Wednesday July 25---Sunday July 29, 2018
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington
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.
To lead, educate and encourage us in this journey toward racial equality and a more truly liberated society, we are pleased to welcome Vanessa Julye as our Friend in Residence. Vanessa comes to us from Friends General Conference where she has a ministry on racism with special focus on greater inclusivity among the Quaker community, which is her spiritual home. Together with Donna McDaniel, a European American, Vanessa has co-authored the book, Fit for Freedom, But Not for Friendship. Vanessa will be accompanied by Chuck Esser, a European American, who serves on the support committee for Vanessa’s ministry and who also has done much work for racial justice. How can we as Quakers go further in standing with all people of color and in sharing the power that has been part of white privilege? Only with love, great humility, and openness to Spirit can we find our way to deepened brotherhood and sisterhood, both within the Society of Friends and in society at large.
Our method of financing Annual Session has changed. Abundant Financing is an opportunity for us to practice our faith. In these troubled times, our Yearly Meeting wants to reach out to and include all who wish to attend. In the past we have offered financial aid at the Monthly Meeting level for those who requested it. This cumbersome and awkward process often discouraged people wishing to attend. This year’s registration form states the cost to be borne by NPYM for the attendance of one adult at AS. Each person attending must discern individually what they can afford to pay. We hope that those who have greater personal financial resources will pay even more than the cost of attendance in the form of a donation and that monthly meetings will likewise donate an amount at least comparable to that provided in the past for AS financial assistance. The registration form provides further details. With New England Yearly Meeting as our example, we look forward to seeing what a spirit of generosity and abundance can do.
Annual Session is a coming together time. Here children find their peers and celebrate what it means to live in this world. There is time for play, for friendship, for questioning and for worship. Junior Friends have a full agenda and have often engaged with the wider meeting in thought provoking ways. We look forward to that continuing.
At our plenaries we will approve our annual budget and the nominations of Friends to carry on the important work of NPYM. As has happened in the past, information will be sent out ahead of time so that we arrive well prepared to act. Close to our hearts are issues of racial justice and preventing war with North Korea. As we approach meeting for worship with an attention to business, many of us are excited to see how Spirit moves among us. Indeed, this can be the heart of Annual Session.
Music, small worship groups, varied interest groups, Quaker Fair, catching up with F(f)riends, and laughing at Community Night, these wonderful encounters call us into beloved community, ready to do our part in God’s world. Come join us this year as we open to ever greater diversity as God’s children. We hope to see you at the Annual Session of the North Pacific Yearly Meeting, July 25-29, at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.