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.