Berkeley Meeting House, 27 February – 1 March 2015
2015 PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING ANNUAL SESSION
Walker Creek Ranch, 13 – 18 July 2015
FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT: LOVE AND JUSTICE
The commandment to love one another is at the heart of our Quaker faith, and centrally featured in its Christian roots. The Religious Society of Friends takes its name from a passage in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus declares,
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you . . . you are my friends if you do what I command you . . .I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. (John 15:12-15, NRSV)
Early Friends treasured a passage in St. Paul’s Epistle to Galatians (5:22): “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Echoing this passage, George Fox emphasized the spiritual centrality of love. Early in his ministry, he wrote to Friends, “I pray that all your hearts may be knit together in love, and in one spirit to God.” (Ep. #19, 1652), and later referred frequently to “the Royal Law of Love.”
Early Friends also understood that loving-kindness, joy, and other fruits of the Spirit cannot be manufactured by good intentions, but arise spontaneously when we allow ourselves to become utterly vulnerable to the searching Light within our conscience. Yielding without reservation to the truth of our condition, we awaken to a new life—and are enveloped by an astonishing, redemptive love. Through this radical self-transformation, we awaken to the fruits of the Spirit. William Penn wrote of the first generation of Quakers, “They were changed . . . themselves before they went out to change the world.”
Facing urgent needs for justice, however, we easily become self-righteous, impatient, strident. Learning of the oppression of indigenous peoples, the harsh reality of racism today, the gravity of environmental decline, or violence of any kind, we may be overcome by outrage that blocks the healing power of love. Living in love is essential not only for our spiritual health, but also for effective work for justice.
Intertwined themes of love and justice are featured at the 2015 PYM Annual Session. Our keynote speaker will be Lloyd Lee Wilson, a member of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), and a deeply-grounded author on Quaker spirituality. His many writings include Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order and a recent Pendle Hill Pamphlet, Radical Hospitality (#427). Wilson has written eloquently of the need to center our Quaker activism in the gestalt of Quaker practice, knit together in a faithful Quaker community by the redeeming spiritual power of loving-kindness. He writes that when that spiritual grounding is absent, “In our hasty desire for the fruit of right social order, we have neglected the Root from which all good fruit springs.”
We will also hear a presentation by Jose Aguto of FCNL on the challenge of worldwide environmental decay, and from Paula Palmer of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, who will present her powerful workshop, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples.”
REPCOM: The PYM Representative Committee meets Friday 27 February – Sunday 1 March at Berkeley Meeting House:
- Fri. 27 Feb., 6 pm: PYM Reps will hold an evening consultation.
- Sat. 28 Feb., 8:30 am: RepCom begins, continuing to Sun. 1 March if necessary.
- Interest Groups at Annual Session: Proposals for Interest Groups should be approved by a standing PYM Committee and submitted by its clerk. Please submit your proposals by Friday 27 Feb. to Amy Cooke, Assistant to the Clerk.
- If your committee is presenting at RepCom, written reports submitted in advance are preferable to lengthy oral explanations. Send to be posted prior to RepCom, allowing sufficient time to be read before we meet. If possible, oral reports should be brief, conveying only essential information.
- Before coming to RepCom, please review advance documents carefully.
- If you have questions for the Clerk, contact me at [address removed].
- Please register for RepCom no later than Friday 13 February, indicating your arrival and departure times, and your need (if any) for overnight hospitality. (Persons registering after Friday 13 February cannot be assured of overnight hospitality.)
In the Light,
Steve Smith, Presiding Clerk