There is a bulletin available each day next year. 0;)
Sunday, July 29th is the end of Annual Session. While this is a time for many goodbye’s, it is also the time for us to leave campus. We need to be out of the dorm rooms by 3:00 p.m. on Sunday (sooner would be better).
Welcome to NPYMAS 2018! It is with great joy and anticipation that in just a little less than a week we will be gathering at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. This year will be a continuing challenge to each of us as we work to undo racism in our own hearts and our Quaker community, and move our journey together forward to allow for true equality making us one in the Spirit.
In less than a week we will all gather on the University of Puget Sound (UPS) campus in Tacoma for the 2018 Annual Session of the North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). As Registrar for this annual session I would like to personally greet everyone who has registered, and welcome you to this event. You are receiving this email because we have received your registration and we are expecting you. Please note the need to bring linens mentioned later in this email.
We come together for this year’s Annual Session in a spirit of inclusion and celebration. With much racial justice work still to be done in our hearts, our Quaker community, our country, and the world, we will reach together for that higher place where, when we turn round right, we will truly stand by our brothers and sisters of any color, of any gender expression, and of any financial ability. In deepened connections to each other, we hope more often to find the holiness of wholeness.
Vanessa Julye is a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. She serves as the Nurturing Ministries Coordinator, Ministry on Racism and Youth Ministries Programs for Friends General Conference and has worked for FGC for about thirteen years. She has co-authored, Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice. She has published numerous articles on Quakers and racism and travels throughout the United States and abroad speaking and leading workshops on related issues. Vanessa holds a B.A. from Temple University. She brings to us an awareness of how white supremacy has left out all people of color. By addressing the history of Quakers and racism, Vanessa works to help all Quakers move to a place of Beloved Community that is racially inclusive in all ways.
The nearly 300 Friends gathered at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, send you our hopes for building a world where bigotry is uprooted and equality of justice is the basis of all our social relations – a Commonwealth of Divine Peace. We have shared a taste of that under hot, sunny skies at the foot of Mount Rainier, land traditionally occupied by the Puyallup People (/spujɑɫəpabs in Lǝšūtsijd Coast Salish). In our 45th Annual Session we worshipped and shared together, while considering our role in the racism that afflicts our society.
We are grateful for the ministry of our Friend in Residence: Vanessa Julye, from Friends General Conference’s Ministry on Racism, who lovingly rebuked Quakers for upholding white privilege over the centuries up to the present day, and called our largely white gathering to undo the powerful silent forces which actively keep other Friends away. There was an enormous range of emotional responses. As Vanessa reminded us, “we live in a world of traumatized people, harmed by the effects of White Supremacy” – harm done to people of all colors. We often feel anxious, powerless to respond, and baffled as to how to “do it right.”
How do we make it right? Our Friend in Residence warned against seeking to be comfortable: white people should not confuse discomfort with lack of safety; at this the room quaked with a gasp of recognition. Language is often a sore point: we wish to be authentic and speak the truth of our experience, but in ignorance we use words that wound others. We know we will make mistakes even as we go forward in a brave way, and feel exasperated by that reality. In follow-up workshops Friends considered how to deal with the manifestations of cultural and systemic bias. We are thankful for the Friends of color that offered resources and insights while supporting each other in healing. We began to look at a proposed minute supporting engagement to uproot racism. Our worship group discussions helped us look more deeply into the privileges of our educated, Euro-American majority, and to empathize with the sufferings of vulnerable people at the corner of invisibility and exposure.
Friends considered a variety of other topics in interest groups. Many Friends spent time discussing responses to world climate change and its underlying causes. Other concerns and Quaker organizations also received Friends’ attention and support. The xenophobia and racism in the U.S. immigration system siezed many Friends’ attention. We appreciate their many good actions and opportunities for our involvement.} After laboring all day, the music ministry by Anna Fritz soothed our spirits in the evening.
Junior Friends Yearly Meeting (high school age teens) were most visible in taking part in small worship groups, and in leading a plenary session with a game to highlight the issue of privilege or lack thereof, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation and dis/abilities. We were reminded of our commitment made last year to welcome transgender and gender non-conforming people.
In a time when the outside world’s business roils and breaks our hearts, the gathering’s business rolled out lightly and smoothly. Our children’s program, traveling ministry program and other initiatives give us hope for the future. The new “Pay as you are led” funding brought in more attendance and opened doors for some who otherwise might have been burdened by costs. Overall our Yearly Meeting’s local meetings find themselves spiritually grounded, though with diminishing numbers and aging members, which leads to difficulty in Nominating Committee’s filling all 97 positions at the YM level. This is not a new difficulty for our YM nor for other Quaker meetings; a sign not of lack of commitment but of flagging energy and fewer new, young members.
We are challenged to make effective witness, to uproot racism from our hearts and our communities now. This is not the time to talk about our ideals; it is the time to act to bring forth actions that manifest the ideals we cannot yet see. The Spirit is working among our Beloved Community, leading us to recognize past failures, to acknowledge our progress, and to live up to the Light we now have.
Signed among and for Friends of North Pacific Yearly Meeting
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.
*The Author----CREATIVE EXTREMIST FOR LOVE * JUSTICE DOULA
I am a mama-activist-contemplative-healer-public intellectual who believes in throwing parties as a key revolutionary strategy. I am a healing justice practitioner, writer, faith-rooted activist & organizer, and speaker. I love bringing people together to explore the intersections of our lives, awaken empathy and fight oppression. I am obsessed with shalom...I believe with all that I am that my liberation is tied up in yours – so let’s get free together.
The attached documents support the committee's report, and the seasoning of that report, prepared for this Annual Session. Thursday evening's worship at Annual Session will focus on the proposed minute.