Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee Annual Reports

The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

2011 Report 2012 Report 2013 Report 2014 Report 2015 Report
2016 Report

2016 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee (M&PC) seeks to support the spiritual life of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, by recognizing and nurturing spiritual gifts, offering support and counsel to local meetings, and sponsoring a variety of programs that nurture the life of the spirit. The Committee has four active working groups under its care: the Women’s Retreat Working Group (Mary Stratton, Maury River, liaison); the Spiritual Formation Program Working Group (Amy Schmaljohn, Gunpowder, liaison), the Intervisitation Working Group (Maria Bradley, Sandy Spring, liaison); and the Working Group on Racism (Marcy Seitel, Adelphi, liaison). The annual reports of these working groups are attached.

M&PC is responsible for a number of offerings each year at annual session, including the opening retreat, morning Bible Study and worship sharing groups, and closing worship. M&PC also supports the meetings for worship with attention to business that are at the heart of annual session, greeting Friends as they arrive, and seeking to serve as a prayerful, attentive presence. Two members of M&PC serve on the Program Committee: co-clerk Peirce Hammond (Bethesda) and Alex Bean (Adelphi).

In this year’s retreat, Nancy Bieber (Lancaster/PYM) will “offer guidance in ‘finding our way’ using spiritual discernment: the practice of attending to the wise and loving Spirit whose wisdom and light exceed our own.” Sabrina McCarthy and David Etheridge (Friends Meeting of Washington) will lead Bible study, focusing on scriptures that address the Yearly Meeting theme, “Discernment and Action in Spiritual Community.” Worship-sharing this year will include an “Experiment with Light” group, along with the traditional query-focused groups, and unprogrammed outdoor worship.

This year at annual session M&PC is also sponsoring a workshop on domestic abuse, led by Windy Cooler (Adelphi). This query-based workshop will give Friends an opportunity to talk about “what abuse is, and ways in which our meetings might address this as a pastoral care issue, holding everyone in the Light.” A survey done in the 1980s revealed that rates of domestic abuse among unprogrammed Friends are equivalent to those in the larger society. M&PC is hoping that this workshop will provide safe space for exploring a difficult issue that may be hidden in our meetings.

M&PC is responsible for preparation of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting report that is presented each year at annual session. In the fall, M&PC sends a letter to all the local meetings asking them to prepare their own report, and offering queries to serve as guidance. The queries encourage meetings to report not only their joys and successes, but any problems or concerns they may have. The reports are read and considered by several members of M&PC, who also reach out to each meeting individually, and make note of any meetings that may need extra support. Their draft report draws on the reports from the local meetings, and important developments within the Yearly Meeting as a whole. Tim Hunt (Langley Hill), Amy Schmaljohn, and Mary Stratton (Maury River) prepared our report this year.

Members of M&PC are encouraged to visit local meetings throughout the year, especially those that have expressed a need for support. The Committee also considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes usually are prepared by the traveler’s local meeting and forwarded to the Intervisitation Working Group for consideration.

M&PC is working on compiling a compendium of resources for local meetings that will be categorized both by the nature of the need and the type of resource. We hope this will allow our committee, and BYM as a whole, to be more responsive to the needs of our meetings. During the past year, M&PC offered our workshop on “Bringing our Differences into the Light” or “Debate Into Dialogue” at Charlottesville and Adelphi, and during a peace conference at Friends Meeting School, to help Friends find loving and creative responses when divisive issues arise. The Committee would be glad to receive additional requests for workshops. We also warmly invite meetings to get in touch with us for any other assistance they may need in supporting and nurturing the spiritual life of their meetings.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee met five times during the year (at the three Interim Meeting days, a called meeting in January, and during the 2016 annual session) with an attendance of Committee members of 6-10 plus several visitors.

Deborah Haines (Alexandria) and Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), Co-Clerks

2015 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee (M&PC) seeks to deepen the spiritual life of Baltimore Yearly Meeting by recognizing and nurturing gifts of the Spirit. We support the Yearly Meeting with programs, retreats, workshops, and activities at each annual session, and other activities as needed. One of the co-clerks of the Committee (Peirce Hammond, Bethesda) is a member of the Program Committee, along with committee member Alex Bean (Adelphi).

For the annual session the Committee is responsible for the Retreat and Bible Study leaders, as well as for worship sharing facilitators. For the business sessions, greeters are chosen. The Committee also takes responsibility for the conduct of meeting for worship during each annual session.

In this year’s retreat, David and Ruth Fitz (York) will lead us as we “attempt to become the leaven for the bread that sustains our ‘living into right relationship’ in our sessions and beyond. We will begin by looking inward at the foundational right relationship with the Light, the Seed, God or whatever word points you to that reality at the center of our worship. We will then turn outward to right relationship with each other, other humans and human organizations. Finally we will turn still further outward to right relationship with all creation; living and non-living which are but different manifestations of one reality.”

Sabrina McCarthy and David Etheridge (Friends Meeting of Washington) will lead Bible study, focusing on scriptures that address the Yearly Meeting theme, “Living into Right Relationship,” and use several different approaches to studying scripture.

As is, perhaps, becoming an annual custom, the Committee recommended to the Yearly Meeting that Friends read A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation by Douglas Gwyn as preparation for the 2015 annual session on “Right Relationships.”

Ministry and Pastoral Care has four working groups under its care; the Working Group on Racism (WGR), the Spiritual Formation Program, the Women’s Retreat, and the Intervisitation Working Group.

M&PC is grateful for the guidance of the WGR in furtherance of our concerns around racism. The WGR annual report is attached. Maria Bradley (Sandy Spring) is liaison.

The Committee holds the working groups for the Women’s Retreat (Mary Stratton, Maury River, liaison) and the Spiritual Formation Program (Amy Schmaljohn, Gunpowder, liaison) under its care. These programs provide important spiritual support for Friends from across the Yearly Meeting. Their annual reports are attached.

The Committee added to its care the Working Group on Intervisitation with Vonnie Calland (Charlottesville) as liaison. Its annual report is attached.

The Committee is concerned with deepening the spiritual life of BYM’s local meetings by supporting them as they recognize, publicly affirm, and practically support those individuals who exercise their gifts in faithful ministry and service. This year Committee members visited: Collington, Fauquier County, Gunpowder, Langley Hill, Shiloh Quaker Camp, Staunton, Tandem Friends School, York, as well as those meetings where interim meeting was held, and several outside BYM. We review our visitors’ impressions to deepen our understanding of the spiritual state of BYM and to increase our responsiveness to pastoral care needs. Members of the Committee are available for consultation to meetings with such needs. The consultation is confidential. Meetings are strongly encouraged to invite these visits.

M&PC sends suggestions to local meetings about the preparation of the Annual Report of the Spiritual State of the Monthly Meeting in accordance with guidelines in Faith and Practice. The Committee receives the approved reports and incorporates them, with concerns and information about events in the Yearly Meeting, into a Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report, which is then presented at Annual Session. Maria Bradley, Andy Mosholder (Shepherdstown), and Amy Schmaljohn prepared our report this year. The Committee also considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes usually are prepared by the traveler’s local meeting.

A subcommittee consisting of Maria Bradley, Vonnie Calland, Deborah Haines (Alexandria), and Marcy Seitel (Adelphi) is working to compile a compendium of resources for monthly meetings that will be categorized both by the nature of the need and the type of resource. We hope this will allow our committee, and BYM as a whole, to be more responsive to the needs of our meetings.

A few years ago, the Committee prepared a manual describing our responsibilities and procedures and has now begun to create a document for our own use which details our processes throughout the year to facilitate transition between clerks and to improve our ability to listen to what Spirit would have of us. The Committee reflected on various issues as requested by officers of the Yearly Meeting, Meetings, or other Committees; we continue to seek clarity about the direct affiliation of worship groups with the Yearly Meeting. We offer a one-day scholarship to encourage those interested in attending our Committee meetings during Annual Session.

The Committee has begun providing support for what we have come to call “Bringing our Differences into the Light” or “Debate Into Dialogue” workshops. These follow up on the workshop led by Joan Liversidge (Sandy Spring) and Erik Hanson (Tacoma Park) at the 2013 Annual Session, “Christocentric and Nontheistic Quakers: a Dialogue.” Over 40 Friends attended this workshop. The report about that workshop was enthusiastic and posed the question of whether there should be more such dialogue, especially in light of the lack of unity for approval of the revised Faith and Practice document at that same annual session. M&PC approved this idea, and Joan and Erik held a training session for several committee members who wished to become leaders.

In 2014, four workshops were held:

  • Warrington Quarter, Michael Cronin (Sandy Spring) and Deborah Haines co-facilitated.
  • Annual Session, Erik and David Fitz co-facilitated.
  • Friends Meeting of Washington, Michael and Deborah co-facilitated.
  • State College, Erik and David co-facilitated.
  • January 2015, York, Martin Melville (State College) and Erik co-facilitated--attended largely by Friends from other meetings.

At the December 2014 M&PC meeting held in Richmond, VA, the Committee agreed that we would need more facilitators to serve the Yearly Meeting more broadly by offering these workshops at more local meetings. We might offer leader training as we had before or individuals might become prepared to facilitate by attending a workshop, followed by co-facilitating with an experienced facilitator. Since then, however, the effort has stalled with no new requests from local meetings, no training, and no workshop being offered at the 2015 annual sessions.

In response to this phenomenon, Dave Fitz has a sense that the work needs a coordinator or subcommittee to promote invitations from local meetings, coordinate leader preparation and schedule events. Deborah Haines offered an optimistic view, “The workshop [we] did at Friends Meeting of Washington was a transformative experience. There was such tenderness and openness in the way Friends engaged with each other. It seemed to me that the workshop gave the meeting a chance to rediscover the depth and richness of their faith community, and reaffirm how much they love each other. It filled me with gratitude and awe. Let's do more of these!”

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee met five times during the year (at the three Interim Meeting days, a called meeting in January, and during the 2015 annual session) with an attendance of Committee members of 6-10 plus several visitors.

Donald Gann, (Baltimore, Stony Run) and Peirce Hammond (Bethesda), Co-Clerks


2014 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee, M&PC, deepens the spiritual life of Baltimore Yearly Meeting by calling forth and nurturing individual gifts of the Spirit, by supporting and assisting the Yearly Meeting with programs, retreats, and workshops, and offering particular services Annual Session. The clerk of the Committee or a designee serves as a member of the Program Committee.

The Committee is responsible for bringing forward a leader or leaders for the opening retreat at each Annual Session. In 2014 Erik Hanson of Takoma Park Preparative Meeting and Windy Cooler of Friends Meeting of Washington will lead the retreat. This year’s retreat focused on “Bringing Our Differences into the Light.”

At Annual Session Business meetings, the Committee provides Friends to serve as greeters and calls upon others to hold the meetings in the Light. The Committee also identifies leaders to facilitate Worship Sharing groups and the morning Bible study, led by our committee member Deborah Haines, with a focus this ear on “Bless Those Who Curse You.”

Members of the Committee wear a “yellow dot” on their nametags to indicate their availability to serve as a listening Friend. The Committee also takes responsibility for Meeting for Worship on the last day of Annual Session.

At BYM’s 2013 Annual Session Friends debated and argued the merits of a proposed revised F&P. There seemed to be little effort to listen to one another. The results were a good deal of bruised feelings and little in the way of harmony among Friends. Also at our 2013 Annual Session Erik Hanson and Joan Liversidge of Sandy Spring offered a workshop entitled “Christocentric Quakers and Non-theist Quakers: A Dialogue.” Among its forty attenders were two members of M&PC committee. The workshop itself was successful in fostering dialog that led to understanding one another.

Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee members saw the benefits of and need to practice listening and conducting effective dialog. So at our committee meetings at Annual Session and in October at Interim Meeting we decided to offer Friends a version of Erik’s and Joan’s workshop. Erik and Joan trained some of us in November 2013 and May 2014. M&PC is offering BYM Friends a modified workshop, “On Dialog: Bringing Our Differences into the Light.” We led our first workshop in May at Frederick MM and followed up with another offering at Friends Meeting of Washington.

The Committee now has four Working Groups under its care: the Working Group on Racism, the Spiritual Formation Program, the Women’s Retreat, and the Working Group on Intervisitation. These four key programs provide spiritual support and guidance for BYM Friends. We continue our practice of having members of our committee serve as liaisons to each Working Group and receive reports from these groups.

The Working Group on Racism has significantly revised the history section of BYM’s Faith and Practice with important information on enslavement. The Group coordinates with Friends engaged in working on racial justice issues across North America and is available for visits to local meetings. The Working Group has encouraged Friends to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West. A study group for the book was conducted in 2014 at Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting.

The Women’s Retreat Working Group conducted its annual retreat of more than a hundred women in January 2014, at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, MD. The retreat was planned by women from Annapolis and Patapsco Monthly Meetings.

In its thirty-first year, BYM’s Spiritual Formation Program in 2013-2014 nurtured individuals and Meeting communities; eleven Monthly Meetings hosted “local” groups which shared spiritual journeys, reflected on selected readings, and explored the ways in which spiritual practices inform our journeys.

Complementing these “local” spiritual friendship groups are the Fall and Spring retreats, held at the Priestfield center just west of Charles Town, WV. Forty-three Friends attended these retreats, which provided times for deepening relationships and exploring themes that connect our lives as seekers. In 2014, Friends gathered to worship, share stories, and engage in creative work around the themes of “Co-Creativity with the Inward Spirit” and “Darkness, Light, and New Growth.”

The Spiritual Formation Program’s Working Group includes Friends from four Monthly Meetings. The working group has expressed its special gratitude for the ministry of singing and music provided by Ruth Fitz of York Monthly Meeting. The working group is also working to sustain the program’s service to the Yearly Meeting by exploring lower-cost retreat options and program scholarships.

The Working Group on Interivistation continues its important work throughout BYM, and plans to make a separate report to the Yearly Meeting.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee is available to help Monthly Meetings foster community, deepen their spiritual life, and resolve conflicts. The Committee visited and sat with one Monthly Meeting and found the experience of attentive, careful, active listening to be powerful and healing.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee asks Monthly Meetings to prepare an annual report of their Spiritual State, suggesting queries to help in its preparation. We consider all the reports submitted and they form the basis of the Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report, prepared by M&PC Committee and presented at Annual Session.

The Committee considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes, usually prepared by the traveler’s Monthly Meeting, are reviewed by the committee and passed along to Interim Meeting or Yearly Meeting in session for final endorsement.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee meets five times a year: at each of here Interim Meetings and twice during Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session. Attendance ranges from eight to fifteen Friends.

Don Gann (Stony Run) and Michael Cronin (Sandy Spring), co-clerks


2013 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee, M&PC, deepens the spiritual life of Baltimore Yearly Meeting by calling forth and nurturing individual gifts of the Spirit, by supporting and assisting the Yearly Meeting with programs, retreats, and workshops, and offering particular services Annual Session. The clerk of the Committee or a designee serves as a member of the Program Committee.

The Committee is responsible for bringing forward a leader or leaders for the opening retreat at each Annual Session. In 2013 M&PC Committee co-clerks Don Gann and Michael Cronin lead the retreat. This year’s retreat focused on the theme of Annual Session: “Growing from Common Roots toward the Light.”

At Annual Session Business meetings, the Committee provides Friends to serve as greeters and calls upon others to hold the meetings in the Light. The Committee also identifies leaders to facilitate Worship Sharing groups and the morning Bible study, led by our committee member Deborah Haines. Members of the Committee wear a “yellow dot” on their nametags to indicate their availability to serve as a listening Friend. The Committee also takes responsibility for Meeting for Worship on the last day of Annual Session.

The Committee now has four Working Groups under its care: the Working Group on Racism, the Spiritual Formation Program, the Women’s Retreat, and the Working Group on Intervisitation. These four key programs provide spiritual support and guidance for BYM Friends. We have designated liaisons from our committee to each Working Group and receive reports from these groups.

The Working Group on Racism has significantly revised the history section of BYM’s Faith and Practice with important information on enslavement. The Group coordinates with Friends engaged in working on racial justice issues across North America and is available for visits to local meetings. A plenary workshop on Privilege is planned for 2013 Annual Session. The Working Group is encouraging Friends to read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West and will propose a “one book” program to have all BYM read it by 2014.

The Women’s Retreat Working Group conducted its annual retreat of 134 women on January 25-27, 2013, at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, MD, with the theme Play, Nap, Feast! The retreat was planned by seven women from Friends Meeting of Washington and in 2014 will be planned by women from Annapolis and Patapsco Monthly Meetings.

In its thirtieth year, BYM’s Spiritual Formation Program in 2012-2013 served 56 Friends from 15 Monthly Meetings through participation in the fall and spring retreats. The retreats are consistently cited as opportunities for deepening our individual spiritual lives and for knitting relationships of Friends, friends, and Friendship throughout the Yearly Meeting. A group of Friends from three Monthly Meetings facilitates these retreats. Many more Friends participate in the program through Monthly Meeting large- and small-group formats. Friends from the Spiritual Formation Program have visited several meetings, and are exploring ways to improve communication with Friends in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

In the Spring of 2013 M&PC met with Friends from BYM’s Intervisitation Committee to discuss the option of their committee’s becoming a Working Group under our care. The option was deemed worthwhile. It was approved at M&PC’s Committee meeting June 15, 2013 and proposed to and approved by Interim Meeting later that day. Intervisitation Committee had been formed with a limited scope: to foster intervisitation among Friends in BYM and Friends United Meeting. It is now expected the Working Group on Intervisitation will continue with its important work and increase the energy of M&PC on the issue of intervisitation of Friends throughout BYM.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee is available to help Monthly Meetings foster community, deepen their spiritual life, and resolve conflicts. The Committee visited and sat with one Monthly Meeting and found the experience of attentive, careful, active listening to be powerful and healing.

The Committee asks Monthly Meetings to prepare an annual report of their Spiritual State, suggesting queries to help in its preparation. We consider all the reports submitted and they form the basis of the Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report, prepared by M&PC Committee and presented at Annual Session.

The Committee considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes, usually prepared by the traveler’s Monthly Meeting, are reviewed by the committee and passed along to Interim Meeting or Yearly Meeting in session for final endorsement.

The Committee is completing a revision of BYM’s guidelines on embraced ministry, to be presented to the 2013 Annual Session. The new guidelines offer clarity about the important role of Monthly Meetings in helping Friends discern the spiritual depth of its members leadings.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee meets five times a year: at each of here Interim Meetings and twice during Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session. Attendance ranges from eight to fifteen Friends.

Co-clerks Don Gann and Michael Cronin


2012 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee is concerned with deepening the spiritual life of Yearly Meeting. We do this by calling forth and nurturing individual gifts of the Spirit, and by supporting and assisting the Yearly Meeting with programs, retreats, workshops, and Annual Session. The clerk of the Committee or a designee serves as a member of the Program Committee.

The Committee recognizes the need for grounding in shared worship as a foundation for our work in the world. We desire to deepen spiritual fellowship and grow our reliance on Spirit to guide us in spite of the busy-ness of our members, and we seek creative ways to bring this commitment to fruition at each opportunity.

The Committee is responsible for bringing forward a lader or leaders for the Annual Session opening Retreat. This year Clifton Pettus leads the retreat, drawing on and sharing his insights on the spiritual basis for action in the world.

At Annual Session Meeting for Worship with a concern for Business, Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee has delegated Friends to serve as Greeters and called upon others to sit on the “facing benches” holding the Meetings in the Light. The Committee has also identified leaders to facilitate Worship Sharing groups and Bible study both in the morning and the afternoon. There are several members of the committee who wear “yellow tags” during sessions to indicate their availability to serve as a listening ear when needed. The Committee takes responsibility for Meeting for Worship on the last day of Annual Session.

The Committee has begun to clarify our relationship with the Working Groups under our care: The Working Group on Racism, the Spiritual Formation Program, and the Women’s Retreat. These programs provide important spiritual support and guidance for Friends from across the Yearly Meeting. We receive periodic reports from these groups throughout the year and we will continue to hold this work in prayer. We have been pleased to have opportunity to sit with members of the Working Group on Racism to help them focus their work for the coming year and consider how they might evaluate their impact. A brief summary of the reports from these three groups follows.

The Working Group on Racism offered an interest group at Annual Sessions 2011 in which they screened the DVD Teens Talk Racial Privilege so that adults could consider whether or not this would be useful for use by their meeting. In addition, members of the working group led a workshop looking at the history of engagement with racism in Baltimore Yearly Meeting. The working group sponsored and organized a visit to the Sandy Spring Slave Museum for more than 70 Friends. At their monthly meetings, they share experiences, books, articles, films and presentations on the topic of race. This year, the working group said good-bye to Elizabeth DuVerlie as she ended a 5 1/2 year tenure as clerk and welcomed David Etheridge into that role. They have been assisting in the revision of Faith and Practice history section on enslavement. The working group coordinates with Friends engaged in working on racial justice issues across North America and is available for visits to local meetings.

The Women’s Retreat Working Group coordinated a successful retreat, which was held January 27-29 at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, Maryland. The theme was Women of Power and Presence: Sharing Stories of Courage and Transformation. 130 women attended and were deeply moved by the opportunity to worship and learn together.

The Spiritual Formation Working Group has seen significant increase in participation in their program this year; in addition, additional Friends were drawn to participate in local groups who did not attend the retreats. They were successfully able to raise donations and carefully steward their funds to allow them to provide full or partial retreat scholarships for four friends. The retreats were held at Priestfield Pastoral Center, which provided a quite place for contemplation, with generous hospitality. There were twice monthly gatherings of local groups, which deepened relationships and enriched Friends’ spiritual journeys. The working group plans to focus more deliberately this year on the nurture of local groups and to explore how to foster continuity when Friends participate only in the local groups.

The Committee and the working groups will continue to explore how to grow in our relationship over the coming year for our mutual support and the benefit of the yearly meeting.

The Committee is available to help Monthly Meetings foster community and deepen their spiritual life, encouraging and supporting them to recognize, publicly affirm, and practically support those individuals who exercise their gifts in faithful ministry and service. We welcome opportunities to visit with meetings and appreciate invitations to worship with you. We have visited several meetings again this year and profited from learning how Spirit is moving among us. In addition, members of the committee have been called upon for consultation to meetings where there are pastoral care needs; such consultation is, of course, confidential.

The Committee sends suggestions to Monthly Meetings to support preparation of the Annual Report of the Spiritual State of the Monthly Meeting in accordance with the guidelines in Faith and Practice. The approved reports are received and incorporated into Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report presented at Annual Session.

The Committee considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes, usually prepared by the traveler’s Monthly Meeting, are reviewed by the committee and passed along to Interim Meeting or Yearly Meeting in session for final endorsement. We are completing a revision of the written policy, offering a streamlined and more comprehensible policy for the use of our Yearly Meeting regarding embraced ministries.

We continue to offer a one-day scholarship to encourage those interested in attending our committee meetings during annual sessions.

The Committee meets 5 times during the year (at each of the 3 interim meeting days and twice during Yearly Meeting sessions) with an attendance of committee members of 8-10 and a number of visitors.

Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch, (Valley Friends Meeting), Clerk


2011 Annual Report

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee is concerned with deepening the spiritual life of Yearly Meeting. We do this by calling forth and nurturing individual gifts of the Spirit, and by supporting and assisting the Yearly Meeting with programs, retreats, workshops, and Annual Session. The clerk of the Committee or a designee serves as a member of the Program Committee.

The Committee continues to labor with our desire to find more time to worship together; we must be well grounded in the Spirit if we are to provide assistance to others. We still seek way forward for periodic weekend-long committee retreats. Our intention to continue brief retreats on Committee Meeting Days has been unfulfilled this year. Our desire to deepen spiritual fellowship and grow our reliance on Spirit to guide us continues in spite of the busy-ness of our members, and we seek creative ways to bring this commitment to fruition.

The Committee is responsible for bringing forward a leader or leaders for the Annual Session opening Retreat. Brad Ogilvie (Friends Meeting of Washington) will lead this year’s retreat, weaving together the yearly meeting theme with a focus on spiritual hospitality.

At Annual Session Meeting for Worship with a concern for Business, Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee has delegated Friends to serve as Greeters and called upon others to sit on the “facing benches” holding the Meetings in the Light. The Committee has also identified leaders to facilitate the daily morning Worship Sharing groups and Bible study both in the morning and the afternoon. There are several members of the committee who wear “yellow dots” during sessions to indicate their availability to serve as a listening ear when needed. The Committee takes responsibility for Meeting for Worship on the last day of Annual Session.

The Committee has clarified the relationship with the Working Groups under our care: The Working Group on Racism, the Spiritual Formation Program, and the Women’s Retreat. These programs provide important spiritual support and guidance for Friends from across the Yearly Meeting. We will receive periodic reports from these groups throughout the year and we will continue to hold this work in prayer. As way opens, we will seek other substantive ways to advance the work of these three working groups. Reports regarding the work of these three groups will be attached.

The Committee is available to help Monthly Meetings foster community and deepen their spiritual life, encouraging and supporting them to recognize, publicly affirm, and practically support those individuals who exercise their gifts in faithful ministry and service. We welcome opportunities to visit with meetings and appreciate invitations to worship with you. We have visited several meetings again this year and profited from learning how the spirit is moving among us. In addition, members of the committee have been called upon for consultation to meetings where there are pastoral care needs; such consultation is, of course, confidential and we have served several meetings in this capacity during the past year.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee sends suggestions to Monthly Meetings on the preparation of the Annual Report of the Spiritual State of the Monthly Meeting in accordance with the guidelines in Faith and Practice. The Committee receives the approved reports and incorporates them, with concerns and information about events into Spiritual State of the Yearly Meeting Report presented at Annual Session.

The Committee considers requests for Yearly Meeting endorsement of minutes of support for members traveling in the ministry outside our Yearly Meeting. Such minutes usually are prepared by the traveler’s Monthly Meeting, reviewed by the committee and passed along to Interim Meeting or Yearly Meeting in session for final endorsement.

The Committee has reflected on various issues as requested by officers of the Yearly Meeting, Meetings, or other committees; we offered advice as requested on our policy concerning use of electronics during Annual Sessions’ Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business.

We offer a one-day scholarship to encourage those interested in attending our committee meetings during annual sessions.

The Committee continues to meet 5 times during the year (at each of the 3 interim meeting days and twice during Yearly Meeting sessions) with an attendance of committee members of 6-10 and a number of visitors.

Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch, (Valley Friends Meeting), Clerk