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July Newsletter - A Sampling

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State of our Yearly Meeting—Resilience

SAYMA’s Ministry & Nurture committee assembles a document on the State of the Yearly Meeting from the reports Monthly Meetings send in each spring. This year 13 out of 22 monthly meetings participated. Here is a very brief summary of how they see the State of Yearly Meeting during 2020:

The word that best describes the state of SAYMA in 2020 is resilience. Monthly Meetings met the challenges of 2020 in the Spirit of Divine Light as they picked up the fragments left by Covid-19 and put them together in creative new ways.

Some Monthly Meetings saw declines in attendance; others saw increases. Most had Friends who could not find connection virtually and most had long distance Friends or even newcomers visit in the virtual format.

Many gifts of virtual meetings were mentioned: less travel, ease of attending committee meetings and participating in WQO meetings and gatherings, and visits from long distance Friends,. Many meetings are now considering how to offer some form of virtual worship even as we return to our meetinghouses.

Engaging families with young children was a struggle for most, but some found creative ways to include young Friends: intergenerational activities online, nature walks, bike trips, gardening, etc.

Almost all meetings reported on anti-racism work. Internally, within SAYMA, that struggle continues to meet us at every turn. Some Meetings noted that the conflict with the SAYMA URJ Committee led them to focus on their local community or the wider world, supporting Black Lives Matter protests, right relationships with indigenous peoples, and offering outreach to immigrants and the Latinx community.

No matter how imperfect we are, “our Monthly Meetings continue to strive to be a welcoming, spiritual home for those who choose to worship in the manner of Friends.”