For This Unprecedented Time: A Word from Friends General Conference
Gracia Valliant of Bloomington Meeting, Ohio Valley YM (FGC) and Lynn Zeleski and Kathleen Umphress of Central City Meeting, Great Plains YM (FUM) prepared a minute asking that Friends prayerfully hold the US election process in God’s love and Light.
"The Christian and Interfaith Relations Committee of Friends General Conference are in unity with their concern and hope that you also will join your hearts to it:
"Historically, Friends have advocated for social justice and peaceful change in our democratic republic. We ask Friends, across this nation and in our world family, to join us as we hold in the Light U.S. citizens as they engage in the election process in all states and territories to cast their votes for the leadership in our local, state, and federal governments by November 3, 2020, to count and report those votes securely, and participate in the Electoral College process. We also ask Friends to hold in the Light residents who are barred from voting but will be affected by this election."
MEETING FOR WORSHIP AS THE WEATHER TURNS COLDER
Guidelines for Outdoor, Indoor and Online Meeting for Worship at YFM
Beginning Sunday, November 8
Outdoor Meeting for Worship: As long as it’s possible, Friends would like to meet together as one community. If the weather is mostly sunny, and the temperature reaches around 50 degrees by 11:00am, we will meet outdoors in the grounds behind the Meetinghouse, wearing masks and observing social distancing.
Indoor Meeting for Worship: If conditions don’t allow for outdoor Meeting for Worship, Friends will meet inside the Meetinghouse, wearing masks and observing social distancing.
Online Meeting for Worship: Worshiping inside the Meetinghouse won't be the right choice for all Friends during the pandemic. When the weather doesn’t allow for an outdoor Meeting, an online Meeting for Worship will take place via Zoom in addition to the indoor Meeting.
Process: Starting Sunday, November 8, an email will go out by 9:00am to the YFM gmail list with one of two things: (1) A statement saying that the weather is nice enough to meet outdoors, and there will be no online gathering or (2) A statement saying that the weather is too cold or otherwise inclement to meet outdoors, along with a link to the 11:00am Zoom Meeting for Worship.
If you're not sure if you're on the YFM gmail list and wish to receive notices about online Meeting for Worship, send an email to email@example.com
Eventually the weather will regularly be too cold and inclement to meet outdoors. When this happens, we will dispense with the Sunday morning announcements and assume that Worship will take place online and inside the Meetinghouse until warmer weather arrives in the Spring.
There will no doubt be internet misfires, breakdowns in technology and other such flubs. Forbearance is appreciated, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the YFM email with any questions or comments. Depending on how Way opens, or how Way may close in this endeavor, please check your email for updates.
Eleventh Month Interim Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 7. This will be a virtual event. Click here to access the agenda, related documents and registration information.
The November gathering for the Warrington Quarter will be on the afternoon of Sunday, November 15. This will be a virtual gathering. Zoom link will be sent out when available.
York Friends December Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business will be held via Zoom, from 8:30-10:00 am on Sunday, December 6. A Zoom link will be sent out closer to the time.
Highlights from the announcements include:
"How to Beat an Election Power Grab" with Quaker activist George Lakey
"Thinking about Race: Cash Bail"
Links to the Fall 2020 Interchange
DISCERNMENT FOR THE MARRIAGE SECTION OF FAITH AND PRACTICE
Via Zoom: Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 10:00am
York Friends will gather virtually via Zoom on Saturday, December 12 at 10:00am for discernment regarding BYM's first reading of the marriage section for Faith and Practice. An email with the link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out to the YFM gmail list closer to the time of the online gathering.
Below is the correspondence from the Faith and Practice Committee.
To view the contents of the draft Marriage Section, click here.
From the BYM Faith & Practice Committee:
Faith and Practice Committee has prepared a First Reading of the Marriage Section of Faith and Practice. We ask Friends to season this within their monthly meetings, worshipping communities, and yearly meeting committees, working groups, and other associated groups. When we undertake work of seasoning, we trust that it will be undertaken in a manner attentive to spirit.
As we have worked through this section--some of us as writers, all of us as commenters and editors--we have worshipfully considered these words and the implications for Friends and our faith communities. We have often found that from our worshipful consideration of the proposed text, a Friend in our small committee will question something--a phrase or a concept--that opens our hearts and minds to another aspect of how these words may be construed, and has led to some editing that we believe has made the document a better one. At its best, “seasoning” is a corporate and spiritual discernment process. Your discernment with others gathered in worshipful consideration will make this a truer statement of how BYM Friends approach marriage. Each of our BYM communities has its own understanding, and must discern aspects in their own body. These are mere words that attempt to express our faith and our intention for practice.
As you work through the “Marriage Section” of Faith and Practice in your meetings, committees, working group or other Quaker communities, and discern what comments to forward to us, we hope that you will use not only BYM’s anti-racist queries to consider the document, but your understanding of aspects of the vision statement which refer to marginalized groups of people within our midst.
We also ask Friends to consider how this works both as a practical document (our practice) and as a conceptual document. How well does it articulate our collective history, faith, and vision? Is it logically and right ordered? Is it a tool that expresses our living dynamic Quaker faith with the understanding that such a document cannot fully capture the sense of the spirit? How do we make manifest our faith through our practice not only in our own faith community, but also in the world? How can our document, Faith and Practice of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, best express our understanding of Quaker faith and practice in a way that unites rather than divides?
We seek to make this document something that reflects BYM Friends' diverse experiences and beliefs, with the understanding that the true faith and practice is not within a book, but is in our shared experience of the Light as we join in worship together.
We will continue to update you through the regular BYM channels (The Interchange, BYM Announcements, etc.) but we need comments by the end of January 2021 so that we may have a revised version prepared by March Interim Meeting. We will send it out again for seasoning before the planned Second Reading at Annual Session in 2021.
In your communication with Faith and Practice Committee please clearly identify
· The group by which the text was considered (monthly meeting, BYM committee, etc.)
· The process the group used to season the text
· To whom we should respond
· The text that may need editing/changing
We look forward to continuing the seasoning process with you. As you arrange your meetings, if you feel the need to have a member from the committee join you in your meeting (especially if it is online) please let us know. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.