Amended report, plus Unity and Minute on Friday!

My previous post about the Pacific Yearly Meeting discernment about the youth program coordinator proposal was a bit off. Unity may have been stated by the clerk at the Tuesday plenary on the topic, but it wasn't actually there -- yet.

Today, Friday 7/31, unity was found to create the position for a trial period of three years, though at least one Friend stood aside from the decision.

It was a long and at times painful discussion. Very often Friends reminded one another to speak their truth and in love. I want to nominate a couple of Friends for Minister of the Week! I'll see if I can write a little about it later.

Anyway, that's about all the coherence I can muster right now. I just printed the final draft of the PacYM epistle; I ended up as clerk of the epistle committee. I'll publish it once it's accepted (and possibly edited) at the final plenary on Saturday.


Unity found, minute elusive at Pacific Yearly Meeting

This afternoon the plenary session reached unity on creating a youth coordinator position for three years.

However, agreeing on the minute had to wait. The parents of children had to leave to sign their children out of the children's program. There wasn't time to wordsmith the minute, and there may have even been some Friends who wished to stand aside. Without being able to keep the full group together, the presiding clerk said he would write out the proposed minute, post it, and we'll come back to it later.

(For background, see my previous post; and see pacificyearlymeeting.org for the 28-page proposal and 110-page appendices!)

Okay, now I have to go listen to Rolene Walker talk about her Walk with Earth.

First full day at Pacific Yearly Meeting

Today, Tues. 7/28, is the first full day of Pacific Yearly Meeting's annual session.

Last night, presiding clerk Joe Franko welcomed us (if I had more time I'd link to his blog). He said PacYM was even more like Brigadoon that evening, because the fog was in, we were meeting in a tent not a building, and a Friend was practicing his bagpipes in the distance.

Joe said we are here as a community of faith. Yet the Spirit blows where it will. Friends need to present their ideas or proposals, then step back and make space for the Spirit to enter. We don't have a product to create or a goal. We have a process we know works, our Quaker process, and we need to give it space to work.

The plenary to discuss creation of a youth coordinator position -- which would be the yearly meeting's sole staffer -- is supposed to start in 25 minutes. I skipped the first hour of regular business, I'm afraid. (I had an urgent work matter I'm monitoring, so, here I am....)

For the first time in several years I'm neither on the Children's Program Committee nor a teacher. Nonetheless, I ended up volunteering for the first part of the morning with the elementary group. It was fun, and I think Seven Year Old was happy to have me there, without being particularly attached. Then I went to worship sharing, where the community was, "What does community mean to me?"

I'm here without Robin until the end of the week, so I'm parenting solo. Fortunately, our boys are old enough, and experienced enough with yearly meeting, to hang out with their friends with much looser boundaries, and our various families hang out together, too. It reminds me of something Bill McKibben wrote in Deep Economy, about the way humans are supposed to live in community.

I brought my camera but not the cord to connect it to the computer, so I can't upload the photos from last night of Joe Franko, and of the boys on top of a big rock. Walker Creek Ranch is beautiful.


A vision for an anti-war coffeehouse event

A lot of pro-peace people say, "It's not enough to be against war, you also have to be for peace."

While I agree with that, I can't help but think: "It's not enough to be pro-peace, you also have to be against war."

Simplistic, but true. What have I done lately to make the world a safer place? Not much.

I had a vision of organizing a Friday or Saturday evening anti-war coffeehouse at the Quaker meetinghouse, with open mic and open wifi. You could versify, sing, or chant. You could have conversations about the issues. You could weep and moan if you needed, or laugh and dance if you were moved to.

You could email your friends to explain your views. You could write letters to your Representative and Senator. You could write letters to the editors of the local papers, which is arguably more effective because it's more public. (And "papers" is plural because the SF Bay Area still has several papers for now, including many freebies.)

If you're originally from somewhere else in the country or world, you could write to your hometown paper and express your views.

(Even if you're not a pacifist, you could come if you're against the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

And you could feel less alone and more engaged. I'd like that part.


Vanessa Julye to speak at SF Friends Meeting

You're invited to hear Vanessa Julye, author of the new book Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice, co-authored by Donna McDaniel, at San Francisco Friends Meeting on Sunday, August 2nd. The meeting is in S.F. at 65 9th Street, between Mission & Market, near the Civic Center BART station.

Vanessa will discuss the book and sign copies. We expect to start around 12:45 or 1:00 pm. (Please join us for worship at 11 am and our monthly potluck at 12:15 if you can!) Vanessa is the program coordinator for the committee for ministry on racism of Friends General Conference. Vanessa will also be attending Pacific Yearly Meeting sessions at the end of July.

If you're interested in purchasing a book or the study guide, let me know. (Cover price is $28.) We will probably pre-order some copies to have on hand for the signing.

You can also order your own copy from Quaker Books of FGC.


Two Gems from Quaker Business Meeting

Today at San Francisco Monthly Meeting, the following two gems were offered, and I wanted to capture them here.

The first person said his two communities in San Francisco are the Friends meeting and the S.F. Gay/Lesbian Freedom Band (they do the "Dance-Along Nutcracker" every December). He compared making music with the band to a Friends meeting:
Silence is our canvas. We seek harmony. Dissonance is not always a bad thing. And when the dissonance resolves into harmony, it makes the harmony that much sweeter.
The second person described the possibility of some renovations in our building, the extent of which we don't have unity on yet:
I hope we'll do the things we need to do and not do the things we don't need to do.
I thought that was a really good guide, actually—a reminder that we shouldn't do something just because we can or because "everyone" does, but only because it's needed and we hear the call of the Spirit to do it.