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

Request for Feedback on Draft Faith and Practice Revisions

Preamble: The Faith and Practice Revision Committee has continued preparing drafts of several sections of Faith and Practice for posting on the Pacific Yearly Meeting website.  This new “rolling revision” process is based on the Quaker understanding of continuing revelation, as congruent with new technologies that make it possible for us to revise the document incrementally. We are living into this “experimentally” as our forebears might have said.

This year we are presenting a revision of “Death and Grieving.”  Though we started this work last year, we understand the tenderness of this topic during the pandemic.  We have also added a suggested format for a Zoom Memorial in the Manner of Friends, which is on the PYM website. (https://www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/2020/uncategorized/zoom-memorial-meetings-guidance/)

The “Death and Grieving” revision considers different ways that people die, with the hope of bringing love and healing as well as nurturing the spiritual growth that can occur at the end of life.  We are asking Meetings, committees and other entities of the Yearly Meeting (for instance JYM, or YAF),  to discern together about the proposed new language and to

share feedback with us at PYM.FPRevision@gmail.com by June 30th.

Text of the draft revision: PYM.FPRevision.Death-in-the-Meeting.2020-05-02

If you reach unity on suggestions you would like to make, let us know.  If you struggled with the text and can give us input on issues where you did not find unity, that is also welcome. We are asking that individual Friends NOT send comments, but participate in larger group discernment, as is our tradition.  We are also asking Friends to contribute medical and legal resources that are relevant to Hawaii, Mexico, and Nevada for the electronic appendix.

Queries you may find useful for your discernment:

  1. What have Friends found helpful during times of profound loss in their lives?
  2. Has your meeting been able to provide a loving support to those who were dying, and to those who care for them?  What would help?
  3. We have addressed many of the ways that Meetings have experienced unexpected death (such as suicide) and subsequent grieving responses.  In what way would including these situations in Faith and Practice help or hinder your Meetings’ response to the families involved?
  4. Would you like resources for Friends who feel led to be more supportive around end of life questions, preparation, grief, and loss?  Do you have any resources you would recommend?
  5. Do you find the internet resources at the end of this document helpful?  Do you have any other resources you could suggest?  These resources can be updated in real time.

— PYM Faith and Practice Revision Committee, May 2, 2020

Zoom Memorial Meetings Guidance

In this time of physical distancing, the need to recognize and solemnize the passing of loved ones is intensified, even while shelter in place protocols make traditional memorials impossible for the time being. Physical distancing may be with us for many months, and may return from time to time in the future.

The Faith and Practice Revision Committee offers the following “virtual Zoom memorial format” for use by Quaker Meetings and others who prefer a simple service:    Zoom Memorial Meetings for Unprogrammed Friends. Please feel emboldened to offer a memorial in this way, and also to modify these suggestions to fit your community and the person who has died.

Carl Magruder, M.Div., BCC, initially wrote this document for SoulWays Spiritual Accompaniment (a Civic Light Project). The document was reviewed by Pacific Yearly Meeting’s (PYM) Faith and Practice Revision Committee, which Carl co-clerks, and is presented as a resource for during this time of physical distancing. It has NOT been finalized for PYM’s Faith and Practice as of April 24, 2020.

Call to Representative Committee 2020

the theme of our Annual Session in July will be

 Radical Inclusivity:  Responding to the Persistent and Insistent Love of God 

WHEN/WHERE:

RepCom will be hosted by Quaker Oaks Farm (QOF), meeting at the Visalia Friends’ Meetinghouse (VFM) on the ancestral land of the Wukchumni Tribe from 6pm on Friday, March 6, through Saturday March 7 and continuing to Sunday March 8 if necessary.

REGISTRATION:

Please register for RepCom by SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 by filling out the form on the PYM website:

www.pacificyearlymeeting.org/committee-newsletters-and-reports/representative-committee/2020-repcom-reports-and-minutes/

 (Persons registering after Friday February 15 cannot be assured of overnight hospitality.)

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

HOSPITALITY:

Overnight accommodations will be provided in nearby homes and there is plenty of camping and floor sleeping space available at QOF, adjacent to VFM There are also inexpensive hotels/Airbnbs in Visalia and Exeter. Friday dinner through Sunday lunch will be provided (along with snacks/tea/coffee) for a suggested donation to QOF of $40. Please note any food restrictions in your registration.

TRAVEL & REIMBURSEMENT: 

Visalia is easily accessible by car, bus, or train and shuttles to the Meetinghouse will be provided. Travel expenses of officers, clerks, and Representative Committee members (Monthly Meetings’ representatives to PYM) are reimbursed 25¢ per mile for round trip road atlas mileage between the member’s Home Meeting and the location of the Meeting being attended or actual expenses up to $.25 per mile. Round trip travel from Mexico or Hawaii is reimbursed up to $600. Members are encouraged to reduce costs by taking advantage of special bargain rates (early reservation, two for one, special offers, etc.).  

PRESENTING AND REPORTING:

Please submit written reports by February 15 to Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk (email address below).  Guidelines for reports are on the PYM web page. Reports sent after 2/15 might not be posted prior to RepCom. Contact Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk (email address below) if your committee is presenting at RepCom. 

Interest Groups at the 2020 Annual Session

The process for getting Interest Groups scheduled for Annual Session is on the PYM website. Please submit your proposals by Sunday, March 8 to Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk (email address below).

Junior Yearly Meeting:  The youth leadership of Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) and JYM  Adult Committee members will  meet at QOF March 6-8 to plan for JYM 2020 at Walker Creek Ranch. JYM planners look forward to worshiping and sharing meals with Friends attending RepCom.  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. 

Questions for the Presiding Clerk? Contact Sandy at PYMclerk@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you in Visalia,
Sharon Gates, Assistant to the Clerk
PYMAssistanttotheClerk@gmail.com

YPCC Evaluation Report to AS 2019

DOWNLOAD:

This post is linked from the YPCC web page.

 

WEB VERSION:

PYM Youth Programs Coordinating Committee
Program Evaluation Report 2019
(See also the summary of responses in appendix in linked PDF, above)

Summary

Responses to an online survey, sent to meetings and individuals in December 2018, provided clear support of the Youth Programs Coordinator (YPC)  and offered suggestions and critiques of the efforts of the YPC and the Youth Programs Coordinating Committee (YPCC). Respondents who have been active in regional events such as Annual Session and Quarterly Meetings were more knowledgeable regarding impacts on the youth programs and listed many positive changes observed since the program began. A desire for support of the children’s program and youth programs in monthly meetings was expressed. A concern that youth programs were not developing a spiritual foundation and that we address issues of racism, classism, sexism and ageism were also expressed. Respondents were divided regarding the question of hiring an administrative support person and focusing the YPC role on youth activities.  A majority of respondents support the cost of the YPC as money well spent, with some expressing concern regarding the impact of the cost on meeting budgets and limited impact seen at the monthly meeting level.

Continue reading “YPCC Evaluation Report to AS 2019”

Welcome Letter to Children’s Program Families 2019

Dear Children’s Program Families of Pacific Yearly Meeting:

Thank you for registering your child(ren) for Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 2019 Annual Session! The Children’s Program Committee looks forward to our joyous work of nurturing children and families at Annual Session.

Please read this letter thoroughly in preparation for our week together.

Last year we had a lot of fun and came together as a community to learn more about the Quaker Way. This year, we’ll continue taking advantage of outdoor education opportunities at the site and blending them with other forms of Quaker teaching and learning. And once again, we have an enthusiastic and skilled group of teachers and support staff. Continue reading “Welcome Letter to Children’s Program Families 2019”

New Document and Renewed Request for Further Seasoning on FGC Affiliation

To Meeting Representatives and Clerks of Monthly Meetings

Ministry and Oversight Committee renews its request, sent last March, for monthly meetings to further season the matter of FGC affiliation between now and June 30, 2019.

The purpose of this message now is to alert you to a new document, 2019 FGC Talking Points, containing information that may be useful to your monthly meeting as we continue to labor with the question of FGC affiliation.  These talking points were shared with members and observers at the recent FGC Central Committee meeting, and are posted here with permission of FGC. Continue reading “New Document and Renewed Request for Further Seasoning on FGC Affiliation”

Volunteer with JYM or Children’s Program at 2019 PYM Annual Session: DEADLINE EXTENDED

Update 6/5/19: MORE VOLUNTEERS ARE STILL NEEDED WITH THE TEEN AND CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS, as soon as possible: A fantastic way for adults to experience Annual Session and have your registration fees waived as well.  Learn  more below in the original invitation:

——-
Dear PYM Friends:

Can you think of a Friend who’d be a good fit to volunteer with children or teens at Annual Session? Please send this message to them!

Continue reading “Volunteer with JYM or Children’s Program at 2019 PYM Annual Session: DEADLINE EXTENDED”

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 program and dinner on March 23, 2019, in support of the  Undocumented Student Scholarship Project of Sacramento Friends Meeting.  The second is a one-week Teaching English Experience taking place in Antigua, Guatemala, January 3-11, 2020.   Continue reading “News from Latin American Programs”

Zoom Video Conferencing Available for PYM Business

Dear PYM Committee Clerks, Officers, and Reps,

We have two Zoom (video conferencing) accounts available for PYM-related business.

If you would like to request the scheduling of a zoom time block, contact the Assistant to the Clerk at <pymassistanttotheclerk@gmail.com>.

Please include the following information in your email request:
Continue reading “Zoom Video Conferencing Available for PYM Business”