Not by my strength alone: laboring together beyond our comfort zone
North Pacific Yearly Meeting
July 17-21, 2013
Forest Grove, Oregon
George Fox and other Friends will again join us in worship at our Annual Session, July 17-21 2013. Margaret Fell will again provide spiritual nurture and accommodations in the manner of Friends. Our location is Forest Grove, Oregon hosted at Pacific University. This pleasant campus will give succor as we are challenged by the pressures of our material lives and in particular from firearms violence that springs from fear in our community.
So, what are we doing together in our Friendly and simple community? Well, living, playing, listening working together. Our theme is “Not by my strength alone: laboring together beyond our comfort zone.”
Our Friend in Residence is actually our Friends Family in Residence:Becca Mohally Renk (originally of Sandpoint Monthly Meeting and former NYPM Junior Friend), husband Paul Mohally Renk (Cork Ireland Monthly Meeting) and daughters Eibhlin (7) and Orla (5). On behalf of all, Becca states it simply: “We have been called to work with the poor.”
Becca's and Paul's home and work center is the Jubilee House in Nicaragua (CDCA: Center for Development in Central America). They will help us explore the vine connecting Friends for 350 years across cultural, language and social lines, discovering that of God and human dignity in everyone. We have been, are, and will certainly be together as one in seeking the truth.
Other joys and challenges will stimulate our growing edge at Annual Session including
-The Committee to Evaluate NPYM Structure will report. From this, we may find Unity to confirm or reset our course.
-We will hear from our Relationships with other Quaker Organizations Committee. Their work emerged out of our decision to not affiliate with Friends General Conference last summer.
-American Friends Service Committee is our alphabet Quaker organization to bring out Friends work relieving material injustice in our world.
-We will have a "Simple Meal” with any cost rebate going to the Jubilee House in Nicaragua.
Here now is the call to preparation for this Annual Session. We came to Unity several years ago around doing our NPYM business at the AS. We need a clear, deep opening with the Divine for discernment of how we are led. Also, we have found that we do better as we prepare for the framing, facts and foundation for the issues before us. We are putting up on the NPYM website http://www.npym.org/ the backgrounder materials as time runs so that you have real time, all the time access to information critical to understanding the issues. Please use the hyperlinks as they are sent out.
We will put some of our business into what will be a Consent Agenda reflecting spiritually administrative decisions that need efficient, rapid discernment and adoption. Our Nominations Report and our NPYM budget are two such. We will arrange opportunities to gain more info about the details while at the Annual Session but we will move through these items rapidly. Also you may discuss them at your Monthly Meeting.
We said in NPYM we wanted to do more discernment of our business at the Annual Session and we discarded Steering Committee and formed our Coordinating Committee to help in bringing information. Not so paradoxically, we need discussion, dissection and forming preliminary assessments of issues prior to the Annual Session. This local discussion also is at the heart of our NPYM seasoning process for this reason: not all of us attend our Annual Session but we are all in this NPYM together.
This is the call to listen personally, and to schedule seasoning in your monthly meeting. This is a call to monthly meeting clerks and worship committees to hold this pre annual session seasoning in the Light. This is a call to assist your Meeting's Coordinating Committee member to schedule seasoning opportunities at your meeting in the 3 months before the Annual Session. From changes in the Faith and Practice to the various committees' recommendations above (and at http://www.npym.org/) there is some pretty good Quakerly stuff to feast on and prepare for final discernment at Forest Grove.
As in England in the 1650’s, we NPYM Friends have an experience and tradition of going out and coming back to be together again. In the early days of George Fox’s mission to the Northwest of England and supported by Margaret Fell's hospitality and bracing spiritual nurture, the Quaker ministers also known as “two-by's” went out. They carried an earnest revelation to proclaim the inner Christ, the Light, the Seed. These spiritual activist preachers, sent out two by two from Quaker central, as it were, sent back reports of their work to London. Those ensuing reports evolved over time into the State of Society reports, illuminating how Spirit fared among local scattered groups of seekers of the Light. And they came back together from time to time to share their community.
Building on the Meeting for Worship in the 1680's to support Friends imprisoned for following Spirits light in the face of public intolerance and government intransigence, this worship around their sufferings developed into Britain Yearly Meeting’s organizing structure for ongoing discernment of Friend’s policy. This lives today as the Meeting for Sufferings survived and evolved after the Religious Tolerance Act of 1689 removed the public rebuke to Quakers. We too, in NPYM love and labor in oppressive stress of present government policies that engender fear that encourage violence and division around firearms use. Now, as before 1689, some Friends in conscience put themselves into position of sufferings from those policies.
We, in our own way now as ministers to and from our local communities, will converge in our own country's Northwest to reinvigorate and discern how our faith is put in action. May we support those Friends who minister on love and community without fear and may we support those who accept sufferings as a consequence of Spirit led actions.
See you in Forest Grove for singing, play, learning and joyous renewal.
North Pacific Yearly Meeting
March 26, 2013