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Pastoral Care 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 2021 Report

2021 Pastoral Care Working Group Annual Report

2020 Pastoral Care Working Group Annual Report

In 2018, the Pastoral Care Working Group (PCWG) was created by the Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee to “work proactively to develop and identify resources for use within Local Meeting communities. Resources might include readings, workshops, or other learning opportunities for individuals in the Local Meeting or for the Meeting as a whole. Resources might also come in the form of experienced individuals (from within or without BYM or the Religious Society of Friends) who can provide direct support or counsel to Local Meetings. The PCWG might also host learning or networking opportunities on pastoral care issues at BYM Annual Session or other times throughout the year.”

In the past year, The Pastoral Care Working Group has offered and planned multiple workshops, supported the embraced ministry of Windy Cooler and considered our role in the context of other groups within the Yearly Meeting providing crisis support and/or pastoral care.

We held two workshops at the 2020 Annual Session: Anger, Shame & Guilt led by Windy Cooler and Conflict & Abuse, a Connecting Local Meetings listening session led by Michael DeHart.

Two additional workshops are planned for 2021 Annual Session. The first is Quakers and Conflict (Martin Melville), which explores how our experience of conflict has emerged over many generations. The second is The Joys and Challenges of Being Good (Windy Cooler), which is the story of Windy’s adventures in pastoral care education among Friends this past year.

We have supported Windy Cooler’s supervised ministry for the Earlham School of Religion. Windy (supervised by New Garden Friends pastor, Margaret Webb) engaged with eight BYM local Meetings to discern how each might choose to address issues of crisis within their community. Windy first offered only a group clearness process and then, later, when other needs were expressed, an informational workshop on developing language and concepts for pastoral care.

Ultimately, this past spring, Windy facilitated three intimate and labor intensive group clearness processes and three in-depth workshops based on her five years of multidisciplinary research in seminary and the expressed needs of these communities. Her June 7, 2021 Pendle Hill YouTube lecture, Better than Good, represents much of her work.

We have considered the work of an emerging group of conflict mediators in relation to our working group.

Through our work we have come to understand several things about providing pastoral care resources and resources for addressing conflict and abuse within BYM Quaker communities.

There is conflict around “conflict”. Rarely do Friends come together and say in agreement, “this is what our conflict is.” Instead, we fight about what we should be fighting about or if we should be fighting at all. Coming to unity about what a conflict is or whether it exists at all is much of the work of pastoral care.

Abuse is often related to conflict even as abuse and conflict are not the same thing.

The need to feel loved contributes to conflict.

While there are many in our yearly meeting who have experience leading others through conflict, offering multiple groups that address conflict can create new levels of conflict. Friends might shop around for the conflict group that most closely matches their interpretation of a situation. If the Yearly Meeting offered multiple groups to address conflict, an umbrella group would be necessary to determine the
relations between the various conflict groups.

We are limited in number so often the Friends in place to address a conflict may themselves be enmeshed in the conflict being addressed.

Much of our work as Quakers includes conflict inherently, as we seek to labor with those we disagree with around social and political issues. This work is easier for us to do when we seek to labor with those outside our community than when we seek to labor
with those within our community.

We recognize the tradition of Friends turning over conflict to Spirit in worship, but we are unclear on how to practice this.

In the year ahead, we hope to continue to address issues of conflict and abuse but look to expand our group’s focus to include issues of pastoral care that do not necessarily include conflict or abuse.

We hope to create a living bibliography of resources for pastoral care, a shared document that can continually be updated.

We hope to encourage members of our own working group as well as pastoral care providers at local meetings to attend Windy Cooler’s workshop and pastoral care lab (Quaker Caregiving In Times of Crisis) at Pendle Hill in September of 2021. We hope to offer scholarships as a way to promote this opportunity to others.

We hope to explore issues of eldering, confidentiality and ethics as they show up within pastoral care and possibly offer workshops on these topics.

We hope to find ways to discuss past traumas that have impacted the spiritual health of us who make up Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We recognize that shutting down such discussions can cause new trauma and new hurt. We hope to reflect on the yearly meeting’s legal, moral, and spiritual responsibility for addressing abuse that happens within local Meetings and schools within Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We are unclear how to move forward with these concerns alone, as an isolated working group, and will seek partnership with other committees and working groups in the Yearly Meeting to address these concerns. Because of the deep feelings raised by such conflicts and deep distrust that can fester when we cannot even talk about what we can talk about, we encourage the Yearly Meeting to hire an outside professional consultant with expertise in institutional responses to abuse, including sexual abuse, to advise us on how we might make Baltimore Yearly Meeting best able to respond to matters like this should they arise in the future.

2019 Pastoral Care Working Group Annual Report

No report received.

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