PYM Elementary Children Epistle 2012

PYM Elementary Children Epistle 2012 (PDF file)

PYM Elementary Children’s Epistle 2012

We, the Pacific Yearly Meeting class of 2012 Elementary Students, would like our future selves to remember our experiences:

Our class, whether in the classroom or exploring, went on a journey together. We’ve learned to listen to the world around us and observe our surroundings. We sung together, we hiked together, and we created together. Our popsicle structure taught us the importance of teamwork. In building together, we strengthened both the bridge and our group. We learned that we can be creative with everything and gathered sticks and leaves to create self portraits. In doing this we saw ourselves reflected in the environment. Our group created mandalas and went swimming. The mandalas helped us center ourselves in worship. Everyday we also shared worship on the bridge: in the silence we could hear the stream below us. We saw deer and turkey vultures on our walks, and we found bones and feathers hidden in the grass. We were able to help with weeding in the garden, and it felt good to eat the lettuce that we had helped to take care of. The friendships that we formed with each other during our time together are ones that will last. As we remember this journey a decade from now we hope that our discoveries about creation, teamwork, community, worship, the environment, and all of the connections that tie these things together have stuck with us.

In Peace, Alden, Elias, Natalie, April, Reid, Grace, & Kristina

YAF 2012 Epistle

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 Young Adult Friends Epistle
Pacific Yearly Meeting 2012

This year approximately twenty Young Adult Friends (18-35yr.) attended Yearly Meeting.  Of these people many were involved in greater Yearly Meeting responsibilities and were not regularly involved in YAF activities, and many others came for a brief period of time.  YAF activities this year included swimming, building a raft, a sunset hike and worship in a tree, two smaller respectful relations meetings of our own as well as Thursday night with Junior Yearly Meeting, and Meetings for Worship on the occasion of Business.

In Meetings for Business this week we minuted the decision to make the name change/clarification of this community of 18-35 year olds to Young Adult Friends (YAF)!  For a fuller report on this and other orders of business see our minutes attached 🙂

One of the biggest things Young Adult Friends have done in the past has been helping plan and lead the Respectful Relations activity with JYM.  This year we did things a little differently.  Respectful Relations was planned by Maia Wolff and Alyssa Nelson with members of  the YAF community helping lead and hold the space.  After Respectful Relations, we asked Alyssa Nelson to lead us in other sexuality contemplation activities that she had introduced to us earlier in the week.  In preparation for these activities, John Calvi lead us in an amazing workshop in sexual energy and healing.  Overall, we feel that this new format for Respectful Relationships will better support both communities (YAF & JYM).

The YAF community is currently trying to bridge the gap between Senior Yearly Meeting (SYM) and the Young Adult Friend community.  One of the strategies we explored this week was our “speed dating” exercise where we had committee members from SYM come and give us a three minute spiel on their committee work. We hoped for more people and are planning on organizing this again to get YAF’s more interested in participating in the wider community.  Some of our obstacles in bridging this gap have been affording annual session and our need to strengthen our own community. The vast majority of YAF’s present at this gathering are receiving scholarship in some form.  Although we recognize that we could have used more of the funds available to us many we still consider this an issue for the future of YAF’s at annual session.  In this coming year we plan on working on more outreach and publicity of the many scholarship options for YAF’s even when registering late.  In the past few years we have lost many of our age 23+ YAF’s and are working to rebuild our sense of strong community.  This year we have found Alyssa Nelson, the Pacific Yearly Meeting Youth Program Coordinator, to be an amazing resource to our community. We look forward to working more with her in the coming year in this rebuilding.

We as the YAF community were approached within the last two days of this annual session with the idea of a committee of support and care being formed to uphold our community.  We see this as arising out of a need in our community and were excited by the five names – Alyssa Nelson (as YPC), Diego Navarro, Jim Summers, Carl Magruder and Lisa Hubbell – who were brought to us of people ready to be a part of this committee.  We see this committee as being able to be there to listen to where we are as a community, support our planning/clerking committee (this year the Fantastic Four – Cedar Green, Nate Secrest, Ty Graham, and Mark Runyan), and offer mentor-ship to our community throughout the year as well as at annual session.  We have accepted this committee as an open committee while welcoming the five names brought forward under our care for our care as an experiment for this year.  Next year we look forward to reexamining the responsibilities of this committee and whether it should be continued as a YAF committee or recommended to be under the care of the greater PYM.

With excitement for further growth and exploration, the Young Adult Friends of Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session 2012

JYM 2012 Epistle

JYM 2012 EPISTLE (PDF file)

Junior Yearly Meeting

2012 EPISTLE

 

We began our week as a fresh, new, young community greatly in need of finding togetherness. The Service Project began our process of connecting in the community, and Meeting for Memorials cemented our bonds. We proved able and willing to care for each other in times of heartache. Through Intergenerational Chat Boxes and a Power Walk we bridged the gap to the Senior Yearly Meeting. Capture the flag and other energetic, outdoor games allowed us to befriend the younger members of our community. By the end of our short time together we had become a loving, close-knit group of Friends.

We came to unity on the leadership roles for next year. The Friends in leadership roles for the 2013 JYM Gathering are Augie Brinker (Santa Cruz), Clare Griese (La Jolla), and Emma Castanedo (La Jolla) as Co-Clerks; Nathan Walker (Palo Alto) as Ministry and Oversight Clerk; and Anna Lichterman (Palo Alto), Hannah Mackinney (Strawberry Creek), and Miriam Myers (San Francisco) as the body of Ministry and Oversight.

So as we part, we keep in our hearts the relationships formed and remember the words of Dr. Seuss:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

2012 Epistle from the PYM Middle School Group

2012 Epistle of the PYM Middle School Program (PDF file)

2012 Epistle from PYM Middle School Program

 

This week at Pacific yearly meeting we came together as a group of nine very creative young people.  We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about being Quakers and making friends.

We had several guests during the week.  Jim Anderson told us about the Salt and Light Conference in Kenya and we talked about what it means to be Quaker’s in today’s world.  Sandy Farley played some games with us, and Stephen Matchett introduced us to Bible study.  We also visited the adults in the Bible Study group. We also had a visit from “Elizabeth Fry”.

We played Capture the Flag, Tetherball and “Screaming Toes”.  We hiked in the woods, swam and canoed in the pond, danced in the barn and made weird hats.  We also built a raft that almost sank.  At the meeting for Memorials we remembered all the Friends who died during the last year.  Also, we made over 40 bead animals and lanyards for our craft projects.  M&O asked us for a Quaker-themed skit, so we wrote and produced “Coffee: the Musical” for our Family Night talent show. (It was a short musical.)

All in all, we had a great time and we wish you all the best.

Middle School Program

Pacific Yearly Meeting

Annual Session 2012

Walker Creek Ranch

2012 Epistle from the PYM Pre-School Group

2012 Epistle of the PYM Pre-School Group (PDF file)

 

2012 Epistle from the Pre-School group

 

These are some of the things we liked:

●  Making play dough – we used stamps that were sea creatures and the play dough was blue.

●  Singing songs.

●  Going to the garden – we looked at carrots and worms and we tasted some herbs.

●  Painting with our hands.

●  Playing with the shaving cream – it looked like whipped cream and it felt like sticky stuff.

●  Blowing bubbles an spraying water and making holes in the ground.

●  Dressing up in costumes.

●  Sleeping.

●  Visiting the goats and the sheeps and we saw deer.

●  We saw a yellow jacket hive – we stepped over it an walked this was (hand motion – zigzag).

●  Singing with the big kids and we read “One Monster After Another”.  We liked it.

●  Drinking juice and water, eating Graham Crackers, fruit and cheese.

 

children: Levi Mayers, Ezra Mayers, Zoe Wardrip-Fruin, Ciaran Lewbel

teachers: Heather Erlick, Minna Albongi, Denise Williams, Laura Adair

 

 

 

 

PYM Epistle 2012

PYM EPISTLE 2012 (PDF file)

PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING
of the Religious Society of Friends
EPISTLE 2012

To Friends Everywhere,

Healing—of self, community, world—was the theme of the 66th Annual  Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting, held from the 13th through the 18th of Eighth Month, 2012.  We gathered again at Walker Creek Ranch near Petaluma, California, among the live oaks and golden, rolling hills of the Northern California coastal range, a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.  In the quiet repose of this remote area (blessedly free of cell phone connection!) we saw deer foraging daintily on the outskirts of the ranch, turkey vultures circling above, raccoons feasting upon food found in backpacks.  All were reminders of the healing beauty of the Earth and its readiness to welcome us back into communion with the Great Spirit in which “we live, and move, and have our being.”

In the call to our Annual  Session, Presiding Clerk Marilee Eusebio invited us to “Come with open minds and hearts that in the Spirit, we may share our deepest selves with one another.”  In the opening plenary, she quoted from a speech by Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian (and the first Muslim woman) to win the Nobel Peace Prize, whose message was simply “Embrace kindness.”

In his keynote message, “The Dance between Hope and Fear Among Friends,” John Calvi of Putney Meeting in Vermont spelled out various dimensions of healing.  The deepest, most lasting healing occurs when we surrender ourselves into the Light—where “surrender” does not mean giving up, but rather joining something far greater than ourselves.  Our work of healing is most effective when we have a clear sense of our own goodness—the “spiritual essence” which is our connection to the Divine.  This awareness is strengthened by many things, including the enjoyment of giving and receiving love; acts of conscience and the use of our personal power for the common good; and the direct experience of the Divine through the stillness of Friends’ worship.

The schedule for our Annual Session was redesigned to enhance opportunities for healing, by fostering more deeply gathered or “covered” Meetings for Worship on the Occasion of Business, and by greater coordination of age-related and intergenerational group activities. Worship-sharing queries addressed healing at many levels: care for our physical selves, our inner lives, our Meetings and wider communities, and the common ills of humanity.  Many Interest Groups featured initiatives to mend the world, including “The Joy of Racial Healing”; Friends Peace Teams; Promoting Diplomacy (not War) with Iran; Healing From Trauma; Abolishing the Death Penalty; Ending Torture; and listening to needs of undocumented students.

We broke into enthusiastic applause at the end of the premier showing of a film made by four of our Pacific Yearly Meeting members who had attended the 6th World Conference of Friends, held in Kenya earlier this year: “Being Salt and Light: Friends Living the Kingdom of God in a Broken World.”   The film, Salt and Light, depicts in compelling intimacy the exuberant joy of coming together and sharing in worship with Friends from many parts of the world, as well as the sometimes painful gift of wrestling with deeply held differences, especially those regarding differences in sexual orientation. We have been heartened by reports that healing is taking place, even across such painful divisions. The film has been adopted by Friends World Committee for Consultation as part of its own publicity for the World Conference.

We are deeply gratified to witness a growing energy and commitment to the Yearly Meeting among our youth.  One young Friend speaks with wonder of the greater fluidity that he senses between various age groups within the Yearly Meeting. At one meeting, Friends of all ages gathered to find ways to soften separations and enhance connections between younger and older Friends. The youngest person present, a three-year-old boy, was allowed to play on the floor with a roll of Scotch Tape.   As older Friends talked, the little boy decided to stretch pieces of tape from the feet of one person to the next, until many feet were joined by transparent, sticky links.  Reuniting the generations begins with outreach at the most basic, ground level—and “A little child shall lead us.”

The decision of the Yearly Meeting in 2009 to experiment with our first paid full-time staff person, a Youth Program Coordinator, has been deeply affirming to many of our young people, who report that they feel a greater sense of belonging to Pacific Yearly Meeting—that they have “come home.” Their revitalized connection to the Yearly Meeting and to the Religious Society of Friends is infectious and empowering, spawning eagerness to share with others in the wider world the beauty of an inclusive and loving Blessed Community.

At the same time, some of our Monthly Meetings struggle with the increased financial burden posed by the newly-hired staff person.  Following a full evaluation, at our Annual Session in 2013 we will decide whether to continue, or to lay down, this initiative.

Healing occurs at many levels and by many means, some less visible and obvious than others.  A message out of the silence this week reminded us of the hidden, yet deeply healing power of lives of integrity and compassion.  Such lives affect all whom they touch, beyond what words can say.  Ultimately, who we are as human beings is our greatest and most lasting witness to the world.

In the Light,

Marilee Eusebio, Presiding Clerk