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Minutes are Important

Gail Thomas
On Water (March 2019)

I came to California and PYM over three years ago. PYM is my seventh yearly meeting. One of the delights for me of yearly meeting is wrestling with a seasoned minute brought forth by some group. Often I knew of the concern, sometimes had even agonized about the concern, but now there was a minute. Often it had passed through many hands as groups of people struggled to find the right words, the right tone, to state a truth that came from leadings of the Spirit. I have experienced the power of a feeling of Presence, of being “covered,” of feeling Spirit there in the room when we united on a minute. Also a thankfulness. My feeling that something needed to be said in the public sphere had happened. With joy, I would unite.

I understate PYM is struggling with the purpose of a minute. I have also heard this comment back East, “People think they are off the hook if they merely pass a minute.” Or, “It’s hypocritical to unite behind a minute when I will not personally act to carry it forward.”

I would suggest there is a difference between being faithful to one’s own leadings and uniting behind a public statement. People generally look to Quakers as a peace church. We have institutional testimonies that we affirm. Given the many false statements, misstatements, and bad behavior current in our culture, it is important to let Love speak. It is said God has no hands but ours. Spirit also has no other public voice than ours.

For me, uniting behind a minute is not nothing. It is wrestling to bring forth Truth in the best words we can find. As human beings, our role is to be as faithful to our leadings as possible. It is not to measure results. So with minutes: we open our hearts to find the words, then let go of the outcome – except as we are led!

– Gail Thomas, Santa Monica Meeting (PYM)

minutes public witness

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