New Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee and Survey (due June 20)

A message from the Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee Co-clerks

Dear Friends in PacYM Meetings, Worship Groups, Committees, Quarterly Meetings, and Related Organizations,

In February of this year, Ministry Committee of PacYM approved forming a subcommittee on Indigenous Concerns under its care. You can read more about it in the Indigenous Concerns report to RepCom from March 2021 and on the Indigenous Concerns web page. The subcommittee is still in a formative stage and seeks members and advisors/accountability partners. 

As part of getting going in service to the yearly meeting and all the local meetings, we are starting conversations, creating connections, and learning what Friends in our PacYM region are already doing on this topic, including via a survey.

The purposes of this email are:

1) To introduce this new subcommittee to you all. Aloha! Hola! Hello!

2) To ask you to designate someone to fill out this survey by June 20th. (Estimated time to complete: 15-20 minutes.) Please see below for more information about the survey.

3) To invite recommendations and self-nominations of Friends –Indigenous and non-Indigenous– who might like to serve on this subcommittee and of Indigenous Friends who may prefer being an advisor or accountability partner. There is space to submit names on the survey, and anyone is welcome to email us. (Ministry Committee is responsible for appointments to its subcommittees.) Currently no subcommittee members are Indigenous.

4) To ask you to spread the word about how to sign up for the Friends for Right Relationship listserv, an online community of f/Friends, mostly in the US and Canada, for sharing information and asking questions. (See our web page for details on how to join.)

5) And to remind folks about the Braiding Sweetgrass Online Worship Group, currently 1st Mondays, 7-9 pm Pacific, via zoom. All are welcome. Hosted by PacYM Unity with Nature Committee and co-sponsored by Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee and Youth Programs Coordinating Committee. See this post about the worship group and this google doc for updates.

Please read on for more details about the survey:

Survey deadline is June 20th to give us time to compile information and plan our interest group for Annual Session in July. (Estimated time to complete survey: 15-20 minutes.)

https://forms.gle/P7vswpApy1jdSWdT9

This survey is formatted to be filled out by designees from each Meeting/Worship Group, PacYM Committee, Quarterly Meeting, and related Quaker organizations. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Individual Friends may email us any input or questions.

Our intention is to compile a summary of the actions that local meetings, orgs, and committees are taking via our page on the PacificYearlyMeeting.org site to promote sharing, networking, learning, and action. We will update the page from time to time as we all learn and grow in these efforts and as meetings, committees, and organizations have new information to share. No individual person’s name or contact info will be shared on the website without prior consent.

Please keep in touch to tell us what you’re already doing and where you’d like support. We can play a connecting role to put meetings/committees/orgs in touch with each other as needs and interests arise. The subcommittee has no expectation that any meeting or organization is trying to take on many of the actions listed in the survey all at once. Continuing revelation can come slowly or in leaps and jumps: we’re all learning and growing into awareness and actions together.

Thank you!

The new PacYM Indigenous Concerns Subcommittee:

  • Lisa Hubbell & Alyssa Nelson, Co-Convenors
  • Sophie Wood Brinker
  • Jim Summers and Gail Eastwood, Liaisons from PacYM Ministry Committee

CONTACT: IndigenousConcernsClerk [at] PacificYearlyMeeting [dot] org 

WEB PAGE: https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/committee-newsletters-and-reports/indigenous-concerns

Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group

The Unity with Nature Committee, Indigenous Concerns Sub-Committee, & Youth Programs Coordinating Committee are proud to cosponsor Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group (BSWG). In this group we are moving chapter by chapter through Braiding Sweetgrass by Anishinabekwe ecologist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Our Next Session of Braiding Sweetgrass Worship Group will be held on Saturday, May 15th, @4pm (rather than the regularly scheduled May 17) as an interest group at College Park Quarterly Meeting! Register for College Park Quarterly to receive the Zoom link: https://collegeparkquarterlymeeting.org.

The Topic & Chapter for our next session at Quarter will be: Learning the Grammer of Animacy. In this chapter, we will explore how language shapes our perceptions of the world and reifies our values and the deep stories we tell about the nature of the other. To whom does our language lend personhood and animacy? Who is considered worthy of moral inclusion? What does it mean to live in a Living World?

As usual, you do not need to have read the chapter to participate; all are welcome.

This book has been profoundly impactful on both the Unity with Nature committee and Indigenous Concerns Sub-Committee. We feel strongly that this book has enormous potential to deepen Friends’ connection with the natural world, heal our relationship with it, and inspire new forms of action in our times.

This Worship Group is for all Friends, but may speak particularly deeply to those who wish to explore the intersections of Climate Courage, Ecological Justice, Eco-Grief, Spirituality, Indigenous Wisdom, and our Relationship with The Living World.

We look forward to you joining us!

For More information on the Worship Group, click here.

Clerk’s Call to Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session
 July 23 to 28, 2021

Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us

 “God, who made all, pours out his spirit upon all [people] in the world, in the days of his new covenant, yea, upon blacks and whites, Moors, and Turks, and Indians, Christians, Jews, and Gentiles, that all with the spirit of God, might know God and the things of God, and serve and worship him in his spirit and truth.”
George Fox

 “Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, that to turn all the treasure we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives.”
John Woolman, “A Plea for the Poor”

As this is being written, we are holding a deep concern for the epidemic of racism―systemic and overt white supremacy in our country. The COVID 19 epidemic and global climate crisis have also greatly impacted Friends this year and many in our community have experienced loss, uncertainty and ongoing grief. And yet we know that these affect Friends in our Yearly Meeting in markedly different ways. Both COVID 19 and the climate crisis disproportionately affect Friends in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We are called to move toward love and justice.

The virtual Annual Session 2021 of Pacific Yearly Meeting will be held July 23 to 28. Our keynote speakers are Avotcja Jiltonilro, a poet, storyteller and multi-instrumentalist from Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting and Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, a second year college student at the University of Pennsylvania and a Young Adult Friend from Sacramento Friends Meeting. These two women will share their poetry and will engage in a dialogue on the theme.

Together we will take the time to connect with the Power of the Spirit within us. The indwelling Spirit connects us to one another and to all of creation.

This interconnectedness requires us to reevaluate how we relate to one another. The dominant culture within our country and our Religious Society of Friends of the Truth has centered whiteness for too long. What acts of love and justice are necessary for us to re-center our Society to a place of justice, of love, for all? How do we begin to move from entitlement to humbly giving our energy to a different way of being? How do we grow our abilities to cherish one another and develop a culture of dignity within our Yearly Meeting and beyond? Ongoing learning, truth telling, and willingness to repair are needed to break the bonds of racism. Each of us can see a portion of Light, but we need all of us to see the way forward, guided by Spirit.

You are invited to the Pay as Led online Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting July 23 to 28, 2021 from wherever you are tending your heart. When registration is open you will be able to choose which activities are right for you. Together at Annual Session we will seek the guidance of the Divine Spirit in worship, in learning, and in rejoicing together.

Sandy Kewman
Presiding clerk

Clerk’s Call to PacYM Representative Committee 2021

The theme of our Annual Session in July will be Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.

 WHEN/WHERE:

RepCom will be held virtually in 3 Zoom sessions Saturday February 27 and on Saturday March 6 (10:00-11:30 AM, 1:00-2:30 PM, and 3:30-5:00 PM). There will be a meeting of Monthly Meeting Representatives to PacYM from 7:00 to 8:30 PM on Friday, February 26.

REGISTRATION:

You must register for RepCom in order to receive the Zoom links.  Register by SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 by filling out the form on the PacYM website.

Before coming to RepCom, please review the advance documents on the website carefully.

PRESENTING AND REPORTING:

Please submit written reports by Monday, February 4 to Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk (email address below).  Guidelines for reports are on the PacYM web page. Reports sent after 2/8 might not be posted prior to RepCom. In preparation for this summer, any business that committees, officers, or representatives to outside organizations intend to bring to Annual Session must be brought for a first reading to RepCom. Contact Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk (email address below) if your committee wishes to present at RepCom. 

INTEREST GROUPS AT THE 2021 ANNUAL SESSION

The process for getting Interest Groups scheduled for Annual Session is on the PYM website at www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2017/documents/how-to-schedule-an-interest-group-at-pym-annual-session/. Please submit your proposals by Sunday, March 7.

JUNIOR YEARLY MEETING:  Plans for meetings of the youth leadership of Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) and JYM  Adult Committee to plan the JYM Annual Session program are in progress.  If you have questions, please contact the clerk of the JYM Adult Committee, Dan Strickland danstrickland2001@yahoo.com.

Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk of PYM, will preside at RepCom. She and I will send you further information, including an agenda, in one or more follow-up mailings. 

If you have questions for the Presiding Clerk, contact Sandy at PYMclerk@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you,Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk, assistanttotheclerk@pacificyearlymeeting.org

Clerks Call to RepCom 2021 (this page as a PDF)

2021 RepCom Reports and Minutes

Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2021 Representative Committee meeting (“RepCom 2021”) took place Feb 26 & 27 and March 6, 2021, via Zoom.  Minutes for the meeting are available on the PYM Minutes page.  This page contains information and materials in preparation for RepCom 2021. For information about Representative Committee in general and links to info about other years’ meetings see the Representative Committee page.

Overview

This year’s meeting of PacYM Representative Committee (RepCom) will be unlike anything we have done before. As always, everyone in PacYM is invited to RepCom–you don’t need to be your Monthly Meeting’s representative and you don’t need to be serving the Yearly Meeting in any particular role. New this year is that RepCom will be held virtually on Zoom (like so many things are these days) and the schedule will be very different from previous RepComs. In order to make good use of our time and not over-Zoom ourselves, we will meet on 2 successive Saturdays:  February 27 and March 6. The times have not been finalized, but we are planning three 90-minute sessions each day:  one in the morning and two in the afternoon. We will have substantial breaks between meetings. In addition, there will be a meeting of Monthly Meeting Representatives on the evening of Friday, February 26 (exact time TBD).
 
The theme of this summer’s Annual Session will be “Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.” The theme is further explained in the Clerk’s Call to Annual Session 2021In preparation for this summer, any business that committees, officers, or representatives to outside organizations intend to bring to Annual Session must be brought for a first reading to RepCom. The deadline for reports to RepCom will be  Monday, February 8 and proposals for Interest Groups at Annual Session are due by midnight on Sunday, March 7.

Evaluation

If you attended any portion of RepCom, please fill out an evaluation form by Friday, April 16, 2021.

Some Deadlines

Registration

  • The registration deadline was extended to Feb 19 and registration is now closed.

Advance Materials

Advance Packet

  • Packet of Advance Materials  This all-in-one PDF includes the Clerk’s Call, the schedule, and all committee and representative reports below that were submitted by the deadline.
  • Correction: Ministry Committee wishes to correct an error in the Friends of Color Subcommittee section of their report in the Advance Packet.  The worship group in Spanish is not an offshoot of the Friends of Color Subcommittee.  It is an independent worship group that welcomes all who want to worship in the manner of Friends and give their ministry in Spanish.  More information and the link to worship can be found here:https://westernfriend.org/qwfo-reunion-en-espanol.

Additional Materials

Committee and Officer Reports

All documents below are also contained in the Advance Packet (a single PDF) except where indicated otherwise.  Most will also be contained in the Minutes Packet when it is posted.

Representatives Reports

Reports from our Representatives and Observers to Outside Organizations.  These are also in the Advance Packet and will be in the Minutes Packet afterwards.

News from Outside Organizations

Newsletters and other communications coming directly from outside organizations to which PYM sends Representatives or Observers.  Because of their size, these documents are not included in the Advance Packet nor in the Minutes Packet.

Minutes Packet

  • In a break with past practice, minutes for this meeting are only posted on the PYM Minutes page.  That is where you will find minutes for not only this meeting but all other RepCom and Annual Session meetings as well.

Deadlines that Have Passed

  • INTEREST GROUPS FOR ANNUAL SESSION:  Sunday, March 7 (the end of RepCom weekend) was the deadline for committees to submit seasoned proposals for Interest Groups at Annual Session 2021.  See  How to Schedule an Interest Group at Annual Session for details.  Contact Sharon Gates if you need to discuss a possible late submission or modification of a submission.
  • REPORTS  deadline was Monday, Feb 8. Instructions are below.
  • REGISTRATION deadline was Friday, February 19.
  • BUDGET REQUESTS: RepCom is where we approve the Annual Session Budget as well as handle any mid-year General Budget augmentations. Requests should have been submitted to the Finance Committee well ahead of the Feb 8 report deadline.
  • EVALUATION: If you attended any portion of RepCom, please fill out an evaluation form by Friday, April 16, 2021.

Instructions for Authors of Documents for this Page

  • Officers, Committee Clerks and other authors of advance documents please do the following:
    • See the Guidelines for Reports to Representative Committee 2021 for more detailed style guidelines and a template Word file you may use.
    • Send in your report as a .doc or .docx file –or equivalent– (rather than as email text or .pdf).  This will help the Secretariat and Recording Clerks have access to the text and formatting as well as simplifying our document management process.  You are encouraged to use this template Word file.
    • Name your report file like this: CommitteeName-Report-to-RepCom-2021.doc or .docx.  For example:
      • Ministry-Report-to-RepCom-2021.doc,
      • Latin-American-Concerns-Report-to-RepCom-2021.docx
      • Note that the names are quite long enough without adding the word “Committee”.
    • Email by Feb. 8, 2021 to the Assistant to the Clerk (Sharon Gates) <pymassistanttotheclerk@gmail.com>.
    • We will post your report here as a PDF that we will create from your .doc.
    • Documents received by the deadline (Feb. 8) will be assembled into an “advance packet” distributed electronically to all participants.  Documents received late will be more difficult for participants to find and may be overlooked.  So please submit your report by the deadline or earlier if you can manage it.

2021 Annual Session Information

This is the information page for Pacific Yearly Meeting’s upcoming 2021 Annual Session, which will occur online July 23 – 28, 2021. The theme this year is “Love and Justice:  Heeding the Spirit’s Power Within and Among Us.” See the Clerk’s Call for more about the theme.

Registration is now open (see below). Deadline for registration is July 16.

Click on any item in the Table of Contents to jump to that section.

Deadlines

  • Reports: Officer, Committee and Representative reports are due Monday, July 5. See the Guidelines for content and formatting, as well as information for submitting reports. Those who wish may also use the reports template.
  • Registration: Friday, July 16. See below for link to online registration.
  • see also below for Deadlines that Have Passed

Advance Information

Registration

  • Register Online for Annual Session 2021 (opens in a new tab or window). The deadline for registration is Friday, July 16.
    • Payment (if you didn’t use PayPal): send a check made out to “Pacific Yearly Meeting” to:
      Pacific Yearly Meeting Registrar
      c/o Lawrence Alderson
      10 Leeds Lane
      Aliso Viejo, CA, 92656

Clerk’s Call

Calling All Musicians

Information for Specific Age Groups

  • watch this space

Advance Packet

The Packet of Advance Materials will be posted about a week before session. It is an all-in-one PDF containing (nearly all of the) committee reports and some other materials you will need.  If you just want an individual report, you will find it below under Committee and Officer Reports.

During the Session

Zoom Information

There are four basic Zoom skills that will greatly facilitate your participation in this year’s Annual Session: renaming yourself, muting/unmuting yourself, raising your hand in Zoom, and joining a breakout room. Because the way you do each of these varies by device, please refer to this document with links to the latest info from Zoom.

The AS LIVE 2021 page contains links to all the Zoom meeting rooms and other information for attenders only. The password for AS LIVE will be included in an email sent to registered attenders by the Assistant to the Clerk shortly after registration closes (July 16). Please do not share this password with anyone who is not registered.

Schedules and Agendas

See also  AS LIVE 2021 for Zoom links and additional information for registered attenders only (see above).

Keynote Speakers

Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, a Friend raised in Pacific Yearly Meeting, Sacramento Friends Meeting, is now a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying political science, Latinx studies, and Spanish. Avotcja (Avacha) Jiltonilro, a Friend in Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting, is a poet, musician, and playwright. They will share their reflections on the theme of Annual Session.

Bible Study

Led by Regina Renee Ward. Regina Renee is a member of Ujima Friends Peace Center in Philadelphia. She is a public librarian and former public school teacher. She is passionate about social justice, intellectual freedom, reading, and building community. Her work with Friends and racial healing was born out of necessity as she navigates life both as a woman of African descent and a Christian Friend. Regina Renee serves Friends General Conference as the clerk of Nurturing Ministries Committee and as co-clerk of the Institutional Assessment Implementation Committee. Her favorite Book in the Bible is James. Her life verse is Micah 6:8.

Early Friends Writing: “Adventures from the Journals of Early Friends”

Bob and Kathy Runyan are convinced Friends who served as Ben Lomond Quaker Center directors from 2011 to 2019. They have lead and facilitated numerous Quaker workshops particularly focused on early Friends writings. Bob is a piano technician and currently the clerk of Chico Friends Meeting. Kathy is the lead teacher in a preschool at Chico State University and serves on the Ministry and Oversight Committee for both College Park Quarterly Meeting and Chico Friends Meeting.

Committee/Officer Reports

The individual reports listed below are also (unless otherwise indicated) included in the all-in-one Advance Packet linked above.  If you are submitting a late report please contact the Assistant to the Clerk.

  • watch this space

Reports from Representatives to Outside Organizations

The individual reports below are also included in the all-in-one Advance Packet linked above.

  • watch this space

Deadlines that Have Passed

Late Registration

  • After the July 16 deadline for registration you will need to contact the Registrar directly (Registrar@pacificyearlymeeting.org) to find out what your options are.

Evaluations

Get Involved

The year-around work of Pacific Yearly Meeting is conducted almost entirely by volunteers. Without the many, many volunteers none of it would happen. Working on committees is also a great way to enlarge your circle of F/friends beyond your local community. The Service Survey form is where you can communicate your gifts and interests to the Nominating Committee, whose job it is to match people with the best place to put their talents to use.

Epistle

  • Pacific YM 2021 Epistle

Minutes

  • When the minutes of the plenary sessions are ready they will be posted on the PYM Minutes page.

Contacts

 

Pacific Yearly Meeting seeks full-time Youth Programs Coordinator (12/2020)

Pacific Yearly Meeting seeks a full-time Youth Programs Coordinator, beginning in March, 2021. The role of the Youth Programs Coordinator is to enhance the spiritual development and nurture of youth and intergenerational community within the Yearly Meeting.

The Youth Programs Coordinator supports and coordinates activities that build the capacity of youth and adults to run their own programs and serves as a resource for Meetings (local/Monthly, worship groups, Quarterly, Yearly) and related Quaker organizations within PacYM. In working with individuals, groups, and committees of all ages, the Coordinator and the Youth Programs Coordinating Committee (YPCC) may act as a catalyst for new programs and activities. The work of the Youth Programs Coordinator (YPC) includes supporting young Friends and involving them in the life of the Meeting: helping them to stay connected between sessions and helping Meetings that have children, teenagers, and young adults meet these Friends’ needs. 

Applicants for this position must have a demonstrated spiritual life, including a deep grounding and experience of Quaker beliefs, practices and discernment processes.They should possess excellent communication and interpersonal relationship skills and be able to utilize contemporary forms of technology.  Applicants should have successful experience organizing activities and events with teenagers and adults.  They should be organized and self-motivated.

This is a full-time, year-round position with an initial salary ranging from $47,000 to $54,000 per year, based on applicant experience. There is a generous benefits package including paid vacation, holidays, personal days and a contribution towards a health reimbursement account. Please see additional information detailed in the full YPC Job Description and our updated YPC Roles & Responsibilities documents.


HOW TO APPLY: Individuals interested in applying for this position should send a cover letter that describes how you would approach the position (max two pages) and a resume with the names and contact information for three references. Application materials should be sent via e-mail attachment to Barbara Babin: b_babin@yahoo.com 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled; to be certain of being considered for the position, applications should be received by January 20, 2021.

Pacific Yearly Meeting is an equal opportunity employer. Persons of color and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

A Message from the Presiding Clerk: an experiment in learning and safeguarding space at Annual Session 2020

July 8, 2020; updated version July 12, 2020

Our theme at this Annual Session is “Radical Inclusivity: Responding to God’s Insistent and Persistent Love.” Radical inclusivity is the vision of what I hope all of us want to work toward, where we want to grow. But it is not where we are now.

White Supremacy is embedded in the culture and institutions of the U.S and within the Religious Society of Friends. We must name it and we will name it here at Annual Session when it shows up.

There are ways that the tentacles of racism show up and when it shows up we, as individuals and as a collective, suffer damage to our souls. People of Color notice when racism shows up. White people often do not notice.

At Annual Session, we are embarking on an experiment this year. We will notice words that land in a harmful way and help us, our whole body of Friends assembled here, to learn to see and to acknowledge when words land in a way that causes harm. One might say something with no harmful intent, but it may land with harm. We will pause at those times, we will breathe together, and we will address the harm done. Addressing harm needs to include acknowledging another’s experience. Dialogue with white Friends can then occur in a private space if an individual wants to explore the learning. Dialogue among Friends of Color can also occur in a private space to address the harm done. Throughout the Annual Session there will be Affinity Groups held for Friends of Color and for white allies in separate spaces so that support for this important work and learning can occur without inadvertent harm being done.

Let us strive to hold our whole community with open hearts, to pay attention to all who share this space, and to speak with integrity. For as much as it is hard for white Friends to learn of our unseen, unacknowledged racism, it is even harder, harsher for it to land with Friends of Color. A harm to one is a harm to all. Let us see what love can do.

The Process:

Anyone in attendance may identify an ‘ouch’ by sending a private message in the ‘chat’ to Friends Laura Magnani and Deborah Marks who will alert the clerk to the ouch. 

When there is an ‘ouch’ in the room, the clerk will stop the meeting and ask Friends to pause, breathe, and notice what has occurred so we can all learn together. The clerk will ask Friends to spend a few minutes writing what they noticed and what each is feeling in their body. This may be an opportunity to consider how the ‘ouch’ lives within you, too, and how you might forgive and repair. 

We will then return to the business at hand. At the end of the plenary, the clerk will check-in to see if anyone wants to acknowledge the harm done. Please read below for examples of this. 

Friends of Color are encouraged to meet in the Affinity Group for Friends of Color for further support. White Friends are encouraged to continue learning about how to uncover and dismantle white supremacy within themselves and our community in the White Allies Affinity Group. 

Examples of an ouch:

  • Using the pronoun ‘we’ when speaking as a white Friend about the Yearly Meeting when that person really means ‘we white Friends.’
  • A white Friend speaks about how ‘sheltering in place’ has not caused any change in her lifestyle, when People of Color are disproportionately affected by the loss of livelihood and death from Coronavirus infection.

What does acknowledging harm done by speaking something that causes an ouch or harm look like and sound like?

  • Thank you for calling this to my attention.
  • I will reflect on this and attend to learning from it.
  • After some reflection:
    • “May I offer a repair?“ Ask question without expectation
    • “I recognize that my statement caused harm because… “ No excuses.
    • “I apologize for that harm”
    • “Is there anything I missed that I might explore with white Friends?”

What further causing harm may look like:

  • Saying “yes, but”
  • Asking or expecting Friends of Color to teach white Friends. Please utilize the White Allies Affinity Group for further education and support.  
  • Seeking soothing and comfort from a Friend of Color when speaking about the ouch with the Friend of Color (and at the expense of their time and energy). This is sometimes referred to as “white tears.” 

Sandy Kewman
Presiding Clerk

This message is available as a PDF on the 2020 Annual Session Information page.

In Preparation for Annual Session 2020 on Radical Inclusivity: A Letter from PacYM Ministry & Oversight to Friends

February 4, 2020

(Sent on behalf of Presiding Clerk Sandy Kewman and the Ministry and Oversight Committee by Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk of PYM. Please circulate widely in your Meeting so all members and attenders have the opportunity to read it.)

“Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness, and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another, but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been a slip or fall, and waiting until the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting.”

Isaac Penington

Dear Friends,

In preparation for Pacific Yearly Meeting (PacYM) Annual Session 2020 and beyond, the PacYM Ministry & Oversight (M&O) Committee and Presiding Clerk Sandy Kewman call upon Meeting members and attenders to engage deeply in inquiry and discernment on fostering greater inclusion and love for each other, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, experience with Quakerism, abilities, sexual orientation and the numerous less seen differences that we may have. This is a lifelong concern, commitment, and practice, one with which every Friend must grapple in order to co-create and live into the beloved community.

As a way to deepen our discussions and work towards living into being a beloved community, we request in the next year that Friends in your Monthly Meeting read the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. Understanding that Friends have already begun working on this year’s State of the Meeting reports, we ask that you respond to the queries posed below and to please include in your Meeting’s State of the Meeting report⁠—if not this year then in 2021⁠—the work your Meeting is doing to deepen the state of being a beloved community for all people, to see the unseen and acknowledge opportunities for growth.

We believe that in taking these action steps, Friends will have a common language and framework by which to identify and talk about racism, white privilege, settler colonialism, and the inherited culture of white supremacy individually, in relationship with one another, and structurally in our Meetings and the larger society. This work is critical if  Friends are to really be friends to each other and our earth.

We offer these queries for your Spirit-filled consideration:

  • In what ways did White Fragility help you understand the place of race in our lives and in our Meetings with a new or different perspective?
  • How aware and awake is your Meeting to how race, cultural differences, privilege and entitlement impact the quality of your relationships and friendships in your Meeting?
  • What new learning about how to be a more beloved community for all people within the culture of Friends has occurred in your Meeting?
  • In what ways have we been “fragile” to seeing our sometimes unconscious and unintentional role in perpetuating a culture of dominance?
  • What steps could your Meeting take to increase inclusion and the loving telling of truth among Friends in the coming year?

To support this work, we recommend that you utilize Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility reading guide, which can be accessed here. Friends may wish to approach this request like a book club, completing the whole book and gathering at the end to discuss, or may want to read the chapters together as a group over the course of several months. We hope that Meetings will have begun the book by the time Annual Session 2020 begins.

If led, we encourage your Meeting to further deepen into this concern by exploring the following works:

For additional resources, please see visit our Racial Justice webpage here.

Please reach out to PacYM M&O Committee with any questions or feedback about this request. Please contact: PacYMMO@gmail.com.

In Peace,

Pacific Yearly Meeting Ministry & Oversight Committee and Presiding Clerk Sandy Kewman