Live blogging from CPQM

I feel odd, blogging while at College Park Quarterly Meeting, but I'm going to try anyway. The main reason I brought my computer was to finish a report I have to give this afternoon regarding the Ben Lomond Quaker Center, since I'm currently clerk of the board. I'm ready for that and I have a few minutes before I have to go get my kids to their program. Wi-fi is now available in the office at Quaker Center.

It's a smaller group than usual, maybe only 80 or so Friends this weekend. But there's still a nice group of kids and a vibrant group of teens. It's lovely to see so many old Friends and some new folks too. Including David J. who commented on my blog a few months ago, but I met for the first time yesterday!

A funny thing is that at our last Quarterly meeting session, a group of young adults from my meeting came, but hardly any others. This time, no YAF from SF came, but there's a slew of other young Friends. Sigh.

The theme of the session is about our various dimensions of diversity. The clerk stated that the point is to practice careful listening to Friends who may not be just like us. There will be more this afternoon and tomorrow.

We heard a brief report from Marianne Kearney-Brown, a local Friend who was fired and then reinstated to her job as a Cal State professor in an ongoing controversy about the state of California's loyalty oath. Some of the side effects of the publicity around her case has been to raise support for another professor who was fired for the same reason earlier last year, to encourage her 11 year old daughter to come to meeting and to encourage another person to ask her if she knew Friends in Nicaragua that he could work with on a project he was engaged in.

We heard a longer report from the Nominating committee, reflecting the growing concern among Friends about the level of over-busyness, the ethical concerns of travel, and the difficulties of finding Friends to serve on the committees that do the practical work of the meeting - children's and teen programs, arrangements and registrars. Nothing new, but it's good to make it official.

The last thing I want to lift up was the occasional reference to the question whether this Quarter ought to become a separate Yearly Meeting. That's a long term question, for sure.

Time's up, I've got to run to get my kids.

[Monday morning update: The discussion about the Quarter becoming a yearly meeting was expanded to include whether our current Quarter ought to be divided into three parts.

I embedded a few links this morning. In addition, here's the link to my previous post with the schedule/theme for this CPQM session: Quarterly Meeting Looks at Diversity

And here's the link to Chris M.'s report as well: Trees of Righteousness


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Blogger Heather said...

I have put this site on the Quaker blogroll on my blog, Still Life (heather-still-life.blogspot.com) - I hope this is OK.


5/18/2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Hi, Robin--

What does CPQM mean? I can guess at the QM ("Quarterly Meeting") but CP...?

Speaking of practicing deep listening to people who aren't like us:

...At the worship group recently, during our bi-monthly business meeting, we considered hiring a non-Quaker, trained youth minister to work with the children and provide religious education.

The issues are complex and multi-faceted, but what got the Spirit moving a bit was when a Friend spoke about her frustration with having the children miss all the spiritual enrichment they could be having. Other parents nodded their heads in agreement.

That was when I realized that we weren't just discussing whether to hire a First Day School teacher: we were being called to the carpet to dedicate more of our own gifts, as adults, and share ourselves with the children in a way that would grow them into Quakerism... and would strengthen the bonds between adult worshipers and the children among us.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

5/19/2008 12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Liz. Talk about opening up a HUGE area for discussion. Are you going to be blogging on these thoughts?

In His Love,
Nate Swift

5/19/2008 9:12 AM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Hi, Nate--

It's unlikely I'll write anything further about what's up with our First Day School efforts until we, as a worship group, are clear as to how we are being directed. The process of discernment belongs to the specific group of Friends at this time, not to the blogosphere.

I debated about writing anything at all here, but I had a nudge to do so and I've learned to listen to and respect those nudges.

Thanks for the inquiry.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

5/19/2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Heather - nice to meet you - you are welcome to put WCTS? on your blogroll, anytime.

Liz, this is a lesson that I can't expect even regular and devoted readers to follow acronyms from one post to another. Sorry. College Park Quarterly Meeting includes the unprogrammed monthly meetings and worship groups in northern California and Nevada. It is part of Pacific Yearly Meeting (PYM).

I think that College Park was the name of the neighborhood in San Jose where the first gathering of Friends in this area started, maybe even where the Beans built their first meetinghouse in California, but I'm a bit sketchy on that history this morning.

Nate - you're right, that is a huge topic but it's lively in many places.

My monthly meeting has compromised by having a paid staff person to supervise the youngest children in friendly childcare, while having adult Quakers provide the religious education for our older kids. We might well benefit from hiring another person to lead the middle school/teen program, since that has somewhat died out as a leading among the adult Friends.

My PYM is currently considering hiring a youth ministry coordinator, I'm not sure exactly what they're calling it, but mostly to work with teen programs at yearly, quarterly and monthly meeting levels.

I wonder whether we have learned anything from the experience of other Yearly Meetings about hiring a youth program coordinator. I recently met the woman who does that for Western Yearly Meeting, and the programs she manages sounded really interesting.

5/19/2008 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were almost no YAFs at SF Meeting this Sunday either, and that's most likely because it was a San Francisco "holiday" aka Bay to Breakers. I imagine a lot of youngin's wanted to partake in the festivities, at least my friends and I did!

5/19/2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Yeah, I'd also like to say to anyone who came to the last winter session but not this spring session that this one was much more interesting in terms of content and spirit. Like any Quaker meeting, every time is different.

5/19/2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

The comments about religious education prompted me to look at FGC's website, which includes a calendar of recent and upcoming events.

I see that a workshop for religious educators, parents, and interested adults is coming up in August near Indianapolis. The website includes pdf files that have more information and a registration form.

FYI, the Religious Education Committee of FGC puts on a workshop like this once every four years...

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

5/19/2008 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz, That looks like a really good conference with some really hot topics..... now if i only knew an "angel" who would get me there... If your comments are "nudging" others as they do me, I can see why your "nudge." I'm not sure how I'm gonna hide from this nudge yet.
Robin, yer telling me it's an active topic. Northwest Yearly Meeting recently restructured and part of that was to give more weight to youth/YAF concerns in the form of a separate board for that. I'm the token old fogey on the board and we are working to discern directions and programs while maintaining current ones. I think a part of that problem about calling for older people to work with youth stems from that modern/post-modern disconnect that calls for new ways of communicating and involving youth in the whole body, and that's why I'm sort of glomming onto ideas and experiences that may be offered. I guess we are all sort of in the same boat, even though "youth ministers" are a norm in larger EFI Meetings.

In His Love,

5/19/2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attendance at this CPQM was about 110 from 20 meetings. I spent most of the weekend with 15 teens - a little fewer than our usual 20+ - but a great group. Saturday morning, after an intergenerational diversity activity, the teens raked and swept a roadway as their service project. Saturday afternoon we went to a beach near Santa Cruz. It was warm with big waves when we got there, but it turned cold as a strong wind came up about 4 pm. They played in the surf and organized games of Capture the Flag and Wink on the sand. With approval of the teen business meeting, I've put 7 photos on the Facebook group I Heart Wink.

That evening 2 teens MC'd the talent night which closed with a 4-teen band's original composition, The Business Meeting Blues. This was followed by the teens' main business meeting at which the teens resolved with QM M&O members what we all hope is the last major issue in the way of revising and accepting our handbook for teen programs. Now we can organize the revisions in a consistent format for final review. Having this document in place will allow the QM to sponsor teen projects and events outside the three QM weekends.

After that, the teens took a little over an hour as a committee of the whole to nominate, select, and approve three co-clerks and two QM planning co-clerks for next year. With fine clerking by Zoƫ Rodine, they considered each other's strengths, weaknesses, potentials, and other commitments to find a team they trust. That all the clerks happen to be male this time did not seem important to the group. Last set of clerks was 50/50. The whole group is 2/3 male.

It is clear to me how much our teen group has benefitted from the experience of our teens at our Quaker summer camps and the Woolman Semester program.
Tom Farley

5/20/2008 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in College Park Quarterly Meeting in the late 1970's. Upon receiving a minute from Marin Friends Meeting, we considered the question (briefly) of becoming a yearly meeting. Besides it not happening, I don't remember much of the discussion. I attended one small group at Quarterly Meeting on the topic.

I had already answered the question for myself. The Quarterly Meeting was as big as I wanted to be a part of. It was much the size of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, from which I had come and to which I belong now. Pacific Yearly Meeting is a bit too large for my taste. I attended once (1978) as a traveling minister, but have not been involved since NPYM cell divided in 1972.

I think Quarterly Meetings are struggling in many places.

7/06/2008 1:06 PM  

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