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Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting - Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business - Sunday, April 23, 2017

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Minutes Details: 

Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting

Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Sunday, April 23, 2017


At Frankford Friends Meetinghouse

1500 Orthodox Street, Philadelphia, PA


DRAFT Minutes




# of attendees

Germantown MM


Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (Arch Street)


Chestnut Hill MM


Central Philadelphia MM


West Philadelphia MM


Frankford MM


Unity MM


Green Street MM


Media MM (Chester Qtr)  Towanda WG (Upper Sus Qtr)




Friends opened the meeting with a period of worship in silence. The clerk then reported on a recent development involving the planned staff changes in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, in the form of a letter posted the evening before on the Yearly Meeting website by the clerks and administration of the Yearly Meeting.


PQM20174-1 Review of Agenda: A revised version of the agenda was reviewed and some changes made, including postponement of the presentation by two QVS Fellows.


PQM20174-2 Review of Minutes: Friends approved the minutes of January Meeting for Business as circulated.


PQM20174-3 Resignation and Nomination of PQM Treasurer: Friends accepted the resignation of Bill Sanderson as PQM treasurer and approved (with pleasure) the nomination of Nathalie Miller, Frankford Meeting, for the same role.


PQM20174-4 2017-2018 Budget: The clerk and assistant clerk noted that the contents of the 2017-18 budget are very much in flux right now. The clerk reported on her recent follow-up with meetings about past and present covenant contributions. Friends were asked to defer the discussion until more solid data is available. It was suggested, and Friends approved, that the Quarter clerk send the updated budget as soon as possible to monthly meeting clerks and finance committees.  The Quarter’s monthly meetings will be asked to consider the Quarterly Meeting budget for approval at their June meetings for business and, if approved, let the Quarter know.


PQM20174-5 Consideration of Minutes of Concern on PYM Staffing Changes: Friends turned their attention to minutes from Green Street MM and Central Philadelphia MM (and one from Harrisburg MM included for informational purposes), and reviewed the letter just made public by Yearly Meeting leadership. The clerk asked Assistant Clerk Andrew Anderson to step out of that role and, instead, be available, in his role as PYM treasurer to answer clarifying questions about the letter from PYM leadership.   Friends heard a concern that the letter revealed material that staff members involved agreed would remain confidential. As treasurer of the Yearly Meeting and also a signatory to this letter, Andrew Anderson indicated that the some of the substance revealed in the letter had been   approved by Administrative Council on April 15, that information appears in their minutes and as such is public record.  It was noted that those minutes have not yet been posted.  When Friends spoke of other issues, rather than clarifying questions, one Friend asked that the meeting return to worship sharing mode.  the clerk and assistant clerk resumed their original roles.


Friends settled into a period of worship-sharing. Concerns were raised about the portion of the letter dealing with the programs for youth and young adults; some Friends found a lack of progress, while others noted the new arrangement might be more responsive to their needs.  A desire was voiced that the Yearly Meeting take the pause in the process that had been recommended in the minutes from Green Street and Central Philadelphia. In addition, several Friends raised the need for a called meeting of PYM.


Members of Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting in session, April 23, 2017, approved sending the Minutes of concern regarding PYM staffing changes from Green Street MM, Central Philadelphia MM, and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Young Adult Friends, along with the letter from PYM administration, to our eight member meetings for consideration. Those present urgently request that each meeting consider having a called session on the topics covered in those communications, that they use these documents as an entry point for the discussion of racism present among us, and that they minute/document any additional concerns that arise and report these back to the Quarter and to PYM.


Further, the quarter also asks member meetings to consider endorsing the following two minutes on which those present were in unity:

  1. 1. PQM, given the concerns expressed at its meeting on April 23, finds it crucial that Philadelphia YM convene a Called Meeting prior to Annual Sessions to continue the discussion of institutional racism at and within PYM, in the context of discerning our broader direction and moving our yearly meeting toward taking a fearless moral inventory.
  2. In addition, Friends present expressed a need for further examination of the decision regarding youth and young adult programming.


Friends closed the session with a brief period of worship in silence, holding all those involved in the Light. Frankford Friends were thanked for giving up their worship time in order to allow us the space to do this work.


Notes from the subsequent program presented by Joe Hohenstein will be circulated as a separate document.


--Submitted by Sara Palmer, recording clerk