End of Life Working Group 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.
|2019 Report||2020 Report|
The BYM End of Life (EOL) working group was formed in Sixth Month 2019 under the care of the Peace and Social Concern Committee with the purpose to create and gather Late-life and End-of-Life resources to share with Friends. Early in the spring of 2020, the working group became more active in response to fears and concerns due to Covid-19. Five Friends began to meet via Zoom regularly to review the charge to the working group and see how we could be responsive to the needs of Meetings and individual Friends. Since starting, we have been joined by two more Friends. Each of us is a professional with collectively many years in hospice, palliative care, elder care law, and personal experience caring for persons in their declining years.
This Working Group had a more limited focus when first formed, but now has expanded to include issues related to aging and care for those who are ill. To that end, the charge of the working group was updated in Fourth Month, 2020 and is enclosed below. It is noted that Peace and Social Concern Committee has suggested that the Working Group would benefit from having a liaison from the BYM Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee.
Recognizing that the coronavirus created an the imminent possibility that Friends and other people we love may die and/or become gravely ill any time during the pandemic, the EOL working group quickly moved to bring together resources that Monthly Meetings and individual Friends might use. One focus is to encourage Friends to have what can be difficult conversations with family and loved ones in anticipation of their deaths and to write an Advanced Directive to record personal preferences for medical treatment at the end of life.
We have now populated the BYM webpage with several links, including the following:
-an extensive list of resources regarding concerns about decline and death;
-a set of queries exploring ways of living and dying well;
-a collection of information about the disposition of the body after death; and
-guidance for planning for the end of life issues.
We have also scheduled an open online forum to invite requests, offer information, and listen to local Meetings and individual Friends regarding their guidance on how to be of assistance, about any late-life and end of life issues. Members of the working group are personally available to individual needs via phone or email. We anticipate the need for more future forums and potential travel to Monthly Meetings as resource persons. We recognize various issues related to burials, graveyard policies, and diversity that will occupy our attentions in the near future.
Marcy Seitel, Convener (Adelphi), Lisa Allen (Midlothian), Patricia LaNoue (Stony Run), Patti Nesbitt (Sandy Spring), Bob Rhudy (Patapsco), Eileen Stanzione (Patapsco), and John Surr (Charlottesville)
Working Group Charge (updated 4/21/2020)
- Make resources available to Monthly Meetings that focus on all aspects of preparing for and experiencing the last months of one's life, including resources for those who are care-takers and those who will survive the person at end of life.
- Maintain a webpage where links to resources can be posted.
- Learn what resources local Meetings are finding useful and let other Meetings know about them.
- Organize workshops for BYM Friends to be presented at Annual Session, other gatherings of the Yearly Meeting, Quarterly Meetings, and local Meetings.
- Visit Meetings to provide a “listening ear” for Meetings that are dealing with end-of-life issues among their members and attenders.
- Keep track of and offer statements about end-of-life legislation in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and D.C. as appropriate.
- Propose minutes and reports to BYM on areas within its scope of concern as appropriate.
The Growing Our Meetings Working Group (GOMWG) is under the care of the Advancement and Outreach Committee. The group started forming in April 2019 and its creation was approved at Sixth Month 2019 Interim Meeting. Please see the working group’s page on the BYM website for a list of members and its charge.
The initial focus of the GOMWG will be to facilitate a discussion of questions around growth at the BYM level, as well as in local Meetings. To this end, the group intends to gather information and engage in a listening exercise. This includes BYM committees. How do the various activities of BYM committees relate to growing membership in the Religious Society of Friends in the BYM area? The listening exercise will also include local Meetings.
The listening exercise will include the following queries: Does the Yearly Meeting wish to undertake coordinated steps that would facilitate a substantial increase in the membership of the Yearly Meeting? What might be reasons for (or against) growth (at the Yearly Meeting or local Meeting level)? How does a growth initiative relate to increasing the racial, age, and other diversity of BYM? How do local Meetings articulate a diversity goal (for example, coming more into line with the population of their local community)? How would becoming more welcoming require a given local Meeting to change? Is the Meeting willing to change in that way? Does becoming more attractive to newcomers involve articulating what BYM Quakers do and believe? What statements would help in this respect?
Parallel to this listening exercise, the working group will identify steps that the Yearly Meeting might take which make sense on their own and might also remove barriers to growth or otherwise facilitate growth.
Just to provide one example. The camping program has an ongoing issue with enrollment. Enrollment closer to full capacity is healthy for the life of the camps and for our budget bottom line. One way to increase enrollment is for local Meetings to step up their outreach and communications efforts. This can be enhanced by increasing the involvement of members of local Meetings as promoters of the camps. While one result of an enhanced outreach effort is more robust enrollment, there are important follow-on results. If more children of local Meeting attenders enroll in camps, the connection of camps to local Meetings is tightened, and more children of attenders benefit from the Quaker education that the camps offer. In addition, those who are involved in promoting the camps attain a better understanding of what the camps offer and feel more connected. These deepened connections promote BYM growth. The opportunities provided by the camps can also be a draw for those who are deciding whether to join local Meetings.
The GOMWG is looking for additional members who are led to join. Please see our webpage for a link to send us an email.