Clerk’s Call to Annual Session 2019

Clerk’s Call to
PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING 73nd ANNUAL SESSION
Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, California
Friday, July 12 to Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Dwelling in Truth and Trusting Divine Spirit

We are called to “dwell in Truth.”  Living in Truth is an experience and a confident dependence on the guidance of Divine Spirit rather than a set of beliefs to be accepted.  “Abide in me and I in you” is the promise we find in John 15:4.  Indeed, God is always reaching out to us, always present; it is we who need to come back to the Presence again and again.

And O, know that your strength lies not in yourselves, not in any thing ye can do of yourselves: but in God’s living principle of truth, wherein he appears and whereby he works in your hearts.
— Isaac Penington, 24 July, 1679

Robert Griswold, in his Marking the Quaker Way, writes, “Dwelling in Truth, or Reality is not a place to visit,” but rather “it is a place to live.” [1]  We have continual work to do as individual Friends and as Quaker meeting communities in seeking, looking beyond our ideas, opinions, and comfortable habits toward what Divine Spirit is calling us to be and to do.

This Annual Session David Johnson, a seasoned Friend and author from Australia Yearly Meeting, will be our keynote speaker.  He will speak of the many ways the Spirit of God, known to many of us as the Light of Christ, moves and works within us, based on his own experience as well as the experiences of early Friends.  Christ is working to enable us to Dwell in Truth.

Discernment is part of the work we will do together in our Plenary sessions (our Meetings for Worship on the occasion of Business) at Annual Session. We are called to trust Spirit in deep worship with one another, to speak the truth we see and listen to the truth others bring, and to release our expectations into the hands of Spirit.  We are seeking unity with a truth that may  be beyond what any one of us sees.  This discernment is a vital part of Quaker practice that has been likened to “separating by means of sifting.”[2] We know from our own experience that we can easily misunderstand or be misled by irrelevant worldly fears. The sifting that is discernment must include our hearts and our minds, with faith in the wisdom of the Divine Spirit.

With gratitude to Divine Spirit, I extend this invitation to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session.  During our time together we will have opportunities to meet new Friends and visit with known Friends; to play, to wait in expectant worship, to learn and discern together and to be renewed in our faith and practice.  Please save the dates and plan to attend.

Sandy Roske Kewman
Presiding Clerk


[1] Griswold, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #439 p. 24
[2] Griswold, p. 20.

News from Latin American Programs

The Latin American Concerns Committee calls your attention to two upcoming opportunities for you to become involved with Friends projects relating to Latin America and Latin Americans.

The first is a dinner in support of the  Undocumented Student Scholarship Project.  The program and dinner will take place on March 23, 2019, at Sacramento Friends Meeting.  See the attached invitation for more details.

Nine years ago Sacramento Friends Meeting (Quakers) initiated the Undocumented Student Scholarship Project for students at our nearby Sacramento State University. Since that time we have provided scholarships to 28 students in a variety of majors, both undergraduate and graduate. Each scholarship consists of $1000 per year until graduation.  Most of the support for the Undocumented Student Scholarship Project has come from donations from individuals and Friends Meetings. Several of our former scholarship recipients have begun to contribute as well.
We hope to see you at the dinner on March 23.
In peace,
Patricia Portillo

The second is a one-week Teaching English Experience taking place in Antigua, Guatemala, January 3-11, 2020.  This is an opportunity for you to make deep, personal connections and share cultural perspectives while providing English lessons to students supported by the Guatemala Friends Scholarship Program.  An optional highland tour is also available.  For more information see the attached flier or contact Martha Dugan marthadugan@gmail.com.  For the highland tour contact Donna Smith at dforestvil@aol.com.

The Teaching English Experience is a soul satisfying week of hard work which is both fun and rewarding. Our students are eager to learn English and your efforts provide them with a chance to experience the joys of one-on-one learning. The only requirements are an open heart, patience and a desire to help a Guatemalan student. The ability to speak a little Spanish and previous teaching experiences are helpful but not necessary.

FGC Institutional Assessment on Systemic Racism – Status Update

Vanessa Julye, the Coordinator for the Friends General Conference Committee for Ministry on Racism, shares the following status update with Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends:

The October Progress Report for the Institutional Assessment on Racism is posted on the FGC website at the following link:

https://www.fgcquaker.org/news/october-report-institutional-assessment-racism-task-force-recommendations-fgc-central-committee

In short, the approved Central Committee minute reads as follows:

Central Committee approves the establishment of a group to implement the work of the Institutional Assessment on Systemic Racism within Friends General Conference. Its charge shall be to guide the transformation of Friends General Conference into an anti-racist organization.

Consistent with the decision of Central Committee in 2017 to prioritize the work of anti-racism, FGC commits to work to eliminate white supremacy within the Religious Society of Friends and to model anti-racism as we support the work of this implementation group.

Central Committee authorizes the Institutional Assessment Working Group (IAWG) to serve as a naming committee to bring forward the names of eight Friends to serve on this implementation group. The names for the implementation group shall be brought forward for approval to Executive Committee at its winter 2019 meeting. The individuals to be recommended shall constitute at least 50 percent Friends of Color and consideration shall be given to include Young Adult Friends and broad geographic representation.

The implementation Group will use the information and recommendations from the Institutional Assessment on Systemic Racism within Friends General Conference 2018 report to begin their work and its work shall not be limited to the scope of the report and its recommendations. The implementation group shall be accountable to Central Committee and will report its progress to each Executive Committee Meeting and annually to Central Committee. Central Committee authorizes the IAWG to propose an appropriate budget to support the work of the implementation group and authorizes the Executive Committee to approve that budget at its winter 2019 meeting.

Please share this historical work with the other members of Pacific Yearly Meeting.

In Friendship, Vanessa

Status Report on PYM Minutes Packets

Short summary:

Annual Session and Representative Committee “Minutes and Reports Packets” are now available for the years 2013-2018.   There is also a new standalone list of all PYM Minutes of Action for the years 2001-2018.  Links to these documents can be found on a new page dedicated to PYM Minutes.

Update 3/3/2019:  The new packets for 2013-2018 that were previously designated as DRAFTS, have now been formally accepted by the delegates at Representative Committee Meeting 2019. It is still possible that errors may have occurred in the compilation of the packets, so if you notice any discrepancies between the packets and the original minutes and reports that were posted separately on the website, please bring them to the attention of the Secretariat Clerk (PYMSecretariat@gmail.com).

The full report:

Pacific Yearly Meeting has a long tradition of  assembling the records (that is, the minutes and all of the committee reports) after each Annual Session into a “packet”.  This packet (running up to 100 pages or more in recent years) would be sent to Clerks (or their designees) of Monthly Meetings, Worship Groups and Preparatory Meetings as well as to PYM’s officers and committee clerks.  The same process would be followed for each meeting of Representative Committee.

Historically the packets were, of course, paper documents.  That began to change in 2001 when the first electronic packet (a PDF file) was published on the PYM website (which, I believe, wasn’t even official yet).  Since then PYM has gradually shifted from paper to electronic distribution, with both formats co-existing until 2012.  I like to say that “PYM successfully weaned itself off of paper in 2012,” for I believe that was the last year that a paper packet was printed.

At the same time, however, the process for collecting the electronic records into a single PDF file had, unfortunately, not yet been institutionalized.  As a result of a personnel change, institutional memory was lost.  Annual Session records for the years 2013 through 2016 were never assembled into packets.  They were only published as separate “items” (web posts or PDF files) on the website:  one item for each plenary session (9 or 10 posts or PDFs) and one or more “items” for each committee report (as many as 28, not including redundant or extraneous files that were also posted on the website each annual session).   Having the minutes and reports exist in dozens of separate files, and very irregularly organized files at that, has made reference to the minutes since 2013 very tedious and error prone.  Searching “the minutes” for particular items of interest was extremely difficult and frustrating.

Over the past year your Secretariat Clerk (myself) has been on a personal crusade to start publishing electronic Minutes and Reports Packets again.

I am happy to report that with the hard work of the Presiding Clerk, Diego Navarro, and the Recording Clerks, Jim Anderson and Sharlene Roberts-Caudle, we managed to publish electronic packets for the 2017 and 2018 Annual Sessions.  This involved a lot of research into past practices (which are very “uneven”, to say the least) and an unbelievable number of small arbitrary decisions about organization, formatting, referencing, and so forth.

I am even happier to report that, propelled by the momentum generated by finalizing the 2018 packet,  I have also finally pulled together draft packets for each of the “missing years,” 2013 through 2016.  In addition to the above mentioned people, past Clerk Steven Smith and Recording Clerks Julie Harlow, Amy Cooke, Stephen McNeil and Leslie Zondervan-Droz were also drafted into this reconstruction effort.  For these past years we don’t have the flexibility to change the content or format of the constituent “items”, but we do have some control over how they are combined and presented.  Also, some material is still being tracked down (in particular the 2014 and 2015 Meeting for Memorials names). (these packets have now been updated with the formerly-missing Meeting for Memorials information).

I invite the PYM community to examine these DRAFT packets which I recently uploaded (that was Nov 2, 2018).   I welcome feedback on the “packet” aspects: the title page, table of contents, Preface and the List of Action Minutes are all artifacts of combining the “items” into a packet.  So is the choice of which “reports” to include as attachments.  Tell me what “works for you” and what you would like to “see improved”.  What makes for a useful packet?  Also, of course, if you see any glaring errors or omissions, let me know of those too.  I’m sure there are some.

In service, George Mills, PYM Secretariat Clerk (Communications Committee), PYMSecretariat@gmail.com, November 2, 2018.  (Updated Nov 11 and Nov 29, 2018)

Update 3/3/2019: The packets were “accepted” by RepCom 2019.  This makes them the accepted record of the meetings that they cover, subject, of course, to correction if discrepancies are found between the originally posted minutes and reports files and the assembled packets.

 

Coordinating Teams

During the evaluation session for Clerks and Officers at the end of the 2015 Annual Session, the issue was raised that coordination and communication could be improved among those involved in supporting the business of the Yearly Meeting. To this end, Diego Navarro (then Presiding Clerk) created five coordinating groups that meet via video conference for 1.5-hour conference calls, once in the Fall/Winter and once in the Spring. During the calls, information is shared about what each committee, officer, or representative is working on, how it might impact the next gathering (Representative Committee or Annual Session), and what assistance is needed from others on the Team.

[PDF version of this report: Coordinating Teams Description 2018-11-16]

The five Coordinating Teams are

  • Action
    • Nominating Committee Clerk
    • Latin American Concerns Committee Clerk
    • Peace & Social Order Committee Clerk
    • Racial Justice Subcommittee Clerk
    • Unity with Nature Committee Clerk
  • Quarterly Meetings
    • College Park Quarterly Meeting M&O Clerk
    • College Park Quarterly Meeting Presiding Clerk
    • Southern California Quarterly Meeting M&C Clerk
    • Southern California Quarterly Meeting Presiding Clerk
  • Youth
    • Children’s Program Coordinator
    • Children’s Program Committee Clerk
    • JYM Adult Committee Clerk
    • JYM Youth Clerks
    • Youth Programs Coordinator’s Supervisor
    • Youth Programs Coordinating Committee Clerk
  • Logistics
    • Arrangements Clerk
    • Children’s Program Coordinator
    • Communications Committee Clerk
    • Discipline / F&P Revision Committee Clerk
    • Finance Committee Clerk
    • Nominating Committee Clerk
    • Registrar
    • Secretariat Clerk
    • Treasurer
  • Delegates & Representatives
    • AFSC Reps Convener
    • Evangelical Friends Church Southwest Observer
    • FCLCA Rep
    • FCNL Reps Convener
    • FGC Central Committee Observer
    • Friends Bulletin Board Convener
    • Friends Peace Team Board Rep
    • FUM Observer
    • FWCC Reps Convener
    • QEW Rep
    • Reunión General Observer
    • William Penn House Rep

In addition, the Presiding Clerk, the Presiding Clerk’s Elder, the Assistant to the Clerk, the Clerks of M&O, and the Youth Programs Coordinator serve on all five teams.

This information posted 2018-10-15, revised 11-16, by Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk

World Quaker Day

Friends are invited to celebrate World Quaker Day on Sunday, October 7, 2018.  Join with Quakers around the world from Alaska to Bolivia to Kenya to Great Britain to Japan to New Zealand to honor our common heritage.  Quakers make up a world-wide fellowship which includes a diverse population both ethnically and theologically.

You can find out more by visiting the World Quaker Day website:  www.worldquakerday.org.  There you will find more information plus lots of suggestions for celebrating this event.  There are cool videos and lots of ideas for lessons and activities. (Note that the scroll bar on the right side of the page may be a bit hard to find).

Sent on behalf of Emelyn Buskirk, convenor of PYM’s FWCC representative team 

Invitation to a Weekly Online Worship

Pacific Yearly Meeting 2018-2019 Eldering Subcommittee of Ministry and Oversight

Invitation to a Weekly Worship with Attention to the Spiritual Wellness of Our Pacific Yearly Meeting

All Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends are invited to an ongoing online meeting for worship with attention to the spiritual wellness of our yearly meeting. Sponsored and hosted by the Eldering Subcommittee of Ministry and Oversight, with the endorsement of the Yearly Meeting Clerk, Sandy Kewman, and Assistant to the Clerk, Sharon Gates, this half-hour meeting for worship will be held on the Zoom video conferencing platform Wednesdays, 7:00 pm Pacific Time.  Dress code is casual.

How it works:  Download the Zoom app to your computer, tablet, or phone at  https://zoom.us/  At 7:00 pm on Wednesdays, enter the meeting number, or click on the link.  You can also participate by calling in on your telephone to one of the numbers below.  We will start in worship, so please mute your microphone or phone as soon as you enter, and remember to unmute if you have spoken ministry to share.  If you forget to mute, the member of the Eldering Subcommittee who is hosting may mute you. If you click “Gallery View,” you will be able to see everyone, Hollywood Squares style.  If not, you will see only one person on “Speaker View.” Gallery View feels more like meeting for worship. For technical assistance, please email Carl Magruder at theearthquaker@gmail.com, or Mica Estrada at cheerful.mica@gmail.com

  • Ways to join the worship:
    • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/892996243
    • Or iPhone one-tap :
      US: +16699006833,,892996243# or +14086380968,,892996243#
    • Or Telephone:
      Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
      US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 408 638 0968 or +1 646 876 9923

Though skeptical about online worship at first, those of us who have tried it find this time together spiritually nourishing, and have come to look forward to Wednesday evenings with anticipation.

It is not expected that anyone will have perfect weekly attendance, but that the meeting will be kept by those who join in on any given Wednesday.

With Gratitude,

Eldering Subcommittee of M&O

 

2018 Annual Session Information for Registrants

The following Additional Information was sent in an email to everyone registered for the 2018 Annual Session as of July 7. This version has been corrected to supply a couple of missing web links.

Friends,

This is the one additional email that was promised to be sent out with important information about Annual Session. Please read its contents carefully.

Arriving on Friday. Rooms will become available to move into between 2-4pm, with all rooms available by 4pm. If you are able, please arrive at least an hour or two before dinner (5:30pm) so that you can check in (beginning at 2pm) and get set up in your room or pitch your tent. Arriving and being together prior to dinner helps us to be gathered and ready for the first plenary.

If you are expected at one of the Friday afternoon meetings (3:15pm parents of children; 4pm parents of teen; 4:45pm Monthly Meeting representatives) please be sure to arrive in time to attend. These meetings are very important.

Worship sharing options. Worship Sharing groups form a “home base” for those who choose to participate, sharing in a safe and confidential setting on queries that promote deep reflection. Worship Sharing is offered in the morning at the same time as Early Quaker Writings or in the afternoon at the same time as Bible Study. If you wish to participate in worship sharing, you should be prepared to give the team at registration your preferences for morning or afternoon and for couples only, LGBTQ, easy accessibility, or the regular mixed groups.

Committee reports. Please read all the committee reports on the website before coming to Annual Session. Good business process is enabled by the body being informed ahead of time. All reports are, or will soon be, posted online here (https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/annual-session-minutes-reports/2018-annual-session-info-reports-minutes/) and will also be posted in hard copy on the exterior wall of the dining hall and will be in the Information Tent at Walker Creek.

Volunteer opportunities. Thank you to all the Friends who indicated an interest in volunteering at Annual Session. Our system for connecting volunteers with needs for volunteers is still evolving. We hope to have someone at registration to help connect volunteers and people who need volunteers. Some of the opportunities to get involved will include:

  • Putting up posters with names for the Meeting for Memorials
  • Driving the golf cart
  • Greeting Friends at the door of the main tent
  • Assisting parents and others with carrying trays at meal times
  • Helping out at the Bookstore
  • Children’s program

PYM Committee Listening times. There are some times on the schedule (Saturday and Monday at 4:45pm) specifically set aside for Friends to meet with PYM Committees. Please come ready to engage with the committees during those times as we expect most questions to be answered then, and not during plenary.

Dining Hall.  Following a successful trial last year, we will again ring a bell around the dining hall and on the patio after meals and when plenaries are about to begin. We have found that this helps to make Friends aware of the plenary starting soon and help everyone be present and settled before the plenary starts.

The whole community at Annual Session is invited to participate in a short grace during breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the course of the week. One Friend will call for a brief moment of worship by raising their hand. Please also raise your hand to help call for quiet. Grace may come in the form of silent worship or a song, depending on what arises. Friends may be in line getting food or eating when grace begins. Please stop what you are doing for a moment to settle into worship.

Please do not raise your hand in the dining hall to make announcements because many Friends are not able to hear the message and it is disruptive. If you have an announcement to make, please give it to the Assistant to the Clerk to read during plenary or put in the Daily Miracle. If your announcement is urgent, please go to the Information Tent and look for a Friend to assist you.

Evaluation summary from last year’s Annual Session. A summary of evaluations from Annual Session 2017 can be found on the PYM website.

Clerk’s Call. Please read the Clerk’s Call to PYM 2018 Annual Session in advance of Annual Session to help be prepared for, and understand, the theme of this year’s session: “Faithfulness: A Call to Practice Radical Vulnerability and Love.”

Bookstore and Guatemala Gift sales. The EarthLight Bookstore will be back and open for business, selling Quaker and other literature and items both useful and playful. EarthLight take books and recordings by Friends on consignment and appreciate contact in advance to do that (farley@spont.com). Like most years, Guatemala crafts (old favorites and new gift items) will be sold throughout the week. All proceeds go to support poor rural Mayan university students in Guatemala. If you may be interested in purchasing items, please bring cash or checks.

Finally, for the safety and comfort of members of our community, please refrain from bringing or using strong fragrances.

Again, if you have any questions about your registration, please contact the co-Registrars at pacificyearlymeetingregistrar@gmail.com

Thank you, Friends!

Sharon Gates
Assistant to the Clerk of PYM

Launch of the Faith and Practice Revision Process – A Request

Dear Friends,

The Faith and Practice Revision Committee invites you to engage in the “rolling revision” process of prayerfully discerning how our Faith and Practice can support meetings and individuals as we seek to live an authentic Quaker spirituality.  The first round of revisions is now ready for your consideration.

We request that monthly meetings and other bodies review the proposed revisions together and send us those points upon which they found unity. If no unity is found, a brief description of the feel of the meeting is welcome. We anticipate that this process will occur three (or so) times per year, as new revised pieces are presented.

For Summer/Fall of 2018, there are three pieces to consider. The first segment is a revision to our advices and queries on “Reaching Out.”  The second is a new section on Leadings. The third describes the positions and roles of the Youth Programs Coordinator and the Youth Programs Coordinating Committee.  This will also be a new section to Faith and Practice.

Below you will find links to each of these sections, with instructions and the proposed text for each piece.

These same links and a fuller description of the “rolling revision process” can also be found on the F&P Revision Committee’s PYM webpage.

We would like to have responses to these three pieces by October 15, 2018. December 1, 2018.  Tracked changes, a scan of written edits, or other form of meeting response can be sent to:   PYM.FPRevision@gmail.com

Thank you.

The Faith and Practice Revision Committee

 

Racial Justice Resources

The following resources on racial justice are recommended by the Racial Justice Subcommittee of the Ministry and Oversight Committee.

Books

Menakem, Resmaa. 2017. My Grandmother’s Hands:  Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

Author is a social worker who writes “Stop trying to address white supremacy through dialog. Don’t expect to change the world by teaching tolerance. Forget about changing attitudes. They all miss the mark.  Racism is not only about the head. It’s also about the body. The body is where we live. It’s where we fear, hope, and react; where we constrict and relax; and where we fight, flee, or freeze.This trauma doesn’t just affect African American bodies. White American bodies suffer their own historical trauma as well. So do the bodies of our police. We all need to recognize this trauma, metabolize it, work through it, and grow up out of it. Only in this way will we at last heal our bodies, our families, and the social body of our nation.  The process differs for African-American, European American, and police bodies. But all of us need to heal our racialized trauma—and, with the right guidance, all of us can.” https://www.resmaa.com/#book

Oluo, Ijeoma.  2018.  So you want to talk about race.

Ms. Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Children’s Books

Lester, Julius. 2005.  Let’s Talk about Race

Our skin is just the covering of our body.  We are much more than our skin.  What is each one of our stories?  The art work is beautiful and the words will bring up many opportunities for readers to share their stories with each other.

Articles

DiAngelo, Robin.   “White Fragility” http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/249/116

Videos