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

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.


2020 Annual Session Information

This is the information page for Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2020 Annual Session, which occurred July 10 to 15, 2020.

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

Epistle

  • Pacific YM 2020 Epistle
  • Note: Since Children’s Program and Junior Yearly Meeting were much abbreviated this year and did not run concurrently with the Adult session, there were no epistles from those groups.

Minutes


During the Session

A message from the Clerk (updated 7/12):
An Experiment in Learning for White Friends and Safeguarding Space for Friends of Color at Annual Session 2020 (as web page) (as PDF)

Schedules and Agendas

See also  AS LIVE 2020 for Zoom links and additional information for registered attenders only.

All of the following documents are either not in the Advance Packet or have corrections over what is in the Advance Packet.

Keynote Speaker

Mica Estrada gave the keynote on Saturday, July 11th at 10:30am this year at Annual Session.  We are deeply grateful to have had Mica speak to us at the Annual Session.  Following is an audio recording of her presentation: 

Here is the video recording:

Mica earned her doctorate in Social Psychology from Harvard University. She is an Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. Her teaching and research focuses on the ethnic populations who are historically underrepresented in higher education, are most vulnerable to impacts of climate change, and have potential to provide diverse and creative solutions to pressing challenges.

Mica is  a member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkley, CA. She serves on the Pacific Yearly Meeting Racial Justice and the Eldering Subcommittees. Mica also serves on the Geneva Quaker United National Committee, Mica’s spiritual development was informed by ‘The light within’ from an early age. It was a guiding principle of her life for many years even before she came to know Quakers. The writings of Parmahansa Yogananda, Daya Mata, Pema Chodron, Thomas Kelley, and Khalil Gibran have been instrumental in forming Mica’s spiritual practices. Mica follows her spiritual leading to make the world a kinder place.

The keynote began with a story appropriate for all ages. Children were invited to accompany their parents to the keynote for as long as they like.  

Zoom Information

 AS LIVE 2020Registered attenders check your email from pymassistanttotheclerk for the password to this page.  The AS LIVE 2020 page contains links to all the Zoom meetings and other materials for attenders only.

Advance Information

Clerk’s Call

Registration

Deadlines

Information for Specific Age Groups

  • Information for Registrants (all ages):  You will not be able to attend Annual Session offerings without registering.  Registration deadline was July 3.  Check whether late registration is still possible.
  • A brief Children’s Program will take place on Friday morning, July 10. The session will be 75 minutes, children will be divided by age into two groups: ages 4 to 7 or 8; and ages 8 or 9 to 12. If we have enough children for a second 75-minute session, it will occur from 11:00-12:15pm with the same fun-focused lesson plans. 
  • Teen Program (Junior Yearly Meeting, aka JYM). Teens will be leading intergenerational games on Saturday evening-we would love to see you there! The rest of JYM’s gatherings will take place the week/s following July 15. For more information on the teen schedule, please see our intergenerational calendar page here. We are still looking for a few (adult) Friendly Responsible Adult Presences (FRAPs) to work with and or hold the space for our youth.
  • Young Adult Friends (aka YAFs) program will start Friday evening. YAFs may still be able to register late and take part in the general Annual Sessions. Many YAFs will attend the YPCC interest group on Sunday evening to discuss our work on mutual aid within the yearly meeting. The rest of YAF activities will also take place the week/s following AS. See our intergenerational calendar page for more information.

Advance Packet

The Packet of Advance Materials 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.

  • Packet of Advance Materials (posted 7/3) Note that the Schedule and the Interest Group listings have changed slightly from what is in the Advance Packet, so for those two documents use the versions linked below.

Updates:  The following are reports and information that are either “new” (i.e. not in the Advance Packet) or have been revised or corrected from the version in the Packet.

Committee/Officer Reports

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

Reports from Representatives to Outside Organizations

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


Deadlines that Have Passed

 

Late Registration

 

  • “Normal” registration is closed (deadline was July 3).  To register late, send a request by email to pymregistrars@gmail.com.
  • Annual Session is Pay-as-Led this year, meaning you are invited to pay whatever amount you are led to pay to help cover PacYM’s costs.  A suggested range is $40-$60 for adults age 25 and over attending “full time”, and lesser amounts for those under 25.

Evaluations and Nominating Committee “Pink Sheet”

 

If you participated in all or part of the session, we hope you will fill out the 2020 Annual Session Evaluation Survey

If you participated in Worship-Sharing, please fill out the 2020 Worship-Sharing Evaluation Survey.

THE DEADLINE FOR EVALUATIONS WAS EXTENDED TO July 25, which has now passed.

Help the Nominating Committee match your gifts with needed service to the Yearly Meeting by filling out a “Pink Sheet” describing your skills and interests.

 


Contacts

These are contacts specifically related to Annual Session 2020.  More general contacts for PacYM can be found on the Contact-Us page.  Contacts for specific activities during Annual Session (e.g. Worship/Sharing, Affinity Groups, Games, etc) can be found in the Schedule Explained 2020 document linked here.

General questions about PYM and Annual Session:
Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk, pymassistanttotheclerk@gmail.com

Registration:
Lawrence Alderson and Brylie Oxlie, Registrars: <pymregistrars@gmail.com>
Mailing Address for checks (made out to “Pacific Yearly Meeting”) for completed registrations:
Pacific Yearly Meeting Registrar
c/o Lawrence Alderson
10 Leeds Lane
Aliso Viejo, CA, 92656 <— note correction in Zip code 7/10 (was showing 92626)

Youth Programs:
Overall:  Rebekah Percy, Interim Youth Programs Coordinator: <pym.youthcoordinator@gmail.com> (Available for general youth-related questions.)
Children:  Suellen Lowry, Clerk of Children’s Program Committee: <suellenquaker@gmail.com> www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/youth/children/
JYM (teens): Dan Strickland, Clerk of JYM Adult Committee: <danstrickland2001@yahoo.com> www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/youth/jym/

Daily Miracle:  There will not be a “Daily Miracle” bulletin this year.  Program information will be on the website (on this page or, for registered attenders, on the password protected AS LIVE 2020 page).

Discourse (for Attenders only): See AS LIVE 2020 (a password protected page) for a link to Discourse.  Discourse is the place to share personal announcements you might have submitted to the Daily Miracle in other years.

Website:
Website Editors: <pym.website@gmail.com> to report errors or submit material for the website.

Zoom:
Andrea Harman, Zoom Coordinator: <ams573@alumni.psu.edu> for technical issues with Zoom

See more general PacYM contacts on the Contact Us page