Pacific Yearly Meeting

Just back from PYM. Hot, busy, invigorating.

Note: On MY blog, PYM will refer to Pacific Yearly Meeting. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting will be abbreviated PhYM. In other fora, I will use PacYM if necessary to avoid confusion.

In keeping with the general travelogue nature of Quaker blogs this summer, I wanted to report somewhat on Pacific Yearly Meeting’s 59th annual sessions. The week before, I thought about actually starting out by live blogging from PYM, but then my husband reminded me just a little bit of what PYM is like, and I gave up on that idea. I even started out the week taking notes for what I would like to write about on my future blog, but by the third day, I was reduced to simply doing what I had to do to be present.

The week was overwhelmed by the fact that my husband was convenor of the children’s program committee for the first time. Actually it’s the first year he was even on the committee, which says something about the state of that committee. Last year, PYM spent all this time talking about how important young people are and how we need to be more intergenerational, and still only two people agreed to serve on the children’s program committee, both of them parents of young children. This year at least the nominating committee has filled the six slots on the children’s program committee (even if all six are parents) and Chris has agreed to be the clerk from the beginning of the year, so they can start organizing sooner. The teachers and committee members finished the week with an evaluation session bubbling with ideas for next year.

Our kids were in preschool and lower elementary. There is also an upper elementary and a middle school program, and each of the four groups requires two teachers morning and afternoon, plus a variety of volunteers each session. These paid teachers, many of whom are parents, may not serve on the program committee.

Anyway, MY service to the Yearly Meeting for this and the coming year is to be support staff to the clerk of the children’s program committee. Providing childcare, logistics, some housekeeping, and of course, being eyes and ears where he is not. Said to me: “Would you let Chris know that I really liked the fact that the children were with us in worship every day this year?” Said by me: “Say, aren’t you teaching the middle school this year? Were you planning to go to the middle school orientation that’s happening right now?” And letting him know about things that happen in plenary when he’s riding the program circuit, i.e., “The clerks of all committees will meet for an evaluation at 2:30 today.”

Folks were very appreciative and supportive over the week. Which I hear has not always been the case for the program committee.

I made it to most of the plenaries, three “interest groups”, and worship sharing every day. I went to sleep with my kids by 9:00 most nights, some nights earlier, thank goodness.

Further PYM Themes:
Young Friends
Religious Education
Life After Oil
Food and Site issues
Why do they talk like that?
Camping with Kids
Middle Aged Quakers?
Worship Sharing Queries
The Cool Grey City of Love (our return home)


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