Summer Sessions 2020

Sunday, July 19, 2020 - 10:00am to Friday, July 31, 2020 - 9:00pm



New York Yearly Meeting Celebrates its 325th Anniversary

July 19 - July 31





Welcome to Summer Sessions 2020,
New York Yearly Meeting’s Historic 325th Annual Gathering!
“.... a great people waiting to be gathered ….” George Fox


Dear Friends,


Although we cannot gather in person at beautiful Silver Bay this year, we are gathering — virtually. Spiritual nourishment, business decisions, social time together, and more will all happen online. With more than three centuries of Quaker practice and revelation guiding us in using 21st century technology, NYYM is looking forward to a terrific Summer Sessions.


Many committed NYYM servant leaders have been hard at work developing ways to meet online for business, for meetings for worship and for discernment, for as much of the important work and deep sharing of Summer Sessions as possible. Under the co-clerkship of NYYM Assistant Clerk Elaine Learnard and Sessions Committee rising clerk Dawn Pozzi, the ad hoc task group Re-Imagining Summer Sessions (RISS) started their work with the agreement that the core of the yearly meeting’s purpose is corporate worship. Out of that worship comes our leadings and our discernment on business. We recognize that as we sit together in waiting worship, Spirit is not limited by space or time or by technology. From these understandings, RISS developed a Two-Week-at-a-Glance plan, or “TWAAG,” that starts with Meeting for Discernment on Sunday, July 19, and continues with business and other activities through Friday, July 31. Events will be online, with advance documents provided as they usually are*. Our work will be experimental and will surely require everyone’s patience as we go forward.


Changes forced on us by the pandemic have also provided us with unexpected opportunities. First, in the past, business decisions at Silver Bay were made by those who were able and led to attend in person, as is usual at Quaker meetings. Many could not attend because of travel, time, personal, or financial constraints, so events and opportunities offered at Silver Bay were only available to those who attended. Now, we can reach out to our entire yearly meeting membership of thousands to include NYYM Friends and attenders wherever they may be, asking all to consider participation in events by computer, as you are led*. This is a welcome opportunity for our 325th anniversary annual gathering. So welcome in fact, that we plan to consider how to retain these outreach opportunities for everyone for our future gatherings.


Also, because the time constraints of the week at Silver Bay no longer exist, we have extended summer sessions activities to two weeks, trying to keep in mind the various time limitations of Friends at home. You can select which business or other gatherings are of interest and participate as your time allows. Some business meetings are in the afternoon, some evening, some weekend, to accommodate as many Friends as possible. We will try to make agenda items known in advance if they are provided to the clerk beforehand. The agenda will be online to assist you with choosing your preferred events.


This is an experiment. To paraphrase, we are inventing the wheel as we go, and there are ways that Friends can help make it happen and run smoothly. There is a need for folks who are comfortable with Zoom technology to help facilitate the different rooms and meetings we hope to offer. If you have those skills, please contact [email protected]. If you know people in your meeting who don’t know how to Zoom, perhaps you can call them and walk them through getting started, then practice with them. If you have an interest group idea, please fill out the Interest Group Proposal Form. Ellie Rosenberg and Dawn Pozzi ([email protected]) welcome ideas for presentations to the different age groups.


In this troubled time, we need to be aware of the blessings we have at the same time that we hold in our hearts all those who are suffering for whatever cause. There may be many among us who are suffering from the pandemic, from a sudden loss of income, from the toxic political situation, and from the longstanding and continuing problem of chronic mistreatment of people of color. Some of us may be in a position to offer succor to others who may be in need, and all of us can stand up for human rights for all. We hold these concerns close in our hearts and continue to labor together as Quakers do, to make a better world for all people, however we are able.


Please read on to find more plans for our 325th Summer Sessions and register to attend. Let us balance our labor to relieve suffering with the joy of laboring together as a beloved and caring community.


Jeffrey Aaron, Clerk, NYYM
Elaine Learnard, co-clerk, Re-Imagining Summer Sessions (RISS) Task Group
Dawn Pozzi, co-clerk, Re-Imagining Summer Sessions (RISS) Task Group
Melanie-Claire Mallison, clerk, Sessions Committee


The complete Re-Imagining Summer Sessions (RISS) Task Group consists of Jeffrey Aaron, Marissa Badgley, Chad Gilmartin, Adria Gulizia, Martha Gurvich, Lu Harper, Elaine Learnard, Steve Mohlke, Dawn Pozzi, Cai Quirk, Rebekah Rice, Ellie Rosenberg, Jennifer Swann, and additional Friends who have provided advice and support as they were able.


* There are Friends and attenders who do not have computer access and we will advise them on how to participate if we know their names and addresses. We ask that the yearly meeting office be advised so that we can reach out to them: email [email protected] or call 212-673-5750 with their contact information. Thank you!


picture of ice cream sundae

Ice Cream, Anybody?

When we hold New York Yearly Meeting Summer Sessions in person, many Friends gather over ice cream, laughing and talking and sharing news. Will you join us for a virtual ice cream, please? Download and print this ice cream sundae. Decorate your sundae and write a letter to the Friends of NYYM: If you were sitting together having ice cream today, what would you say? When you’re done, scan or take a photo of your ice cream and send it to [email protected] and we’ll post it to the website! You can also post it on social media with the hashtag #nyym2020summer.



Meeting for Discernment Queries


Continuing our reflections from the Winter Meeting for Discernment on individual Friends’ Experiences of Power and Authority, today we are also gathered together to reflect on our collective present experience of the dual impact of systemic racism and the coronavirus pandemic.


The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone. There has been death, sickness, job loss, isolation, fear, separation from loved ones, and more distress than can be named here. Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic because of the “pre-existing condition” of systemic racism that lays a deadly ground-work in which every inequity is amplified by a world-wide emergency.


Though it affects us all, the violence of systemic racism also disproportionately affects people of color. We are in a time of heightened protest and struggle in which all Friends can strive to live in accordance with our testimonies and to make the world more just, beginning with ourselves. 


Together today, then, we can hear from one another, with empathy and openness. The hope for this day is that we can share deeply from our experiences and that this day of worship will help us move forward together in the Light.



What are you carrying through this time? What joys and griefs? What gifts and losses? What has been revealed? What have you let go of? How have you been lifted up? Where have you been disappointed? For yourself? For your Quaker communities?



How are love and truth working in our hearts during these challenging times? What openings have we experienced? How are we called to respond? What might that look like?



How might our life in faith during this time help us name our gifts and our needs? What resources have we gained through these experiences that might help us find the way to a more inclusive and constructive community of love and care? How are we called to live into our future?



Quaker-Updates (aka Q-Ups)

Q-Up submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. each day via this form. Sarah Way and Melanie-Claire Mallison will then work together to send out the daily Quaker-Update to all registrants by 9-pm-ish!



Documents From Our Sessions


Legal Notice

In accordance with Article V, Section 1 of the NYYM By-laws, Trustees are announcing the Annual Meeting of the Corporation to take place on July 29, 2020 during Summer Sessions.

Resources for this Session

Sessions MinuteMinute
Minutes, Summer Sessions 2020 08/11/2020
Minutes, Summer Sessions 2020 08/11/2020