This page contains general information about the annual gatherings (or “Sessions”) of Pacific Yearly Meeting. All members and attenders of Friends meetings, as well as anyone interested in Friends’ ways, are invited to attend these summer gatherings which combine worship, fellowship and business and many other activities. There are activities for youth organized by interest and age as well as all-ages portions of the agenda.
As you can well imagine, the format of Annual Session was revised somewhat for 2020 and 2021 to be held virtually via Zoom. This page, for the most part, contains description of the in-person sessions, which we hope to resume in 2022.
Click on any item in the Table of Contents to jump to that section:
Table of Contents
General Information about Annual Sessions
You can choose to come for all or part of the Annual Session. The session begins on a Friday and runs until Wednesday. Meeting for Memorials is on Sunday. Specific information for each Annual Session is posted as available in a dedicated page on this site. Check the HOME page for the most recent links.
New to Annual Session?
Please feel free to contact Heather Levien, Assistant to the Clerk, with any questions.
Email Heather at <AssistantToTheClerk@pacificyearlymeeting.org>
Program & Activities
Schedule of Activities
- To get the flavor of what goes on at an annual session, see the 2018 Annual Session Schedule and the accompanying The 2018 Schedule Explained.
Business Meetings & Plenaries
Open to all ages.
To get an idea of the type of business we conduct at annual sessions, see the 2017 Annual Session Plenary Agendas. Minutes from the plenaries (including all the committee reports presented at annual session) can be found on the PacYM Minutes page.
In addition to all-ages activities, there are programs for children and teens, and an affinity group of young adults (ages 18-35+). Please see their web pages for details, including contacts and parental permission forms and medical release forms:
- Children’s Program
- Teens (Junior Yearly Meeting, aka JYM)
- Young Adult Friends (aka YAFs)
- Volunteer positions are available for adults to work with youth. Friends who are chosen to serve as Children’s Program Teachers or JYM Friendly Responsible Adult Presences receive a full registration fee waiver for camping or group dorm accommodations.
All activities on the event schedule are open to all ages unless otherwise specified. During times when Friends ages 17 and under (i.e., minors) are not participating in the Children’s Program or JYM (such as at meal times), their parents/guardians or adult sponsors are responsible for supervision. Signed release forms are required for participation. Thank you for your help in making these programs go smoothly!
Interest Groups are generally 90-minute presentations or discussions sponsored by PacYM committees. Time blocks are spread throughout the Annual Session schedule, usually with 4-5 offerings to choose from per time slot. For examples of the kinds of interest groups that are offered, see the 2017 Interest Group listings.
If you wish to offer an interest group yourself, work with one of the PacYM committees to submit a proposal well in advance of Annual Session. The deadline for proposals is usually in early March. See How to Propose an Interest Group for Annual Session for details.
Affinity groups are informal gatherings of Friends around a common concern or a common identity. These groups create safe spaces for sharing among themselves. Affinity groups have included 12-Step, Friends of Color, Friends of European Descent, Friends Changing Jobs or Careers, among others.
Affinity groups do not need to be planned ahead of Annual Session, but can be organized on the spot. A particular group might meet just once or twice or it might meet daily, generally in the late evening or at a meal time.
Bible study is “come as you are.” Bring your doubts, discomforts, questions, familiarity, love, and anything in between, as we read passages together and reflect on what the Spirit may be saying to us through these words at this particular place and time.
Different leaders and formats will be on offer, to be described at the first session. Worship sharing, Friendly Bible Study queries, and general discussion are all likely options. One group may have a particular focus on the gospels.
Bring a Bible if you have one, in any translation. If not, there are usually some available to borrow or share.
Worship Sharing gathers Friends into groups of approximately 8 people, who will gather in silence to consider a set of prepared queries. For many, Worship Sharing is a deeply enriching experience and an important highlight of Annual Session. It allows for deep connections with others, a grounding base from which to explore all that is offered, and a source of personal strength and support.
The instructions to sign up for Worship Sharing groups are provided in the registration materials for each Annual Session. Choices include mixed groups, couples groups, women only groups, LGBTQIA2S+ groups, as well as drop-in groups, and when Annual Session is held in-person, there are usually both indoor and outdoor locations on offer. A sense of spiritual community builds during the week, so participants not able to attend Worship Sharing each day are asked to select a drop-in group.