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Calls to the Annual Sessions 2020

Gale Toko-Ross, Valerie Ireland, Sandy Kewman, David Zeiss
On Art (March 2020)
Annual Sessions

Being Here, Now . . . Together

Intermountain Yearly Meeting

June 14-21, 2020; Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

Please join us at the annual gathering of Intermountain Yearly Meeting at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, June 14-21, 2020. (Early Days: Mon –Wed; Regular Days: Wednesday evening – Sunday. midday.)

This year IMYM will return to Ft. Lewis College after over twenty years at the beloved venue of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.  Although Ghost Ranch offers beautiful scenery where Friends have experienced the presence of deep Spirit, its rugged setting and limited accommodations became too challenging, and the yearly meeting chose to move to a more accessible location.

Partly as a way of acknowledging this change, the Program Working Group has chosen the theme Being Here, Now . . . Together for our gathering.  The summer of 2020 will be swirling around us with political, environmental, and social issues. We envision the IMYM gathering to be a respite for contemplation, fellowship, joy, spiritual connection, deep listening and learning. We hope you will join us for those activities and for discernment at business meetings, with Friends of all ages from Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, West Texas, and maybe even Wyoming and other nearby states – plus Mexico City!

Arrangements Committee tells us that the Fort Lewis cafeteria has stations available for those with particular diets, including Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, and (presumably) Omnivore. The Senior Young Friends (SYFs), Junior Young Friends (JYFs), and younger children will all have their own areas – and the JYFs have a cantina location - fun - games - yummy treats!

Our Friend-in-Residence and keynote speaker will be C. Wess Daniels, a Quaker author, educator, intellectual, and theologian. Wess is Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. A self-described Convergent Friend, he probes the roots of Christianity and Quakerism and how to integrate those truths into Friends’ faith and practice in today’s world.

Online registration will open on March 5 through our website at imym.org.  We are continuing to use “Pay as Led” for our annual gathering, as we have done for the last two years. We want to remove as many barriers to participation as we can, so that more Friends can contribute to our fellowship and discernment. Friends are asked to register for the accommodations they need and then prayerfully consider how much they are led to pay – which may be less or more than the real cost of attending, shown in the registration materials.

Monthly meetings are asked to continue to support Friends’ attendance at the annual gathering. Meetings are asked to send the amounts they would have spent on scholarships directly to the yearly meeting. In this way, no one needs to ask for a scholarship, and everyone will be provided for.

Note: There is no on-campus camping at Ft. Lewis College. Also, no programs or “child care” of any kind are planned for Monday or Tuesday.

For more information, see: imym.org

We look forward to an exciting time at IMYM this year, as well as a time of deepening connections with Spirit/God and with our beloved community.  ~~~

– Gale Toko-Ross and Valerie Ireland
   Presiding Co-Clerks, IMYM


Radical Inclusivity

Pacific Yearly Meeting

July 10-15, 2020; Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA

Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you
 love one another.” John 13:34

We are being called at this time to wake up to God’s love for all beings and all of creation. We are being called to notice and respond to the persistent and insistent love within each of us and all around us. We are being called to cultivate and live that love for one another and the earth in all that we do.

We are also being called to acknowledge how our culture within the Religious Society of Friends and the wider society normalizes and perpetuates domination and power over each other and over the natural world. We are being called to notice this domination and to speak truth to it. This domination takes many forms, both willful and inadvertent, conscious and unconscious. Domination is in play when some persons are more valued than others. Domination is at work when our earth is used mindlessly and abused in the name of progress.

Early Friends called attention to “disorderly walking” and labored with one another in worship, prayer, and mindful speech to wake up to the ways in which their daily lives were harmful to their own hearts and souls, to the souls of others, and to the earth. Those who are part of the Dominant Culture must examine their privilege and entitlement through reflection, reading and, most importantly, through dialogue and friendships. We Friends bring to our yearly meeting a kaleidoscope of identities and experiences, and we need to acknowledge the harm we do to each other and to the earth. Commitment to learning a better way, to being in right relationship with each other and with our earth, is needed.

What might this look like? During Annual Session we will explore together. We will ground ourselves in the light of Divine Spirit and in our bodies. We will listen deeply to one another. We will notice when power over another is employed rather than with each other. We will notice and respond to each other out loud and with grace. “While my intent was no harm, the effect did harm.” “I see the harm. I see your hurt.” “Thank you for telling me.” “Thank you for your faithfulness.” “I want to walk this path with you (of reconciliation or learning).”

We are fortunate to invite Mica Estrada to share her experience and wisdom this year at Annual Session as our keynote speaker. Mica is a member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting. She is a Social Psychologist whose early work focused on conflict resolution, forgiveness, and problem solving. Mica’s current work on social influences that increase care of our planet and greater equity in the world of education are newer expressions of this same leaning toward reducing conflict and supporting the positive in our world. Mica will speak about practicing radical inclusivity through staying awake to the spirit of love and kindness within each of us.

As we come together to worship and sink down into Divine Presence, we will step into the river that unites us all. That is where transformation begins. For more information, visit: www.pacificyearlymeeting.org. Please come to PacYM’s Annual Session this coming July as we take this journey together.  ~~~

– Sandy Kewman
   Presiding Clerk, PacYM


Deepening the Roots in Troubled Times

North Pacific Yearly Meeting

July 22-26, 2020; Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR

We live in troubled times. Climate change and its many tragedies: fires, loss of whole species of life, massive social dislocation, and the looming prospect of more to come. Wars and the threat of more wars. Bitter divisions surround us, and sometimes the divisions are between ourselves and our neighbors. Increasing outbursts of racism and other forms of hate. Governments in our own country and elsewhere seemingly unable to take effective action to deal with crisis, or even actually feeding the destructive processes.

As Quakers, we are often called to take action. We know that our action will be best action when it is grounded in Spirit and in Love. We know that grounding in Spirit and Love is the fruit of our discernment in our communities.

Let’s come together for four days in July as a community of Quakers from four Northwestern states to nurture and deepen our roots in Spirit and Love. Let’s return to our home communities nurtured and strengthened with the confidence that grows from those deepened roots.

We will meet twenty-five miles from where we met last summer, on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. We have invited Kenya Casanova to be our Friend in Residence. Kenya is a member of Cuba Yearly Meeting with long experience in international Quaker communities. We hope we will be both challenged and inspired. (Let’s pray that she has success in getting a visa to enter the U.S.)

For the third time, we are basing our annual session fees on the model of Abundant Financing. We invite each Friend to decide for themself what monetary contribution is right for them. No Friend should feel discouraged from attending because of their financial situation.

Registration information can be found at www.npym.org beginning in April.

I look forward to our time together this summer.  ~~~

– David Zeiss
   Presiding Clerk, NPYM

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