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Dear Possible Junior Yearly Meeting Attenders,
Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) 2014 is just around the corner and all of us from the JYM planning committee are interested in having you join us! While there is a general age limit (grades 9-12 are recommended), attendance is based primarily upon maturity level and self-readiness. So don’t hesitate to ask your parents, anyone on the JYM planning committee, or even other Quakers familiar with the program about registering for JYM, the Middle School program, or as a Young Adult Friend.
There is considerable energy and discussion among PYM Friends about what makes wider Quaker gatherings deepening and nourishing as well as the challenges that arise as Friends contemplate distance, schedules, and costs of attendance. As Friends are brainstorming and generating ideas which might be useful for our Yearly Meeting to consider for our future sessions, we want to hear from our Monthly Meetings. Please set aside some time at your June or July business meeting to give the following queries some thought. We are especially interested in hearing from Friends (whether members or attenders) who do NOT tend to go to Quarterly or Yearly Meeting, to find out what would draw them in and what is currently getting in their way from attending. It will be important to hear from as wide a group as possible, so we urge you to make time for this discussion and to send us your notes in whatever form they take. We are not expecting your Meeting to come to unity at this stage, rather we are initiating the dialogue.
What do you look forward to (or would you look forward to) when you attend wider Quaker gatherings?
What have you experienced in a wider Quaker gathering that has inspired you or moved you to a deeper sense of Spirit working in your life?
What prevents you from attending wider Quaker gatherings, in particular PYM’s Annual Session? Could changes in format, schedule, cost, etc. make it possible for you to attend?
“Your Sons and Your Daughters will Prophesy” (Acts 2:17 & Joel 2:28)
I so look forward to being with Friends at Pacific Yearly Meeting this summer. After nearly 30 years of wandering in the eastern parts of this country, I am especially blessed to be invited “home” to the yearly meeting where I was raised. I grew up in Orange Grove Monthly Meeting in Pasadena. My first formal travel in ministry was under the care of Pacific Yearly Meeting. In 1982, with a minute from Santa Cruz Monthly Meeting endorsed by the Yearly Meeting, I took part in a cross-continental bicycle peace pilgrimage called the “Peace Peddlers.” Six west coast adult young Friends, all of us in our 20s, rode from San Francisco to Washington DC (touching Mexico and Canada), listening to the American people for the spiritual grounding that would lead to nuclear disarmament.
Join us for the 68th Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting, at Walker Creek near Petaluma CA, 14 – 19 July 2014. Our theme will be:
YOUTH AND PROPHECY: AWAKENING TO A NEW CREATION
“What canst thou say? Art thou a Child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?”
-George Fox in 1652, as quoted by Margaret Fell in 1691.
The leadership of early Friends was young! In 1652, the height of the first great growth of the “Children of the Light,” George Fox was only 28—full of energy, fire and passion. Older seekers of his time were often slow to awaken to the wonder of a new creation. Yet chronological age was not the key to this rebirth. At the heart of the new movement was a radical realization: “Christ has come to teach his people himself.” That for which we hunger—that which fuels our power and creativity, our energy and passion, leading us to seek justice and peace—is already within us, a Blessed Presence to our hearts, veiled only by confusion in our minds. Fox wrote that following his own great awakening in 1648, “All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter.” This awakening came only after years of struggle and disappointment, leading to darkness and despair: “I knew not what to do.” Only when he surrendered his failed dream did he awaken to a new creation. The Prophetic Voice: Living from a Deeper Place Out of this death and rebirth came new strength—as it can come for each of us who has courage to surrender fully to the Source. Fox strode boldly through northern England, speaking with power that came through him, with authority immediately recognized by those who heard him. Those listeners who were truly honest with themselves (like Margaret Fell, who broke down in tears at his words) were captured by the truth he spoke, convinced—convicted—by his prophetic voice. Within us we sense a place of deep authenticity, however named. “What canst thou say?” does not invite personal opinions off the top of our heads; rather, it calls us to wait for clarity and guidance, then testify to our experience of Truth—to be “children of Light, and to walk in the Light.” Our power comes through surrender to Truth. A New Rebirth in Pacific Yearly Meeting Echoing Fox’s experience in 1648, Friends last year, with sadness yet gratitude toward those who had pursued it, surrendered another dream: the hope of a permanent location for Annual Sessions. Through generosity and grace, the financial resources of that endeavor are rededicated to a cause dear to us all: the nurturing and growth of our youth, their Life in the Spirit. Their passion and vision already bring fresh vitality and promise to Pacific Yearly Meeting. At the 2014 Annual Session we will ask what the prophetic power of “a new creation” means for us as a collective body. Can we be a corporate prophetic voice to the world? Our 2014 keynote speaker will be Jonathan Vogel-Borne, former Secretary of New England Yearly Meeting, who grew up in PYM. Jonathan is a gifted speaker who has led workshops at the FGC Gathering on “Practicing Prophetic Ministry.” We will also feature a plenary session led by PYM youth. Additional highlights of the 2014 Annual Session:
Attendance costs are lower this year.
First-time attenders will receive a $40 discount off their full-week registration.
We have streamlined procedures for financial assistance.
Because of Walker Creek’s flexible hours, we can return to scheduling innovations that were well received at Annual Session 2012 (also at Walker Creek), including:
Two parallel options for worship-sharing daily.
A return to a mid-day slot for Bible study and “Transformative Quakers,” the popular adult studies series (rather than before breakfast!).
Threshing sessions will prepare us for plenary topics coming later in the week.
“Fellowship Friday” will bring us together through fun intergenerational activities, ending the day with our traditional Family Night and Dance.
Walker Creek offers a variety of food choices.
The relatively flat terrain will, we hope, pose little difficulty for those with mobility issues.
Because of Walker Creek’s proximity to Friends House in Santa Rosa, we hope to benefit from greater participation by our elderly members.
We will again enjoy the wildlife—deer, turkey vultures, raccoons, wild turkey, fox—and the spacious, striking natural beauty of Walker Creek’s remote site.
Questions regarding the program of Annual Session? Contact the Presiding Clerk through the email below, or through the Contact Us link on the PYM website. You can also contact the Assistant to the Clerk, or the Clerk of M&O on the same Contact form by selecting their names on the drop-down menu.
Questions regarding the Walker Creek site? Contact the PYM Arrangements Co-Clerks at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward eagerly to enjoying our fellowship and spiritual renewal at Walker Creek in July. Steve Smith, Presiding Clerk email@example.com The online Registration Form link.