Daily Miracle AS 2016 – Wednesday

The Daily Miracle

Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday’s Schedule

6:00–7:00 Outdoor Worship (Amphitheater)

7:00–8:00 Breakfast

8:00–9:30 Interest Groups IV

9:30–10:00 Clear rooms

10:45–11:15 Closing Plenary / Epistle Reading

11:30–12:30 Closing Worship

12:45–1:30 Lunch

1:00–2:30 Evaluation Meeting for Clerks & Officers (Plenary tent)

Interest Groups 8:00–9:30am

Friends Peace Teams. Gay Howard – Garden Room

Friends Peace Teams (FPT) works for peace in many parts of the world. San Diego Meeting just gave FPT in Latin America a grant to help with its work. FPT Asia West Pacific is establishing a Peace Center in Pati, Indonesia, where people from Asia West Pacific come to a yearly conference to learn about Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) and peaceful development. In addition, the African Great Lakes Initiative is working to hold together the peace in Burundi which is unstable because the President wants an unconstitutional 3rd term. – Peace & Social Order

Beyond the Yellow Pages: Monthly Meetings,

IT, and Social Media. Lawrence Alderson and

Mary Klein – Fireside Room

How are monthly meetings in PYM using information technology and social media? Lawrence Alderson of PYM’s Electronic Communications Subcommittee and Mary Klein of Western Friend will give preliminary reports on what they see happening now. How can monthly meetings make better use of current technologies to extend Friends’ long tradition of meticulous recordkeeping? How is Spirit calling our meetings to shine publicly on the Internet?

In considering which tasks to assign to paid technical staff and which to Friendly volunteers, what is “good order” for yearly and monthly meetings? We encourage every monthly meeting to send a knowledgeable representative to this interest group. – Western Friend

Environmental Justice: What are we called to do? Shelley Tanenbaum and Carl Magruder – Maple
Environmental catastrophes almost always impact disadvantaged people disproportionately. Friends have traditionally been very active in promoting peace, equality and justice. At the intersection of peace, equality and earthcare, what are we called to do to support environmental justice? We will explore how Friends are lifting up these concerns and taking action. – Unity with Nature

Eastern Light: Awakening to Presence in Zen, Quakerism and Christianity. Steve Smith – Middle Sequoia
Steve will read passages from his recently-published book, Eastern Light: Awakening to Presence in Zen, Quakerism and Christianity and invite conversation regarding the topics it raises. – Ministry and Oversight

Please Fill out thy Annual Session Evaluation

There are four ways to fill out the 2016 Annual Session evaluation survey.

1) Use your internet-enabled device to complete the annual session evaluation survey at http://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org

2) Use computers in the dining room, which will be available from 8–12:30 today. There will be someone to assist you.

3) The link to the survey will be emailed to the email address you provided at registration. It will arrive on Thursday and be active for one week.

4) None of the above will work for you? You may complete a paper survey and return it to the marked box. Your responses will be transcribed from the original chickenscratch into the electronic survey by the Assistant to the Clerk.

Strand Not Thy Friend

Lisa Hubbell wants to go to Berkeley when it’s over.

Cris Haggins wants to go SFO airport 1pm.

Bronwen Hillman and Natasha Herrera-Hillman also want to go to SFO after evaluation meeting (2:30).

EJ Harkness wants to go San Francisco (or anywhere that can reach SF by public transit) after evaluation meeting.

David Breitzmann wants to go to San Franscisco.

For all Reps, Clerks, and Officers

Before you leave you must go to the information tent to fill out a reimbursement form (regardless of whether you request funds) and also to update your Monthly Meeting information. – Treasurer

Check-out Process

For all participants, please check out of our rooms by 10am. Leave rented linens in your room, and leave your nametags in the box at the info desk. – Registrars

Evaluation Meeting

All incoming and outgoing clerks, reps, and officers, please attend the evaluation meeting from 1–2:30 today in the plenary tent. – Amy Cooke, Assistant to the Clerk

Journey to the Third Age

Age class will be given in the East Bay starting Tuesday October 18th in the evening for ten weeks. This is a class to determine your true play, study, rest, and work and to develop plans for each of them. It is intended for recently retired or soon to be retired people who want to move into proactive retirement. Please email rolenewalker@gmail.com or call Rolene Walker at (415) 359-9297.

Orange County Pride

Friends, Orange County Friends Meeting is hosting a booth at the OC Pride festival in downtown Santa Ana (see http://www.prideoc.com/ for details). This will be our fourth year hosting a booth at the festival, and, should you find yourself in Southern California this Saturday, we would be grateful to see you there. Given the current challenges to transgender rights and the tragedy in Orlando earlier this month, we feel especially led to be present and engaged in this important day for the LGBT community. Please come by and visit us (between 12 noon and 7:30 PM).

Also, we will have a butcher block roll of paper for messages from and to the festival participants and community. Please feel free to pass along any messages you want to share, and I will try to include them, with your first name and meeting, if desired. You can send them via email (ldalderson@sbcglobal.net) or text (626-298-4773). – Lawrence Alderson

Give Over Thine Own Willing Plainsong

The plainsong version of Isaac Pennington’s famous advice to Friends (which Carl Magruder opened and closed his plenary address with) is from an album entitled “Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong” by Paulette Meier. It, along with songs using quotes from other early Friends, can be heard and purchased here: http://paulettemeier.bandcamp.com

Thanks from Guatemalan Scholarship Program

Your generous purchases of Guatemalan handicrafts will provide a medical student (which is our most expensive course of study) with a scholarship for a year. You purchased over $2100 of crafts. Your support is very important to our work. We currently have 74 students. 57% are women and 91% are studying at the university level. Guatemala has the highest rate of malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere. Through education were are creating opportunities for a better future for rural Mayans in Guatemala.

Mil Gracias, Guatemala Friends Scholarship Program

Lost or Found

Margaret Mossman has a pair of sunglasses – black ones that go over prescription.

Two Concrete Actions for Sustainability

To clarify the announcement at the end of the plenary session yesterday afternoon, the FWCC Pisac 2016 Sustainability Minute asks that all yearly meeting monthly meetings, and individuals do TWO concrete actions in the coming year towards greater sustainability. PYM’s Unity with Nature Committee, Peace and Social Order Committee and the FWCC delegates group will make sure this request is sent to the monthly meetings of PYM. Replies, comments, and questions should be sent to Unity of Nature Committee care of Catya de Neergaard email: cadeneergaard@gmail.com

We wish to thank PYM and especially thank Finance Committee for already accomplishing its two new concrete actions for the coming year. In fact it has done three! They are:

1) Sending fewer people long distances (usually by plane) to other Quaker gatherings.

2) Encouraging committees to conference by phone.

3) Promoting more sustainable transportation with smaller carbon footprints, specifically carpooling and public transportation (i.e. trains and buses) to PYM gatherings; and considering a reward for doing so for those traveling over 200 miles.

Gracias por la vida – Thank you for making life more sustainable for everyone. – Catya de Neergaard on behalf of Unity with Nature Committee

Faith and Practice Revision Committee Name

Our committee asks PYM to refer to us as the Faith and Practice Revision Committee as stated in our current Faith and Practice.

Friends Serving Communities: 10 in Attendance

We were glad to have (10) Friends join a lively dinner discussion concerning how to strengthen inter-Meeting dialogue.

The discernment is how to better respond to the question with which many a Monthly Meeting is grappling:

Once the specific social justice ministry to which a Meeting is called as a Body seems clear, how to go about actually organizing the work:

(a) Does one worry about fleas when starting a homeless shelter? are there grants for mats?

(b) How to coordinate volunteers for a food pantry? What are the costs?

(c) Van a Peace Team be organized to respond to drug use, gang activity, police brutality, or other justice concerns?

This is longer term work and we’ll be sending out a short Google Form soon. If you’d like to be involved, contact us at d.breitzmann@gmail.com

In joy, Linnea H. (Chico) and David B (San Francisco)

Online Library Catalog Service

We at Honolulu Friends Meeting have been struggling for a while with how to make our library collection accessible – “small library” web-based catalogs were generally intended for much bigger libraries, in addition to being too expensive (starting at about $600/year). Recently, the people at LibraryThing (www.LibraryThing.com, $25 lifetime membership) have rolled out “TinyCat” (www.LibraryCat.org), which sits on your LibraryThing entries. The maintenance cost is based on number of items and whether or not you employ library workers. Our collection, once it’s entered, will probably come to $60/year. They are offering a 6 month free trial. – Vivian Carlson

Is it Mysticism?”

Many people aren’t sure whether they have had a mystical experience or not. Some rare individuals may not recognize mystical experiences because they experience them so often. More typically, one may think that they are not that kind of person, or don’t have the requisite religious belief. However, mysticism, like gravity, is no respecter of persons! My atheist, rationalist, computer programmer brother in law, when given a simple description of mystical experience, instantly recognized as a mystical encounter in an experience he had while chanting in an ashram years before! How does one tell if an experience is rightly termed “mystical?”

Philosopher William James was fascinated by Quakers, and in particular, the person of George Fox. In his major work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, James offers four characteristics of the mystical which are still used in the fields of religion and psychology today. In healthcare chaplaincy, I use these guidelines when seeking to understand patients’ mystical experiences, including near death experiences.

James writes:

1. Ineffability – The handiest of the marks by which I classify a state of mind as mystical is negative. The subject of it immediately says that it defies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words.

2. Noetic Quality – Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discurssive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for aftertime.

 Carl Sigmond and John Pixley Photo by Martha Carey
Carl Sigmond and John Pixley Photo by Martha Carey

3. Transiency – Mystical states cannot be sustained for long.

4. Passivity – Although the oncoming of mystical states may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as by fixing the attention, or going through certain bodily performances, or in other ways which manuals of mysticism prescribe; yet once the characteristic sort of consciousness has set in, the mystic feels as if their own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if they were grasped and held by a superior power.

There are some other characteristics of mystical encounter which may be present. One is a contraction or expansion of time; a sense of being “outside of time.” Another is a sense that the boundaries of self dissolve in the ego sense, or the bodily sense—being “out of body.” Often there is a sense of profound love, peace, and well being, even in the midst of visions or events that should be scary or worrying—even if it is just worrying that you may have lost your mind!

In closing, one of the reasons that mystical experiences matter in end of life spiritual care is that in general, people who have had these experiences retain a deep knowing that their little selves are not the whole of who/what they are or what is, and studies show that they have less death anxiety. For those who come to this awareness earlier in life, it seems possible to me that they might then be empowered to live boldly, to love fiercely, and to organize their lives around the greater understanding afforded by the mystical experience of oneness with the whole of the cosmos. – Carl Magruder, Strawberry Creek