PYM 2: Committee Service as Worship Service

One of our best achievements, in my humble opinion, in the Pacific Yearly Meeting Children’s Program Committee this year was cultivating a real experience of worship through service. One example came at the end of our meeting of teachers and committee members on Wednesday evening. Once we had everyone settled on the porch outside the dining hall and gone through a lot of the logistical matters, I had a real sense of a gathered meeting in our closing worship. The play of the warm summer breeze over us was a wonderful reminder of Spirit, ruach, pneuma, atman...

Throughout the week, we had many conversations, ranging from the practical and logistical ("Oh, we have to clear out of the kitchen right now because they said we didn't rent it, what should we do?" or "Where's so-and-so, did he run away again?"), to the spiritual ("How can we teach our children about why we worship the way we do?"), to the personal ("So many people in our meeting need help, I'm not sure what to do..."). I felt blessed to develop these spiritual friendships.

Our committee had an evaluation meeting during the final meal, lunch on Saturday. We were pretty exhausted and punchy. Susan mentioned that one person who volunteered early in the week had expressed her concern that there wasn’t more of an orientation. Later in the week, the same person made a point of telling Susan that she now realized just what we were facing in terms of (lack of) personnel, and so she understood why we hadn’t been able to provide more support. Thank heaven!

I mentioned that I was sorry we didn’t write volunteer guidelines, as we had talked about prior to yearly meeting. “Of course,” I said, “the number one guideline for a volunteer is, 'If you see a child running away, chase him down!'”

Overly tired as we were, Susan and I laughed and laughed. Really, if some volunteers had just followed that dictum, we’d’ve all been better off!

I closed the Saturday evaluation meeting with a call for some silent worship. “May I get all religious on you?” I said. “Yes, please,” said Jennifer. So I read Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” We fell into a deep and centered worship, holding hands there in the dining hall, for a precious few moments. And then it was off to close up the truck with all our supplies, clear out of our dorm rooms, and get on the road again.
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Part 2 of a series:
» Prelude: Prayers for Pacific Yearly Meeting
» Part 1: Acting Organized so Others will Act Organized
» Coming next: Part 3: Children's Worship


RichardM said...


Just a note to say your post brought back memories of the years when my wife and I were heavily involved with the children's program at North Carolina conservative. It is a busy exhausting time but be asured that you are making a difference in some of those children's lives.


Chris M. said...


Thanks for the assurance! It is nice to hear from you. I look forward to seeing more from you on your blog about Quaker theology.

-- Chris M.