Summer Sessions 2021
Three times a year, for a weekend each in fall and spring and for a week in summer, New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) Friends gather to worship, conduct business, and form a community together. NYYM is the organization that gathers together the Quaker congregations in New York State, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut. These sessions are open to anyone in the NYYM area who is interested in Quakerism and experiencing Quaker community. We will meet via Zoom until it is safe to gather in person again.
Summer Sessions is July 24-31, 2021
Welcome to Summer Sessions 2021. Our virtual gathering in July will look different than it did in 2020. Many Friends let us know that having Summer Sessions over two weeks was taxing and the Sessions Committee responded with a different schedule that is only a week long. Our core activities, grounded in worship and prayer, are still at the heart of Summer Sessions.
As in 2020, there are no committee meetings scheduled. Interest groups, which many Friends enjoy, took place July 5 - July 23.
Meetings for worship and for business will alternate between afternoon and evening sessions to enable those with different schedules to participate. During the week of Summer Sessions, there will be an opportunity for in-depth work and prayer around dismantling racism in our communities.
Please encourage Friends in your meetings to participate in Summer Sessions. This is a chance for those who are new to Quakerism or who have not tried a yearly meeting event to be part of this gathering, and to keep our Blessed Community thriving as we look forward to the day when we can meet face to face.
—Dawn Pozzi, Clerk of Sessions Committee
Anti-Racism and Becoming a Sanctuary Where Spirit Dwells
Do you hold a vision for our yearly meeting as a place of healing and nourishment for all? Are you curious about a vision to become an antiracist faith community? Do you grieve racism as an obstacle to community within our yearly meeting and beyond? You are invited to bring your concerns to two sessions facilitated by Friends who carry similar concerns around antiracism. The first session will be on Tuesday (1-5 p.m.) and the second on Thursday (1-5 p.m.) Both sessions offer a selection of themed breakout groups that address a variety of concerns. Each breakout group will prayerfully consider a query rising up within our body. On Wednesday, in between these two sessions, the meeting for business will likely include consideration of antiracism concerns. Thursday’s program will adapt to needs that arise from the preceding discussions and also include an outline of next steps. Expect openings as we worship together and ask collectively what it means to be in right relationship, what it means to become a sanctuary, what it means to work toward becoming an antiracist faith community. All are welcome!
To become an antiracist faith community the key question for a white majority community is not how do we get people of color to join our faith community, it is how can we make a prolonged, spiritually rooted, engaged commitment to uprooting white supremacy within our community and to take on collective action within our society.
— Chris Crass, organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful movements for collective liberation
To prepare for the sessions on anti-racism, you may want to read this article from May 2021's Spark.
Please note that you don’t have to attend the entire 8 hours of this program, you can attend the parts you have questions about. It’s the same zoom link the entire time. Feel free to drop in, but please try to drop in at least five minutes before the start time of the group you want to attend.
Email [email protected] with further questions about anti-racism and about this process and the format of this program.
An Invitation from the Clerk
Dear Friends –
What a year this has been! Days have blurred together, we have been separated by the virus, we have been united by concern for what is happening in the streets, in the prisons, in the hospitals, and we continue to learn how to live in love for one another.
I look forward to welcoming you to Summer Sessions in virtual gatherings again this year. I long for the time when we can be together in person. I rejoice that we can have times to hang out for fun, times for deep worship, times to gather for business and earnest listening, times to be with Friends.
Please let me know how I can help you be part of Summer Sessions and part of all the work and fellowship that goes on in NYYM all year. Email me at [email protected].
—Elaine Learnard, Clerk of NYYM
Meetings for Discernment
Friends are invited to settle deeply into Summer Sessions by beginning with extended worship and listening at our Summer Meeting for Discernment. Meetings for Discernment are periods of extended, waiting worship. Queries are offered to focus and deepen worship. The Summer Meeting for Discernment will be held in Zoom sessions on Friday, July 23rd and Saturday, July 24th.
This year, the Meeting for Discernment Steering Committee was engaged by the theme for summer Sessions, Becoming a Sanctuary Where Spirit Dwells. Holding an understanding of sanctuary as inner and outer, available to all spiritually and desperately needed by many living under the oppressions of the world, the Meeting for Discernment Steering Committee offers these queries for the first two Saturday sessions: How do we embody sanctuary as we live into becoming an anti-racist society? When/how have you experienced sanctuary? When/how have you created sanctuary? When/how have you needed sanctuary? The final session will be for reflection on what we've heard and what we’ve experienced. Below are more details for each session.
Friday, July 23, 7:30 - 9:00pm: A gathering of Friends interested in holding the body throughout the meetings for discernment sessions. Friends will share their experiences of eldership and prepare for Saturday's sessions. Anyone new to Meetings for Discernment is welcome. Bring your questions!
Saturday, July 24th, 9 - 11am: The first session for extended worship on the queries.
Saturday, July 24th, 11am - 12:30pm: Drop-in Social Lunch
Saturday, July 24th, 12:30 - 2:30pm: The second session for extended worship on the queries.
Saturday, July 24th, 4 - 6pm: A reflection session to consider what we've heard and what we've experienced.
Your Summer Sessions registration will give you access to the Zoom links for the Meetings for Discernment.
Worship at Summer Sessions
Several forms of worship will take place during Summer Sessions. They vary in size and structure:
Worship Sharing Groups. These small groups meet regularly during Summer Sessions. Usually, a query or theme is provided. Participants are given the chance to explore the query in a sacred, worshipful space, and to share with each other in a deep and spiritual way. This year, worship sharing groups will meet during one of three one-hour-long time slots, starting at 8, 9, or 10 a.m. You will get to choose your preferred time slot on your registration form.
Business Meetings, also known as Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business. At business meetings our Quaker practice is put into action. Everyone present is part of the decision-making body, which goes through discernment and the finding of the way forward together. Reports on the recent activities of committees and individuals are also heard. Business meeting is a great way to find out how Spirit is moving in the New York Yearly Meeting area.
Meetings for Worship. Periods of worship, usually unprogrammed, with Friends from all over the NYYM and guests from all over the world. Business meetings will be preceded by an hour of centering worship. Come and center down in expectant silence, over Zoom, with a large group of other Friends.
Worship Sharing Groups
Worship Sharing Groups meet for about an hour each weekday during Summer Sessions. They are an opportunity for connecting with others in a small group setting for sharing around queries, life circumstances, and/or how Spirit is working in your life. Participants are given the chance to explore a query in a sacred, worshipful space, and to share with each other in a deep and spiritual way. This year, worship sharing groups will meet during one of three one-hour-long time slots, starting at 8, 9, or 10 a.m. You will get to choose your preferred time slot on your registration form. Middle school and high school aged Friends are invited to join adult Worship Sharing Groups. Click here for descriptions of the 2021 Worship Sharing Groups.
Bible Study at Summer Sessions 2021
Facilitator: Jerry Reisig
Together we will look at the development of the concept of sanctuary in the Bible, emphasizing the ideas of holiness and apartness that are implied in the Hebrew word kodesh. Sanctuary requires that we accept two seemingly opposing ideas; being distinct from the world and being holy (wholly) in the world. Friends will be asked to consider what holiness and apartness mean in their personal lives.
Understanding Sanctuary in the Bible and in Our Lives -- a rough outline
- Divine and humans in liminal space: Jacob wrestling an angel (Genesis 32)
- God on the Holy Mountain: The burning bush (Exodus 3)
- Sanctuary as meeting place: the Holy of Holies (Exodus 25)
- Future sanctuary without place: The Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42)
- The body as temple (1 Corinthians 3)
The plenary will be brought by Emily Provance, a travelling and ministering NYYM Friend. Her travel minute says, "As Emily travels globally among Friends, she explores how diverse communities embody the Quaker spirit....She encourages people to see and know each other while embracing differences. She accompanies them as they discern their spiritual gifts. She sees herself as a teacher and learner; she invites us to nurture the spark at the heart of our meetings."
Emily regularly posts to her blog, Turning, Turning, Holy Experiments Among Friends, at quakeremily.wordpress.com. Since the beginning of the pandemic Emily has organized online Daily Devotionals for young children and families, and she is currently co-facilitating a weekly Bible Study on Genesis with Regina Baird Haag.
Friends Committee on National Legislation - Wednesday Evening
Quaker Advocacy: Where do we go from here?
FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall, the first woman to lead the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), will share reflections on her spiritual journey as head of FCNL for a decade. Named as a gender champion on nuclear policy and a faith leader to watch, Diane will share from her experience leading a Quaker advocacy organization through unprecedented times. Diane will share her views on the future of FCNL and the Religious Society of Friends.
Interest Groups are a good way to introduce yourself to a topic or to dive deeper, to learn and to share, and can consist of a presentation, slide show, film, discussion group, or other activity. This year, interest groups will be held during the three weeks prior to Summer Sessions, starting on July 5. This schedule is a big experiment. It is hoped that spreading out the interest groups over three weeks, and not holding them during Summer Sessions, will make it easier for Friends to access and participate in them. Registration for interest groups will be separate from Summer Sessions and will open soon. Email [email protected] with any questions.
Meals with Meaning are somewhat similar to interest groups, though they can be more casual. They are mealtime presentations or discussions on a topic, and can be either programmed with a facilitator or open for conversation with anyone who drops in. Sometimes committees will facilitate a meal as an introduction to their work and to answer any questions Friends may have. Participants in Meals with Meaning are encouraged to bring and eat a meal!
Registration for JYM Activity Packets is now open!
Are there children in your life who might enjoy participating in fun, soulful activities this summer?
Traditionally, when the Yearly Meeting gathers together for Summer Sessions, children and youth have the option to attend youth programming in the mornings called Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM). This year, because Summer Sessions is being held virtually, the JYM Committee has prepared activity packets and online resources in lieu of programming. We’ve created packets for three age groups: preschool/early elementary (ages 2-6); grade school (ages 7-12); and secondary school (ages 13-18). These special packets are full of art supplies, music lyrics, and other activities that are grounded in Quaker faith and practice. Please register for a packet if you feel it would be beneficial for a young person in your life - even if you or your children have never participated in Yearly Meeting activities, if you are not registering for any adult activities, or if your family is brand-new to Friends.
What’s in the packets?
- The preschool/early elementary packets include: A rainbow of pipe cleaners, “I Am Somebody” cards for encouragement, and the lyrics to Sesame Street’s “Giant Song” from SesameStreetInCommunities.org.
- The grade school packets include: A watercolor set (with paintbrush and paper) and origami paper with related project ideas, an interactive story about justice & reconciliation, and more!
- The secondary school packets include: Paper crafts and related project ideas, inspiration about how young people are incorporating art into social justice work, some music, and other fun surprises!
Inside all packets will be instructions for an intergenerational prayer walk and for candle worship, which Friends of all ages can use to worship together or that you can use by yourself. Packets will also include a list of additional online resources to explore.
How do I receive a packet?
There are a few ways to receive a special summer package!
- Use the 2021 Summer Sessions registration form. When the registration form asks who you are registering, select ‘A child/youth.’ For multiple children, you will need to register each child separately to receive your chosen packet. You can register your child to receive a packet this way even if you are not registering yourself as an adult this year.
- Send an email to Adria, Susan & Ellie at [email protected] with the following information: Child’s first name, last name, and grade they will be entering in September; parent/guardian’s first name, last name, phone and email; and mailing address for packet to be sent to.
- If you are involved with Religious Education, First Day School, or Ministry & Council and would like to receive activity packets to use with the children of your meeting, please reach out to the JYM Committee at [email protected].
You can view the JYM slides online, and are encouraged to post a virtual greeting on the Virtual Bulletin Board, using the Padlet platform. Padlet is a platform open to the public, however this page is open only to those with this link or the QR code found in the JYM Slides. You may choose to share as much or as little identifying information as you are comfortable with. If you choose to post, drag and drop directly from your desktop, or click anywhere on the padlet. If you're on a mobile device, double tap anywhere or select the plus (+) button. A simple text post will appear. To attach a file or link, click any of the icons below the text.
Notes on Registration
Registration for Summer Sessions is now open. NYYM staff and volunteers are currently working on the separate registration form for interest groups, which will be held the three weeks before Summer Sessions. You must register for Summer Sessions to receive the Zoom links for events. On the registration form for Summer Sessions you will be able to request a worship sharing time (8, 9, or 10 a.m.) and choose to be with an affinity group or in a general worship group. You will also be able to sign up for volunteer opportunities, including ways to join the tech team that makes these sessions possible. Summer Sessions 2021 is Pay as Led and a nominal fee will be suggested to help cover staff and office costs.
Virtual Bookstore at Summer Sessions
A Virtual Bookstore will be available during Summer Sessions. On the QuakerBooks website, NYYM will have a page with a collection of titles relevant to NYYM’s interests and needs. It may include books by guest speakers, books pertaining to a theme, spiritual growth or deepening, and children’s books. Friends who register for NYYM Summer Sessions will receive the link to the Virtual Bookstore page. A discount code for purchasing books at QuakerBooks.org will be available for representatives of monthly meetings or worship groups or for individuals attending NYYM Summer Sessions. The discount will not be limited to books on the NYYM page.
Meetings and individual Friends are encouraged to choose and purchase books during NYYM Summer Sessions at this Virtual Bookstore.
Funds for gifts to monthly meetings and most worship groups are no longer available in the YM budget, so meetings will need to set their own budget to purchase books this year. Some funds are still available in the NYYM budget to purchase books for prison worship groups and this will be coordinated by members of the YM Prisons Committee. Meetings and individual Friends are invited to consider donating books to prison worship groups by sending monetary donations to NYYM designated for the Prisons Committee for this purpose.
The Quaker Update
All registrants will receive a daily email, the Quaker Update (or "Q-Up") with announcements and the Zoom links for the next day or two. If you would like to submit a Summer Sessions-related item, please submit it using this form by 5pm for the next day's Update.
The Agenda (below) has links to supporting documents that will help Friends prepare for our time together in Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. The Agenda is not yet finalized, and may change as way opens. Please check back regularly to ensure that you are using this up-to-date Agenda. For your reference, the minutes and reports from Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Sessions, the Treasurer’s Report from 2020, and the 2021 Operating Budget are available here as the Interim Advance Reports.
- Interim Advance Reports - More Advance Reports to come. Please check back for the final Advance Reports soon!