Part-Time Quaker

This was the tenth year in a row that my family has attended Pacific Yearly Meeting's annual sessions - and the first time I only went for part of it.

This year, because of the limited vacation time I have in my new job, I was only able to attend the final 48 hours of the sessions. It turned out that during that period, a major decision was reached by the Yearly Meeting and the sun finally came out both afternoons, after what had been a cold and damp week. So I'm glad I went when I could.

I think this is the first time I've ever gone to PYM and not spoken once in plenary or in worship. I recognized in the business sessions that others had stated my piece of the truth - maybe not as eloquently as I think I would have expressed it, but sufficiently that I would have just been repeating what had already been said. This is also in keeping with my current silence in my monthly meeting - not intentional silence but rather I haven't been given words to share. I think this also has to do with coming to meeting for worship less frequently and less prepared than I used to when my daily occupation was various forms of Quaker ministry.

I missed the interest group around the new document on supporting Friends with leadings that is being circulated by the PYM Ministry and Oversight subcommittee on Ministry and Leadings. But I had a chance to tell the outgoing clerk of that subcommittee that I thought it was well done and that I had shared it with my anchor committee so that they might share their comments with the subcommittee.

It was a little overwhelming to arrive in the middle of the week, so many people, so much going on, and the sense that I had missed most of the week. However, I was warmly greeted by many people, reaffirming my sense that I have a place in this community - even if I was only there for a short time.

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Blogger LA Quaker said...

Sorry you weren't at PYM longer. I would like to have chatted with you about blogs and the Spirit. I'm glad I had a chance to chat briefly with your husband.

8/03/2009 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Kathleen Karhnak said...

I took an extremely brief glance at the document on supporting Friends with leadings, since my Monthly Meeting has done a lot of work in this area, and am delighted that PYM's Ministry and Oversight subcommittee was able to use quite a bit of what our Monthly Meeting has in place.

Thanks for sharing a bit about your experience at Yearly Meeting. I was at PhYM at the same time. I'm wondering whether PYM has an agenda I could see -- I looked on line and couldn't find it. This is the first YM I've become regularly involved in (actually, the first place I've lived since becoming Quaker where I've stayed put within the same YM for more than 2 years) so I'm interested in learning more about what types of things get addressed at other YM's sessions.

8/03/2009 3:37 PM  
Blogger Chris M. said...

Robin: I'm so glad you were able to come for the last two days! I wouldn't have written the epistle without you.

Kathleen: The closest we had to an agenda was the schedule:

The clerk, in consultation with M&O, determines which items are brought forward and when. This is open to "continuing revelation" depending on what was actually covered in previous sessions.

8/03/2009 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Eileen Flanagan said...

I was at "the other PYM" as your member Carl Magruder referred to us. I also came for only a part of the time and so felt not quite in the flow of the business, though falling into the flow of community was easy. Through email Carl had shared the document on supporting leadings, which I think is terrific and should help Friends all over the place.

Although I've never been to your PYM, it's nice to feel a bit connected through these threads.

8/04/2009 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Kathleen Karhnak said...

Chris -- thanks for the link. I found a much more comprehensive agenda at http://theconferencemanagers.com/pym/Documents.htm under "DraftPlenaryAgenda2009#4.xls".

A really big chunk of our YM session was devoted to discussing a priorities document and I'm curious about what we would have been addressing if we weren't spending so much time on that. Now granted, I missed the first few days when reports from several committees were received, but I think it's safe to say that our YM tends to focus on process as a distraction from addressing other things. We talked more about what we should be doing and what we want to be doing than what we are going to do.

I hope that by looking at other YM's agendas I'll gain some perspective and some wisdom that could help PhYM in some way or another. I don't want to just jump on the "beat up on PhYM" bandwagon -- that wagon is too full already and doesn't serve us well.

8/04/2009 9:15 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Anthony - I expect I'll be there all week next year - it's just this first time that it wasn't possible. And one of the benefits of blogs is that we can have this chat - long distance and at whatever pace we can manage. It's not the same as being there, but it's better than no chat.

Kathleen, I know our M&O Committee used a lot from Central Philadelphia's work. We all build on the backs of others' work. One Friend last week complained to me that PacYM does more business than any other YM. I'm not sure she's right about that, but just to give you another perspective.

Chris - thanks for filling in on my duty to respond to blog visitors!

Eileen, I'm glad you had a chance to connect with Carl last week - we missed him in California!

For everyone, the document on leadings that I shared (the link is in the orginal post) is a draft that the subcommittee is circulating for comments. It is meant to offer guidelines for work within our Yearly Meeting, but if you have further suggestions or comments, I'm sure the committee would be interested, and I believe the contact information is included with the document.

I have to stop typing now because I smashed the end of my middle finger of my right hand on a kitchen cupboard this evening and it's very hard to type without it.

8/04/2009 11:22 PM  

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