Dear Friends: Please join us at the virtual gathering of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, from June 16-20,
2021. We look forward to implementing many of the skills and lessons that we have learned over the last year, to create a Spirit-led time for all Friends and others who join us. We have learned that a virtual platform can be more accessible for those who live at a distance. On the other hand, it can make access difficult for those without adequate computer equipment. Friends have commented that they found a surprising depth of worship in many of the sessions, and a deepening connection, both with Spirit and with other Friends.
We acknowledge and recognize that our inability to gather in person for a second year will weigh heavily on all our hearts, particularly for our younger Friends, for whom the in-person experience is particularly important. We anticipate being able to gather together for “live” hugs and closer interactions next year, in joy and in confidence.
We hope you will join us to experience worship, fellowship, and deep learning, and that you will participate in business meetings to help with discernment on a variety of issues. We expect to welcome Friends of all ages from Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, West Texas, Wyoming and nearby states, as well as Friends from more distant locations, including Mexico City.
Friend in “Residence”: We are delighted that José Woss has committed to be our Keynote Speaker for IMYM 2021. José is a Quaker with deep roots. He works as the Legislative Manager for Criminal Justice and Election Integrity at FCNL. In addition to our usual keynote address and Q&A session, José has been invited to participate in all our virtual sessions, and expects to meet with our Senior Young Friends (SYFs), Junior Young Friends (JYFs), and possibly our Children’s Yearly Meeting (CYM).
Youth Programs: We expect to have a vibrant youth program this year, and hope to share those plans in the near future. We are gathering input from our SYFs and JYFs, including their clerks, and the adults who work with them.
We have been considering whether the youth program should be on separate dates from the regular IMYM Gathering, to limit conflicts in the use of limited resources (e.g., computers and parental attention); that decision has not yet been made. As always, younger Friends are welcome to attend any sessions that interest them, including movies, sing-alongs, other musical possibilities, worship sharing, and other more “serious” sessions.
Tech issues: We are currently looking for someone to hire as the primary coordinator of the technical aspects of the sessions. We will need a number of volunteer hosts to ensure that everyone is able to reach their breakout rooms, worship sharing sessions, interest groups and seminars, as well as social activities.
Future News: A schedule of sessions and activities will be included in the registration materials, which will be found on our website at IMYM.org.
We look forward to virtual fellowship with Friends this summer, and to deepening our spiritual connections with each other and with the Divine.
– Gale Toko-Ross and Valerie Ireland, Presiding Co-Clerks, IMYM
We have been through a year of upheaval and distress throughout our country and our world, bitter divisions in our society, and rampant displays of racism and intolerance. Many people around us are still beset by uncertainty and anxiety. And we realize that in the midst of the urgency of finding wise ways forward through all those difficulties, those difficulties are, in a sense, distractions from the still looming threat of environmental catastrophe.
Nevertheless, we come together again in July to renew and strengthen ourselves and our communities so that we can be the Quakers the world needs!
Our Friend in residence in July will be Cherice Bock. Cherice is a lifelong Quaker and a former co-clerk of Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Antioch University New England. She works as the Creation Justice Advocate at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and has taught courses at the University of Portland, Portland Seminary, and the Oregon Extension in Ashland. Her special interest is ecotheology.
Please join us for our Annual Session 2021. We will find our center of personal and corporate strength through the uniquely Quaker practice of transacting our practical business in the embrace of unifying Spirit. We will gather in interest groups around numerous issues that concern us. We will experience deep worship and fellowship. And we will be challenged and inspired by Cherice Bock.
Registration will open on the NPYM website in the spring.
*Annual session will also include many events in the weeks preceding July 14.
– David Zeiss, Presiding Clerk, NPYM
“God, who made all, pours out his spirit upon all [people] in the world, in the days of his new covenant, yea, upon blacks and whites, Moors, and Turks, and Indians, Christians, Jews, and Gentiles, that all with the spirit of God, might know God and the things of God, and serve and worship him in his spirit and truth.”
– George Fox
“Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseparable, that to turn all the treasure we possess into the channel of universal love becomes the business of our lives.”
– John Woolman
As this is being written, we are holding a deep concern for the epidemic of racism – systemic and overt white supremacy – in our country. The Covid-19 epidemic and global climate crisis have also greatly impacted Friends this year and many in our community have experienced loss, uncertainty and ongoing grief. And yet we know that these affect Friends in our Yearly Meeting in markedly different ways. Both Covid-19 and the climate crisis disproportionately affect Friends in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We are called to move toward love and justice.
The virtual Annual Session 2021 of Pacific Yearly Meeting will be held July 23 to 28. Our keynote speakers are Avotcja Jiltonilro, a poet, storyteller and multi-instrumentalist from Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting and Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, a second-year college student at the University of Pennsylvania and a Young Adult Friend from Sacramento Friends Meeting. These two women will share their poetry and will engage in a dialogue on the theme.
Together we will take the time to connect with the Power of the Spirit within us. The indwelling Spirit connects us to one another and to all of creation.
This interconnectedness requires us to reevaluate how we relate to one another. The dominant culture within our country and our Religious Society of Friends of the Truth has centered whiteness for too long. What acts of love and justice are necessary for us to re-center our Society to a place of justice, of love, for all? How do we begin to move from entitlement to humbly giving our energy to a different way of being? How do we grow our abilities to cherish one another and develop a culture of dignity within our Yearly Meeting and beyond? Ongoing learning, truth telling, and willingness to repair are needed to break the bonds of racism. Each of us can see a portion of Light, but we need all of us to see the way forward, guided by Spirit.
You are invited to the Pay as Led online Annual Session of Pacific Yearly Meeting July 23 to 28th, 2021 from wherever you are tending your heart. When registration is open you will be able to choose which activities are right for you. Together at Annual Session we will seek the guidance of the Divine Spirit in worship, in learning, and in rejoicing together.
– Sandy Kewman, Presiding Clerk, PacYM