The Program Committee is charged with being the “host” of Baltimore Yearly Meeting Annual Session. As the host, we provide place and time as well as the programming of these sessions. We care for the physical needs of Friends so that the Spirit may be present.
Each member of the Committee has charge of a piece of the work. We meet four times during the year as well as daily during Annual Session to compare with and support each other in our tasks so that Friends’ needs are met during the session. This includes selecting themes, plenary session presenters, and workshops. It includes constructing a budget and arranging for lodging, food, and meeting spaces. It also includes coordinating with other groups on major components of the week: Junior Yearly Meeting and Youth Programs for events for younger Friends; Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee on the pre-Annual Session retreat; worship sharing and Bible study; and working with the BYM staff for support during the registration process as well as the work of the office during the week. In doing all this, the members of the Committee feel like a family as they work together to bring this to fruition one week a year.
The work of the Program Committee makes it possible for Friends of all ages to gather annually to seek God’s guidance in conducting the business of our Yearly Meeting, as well as to provide Friends with time for learning and renewal.
As we do this, we are aware of the role Annual Session places in the lives of BYM Friends, now and for more than three centuries – a welcoming, centered place for Friends to worship in a wider context, a time to conduct business of concern to Friends, a place of learning about Quakerism past and present, near and far, for spiritual renewal, for sharing and networking between Monthly Meetings, and a family reunion.