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Calls to the Annual Sessions 2017 – Abridged

Diego James Navarro, Molly Wingate, Warren Ostrom
On Insight (March 2017)
Annual Sessions

About Money: A Call to Integrity, Community, and Stewardship.

Intermountain Yearly Meeting

June 11-18, 2017; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM

You are warmly invited to gather again at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico, for our annual gathering. Early Days of fellowship and seminars will begin Sunday afternoon, June 11, and run through Wednesday morning, June 14. The Annual Sessions will begin on Wednesday evening June 14 and run through meeting for worship on Sunday morning, June 18. I hope you can come and enjoy fellowship, worship, and business in the manner of Friends.

Our theme this year is, “About Money: A Call to Integrity, Community, and Stewardship.” We understand that it is hard to talk about money. On a personal level, our feelings of fear, guilt, defensiveness, secrecy, resentment, denial, worry, and/or pain can be disabling. On a societal level, few of us feel that we have the training to understand and engage with our economic system. Yet questions about money, ranging from personal practices to monthly and yearly meeting finance decisions to what our economy is for, have powerfully spiritual roots.

Our guest speaker, Pamela Haines, offers us queries to consider. How do our traditional testimonies – Integrity, Simplicity, Equality, Sustainability/Community, Peace – guide us in regard to:

  • stewarding our personal money and other resources?
  • aligning our monthly and yearly meeting budgets and budgeting processes with our professed Quaker values?
  • providing the means for the spiritual development of our families and young people to be nurtured, and for all Friends to fully participate in our activities?
  • living in a corporation-dominated global capitalist growth economy that profits from war, exploitation, and environmental destruction?
  • creating and participating in alternative life-sustaining economies as we steward Earth’s finite resources?

Our present money system can only function in a growing economy, yet our ever-growing economy is on a collision course with the realities of a finite planet, and is systematically moving wealth from borrowers to lenders, from those with less to those with more. How did we get to the point where our security, both individual and institutional, depends on being lenders? How can we move forward with integrity toward a right relationship with finance?

We seek spiritual guidance for living on this Earth and making our financial decisions in the light of honesty, gratitude, compassion, grace, community, and right relationship.

The Junior and Senior Yearly Meetings have planned group activities that will deepen their Quaker experience. The Senior Young Friends look forward to leading our Intergenerational Worship Sharing.

Holding our Annual Gathering in the Light in hopes you will come for any or all of the week.

– Molly Wingate, Clerk, Intermountain Yearly Meeting

Awakening to the Presence

Pacific Yearly Meeting

July 14-18, 2017; Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA

Our strength as a Religious Society comes from our connection with the Spirit, its presence and guidance. Last year’s theme, “Lifting the Veil,” explored what it means to open ourselves to a reality that underpins our lives, and is at times overshadowed by our ego and/or intellect. This year’s theme builds on last year’s foundation and will explore what it means to awaken to Spirit’s Presence, which is always within and among us.

Why have Quakers been in the forefront of social movements? Early Friends developed practices that helped guide us to incrementally understand the Spirit’s intentions. These practices help us, both individually and corporately, to notice the unfolding revelations of the Spirit. Individually, we become conscious of concerns and leadings. Corporately we seek the guidance of Spirit and as we surrender to it, we come to unity on a way forward.

Thomas Kelly wrote, “John Woolman . . . resolved so to order his outward affairs, so to adjust his business burdens, that nothing, absolutely nothing would crowd out his prime attendance upon the Inward Principle. And in this sensitizing before the inward altar of his soul, he was quickened to see and attack effectively the evils of slave-holding, of money-loaning, of wars upon the Indians.” Awakening to the Presence is part of a transformation of the heart, a radical vulnerability to the Inward Principle. Early Friends were first transformed by Spirit before they went out to transform the world. What is Spirit calling us to change in ourselves? What is Spirit calling us to do?

Our keynote speaker, Zachary Moon, grew up in our Yearly Meeting. His work in the world grew out of his own personal transformation and discernment of God’s will. For the past eight years, he has served as a chaplain with military service members, drawing near to the impact of war and accompanying those suffering from it. Zachary will share how his experience of awakening to the Presence informed his leading.

Please join us as we open ourselves to Spirit’s Presence during our week together in community and contemplation. We are opened, strengthened, and comforted when we join one another in this centuries-old Friends practice of gathering as a Yearly Meeting body.

When we open ourselves to Spirit, we can expect the unexpected. I hope that you are able to attend this year’s Annual Session. Come join several hundred Quakers who together will discern God’s will the way Friends have for centuries. Come experience how Spirit would like us to manifest its will in the world.

– Diego Navarro, Presiding Clerk, Pacific Yearly Meeting

Everything Is Connected

North Pacific Yearly Meeting

July 26-30, 2017; University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA

We come together this year during a time of changing political realities, broadening understanding of gender identities, growing awareness of racial injustices, and concern for changing climates. We yearn for ways to turn our lives into instruments of the Spirit.  We seek refuge, mutual support, and inspiration. We seek wholeness.

Our Friend-in-Residence this year is Peterson Toscano, a Pennsylvania Friend, Bible scholar, and performance artist who is a passionate advocate for gay, lesbian and transgender rights and inclusion; climate change education and activism; gender and racial justice; and the exploration of power and privilege. He will join us in considering our roles on a new planet in need of addressing long-standing, unresolved troubles. Peterson will draw on storytelling and even comedy to help us better understand how these weighty issue are interconnected.   

Our annual session is especially loved by our children and Junior Friends, who have full programs of their own.  We celebrate having all ages together for many of the activities.  Adult Friends often cherish the time they volunteer with younger people, even while the parents of young children can choose to have time apart.

After long years of preparation and seasoning, we will receive our new book of Faith and Practice.  And our local meetings have been seasoning statements around gender identity; we may find ourselves united in a minute of where we stand.

As part of our shared life, we will approve a budget and appointments of Friends to carry on our work.  Several years ago we decided to do this as a whole community, grounded in our time together.  We will send out materials ahead of the gathering, so that we will arrive well prepared to act. No one has to attend business sessions; but some Friends find this the thrilling heart of their annual session experience.

Our singing, our small worship and interest groups, our conversations over meals, our welcoming of diversity, and our Community Night, also bring us into community and joy.  We call you to all of this at Annual Session of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, July 26-30 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

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

– Warren Ostrom, Presiding Clerk, North Pacific Yearly Meeting

Discernment Annual Session Discipline money Yearly Meeting Spirit

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