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APPROVED Minutes of July 22, 2018 Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting session

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Minutes Details: 

Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting

Meeting for Worship for Program and for Business

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Held at Ujima Friends Peace Center, 1701 W. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia, PA

 

Minutes Approved

at the October 28, 2018 Meeting for Worship for Business

 

Meeting

Germantown MM

5

MM of Friends of Philadelphia (Arch St.)

1

Chestnut Hill MM

4

Central Philadelphia MM

6

West Philadelphia MM

Frankford MM

5

Unity MM

Green Street MM

4

Ujima Friends Peace Center

5

Visitors and Others

1, Wilmington MM

 

The notes from the program “Ujima Friends Peace Center: Unapologetically Black, Unapologetically Quaker,” presented by Dr. Ayesha Imani, follow the minutes from Meeting for Business (see Appendix).

 

Minutes of Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

 

Friends opened the meeting with a period of waiting worship, during which messages of gratitude were expressed for the work, welcome, philosophy and inspiration of Ujima Friends Peace Center.

 

This was followed by introductions of those at the clerks’ table.

 

PQM-2018-07-01 Report back from Meetings on actions on Minutes of Concern

  • Mass Incarceration (CPMM)

    • CPMM – Dana Reinhold, clerk of CPMM, described the presentation made at the Quarter’s last meeting and reported that several meeting members have attended bail hearings. In collaboration with Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), CPMM is contemplating hosting a bail system educational event in the fall, similar to one held recently at POWER member congregation P’nai Or.

    • Germantown MM has endorsed the minute. It was noted that faith communities need to be much more under the weight of supporting people who have suffered through the mass incarceration system.

    • Green Street and West Philadelphia MMs – nobody was prepared to report.

    • Frankford MM – They endorsed the minute and are interested in further educational opportunities.

    • Chestnut Hill MM created an ad-hoc committee in May on dealing with racism to “hold [the meeting’s] feet to the fire”— various issues, including mass incarceration, have been referred to that committee.

    • Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia—has not yet taken action but will take the matter up in the fall.

 

The clerk has now forwarded the minutes to Yearly Meeting leadership (currently comprised of the three alternate clerks plus the clerks of Quaker Life and Administrative Councils). She then had a chance to discuss it with YM officer Amy Taylor-Brooks and with Barry Scott of CPMM. Quaker Life Council has not yet had a chance to reflect on the minute (now the formal next step in the procedure) and to discern what happens next. For example, should a collaborative be formed or another action taken? Even so, Amy indicated that there may be an opportunity to raise the minute with Bryn Hammarstrom of QLC as a point of information he might share with Friends assembled for Annual Sessions as part of an overview of minutes under consideration.

 

  • Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (GMM)  

 

Arch Street, Frankford and Chestnut Hill MMs endorsed the minute; CPMM refrained from approving the minute until more specific recommended actions were solicited from Germantown MM. Nobody from Green Street or West Philadelphia was prepared to report.

 

PQM-2018-07-02 Review of Minutes, April 22, 2018 Meeting for Worship for Business

 

Friends approved the minutes without change as distributed in advance.

 

PQM-2018-07-03 Nominating Follow-up

Work is moving forward to set up a recording clerk team for Philadelphia Quarter, along the lines of that used by CPMM. Greg Barnes agreed to serve as one of these recording clerks whenever the Quarter meets at CPMM or Arch Street. Other names are being pursued.

PQM-2018-07-04 Update on AVP Workshop Proposal

Aimee Landau introduced the proposal by describing her feelings of frustration and disappointment a couple of years ago in a called meeting that attempted to make headway on questions of racism. It became clear to her that there was a need for Friends to be better equipped for deep conversations in the face of conflict, conversations that could move us toward healing. In response to this need, Laurent Hahn, .O, and Carolyn Singleton, all Friends who are trained AVP facilitators, have now submitted a proposal for the Quarter to meet for a training focused on building these skills in our population. The training, though Quarter-sponsored, would take the form of a called meeting of the Quarter  to which all are welcome. A potluck will divide the workshop into manageable sections..

Anthony Stover raised the idea of Ujima hosting the session. Ujima Friends will consider the possibility and will get back to the PQM clerk about this. Ujima’s collaboration might open the door for AVP to build its experience engaging with North Philadelphia communities.

Aimee has organized an interest session on this proposal for Friday night at PYM Annual Sessions, in the hopes of casting the net wide for folks in and beyond PQM who might wish to participate in the training.

Friends minuted their deep appreciation to the volunteers from Alternatives to Violence Project for making this gift of their time and skills, and also to Aimee Landau for championing the idea and moving it forward.

PQM-2018-07-05 Finance

  • Clerk Hollister Knowlton reported that co-treasurer Hoot Williams has applied the Quarter’s financial data, now entered in QuickBooks, to the current Excel-based end of FY2017-18 report. By this time next year, all reports will be generated directly from QuickBooks. It was observed that a $2,000+ shortfall in individual gifts is partly attributable to the transition between coordinators leading to a delayed mailing of the fundraising letter. At the same time, we have underspent our FY2017-08 budget due to a variety of factors, so PQM has ended the fiscal year with a small net surplus.

  • Rising Clerk, Anthony Stover noted the three Monthly Meetings that have not yet sent in their contributions and suggests that Reps from those meetings remind their treasurers.  Mentoring Clerk, Andrew Anderson, noted that sending an invoice would not be “unQuakerly'”

PQM-2018-07-06 Reports from Meeting Reps about Life of the Spirit in their Meetings:

Chestnut Hill has minuted its recognition of the ministry of Eileen Flanagan.

Friends closed the meeting with a period of waiting worship.

 

Appendix  

 

Notes from Program, “Ujima Friends Peace Center: Unapologetically Black, Unapologetically Quaker,” presented by Dr. Ayesha Imani

 

Ujima has now been running for over a year. It is comprised of a multigenerational group of youth, community members, and activists.

 

A primary aim is to work to reduce violence (physical or inflicted by poverty or trauma) and to provide safe haven for both the community and Friends of African descent.

 

Worship, which takes place at 2 PM on Sundays, is intended to be the root of all Ujima Friends do. Often, says Ayesha, “getting still is the most revolutionary thing you can do: listen for the voice of God and then follow it.”

 

The Center has a conscious commitment to avoiding colonial approaches in as it integrates itself in the community where it’s located. One step they took was to survey the neighborhood for what its residents felt they wanted and needed. Ujima members joined the neighborhood’s young people in demanding some of those things at City Hall.  Ujima has also been shaping the services it offers in response to the results of the survey. One major desire expressed was for more after-school programming, and providing that is a goal down the road. Again in a spirit of respect for the community, Ujima arranged an event honoring organizing work that has been happening over time in the neighborhood.

 

Ujima’s services currently take the form of several community education strategies:

 

  • Freedom School (modeled after those run by civil rights activists of the mid-20th century). Ujima Friends carried out old-school door-to-door recruiting of children in the neighborhood to assemble this summer’s cohort of participants. The program is free, but it’s required that parents show up for a weekly meeting. Each year, there’s a social action theme; this year’s--“Everyone Deserves Second Chances”--is inspired by CPMM member Becky Birtha’s Far Apart, Close in Heart, about children with incarcerated family members.

  • Friends have developed a curriculum known as Mpatapo, which fuses African and Quaker principle (Quaker SPICES, the principles of Kwanzaa, and intersection between them; students are to strive to build peace, keep peace, and make peace.) Mai Spann-Wilson and Ayesha’s daughter Nia have instructed young men in the Mpatapo model—those young male leaders then spread the training in the community. Ujima is also working with younger children.

  • There have been a variety of Saturday classes/workshops, including a series of renters’ rights classes presented with input from attorneys who are members of Ujima. The series has served 120 participants to date. It was noted, “Eviction is to women what mass incarceration is to men.”

  • Ujima participants have undergone training with Cabrini College, which has been very gracious and open to collaboration. They do hope eventually that way will open for Ujima to collaborate with Quaker institutions in this area.

 

Projected for the future is the idea of a Peace Force developed through Conflict Transformation Training. This might ultimately bring together returning citizens, the police, and others, with an eventual result of disarmament on all sides and a truly community-based police force.

 

In response to food insecurity in the community, Ujima Friends have been holding a “Grocery-Give-Away”—over 1,100 families were assisted within eight months. The motive for this is unconditional love, and in that vein no ID is required for receiving food (though the latter is required in some government-provided food pantries). There’s a festive “house party” atmosphere—the best music around!

 

Ujima hosted an Intergenerational Learning, Living, Loving project entitled “With These Hands, With These Hearts”, funded by Friends Council on Aging in collaboration with Allegheny-NewCourtland Senior Center and Sankofa Freedom Academy’s Junior Servant Leaders.  There was a rich interchange of creative skills, ranging from social media to poetry, crocheting, sewing, and newsletter publishing. Each day concluded with a period of reflection as a group.

 

Ujima Friends have also been engaged in self-nurture; there is an ongoing Friday Night (or sometimes Sunday evening) “Happy Hour” during which women from Ujima have been meeting to reflect on Marcelle Martin’s Our Life Is Love.

 

 

Ujima has received support from various meetings and funds within as well as outside the Quarter. Many individuals contribute as well, and Ujima welcomes gifts by mail or via the website at www.ujimafriends.org. The Center’s members include Friends from some ten different monthly meetings, along with individuals who don’t have a monthly meeting affiliation.

 

Asked what kind of involvement would be welcome, and what would be intrusive, on the part of Friends of European descent, it was noted that several have been in regular attendance at worship at Ujima. Though such attendance is welcome, as is economic support, it is vital that Friends of African descent continue to show up and be present at the core of the work, and that they be central to how Quaker work in the neighborhood is perceived. It’s asked that European Americans refrain from approaching the work of Ujima with a missionary complex or a spirit of “fixing” things or taking control/ownership. Also to be avoided is the practice of large groups of white Friends descending on Ujima by bus as a sort of tourist excursion.

 

Several noted that it can be a powerful experience, a coming home, for African American Friends to come to worship at Ujima and be able to look around and find themselves surrounded by faces like their own. For very many, this has come after years spent in meetings where European Americans were the large majority. In the years prior to Ujima’s founding, many African American Friends have drawn similar nourishment from participation in the Fellowship of Friends of African Descent; Ujima, though, has taken the experience further, from just being a space of reassurance and interpersonal support into a space that centers action, giving back, and reaching beyond.

 

It was pointed out that White Friends need Ujima to exist just as much as African American Friends do; and that Peace Centers like this are needed throughout Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s territory—perhaps, among poor white people suffering from the opioid epidemic in Kensington; among those experiencing violence, poverty and trauma in Willingboro and Chester....

 

Ayesha noted, “If Quakers don’t dream these peace dreams, who’s going to do it?” This work, “taking our brothers’ and sisters’ problems and making them our own,” is a journey of faith. Ultimately, this kind of work may represent a path toward clarity and salvation for Friends in the Philadelphia area.

 

Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting

Meeting for Worship for Program and for Business

April 22, 2018

Held at Green Street Meeting, 45 W. School House Lane, Germantown

 

Minutes (Approved July 22, 2018)

 

Meeting

 

Germantown MM

3

MM of Friends of Philadelphia (Arch St.)

2

Chestnut Hill MM

1

Central Philadelphia MM

3

West Philadelphia MM

None present

Frankford MM

3

Unity MM

None present

Green Street MM

5

Visitors and Others

PQM coordinator

 

Notes from the April Program, “Spiritual Deepening and Healing,” presented by Valerie Anderson and Tracey Smith, members of Green Street MM, follow the Minutes from Meeting for Business. (see Appendix E)

 

Minutes of Meeting for Worship with attention to Business

 

Friends opened the meeting with a period of worship in silence, followed by introductions of those at the clerks’ table and of those present in the body. JoAnn Seaver, clerk of Green Street MM, welcomed Friends of the Quarter to the meeting.

 

PQM-2018-04-01 The minutes of the January 28, 2018 Meeting for Business and Program were reviewed and approved without change.

 

PQM-2018-04-02 Nominating Process Report and Proposed Slate: The clerk described how the PQM representatives have been working to bring our nominating process back into order. Friends considered and approved the representatives’ recommendation to change our structure of governance to consist of a rising clerk, a presiding clerk, and a mentoring clerk, with terms overlapping by one year. Phil Anthony is serving as pro tem clerk of the nominating process.

 

Friends considered the proposed slate of officers, with the nominated Friends absenting themselves from the discussion. Friends approved the names of Anthony Stover as rising clerk in 2018-9, and as presiding clerk for 2019-20; of Hollister Knowlton as presiding clerk 2018-19; and of Andrew Anderson as Mentoring Clerk for 2018-19; Hoot Williams was approved as co-Treasurer, and Greg Barnes as co-recording clerk. The hope is to create a team of three or four recording clerks that can divide responsibilities for each year’s Quarterly sessions, perhaps along geographic lines.

 

PQM-2018-04-03 News of PQM Coordinator: Emmy Morse has served as PQM coordinator since November and has done much to help organize the coordinator’s files and procedures. However, due to increased graduate school pressures and other demands on her time, she has expressed the need to move on from the role. Lanza, one of the candidates for the position at the time Emmy was hired and an attender at Frankford MM, has agreed to serve as Emmy’s successor. Lanza and Emmy have been working together for a smooth transfer of duties. Friends are encouraged to be in communication with the coordinator ([email protected]), particularly with news to share in the Quarter’s newsletter, now monthly (with occasional intervening bulletins as news arises).

 

PQM-2018-04-04 Finances: The clerk reviewed PQM expenditures as of March 31, 2018, noting how much more accurate the accounting has become thanks to Nathalie Miller’s utilization of Quickbooks. She noted several significant increases in donations by individual monthly meetings. Also presented was the proposed budget for 2018-19, including donations for organizations under the care of the Quarter.

 

It was noted that costs such as food for PQM gatherings, which Hollister has covered out of pocket during her tenure, may be something that the PQM budget should be prepared to accommodate in future.

 

Friends approved the budget as proposed. (See Appendix A)

 

PQM-2018-04-05 Minutes of Concerns from Monthly Meetings

 

The clerk noted that, in recent months, the Quaker Life Council has approved and made available a process for carrying a minute of concern to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Community. (See Appendix B).  Those gathered considered two Minutes of Concern from monthly meetings.

 

(a)  CPMM Minute of Concern on Mass Incarceration: Dana Reinhold, clerk of CPMM, read aloud that meeting’s May 14, 2017 minute on mass incarceration, along with a list of concrete actions CPMM is asking other meetings in the Quarter to take (See Appendix C).

 

Various member meetings have taken the minute under consideration. The clerk asked that CPMM and Germantown, as member meetings of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), share further information with Friends via the Quarter coordinators about POWER’s available educational sessions on the issue of cash bail and other possible actions.

 

Friends approved that all Philadelphia Quarter member meetings be asked to come under the weight of the requests made in the CPMM minute. Friends also approved PQM’s endorsement of the minute and that it be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting as an invitation to engage in this reflection.

 

(b)  Germantown MM’s Peace and Concerns Committee Statement on the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Tom Grabe of GMM read aloud the minute (see Appendix D). It was noted that one of the specific asks made -  that Friends join the April 29 Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation - is in a week’s time. The minute was approved for consideration and response by all of the Quarter’s member meetings and Friends endorsed the minute for forwarding to the Yearly Meeting.

 

In addition, the Quarter minuted its formal endorsement of the April 29, 2018 Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation.

 

(c)   The clerk asked Friends to consider minuting our support for Penny Colgan-Davis, who has stepped down as clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting due to ill health. Friends expressed loving appreciation for Penny’s work as presiding clerk of Yearly Meeting up till now and shared our prayers as she and her family move forward to address her health concerns. The Quarter expresses love and concern for the leadership of the Yearly Meeting as they work to pull us together for Annual Sessions in July.

 

PQM-2018-04-06 State of the Meeting Reports: The clerk urged that each monthly meeting’s report be submitted as soon as possible, as she will need to compile the Quarter’s report based on them and submit all by May 31.

 

PQM-2018-04-07 Alternatives to Violence Program proposal to respond to a felt need for deeper and more tender dialogue in the Quarter community:

 

Laurent Hahn reported that he, Carolyn Singleton, and .O--all trained AVP (Alternatives to Violence Program) facilitators--have developed a proposal to respond to a concern expressed during the January Quarterly Meeting session about dialogue (or avoidance of same) around issues of race and class in our community. He observes an openness to change among Friends, along with a faith in the good within everyone. At the same time, there are many strong feelings present within and among us, including fear, that if left unaddressed are an obstacle to that change.

 

The team proposes a three and a half hour, “extended intro” training for Friends in the Quarter. Though a short training won’t result in our “graduating” from this issue nor in a “post-racial” Society of Friends, it can definitely equip us with tools for communicating with each other. The program will open with a short film and worship, followed by exercises and the introduction of relevant tools. The facilitators would be donating their time to the Quarter, though donations to Delaware Valley Council of AVP would be more than welcome.

 

The PQM Representatives will review the proposal and consider at their next meeting (probably May 29) whether to hold this training as a special, called meeting of the Quarter.

 

The clerk noted that she has also been in touch with Marille Thomas, co-clerk of the Undoing Racism Group (URG) to ask if they have tools they’d be willing to share with the Quarter in this process.

 

Announcements

 

Dana Reinhold reported that on July 12, 2018, CPMM will be hosting a reading by poets of color as part of broader programming organized by Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate, Raquel Salas Rivera.

.

JoAnn Seaver shared information about a school supplies fundraiser currently being organized by Every Murder Is Real (EMIR), an organization under the care of Green Street MM, to assist young people who have lost family members to violence.

 

Friends closed the meeting with a brief period of worship in silence.

 

--submitted by Sara Palmer, recording clerk

 

 

Appendix A

Approved PQM 2018-19 Budget and Actuals through March 31, 2018

 

Uploaded with minutes

 

Appendix B

Quaker Life Council process for carrying a minute of concern to the PYM Community combined with Faith and Practice process on Monthly Meeting Minutes of Concern.

 

Uploaded with minutes

 

Appendix C.

CPMM Minute of Concern on Mass Incarceration:

 

Uploaded with minutes

 

Appendix D

Germantown MM’s Peace and Concerns Committee Statement on the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:

 

Uploaded with minutes

 

Appendix E. 

Notes from Program, “Spiritual Deepening and Healing,” presented by Valerie Anderson and Tracey Smith, members of Green Street Meeting

 

Tracey Smith led us in a universal greeting (photos and video available!) then introduced herself and her workshop co-leader Valerie Anderson, both of whom are “trauma informed.”

 

Spiritual healing

Tracey told us that there is an African term - Sanfofa - which means “go back and remember.”  We all have the ability and knowledge for healing but we have forgotten it.  So need to relearn.

 

Tracey talked about diving deep and explained that she does it vibrationally.  She asked us whether our energy felt high or low when we stepped out the door this morning and noted that we and the earth have energy/vibration frequencies of our own.  Example, if you put hands over your ears and then hum, you feel vibrations.  We all want to spread our love and light vibrations.  Quakers talk about Light, but how does the light vibrate through us?  Tracey says this works in a number of ways:

      A lot of the change we need to make begins in our minds.  We can retrain ourselves.  She demonstrated a TECHNIQUE - emotional freedom technique (EFT) or TAPPING.  Our body knows and remembers. (handout to be included in full version of write up) She led us in tapping out our fear.

      We all have a tool we can use at any time - BREATHING.

      Music is also a means of healing. She introduced the term, “Solfeggio” (sp?) or frequency.  there are 12 sacred tones.  When monks chant OHM, there is a particular tone and frequency they use that brings about healing for the planet and for themselves.   In the past, music was at one herz but currently frequency has been lowered to a level that is NOT healing.

      Frequencies correspond with particular tones and notes and colors and those relate to the chakras in our bodies.  (you can go to YouTube to find these healing frequencies)

      432 is the frequency for Ohm

      You can use them to help go to sleep...your body remembers and it can help it heal.

 

Tracey closed her portion and introduced Valerie.

 

Collective Healing

Valerie said, that we can work on our minds, but we also need to get the trauma out of our body...then asked us to sit with what she just said. 

 

Query:  What trauma is it that I need to heal from?   Answers included: “fear of nuclear war”, “divorce and the responsibility of raising my brother”, “the racism of walking into a starbucks”, “loneliness and isolation”.  

 

Valerie says that we carry these traumas in our bodies

Query: What is our self care practice? Need to look at ourselves emotionally, spiritually, and physically.   Exercise:  We found partners and shared our self practices.

 

There is individual trauma but also collective trauma. (neighborhood violence, genocide, society’s expectations of men and boys)

Query:  How to heal collectively?:  There is a word, UBUNTU, which translates “I am who I am because of who you all are”   Exercise: Valerie separated us into groups of 5 and asked us to come up with two lists.  One was what “I can do” the other is what “We can do, if we collaborate.”  Out of that came this:

 

I Can/We Can Collaborative Poem

 

I can have friends over for dinner.

We can break bread with collaborative partners.

I can invite.

We can welcome.

I can create art.

We can create art together.

I can be open.

We can listen and witness.

I can get plenty of sleep, walk, eat healthy, and sing.

We can march, dine healthy together, sing together.

I can read the Bhagavad Gita.

We can read peaceful words together.

I can stand up for racial equality so,

We can sit down and rest wherever we’d like.

I can walk.

I can cook.

I can be aware.

We can march, we can feed a community.

We can keep safe the children in our community.

I can “go there” and confront the depths of my soul.

We can create authentic community—a container for healing.

I can be kind.

We can be love.

I can pause to breathe.

We can simmer down to create space.

I can pray, sing.

We can meet for worship, pray together

I can walk.

I can honor my transformation and insights and courageous steps.

We can walk in EQAT marches and Black Lives Matter marches.

We can honor our transformation and insights and courageous steps.

I can walk, sing, eat well, be grateful.

We can march, sing, feast together, be grateful.

I can pray for others.

I can walk.

I can pay attention to where I am broken and so begin to heal.

We can pray for each other.

We can walk for peace.

We can pay attention to where others are broken and how they are healing or hope to heal.

I can sing.

We can sing together—lift our voices.

I can make concrete differences.

We can make change be a tangible reality.

I can share my dreams.

We can change the world.

 

She introduced the 4 “Cs” that are part of our healing

  1. Connection
  2. Collaboration/coalition - what are we doing locally with groups in our neighborhood
  3. Co-Creation - this is what we can do once we have collaborated
  4. Celebrate! - who we are individually, our diversity.  Example:  Asians and African Americans in Southwest Philadelphia are “breaking bread and breaking barriers”

 

Social justice and ART

Valerie worked in a school and wanted to get them involved in the Black Lives Matter Phila Children’s March, but the administration said no, it’s too political.    So Valerie worked with the kids within the school and asked them what they might protest for...one said a “More playspaces no more cases”....Valerie encouraged them to make signs and they marched around the school property with them.….it was noticed by the principal and someone responded by donating the money for a space.

 

We closed with a request to repeat the Universal Greeting!

 

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