Report: Meetings for Discernment Steering Committee, Summer Sessions 2011

Report on Tuesday’s Meeting for Discernment
and Revised Proposal – NYYM Sessions 7/22/2011

This summer’s Meeting for Discernment examined how faithful life in the Spirit supports Friends’ work of earthcare and other witness in the world. On Tuesday morning, around 150 Friends gathered to consider the query, How has your faith helped you to keep your spiritual grounding, hope, and optimism while living your witness in the world? The afternoon began with an hour of Community Worship. The Meeting for Discernment flowed out of this, with around 100 Friends in attendance considering the same query. Many Friends attended both sessions, some coming to Silver Bay just for this reason. Our worship together was particularly deep. Arising out of the profound and spacious silence, we heard moving testimonials of transformative openings and Spirit-led action.

In anticipation that the Meetings for Discernment will be continued, on Tuesday the body approved the appointment of Ann Davidson (Farmington) for a second three-year term as an at-large member on the steering committee. After the meeting, Jon Bailey Savory (Chatham-Summit) agreed to serve as a co-opted member of the committee to plan the next Meeting for Discernment.

On Tuesday evening, concurrently with interest groups, some 45 friends gathered to reflect on the day. Friends who served as elders, holding the body in prayer and in the Light, expressed their sense of the day: that the body was gathered throughout; that we are building up to something that hasn’t surfaced yet; that the whole Yearly Meeting is working toward understanding our spiritual work with respect to earthcare; and that we are on a plateau halfway up a mountain.

The steering committee will prepare a fuller report of the day, which, as in the past, will be sent to Friends appointed by their monthly meetings to attend the meetings for discernment, and also to the clerks of monthly meetings and Yearly Meeting committees. We ask that it also be appended to the minutes of these sessions.

In planning the Meetings for Discernment, the steering committee has benefited from the participation of the Yearly Meeting clerks and general secretary, as well as the clerks (or representatives) of the four coordinating committees. In addition, in planning the summer Meetings for Discernment, the steering committee has worked with the Summer Sessions Program Committee. In setting the queries, the committee has considered the state of the Yearly Meeting as sensed by the Yearly Meeting clerks and general secretary and has taken suggestions from Yearly Meeting committees.

At this time, we would like to ask that this experiment in faithfulness be continued in its present form.

Janet Hough (Chappaqua), clerk, Steering Committee for Meetings for Discernment

This item was presented at