Request for Feedback on Draft Faith and Practice Revisions

Preamble: The Faith and Practice Revision Committee has continued preparing drafts of several sections of Faith and Practice for posting on the Pacific Yearly Meeting website.  This new “rolling revision” process is based on the Quaker understanding of continuing revelation, as congruent with new technologies that make it possible for us to revise the document incrementally. We are living into this “experimentally” as our forebears might have said.

This year we are presenting a revision of “Death and Grieving.”  Though we started this work last year, we understand the tenderness of this topic during the pandemic.  We have also added a suggested format for a Zoom Memorial in the Manner of Friends, which is on the PYM website. (https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2020/uncategorized/zoom-memorial-meetings-guidance/)

The “Death and Grieving” revision considers different ways that people die, with the hope of bringing love and healing as well as nurturing the spiritual growth that can occur at the end of life.  We are asking Meetings, committees and other entities of the Yearly Meeting (for instance JYM, or YAF),  to discern together about the proposed new language and to

share feedback with us at PYM.FPRevision@gmail.com by June 30th.

Text of the draft revision: PYM.FPRevision.Death-in-the-Meeting.2020-05-02

If you reach unity on suggestions you would like to make, let us know.  If you struggled with the text and can give us input on issues where you did not find unity, that is also welcome. We are asking that individual Friends NOT send comments, but participate in larger group discernment, as is our tradition.  We are also asking Friends to contribute medical and legal resources that are relevant to Hawaii, Mexico, and Nevada for the electronic appendix.

Queries you may find useful for your discernment:

  1. What have Friends found helpful during times of profound loss in their lives?
  2. Has your meeting been able to provide a loving support to those who were dying, and to those who care for them?  What would help?
  3. We have addressed many of the ways that Meetings have experienced unexpected death (such as suicide) and subsequent grieving responses.  In what way would including these situations in Faith and Practice help or hinder your Meetings’ response to the families involved?
  4. Would you like resources for Friends who feel led to be more supportive around end of life questions, preparation, grief, and loss?  Do you have any resources you would recommend?
  5. Do you find the internet resources at the end of this document helpful?  Do you have any other resources you could suggest?  These resources can be updated in real time.

— PYM Faith and Practice Revision Committee, May 2, 2020

Zoom Memorial Meetings Guidance

In this time of physical distancing, the need to recognize and solemnize the passing of loved ones is intensified, even while shelter in place protocols make traditional memorials impossible for the time being. Physical distancing may be with us for many months, and may return from time to time in the future.

The Faith and Practice Revision Committee offers the following “virtual Zoom memorial format” for use by Quaker Meetings and others who prefer a simple service:    Zoom Memorial Meetings for Unprogrammed Friends. Please feel emboldened to offer a memorial in this way, and also to modify these suggestions to fit your community and the person who has died.

Carl Magruder, M.Div., BCC, initially wrote this document for SoulWays Spiritual Accompaniment (a Civic Light Project). The document was reviewed by Pacific Yearly Meeting’s (PYM) Faith and Practice Revision Committee, which Carl co-clerks, and is presented as a resource for during this time of physical distancing. It has NOT been finalized for PYM’s Faith and Practice as of April 24, 2020.

Annual Session 2020 Will Be Online Only

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT ANNUAL SESSION 2020

Dear Friends of Pacific Yearly Meeting,

I want to reach out to each one of you in this time of uncertainty and urge you to please take good care of yourselves and each other. Stay connected. We will get through this difficult time together in community.

Since few of us are meeting in physical proximity at this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friends in Monthly Meetings as well as at the Quarterly Meetings and our Yearly Meeting are arranging for telephone and internet meetings. We are now planning to gather as a Yearly Meeting using this technology over many sessions throughout the summer rather than in one physical place at one time in July, 2020. Yes, Annual Session will happen digitally this year instead of a physical face-to-face meeting. Even if large gatherings are allowed by July, we believe that many Friends will be unable to participate in an in-person Annual Session this summer due to COVID-19 related financial, family, work, and school challenges.

 As a yearly meeting, we are working on creating virtual worship-sharing opportunities, interest groups, affinity groups, and the keynote that can be seen by anyone who can connect to the internet. In the coming weeks, planning meetings will occur with Meeting Representatives to PacYM, committees and additional groups. There are many possibilities for what we might offer, so if you have an idea please let us know: PYMclerk@gmail.com. We are hearing positive responses from those who have been able to attend virtual Meetings for worship. We urge everyone to reach out to those who need technical support or to let us know of the need so that Friends can help one another to be connected.

Information about these upcoming virtual programs will be disseminated via email and on the pacificyearlymeeting.org website (check out it’s new look!) as soon as they are scheduled.

Our world is in transition and positive transformation is possible. Our world is crying out for healing. What is being called forth at this time, from each one of us and all of us together and from the world? Let us take the next steps together with openness, curiosity and a dedication to learning with and from one another.

In service,
Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk

Interim Youth Programs Coordinator

Dear Friends,

Youth Programs Coordinating Committee (YPCC) is happy to report that Rebekah Percy has been hired as the Interim Youth Programs Coordinator.  She will begin work on March 23rd.  Rebekah is a member of La Jolla meeting and attender at Orange Grove.  She has attended PacYM since childhood and has served the yearly meeting in a variety of ways, most recently as co-clerk of YPCC for two years.  Her experience with the YPCC as well as her strong organizational and communication skills will serve the youth programs of the yearly meeting well.   Rebekah resigned from the YPCC on January 6 to address work-life balance issues and was not involved in the decision to release Javaughn. Rebekah can be reached at the YPC email address: pym.youthcoordinator@gmail.com starting March 23rd.

The Interim YPC position is intended to serve us through Annual Session and will end on August 31.  YPCC has created an Ad Hoc committee to address issues surrounding the YPC role and are requesting participation from youth, Racial Justice subcommittee, and Ministry and Oversight in this review process.  We hope this work will be completed by fall and a new YPC recruitment process will begin at that time.

Stay well,
Melissa Lovett-Adair, Clerk
Youth Programs Coordinating Committee

Gathering Guidance for Meeting Activities

(sent on behalf of Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk, by Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk)

Dear Friends,
I want to share with you the ‘Gathering Guidance” of the California Dept. of Public Health to help guide your Meeting activities. In order to slow the spread of coronavirus, the state of CA is implementing recommendations including canceling gatherings of 250 or more people and recommending that those at elevated risk stay away from gatherings of 10 or more people. All gatherings of 10 or more people should implement the practice of social distancing by ensuring that individuals are 6 feet apart.

Friends should be sure that their members understand what is being recommended, particularly those at elevated risk. In addition, monthly meetings should do their best to implement safe practices at meetings for worship, including finding ways to break the silence that do not require taking the hand of the person next to you. For example, touching elbows or putting one’s own hands together in front of you and bowing could be used.

We recognize that some PacYM meetings are located outside of California and so you may want to follow those of your state or country. Good hand washing for 20 seconds is still very important.

The guidelines in full can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Gathering_Guidance_03.11.20.pdf

As Barry Crossno of Friends General Conference stated earlier this week:”May Spirit help us be conduits of wisdom and comfort for one another during a time of uncertainty.”

much peace,
Sandy Kewman
Presiding Clerk, Pacific Yearly Meeting

A Quaker Center Call for Program Proposals for 2021

Deadline Extended to March 15, 2020

The Ben Lomond Quaker Center is accepting program proposals for 2021.

Quaker Center seeks to nurture the spiritual growth and faithfulness of Friends and others, while strengthening Quakerism and its witness in the world.  We offer programs and personal retreats exemplifying Friends’ testimonies of community, integrity, simplicity, peace, and equality. We strive to live in right order with all creation, especially with the redwood forest that sustains us here in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Hence, we are seeking Friends who are led to share their insights into

  • Spiritual practice, growth, and faithfulness.
  • Strengthening and enriching Quakerism and its witness in the world.
  • Exemplifying Friends’ testimonies.
  • Climate change & living in right order with creation
  • Social & Racial Justice & Healing

Programs utilizing a mix of modes (such as: journaling, discussion, worship, the arts, group lectures, small groups, queries, interaction with nature, etc.) are encouraged.

Those program proposals which offer insights into developing and nurturing an effective and radical Quaker witness in the face of contemporary challenges will be given special attention.

PLEASE SUBMIT A 25- 35 -WORD DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING:

Name(s) and Contact Information (including email) of leader(s) and an elder (if you wish):

  • Proposed title:
  • Overview of program:
  • Preferred month(s) to hold program in the coming year:

PROGRAM PROPOSAL:  

What leads you to offer this program? Who would benefit from your program, and what should they expect to learn or experience?  How would this program potentially teach and transform the participants? What activities would be involved?

LOGISTICAL INFORMATION:

Workshop Size: Typically 25 – 50

We offer honoraria as an expression of gratitude for the gifts of ministry and time that this work demands.  Travel fares are reimbursed up to a mutually determined limit.

PLEASE SUBMIT PROPOSAL WITH ABOVE INFORMATION TO:

BobFisher@QuakerCenter.org and Nicholas.C.Wright@gmail.com

Deadline Extended to March 15, 2020

Spring Youth Service Learning Camp with Wukchumni Tribe, Quaker Oaks Farm, April 6-10, 2020

7th Annual Spring Youth Service Learning Camp
April 6-10, 2020 CANCELLED
(Monday-Friday leading up to Easter weekend)
Quaker Oaks Farm
Visalia, CA, USA

A partnership of Quaker Oaks Farm, the Wukchumni Yokuts Tribe,
and Pacific Yearly Meeting Youth Programs

See the Quaker Oaks Farm website for details and online application.

Air fills our lungs and keeps us alive, yet it is taken for granted by many populations. Indigenous communities, however, appreciate the air as sacred. Today, California has some of the worst air pollution in the country. This year’s theme of Air builds from our previous camps and recent themes, Fire, Water and Earth, honoring the sacredness of all Beings. Join us as we explore the power and value of Air in traditional and contemporary practice. As the climate changes do we need new ways to care for the Air?

We will share our Histories and Love one another across Seeming Divides, all through Fun, Interactive Activities. Camp includes a service-learning project on the Land and a field trip.

WAYS TO HELP

  • POST THE FLYER at your Meeting House, School, Clubhouse, etc.
  • Know a potential camper?  HELP THEM APPLY online by 3/9.
  • DONATE
  • SHARE our Fundraising Appeal Letter
  • VOLUNTEER: Contact Melissa Lovett-Adair, chair@quakeroaksfarm.com
  • Request our model “Letter to Teachers” for a student who wants to take time off from school to participate in camp and/or get school credit
  • SPREAD this message among friends!

Campers: APPLICATION ONLINE NOW! Deadline 3/9/2020. There are only 30 spots available.  There is a question on this form where we ask you to tell us why we should select your application and what is important to you about getting to be a part of camp.

We enthusiastically invite middle school and high school aged youth (grades 6-12) to apply. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Cost of camp is on a sliding scale ($0 – $500). Donations gratefully accepted.

Clerk’s Call to Annual Session 2020

Clerk’s Call to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session
July 10 to July 15, 2020
Walker Creek Ranch

Radical Inclusivity:
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.

Sandy Kewman
Presiding Clerk

 “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.


Job Opportunity: FGC Conference Coordinator

Friends General Conference (FGC) is looking for a new Conference Coordinator.  Ruth Reber, the current Conference Coordinator, will retire at the close of the 2020 Gathering. Applications are being accepted until January 3, with a projected start date in March 2020. If you or someone you know is interested in the position, please go to https://www.fgcquaker.org/serve/opportunities/job-opportunity-conference-coordinator

— Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk of Pacific YM

We Are Affiliated with Friends General Conference

Message from Sandy Kewman, Pacific Yearly Meeting Presiding Clerk

Dear Pacific Yearly Meeting Community,

Shan Cretin, co-clerk of M&O, and I are happy to report on the request to affiliate with Friends General Conference which was approved at our Annual Session, 2019.

We were informed that Friends General Conference Executive Committee approved the request of Pacific Yearly Meeting’s affiliation with FGC on October 7, 2019.  During the Central Committee Meeting on October 24 and 26, 2019 the decision was announced to the wider community of FGC.  Frank Barch, Clerk of FGC Central Committee, stated in an email the following:

I am so greatly pleased to be able to welcome Pacific Yearly Meeting into the Friends General Conference family! As I was certain, Executive Committee rejoiced to receive and approve your request for affiliation. This indeed made it a happy meeting last weekend!

Welcome, and thank you! If I can offer support or explanations, I am at your service.

Frank Barch, Presiding Clerk
FGC Central Committee

This is the Minute recording their decision:

(53-19) Pacific Yearly Meeting’s affiliation with FGC: Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch (Clerk of the Committee for Nurturing Ministries) brought a recommendation that we accept Pacific Yearly Meeting’s request to affiliate with FGC. Friends APPROVED joyfully. We are inspired by the faithfulness of Pacific Yearly Meeting’s years-long, careful process to come to the point of requesting affiliation. There are directly affiliated monthly meetings within Pacific Yearly Meeting. In the future, the yearly meeting affiliation will take priority. Jean-Marie shared that there are two monthly meetings in Pacific Yearly Meeting that are in Mexico. We are aware that there are multiple yearly meetings in FGC with Spanish-speaking people. We wish to explore the possibility of FGC providing materials in the languages of the people we serve.

Heather Levien has been named as an interim representative of PacYM to FGC. The PacYM nominations committee is considering naming an additional interim representative and will nominate regular representatives in July who will serve a 3 year term.  At that time, representation by the directly affiliated Monthly meetings of PacYM will be subsumed under the PacYM representation to FGC, therefore, there will be no need for the directly affiliated monthly meetings to nominate their own representatives to serve after the July PacYM Annual Gathering.  In the interim, some monthly meeting representatives to FGC are maintaining an active role during this transitional period.

When PacYM’s affiliation was announced at the recent FGC Central Committee Meeting (October 24-27), it was pointed out by the General Secretary, Barry Crossno, that 70 years ago during the 1948 Conference, the Central Committee formed a committee to explore “widening the influence” of FGC.  The following September 1949, the Central Committee asked this ad hoc committee to explore drawing other yearly meetings into affiliation with FGC, particularly Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Orthodox, the recently formed Pacific Yearly Meeting, and the recently united New England Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite and Wilburite Orthodox Friends in New England Reunited in 1945). Barry warmly welcomed PacYM as the newest affiliate.

Warmly,
Sandy