Discipline has begun its task of a revision of our current Faith and Practice. To date we have gathered for two face to face meetings and one conference call. Our next meeting is planned for late this Spring and we plan to try utilizing the video conferencing software the Western Friend has acquired, to see how this newer technology can help us further our work, and still shrink the size of our carbon footprint. We began by asking one another how we envision a new edition of our book of discipline will look in 5 years. At our first meeting we became clear we need to start a dialogue within this Yearly Meeting, both with the Monthly Meetings as well as individuals, how they use the current Faith and Practice (or not); what within the current Discipline speaks to them and what does not. He have written a group of initial queries to the Monthly Meetings, to Junior Yearly Meeting and to Young Adult Friends, asking them to respond to us with their initial thoughts, asking them to respond to our committee by the end of April which we expect will help us in our work. (see attached letters) . To date, we have received thoughtful responses from San Diego and La Jolla MM, and several others Meetings have indicated they’re in the process of preparing a response to us. We have also recently received thoughtful from two individuals with their thoughts.
Our committee sees this as the beginning of a dialogue, not the sole opportunity for input. We already have more questions to pose to the Meetings, but are loath to do so just yet, as so many have not yet had the time to season and respond to our first queries. We are balancing our need for input, & our whole community’s need for transparency in this revision process, along with the desire we have heard voiced that this revision considerably less than the decade the last revision took, & not wanting to be experienced as an undue burden by the Monthly Meetings. We have at our most recent committee meeting divided the responsibility for primary contact with each of the Monthly Meetings within PYM. In the months ahead, sometime in the months ahead the clerks of each Meeting will hear from one of our committee members, an effort to further communication in this revision process.
We have formulated a 6 month timeline for our initial work, and as individuals have divided some of the responsibilities for drafting sections of the discipline where clear updates need to be made, for the whole committee to season. We are still in the process of crafting a further 5 year timeline for how we will proceed.
Today we bring you word on our proposed interest group our committee plans to hold at the next annual session, on membership: What does it mean to be a Quaker? We plan to present a brief history of membership followed by worship-sharing and discussion, in the hopes of helping Discipline committee clarify what the PYM community believes on this subject, as we begin to revise Faith and Practice.
One final note from your Discipline Committee’s clerk – in our early deliberations, it has become quite clear to this Friend, the various connotations our words can have, are often connotations other individuals may not share. In revising our Discipline, we will need to labor tenderly with one another, listening with an open heart as we choose the words, the terms, las palabras y los dichos that convey to all the spirit of our Quaker thought and practice.
DJ Bloom, Clerk of Discipline