[saymaListserv] Yearly Meeting Gathering minute

Quakerkristi at aol.com Quakerkristi at aol.com
Tue Dec 13 18:22:26 JEST 2005


To SAYMA reps, clerks, and other interested folks,

At representative meeting on Dec. 3 one of the concerns raised by Yearly 
Meeting Planning Committee led to a deeper discussion about the purpose of our 
Yearly Meeting Gathering.
Below is the Minute of the discussion.  It asks us to bring this up in our 
Monthly Meetings.  Feedback can be sent to the clerk at     clerk at sayma.org
                 and the clerk of Yearly Meeting Planning     
errol at kitenet.net 

We seek ways to nurture, play and work together.  Are there ways we may do 
that better?

Thanks,  Kristi Estes,  clerk

113- 22 The Structure of Yearly Meeting Business Meeting
Dennis Gregg from Finance and Yearly Meeting spoke about an additional issue: 
the tension between friends seeing the Yearly Meeting as a time for business 
and as a time for retreat and rejuvenation. Yearly Meeting Planning Committee 
asks that representatives bring this concern into the light in their 
individual meetings. The Planning Committee feels the need for discernment regarding 
how we feel a Spirit-led Yearly Meeting would best be structured.

One friend offered up the possibility of two days of business meeting and two 
days of no business meeting at Yearly Meeting. There have been requests for 
half-day workshops and longer opportunities for fellowship and worship sharing. 

Another friend spoke with concern regarding our Yearly Meeting’s current 
discipline and whether we are likely to engage each other with spirit-led 
discernment in day-long business meeting sessions.

Another friend, a former clerk of the Finance committee, spoke from his 
experience. He said that it was very useful to consult with people at Yearly 
Meeting and to have space that was not YM business time in between business sessions 
in order to better do his committee work.

A friend spoke from his long-term concern of whether SAYMA’s discernment 
process is faulty. He asked, “What is the purpose of our Yearly Meeting?” He said 
that it took the FGC Gathering 100 years before it had a statement of 
purpose. He spoke of how Yearly Meeting needs to be more than a business meeting. He 
spoke of how business meetings can be very, very spiritual. He read London 
Yearly Meeting’s statement of purpose, written in 1668 (?). They wrote that they 
created the Yearly Meeting “to see each other’s faces and open each other’s 
hearts to the truth of God once a year.” He asked that we look at the purpose 
of what our Yearly Meeting is. He challenged us to make sure that our business 
meetings and our workshops and everything we do with Yearly Meeting is done 
with the intention of seeing one another’s faces.

Another friend spoke of how business meetings in FGC have been a source of 
spiritual nurturance and energizing – even when they lasted to the middle of the 
night. She spoke of the need for a recommitment to do the “deep” work asked 
of us as Friends in our meetings for worship with attention to business – both 
in our monthly meetings and in our yearly meeting.

A friend spoke of how both sides of the Yearly Meeting – the business and the 
physical and spiritual nurturance – both feed each other. She spoke of how 
teaching Quakerism could be more integrated into Yearly Meeting. Another friend 
spoke of how workshops on business meeting could enrich Friends’ participation 
in business meetings.

Friends are asked to hold these concerns in the light and bring them to their 
business meetings as they are led. The clerk requested that the clerks 
committee take on the task of discerning ways in which the yearly meeting business 
meeting can more fully embody an inviting, spirit-led community.
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