Clerk’s Call to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session
July 10 to July 15, 2020
Walker Creek Ranch
Responding to the Persistent and Insistent Love of God
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.” – John 13:34
“Thus He whose tender mercies are over all His works hath placed a principle in the human mind, which one to exercise goodness towards every living creature; and this being singly attended to, people become tender-hearted and sympathizing…” – John Woolman, 1720-1772
We are being called at this time to wake up to God’s love for all beings and all of creation. We are being called to notice and respond to the persistent and insistent love within each of us and all around us. We are being called to cultivate and live that love for one another and the earth in all that we do.
We are also being called to acknowledge how our culture within the Religious Society of Friends and the wider society normalizes and perpetuates domination and power over each other and over the natural world. We are being called to notice domination in all that we do and to speak truth to it. This domination takes many forms, both willful and inadvertent, conscious and unconscious. Domination is in play when some persons are more valued than others and when power over others is celebrated and practiced. Domination is at work when our earth is used mindlessly and abused in the name of progress.
Early Friends called attention to ‘disorderly walking’ and labored with one another in worship, prayer, and mindful speech to wake up to the ways in which their daily lives were harmful to their own hearts and souls and that of others and to the earth. Those who are part of the Dominant culture must examine our privilege and entitlement through reflection, reading and most importantly through dialogue and friendships. Collectively, we Friends who bring to our yearly meeting a kaleidoscope of identities and experiences require community with one another to discern the ‘love of truth’ within our lives. Today we need one another to acknowledge the harm we do to each other and to the earth. Commitment to learning a better way, to being in right relationship with each other and with our earth is needed. This means all of us have choices in every moment, to begin anew, to go deeper.
What might this look like? During Annual Session we will explore together. We will ground ourselves in the light of Divine Spirit and in our bodies. We will listen deeply to one another. We will notice when power over another is employed rather than with each other. We will notice and respond to each other out loud and with grace. “While my intent was no harm, the effect did harm.” “I see the harm”, “I see your hurt.” “Thank you for telling me.” “Thank you for your faithfulness.” “I want to find a way forward. “I want to walk this path with you (of reconciliation… or learning)”
We are fortunate to invite Mica Estrada to share her experience and wisdom this year at Annual Session as our keynote speaker. Mica is a member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting. She is a Social Psychologist whose early work focused on conflict resolution, forgiveness, and problem solving. Mica’s current work on social influences that increase care of our planet and greater equity in the world of education are newer expressions of this same leaning toward reducing conflict and supporting the positive in our world. Mica will speak about practicing radical inclusivity through staying awake to the spirit of love and kindness within each of us.
As we come together to worship and sink down into Divine Presence, Mica’s message will help us to let go of our wills, our ideas, our wants. We will then be able to step into the river that unites us all. That is where transformation begins. Please come to PacYM’s Annual Session this coming July as we take this journey together.
“I pray that we will sense more keenly the transformation that God wants to bring about in our time and learn how we can fully and joyfully dedicate ourselves to participating in the creation of an evolved humanity and a renewed world. Then, as fully realized children of God, we can let go of the past and enter something entirely new.” – Marcelle Martin, Our Life is Love, p.191.