email sent to registered attenders by the Registrar on July 17.  If you’ve lost the password, contact Registrar@pacificyearlymeeting.orgPlease do not share the password with anyone who is not registered.

Schedules and Agendas

See also  AS LIVE 2021 for Zoom links and additional information for registered attenders only.

Keynote Speakers

Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, a Friend raised in Pacific Yearly Meeting, Sacramento Friends Meeting, is now a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying political science, Latinx studies, and Spanish. Avotcja (Avacha) Jiltonilro, a Friend in Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting, is a poet, musician, and playwright. They will share their reflections on the theme of Annual Session.

Bible Study

Led by Regina Renee Ward. Regina Renee is a member of Ujima Friends Peace Center in Philadelphia. She is a public librarian and former public school teacher. She is passionate about social justice, intellectual freedom, reading, and building community. Her work with Friends and racial healing was born out of necessity as she navigates life both as a woman of African descent and a Christian Friend. Regina Renee serves Friends General Conference as the clerk of Nurturing Ministries Committee and as co-clerk of the Institutional Assessment Implementation Committee. Her favorite Book in the Bible is James. Her life verse is Micah 6:8.

Early Quaker Writings

 Adventures from the Journals of Early Friends

Bob and Kathy Runyan are convinced Friends who served as Ben Lomond Quaker Center directors from 2011 to 2019. They have lead and facilitated numerous Quaker workshops particularly focused on early Quaker writings. Bob is a piano technician and currently the clerk of Chico Friends Meeting. Kathy is the lead teacher in a preschool at Chico State University and serves on the Ministry and Oversight Committee for both College Park Quarterly Meeting and Chico Friends Meeting.

 

Reports

The individual reports are also included in the all-in-one Advance Packet that is linked above, except for those marked not in Advance Packet.

Updates

  • Look for the following items below, that are not in Advance Packet
    • Western Friend Annual Report (as distinct from Rep to WF Report)
    • Unity with Nature Committee corrected a name misspelling
    • Racial Justice Subcommittee report, posted 7/24, updated again 7/24
    • Nominating Committee Updates, posted 7/24, replaced by another posted 7/26 (add’l nominations and revised proposals)
    • Epistle Excerpts from other yearly meetings selected by the Reading Clerk, posted 7/25
    • Communications Committee revised database policy proposal, posted 7/27.
    • Registrar‘s Report, posted 7/27
    • Statistical Report, revised, posted 7/28
    • Treasurer‘s Report, revised, posted 7/28

Committee/Officer Reports

Reports from Representatives to Outside Organizations

Deadlines that Have Passed

  • INTEREST GROUP Proposals:  Sunday, March 7 (the end of RepCom weekend) was the deadline for committees to submit seasoned proposals for Interest Groups at Annual Session 2021.  See  How to Schedule an Interest Group at Annual Session for details so you’ll be ready next year.
  • Reports: Officer, Committee and Representative reports were due Monday, July 5. See the Corrected Guidelines for content and formatting, as well as information for submitting reports. Those who wish may also use the reports template. (Note: The previous guidelines had a typo in the email address for submission.)
  • Registration: Friday, July 16. See below.
  • Payment for registration: see above under Registration

Late Registration

  • The deadline for registration was Friday, July 16.   Contact the Registrar directly (Registrar@pacificyearlymeeting.org) to find out what your options are now.
  • Payment (if you registered but didn’t use PayPal to pay): send a check made out to “Pacific Yearly Meeting” to:
    Pacific Yearly Meeting Registrar
    c/o Lawrence Alderson
    10 Leeds Lane
    Aliso Viejo, CA, 92656

Contacts

Pacific Yearly Meeting seeks full-time Youth Programs Coordinator (12/2020)

Pacific Yearly Meeting seeks a full-time Youth Programs Coordinator, beginning in March, 2021. The role of the Youth Programs Coordinator is to enhance the spiritual development and nurture of youth and intergenerational community within the Yearly Meeting.

The Youth Programs Coordinator supports and coordinates activities that build the capacity of youth and adults to run their own programs and serves as a resource for Meetings (local/Monthly, worship groups, Quarterly, Yearly) and related Quaker organizations within PacYM. In working with individuals, groups, and committees of all ages, the Coordinator and the Youth Programs Coordinating Committee (YPCC) may act as a catalyst for new programs and activities. The work of the Youth Programs Coordinator (YPC) includes supporting young Friends and involving them in the life of the Meeting: helping them to stay connected between sessions and helping Meetings that have children, teenagers, and young adults meet these Friends’ needs. 

Applicants for this position must have a demonstrated spiritual life, including a deep grounding and experience of Quaker beliefs, practices and discernment processes.They should possess excellent communication and interpersonal relationship skills and be able to utilize contemporary forms of technology.  Applicants should have successful experience organizing activities and events with teenagers and adults.  They should be organized and self-motivated.

This is a full-time, year-round position with an initial salary ranging from $47,000 to $54,000 per year, based on applicant experience. There is a generous benefits package including paid vacation, holidays, personal days and a contribution towards a health reimbursement account. Please see additional information detailed in the full YPC Job Description and our updated YPC Roles & Responsibilities documents.


HOW TO APPLY: Individuals interested in applying for this position should send a cover letter that describes how you would approach the position (max two pages) and a resume with the names and contact information for three references. Application materials should be sent via e-mail attachment to Barbara Babin: b_babin@yahoo.com 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled; to be certain of being considered for the position, applications should be received by January 20, 2021.

Pacific Yearly Meeting is an equal opportunity employer. Persons of color and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

A Message from the Presiding Clerk: an experiment in learning and safeguarding space at Annual Session 2020

July 8, 2020; updated version July 12, 2020

Our theme at this Annual Session is “Radical Inclusivity: Responding to God’s Insistent and Persistent Love.” Radical inclusivity is the vision of what I hope all of us want to work toward, where we want to grow. But it is not where we are now.

White Supremacy is embedded in the culture and institutions of the U.S and within the Religious Society of Friends. We must name it and we will name it here at Annual Session when it shows up.

There are ways that the tentacles of racism show up and when it shows up we, as individuals and as a collective, suffer damage to our souls. People of Color notice when racism shows up. White people often do not notice.

At Annual Session, we are embarking on an experiment this year. We will notice words that land in a harmful way and help us, our whole body of Friends assembled here, to learn to see and to acknowledge when words land in a way that causes harm. One might say something with no harmful intent, but it may land with harm. We will pause at those times, we will breathe together, and we will address the harm done. Addressing harm needs to include acknowledging another’s experience. Dialogue with white Friends can then occur in a private space if an individual wants to explore the learning. Dialogue among Friends of Color can also occur in a private space to address the harm done. Throughout the Annual Session there will be Affinity Groups held for Friends of Color and for white allies in separate spaces so that support for this important work and learning can occur without inadvertent harm being done.

Let us strive to hold our whole community with open hearts, to pay attention to all who share this space, and to speak with integrity. For as much as it is hard for white Friends to learn of our unseen, unacknowledged racism, it is even harder, harsher for it to land with Friends of Color. A harm to one is a harm to all. Let us see what love can do.

The Process:

Anyone in attendance may identify an ‘ouch’ by sending a private message in the ‘chat’ to Friends Laura Magnani and Deborah Marks who will alert the clerk to the ouch. 

When there is an ‘ouch’ in the room, the clerk will stop the meeting and ask Friends to pause, breathe, and notice what has occurred so we can all learn together. The clerk will ask Friends to spend a few minutes writing what they noticed and what each is feeling in their body. This may be an opportunity to consider how the ‘ouch’ lives within you, too, and how you might forgive and repair. 

We will then return to the business at hand. At the end of the plenary, the clerk will check-in to see if anyone wants to acknowledge the harm done. Please read below for examples of this. 

Friends of Color are encouraged to meet in the Affinity Group for Friends of Color for further support. White Friends are encouraged to continue learning about how to uncover and dismantle white supremacy within themselves and our community in the White Allies Affinity Group. 

Examples of an ouch:

  • Using the pronoun ‘we’ when speaking as a white Friend about the Yearly Meeting when that person really means ‘we white Friends.’
  • A white Friend speaks about how ‘sheltering in place’ has not caused any change in her lifestyle, when People of Color are disproportionately affected by the loss of livelihood and death from Coronavirus infection.

What does acknowledging harm done by speaking something that causes an ouch or harm look like and sound like?

  • Thank you for calling this to my attention.
  • I will reflect on this and attend to learning from it.
  • After some reflection:
    • “May I offer a repair?“ Ask question without expectation
    • “I recognize that my statement caused harm because… “ No excuses.
    • “I apologize for that harm”
    • “Is there anything I missed that I might explore with white Friends?”

What further causing harm may look like:

  • Saying “yes, but”
  • Asking or expecting Friends of Color to teach white Friends. Please utilize the White Allies Affinity Group for further education and support.  
  • Seeking soothing and comfort from a Friend of Color when speaking about the ouch with the Friend of Color (and at the expense of their time and energy). This is sometimes referred to as “white tears.” 

Sandy Kewman
Presiding Clerk

This message is available as a PDF on the 2020 Annual Session Information page.