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Pendle Hill, A Place for Transformation

October 29, 2020

Francisco Burgos, Executive Director

Francisco Burgos, Executive Director

For the past 90 years, Pendle Hill has been a place where many Friends and seekers have experienced a deep life transformation. This is true for many friends, those that came for a sabbatical, participated in our educational programs, sojourned with us, or participated in other programs on our campus. We have become a special place where many have found renewal, connection, deep listening, and exploration.

Now, as we enter a new chapter in our history, I would like to share my dream for Pendle Hill. A dream that, while rooted in our best tradition of experiential learning, creates and welcomes new insights to address our current moment in history with a deep sense of hope, community, and service. In some ways, more than offering a new narrative for Pendle Hill, this vision represents a reinvigoration of our long institutional commitment to plant, nurture, and share the seeds of transformation for our world.

My vision of Pendle Hill is a mosaic composed of three essential and practical ideas:

For many years, we have been an organization that could easily be described as a progressive institution. I believe that we have served this role well as we facilitated and supported many processes and activities aimed to promote and sustain justice, equality, and diversity not only for guests, but for our staff and organizational community. It is time for us to renew and expand our commitment to those values as we open ourselves to the Spirit and as we create space to be a prophetic witness organization within our society. I believe that we, a small Quaker retreat, study, and conference center, can be a place where hope and solidarity permeate all aspect of our institution. A place where hope is experienced as an essential ingredient in our many offerings, and where solidarity is articulated as a dynamic force within our decisions and actions.

The second essential thought in my vision has to do with making Pendle Hill a place that incarnates the Beloved Community. This is an invitation to create community as we practice the radical hospitality of welcoming people and providing them with a friendly support for inner and outer transformation. I see Pendle Hill as a place where acceptance is common practice, where diversity is celebrated as we honor the dignity of everyone, and where reconnecting with nature is fostered by our organizational practice; a place where Friends and sojourners find their own path with and within the dynamic companionship of others.

As I dream about this Beloved Community, I expand that vision to the process of how we create a staff community where employees are perceived as collaborators and are encouraged and supported in their personal and professional growth. As a Friends organization, Pendle Hill will continue fostering staff participation inspired in Quaker faith and practice. I am committed to a vision of Pendle Hill that continues welcoming diversity and inclusion among its workforce; a staff community where racial, cultural, religious, and sexual diversity is part of our organizational fabric.

I believe this vision is a practical step to continue walking our historical path as a Quaker organization that was created as a sacrament of hope, unity, fellowship, and discovery. I see this as an opportunity to open ourselves both as individuals and as an institution, and to plant within us a seed of love, communion, justice, and dignity. I invite you to be part of this journey. I guarantee you that many ways will open as we enter into this new chapter of our shared history.

In Friendship,

Francisco

Francisco Burgos
Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors

Celebrating Pendle Hill

September 24, 2020

On September 24, 1930 a new organization was born. An organization conceived as a holy experiment where ideas can be tested as we create fellowship and answer the inner call to prophetic action in daily life. Over the past 90 years, Pendle Hill constituted a testimony of unity and service to the Religious Society of Friends, and it has become a unique “meeting place” for many others as we commonly search and work toward building a better world.

The sense of unity and hope cultivated by the group of Friends that founded Pendle Hill still resonates with us today as we are attentive to the Light. During the past 90 years, we have lived many moments in which, as a Quaker institution, we needed to pause and create space for deep listening. There have been moments when key decisions needed to be made and implemented as acts of faithfulness. Moments when we needed to be very intentional about opening ourselves to the small voice that guides us, for us to continue fulfilling our mission. Our current chapter in history is not different as we are presented with many personal, institutional, and social challenges; and yet, it is within those challenges that Pendle Hill, a small Quaker retreat center, is called to remain as a testimony of what is possible when we welcome and embrace unity, hope, and love.

We celebrate the first 90 years of this holy experiment with deep gratitude. Gratitude and recognition to the many people that have stewarded the land where we are settled, from the Lenape people to the staff and volunteers that keep caring for our campus and its ecosystem. Gratitude to those who have come here as “students” in search of personal and communal transformation, and to the many “faculty” members that have shared their talents and gifts. We are thankful to the people that have served on the Board, and to the many Friends that gently invited us to be open to new ways. We express gratitude to our staff for their enthusiasm in accompanying us in this journey. We are grateful for our supporters, from the past to the present – for you have sustained us especially during difficult times. Thank you to all of you! You are part of the colorful quilt that we represent.

Today, we celebrate our 90th birthday. This has been a long path traveled in the company of many Friends, groups, and organizations. It is with this shared journey in mind that we invite you to celebrate with us as we continue creating Spirit-led learning opportunities, in which peace, justice, love, and community are experienced and envisioned with authenticity.

In Friendship,

Francisco

Francisco Burgos
Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors

Acknowledging and Addressing Systemic Racism

June 12, 2020

We mourn the violent and unwarranted deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other African Americans whose deaths continue the stream of violence directed against African Americans in this country for over four hundred years. Blacks and other people of color continue to suffer from structural racism and oppression. We acknowledge the many burdens of racism on African Americans and other people of color, including: immense inequities in health care, mass incarceration, police violence and shooting, everyday insults small and large, implicit and explicit bias, being unheard or not believed, inferior schools and education experiences… the list goes on and on.

Pendle Hill’s vision is to create peace with justice in the world by transforming lives. We are a Quaker institution. We understand that since the early days of the religion, Quaker leaders and institutions have been embedded in a prevailing culture of white supremacy. While we are proud of the many Quakers who stood up for justice and freedom over the centuries, abolitionists often did not view African Americans as equals, Quaker schools were slow to desegregate, and today Blacks and other people of color often feel unwelcome in our faith communities. We seek to reveal and eradicate the elements of white supremacy that are woven into the Quaker tradition.

We all must be vocal about ending oppression in this country. Black lives matter! We want to be an active part of building a nation in which this statement does not need to be said on a daily basis.

From our position as a conference center and educational institution, Pendle Hill strives to support agents of change. We seek to find ways we can strengthen our educational offerings related to overcoming racism by providing opportunities for people of all races to strengthen their determination for change, expand their skills, and heal from the trauma of oppression. We will also continue to provide programming exclusively for and led by people of color.

Now is not the moment for despair or paralysis. Now is the time for change and action. Now, and next week, and next month, and next year, and… Let us become the ancestors deserving of our great-great-grandchildren’s pride.

If you’d like to learn more about relevant programs, please click here.

To see suggested readings for understanding and addressing racism and white supremacy, click here.

Click here for some ideas about how you might take action.

Sincerely,

Traci

Traci Hjelt Sullivan
Interim Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors

April 30, 2020

Dear Friends of Pendle Hill,

It’s a sad week at Pendle Hill. If you read my April 22 letter, you’ll know that Pendle Hill recently accepted that we cannot re-open campus to paying guests until the coronavirus is contained, and certainly no earlier than October 1, 2020. This means we’ve had to let go of half our staff.

If you’ve been to Pendle Hill in the last few years, you know our amazing staff. They make your bed before you arrive, they cook tasty and healthy food, they manage your reservations, and they come in the middle of the night when you accidentally lock yourself out of your room. The Pendle Hill campus experience has benefitted from the care each one of them has taken to provide warm hospitality to each guest that arrived.

The staff who remain are adjusting to a different rhythm of the week and changed responsibilities. Lloyd Guindon has agreed to manage our Buildings and Grounds team, which now includes Jamaal Williams. Eric Evans brings his institutional knowledge and great customer service skills to the registration office which is now our administrative hub. The Education team has developed new online programs that can accommodate more people at a very affordable price – and they are working on more.

And our Advancement team is grateful for every single gift Pendle Hill receives. Even with large cuts in payroll, COVID-19 remains financially worrisome for Pendle Hill. If you haven’t made a gift recently, please consider making a contribution today.

The biggest adjustment for those of us who remain is the absence of our friends and colleagues.

We miss you, too! It is spring, and the campus is no less beautiful because there are only a handful of people to appreciate it. Thanks to our hardworking Buildings and Grounds crew, it will be beautiful when you return. Meanwhile, we are pleased to continue to serve you with online programs, Pendle Hill pamphlets, and daily morning worship (open to all via Zoom).

Bless you and stay safe,

Traci

Traci Hjelt Sullivan
Interim Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors

April 22, 2020

Dear Friends of Pendle Hill,

Like many other Quaker organizations, Pendle Hill has been discerning how to stay faithful to its mission in the midst of the pandemic. I am writing to tell you about some of our decisions. We continue to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our staff and potential visitors. We are focused, too, on taking steps now to assure that Pendle Hill can continue serving as a source of spiritual vitality and education long into the future.

We closed the campus to visitors on March 15. We are now announcing that while Pendle Hill ministries continue, the Pendle Hill campus will remain closed to guests until the COVID-19 coronavirus is contained, and at least until October 1, 2020.

This is an important public health decision. We want to be sure that we can provide a safe environment before reopening. Because our guests come from a variety of locations to connect with each other, we believe this to be the most responsible decision to ensure public health. We recognize this will have difficult implications for Pendle Hill’s finances, and we are saddened that much of the burden of closing will fall on members of Pendle Hill’s dedicated staff.

Learn more about this decision:

Pendle Hill’s Ministry Transcends Closed Campus
Information for Guests with Outstanding Reservations
When Will the Campus Re-Open?
Information for People and Groups Wanting to Make an On-Campus Reservation
We Faithfully Await Your Return
Pendle Hill Needs Your Financial Support and Your Prayers

Pendle Hill’s Ministry Transcends Closed Campus

Even while campus is closed to guests, Pendle Hill’s vital ministry continues. About a month ago, we opened an online portal to daily Worship in the Barn. Now more than 130 people attend most mornings. Friends express gratitude for the experience of community worship and the grounding it provides. We experience Spirit binding us together as we share fear and possibility, anger and joy, grief and gratitude. Worship is providing solace and strength during these difficult times.

The Pendle Hill bookstore continues to be available online. Both new and classic pamphlets minister to Friends around the world.

In the coming two months, Pendle Hill is offering these programs online:

The spiritual needs in this time are extraordinary. The Pendle Hill staff and Board are united in generating opportunities for you to join with others for mutual exploration and connection to the Guide within.

Information for Guests with Outstanding Reservations

If you have a reservation for a conference rental, personal sojourn, or Pendle Hill program, you will receive an email from one of our staff in the next few weeks. We are cancelling all on-campus reservations through September 30. Many Pendle Hill programs originally scheduled for the spring and summer are being moved to online platforms. If you have an on-campus reservation after September 30, we will inform you no less than two months in advance whether the campus will be open or not. Please hold your questions until you receive an email with more details, relevant to your specific situation – our staff is small and working hard to address immediate needs.

When Will the Campus Re-Open?

The Pendle Hill campus will re-open when we are confident that we can provide a safe environment for our guests and when there is sufficient demand to generate income to provide on-campus services. The decision to re-open will be finalized several months before actually re-opening. It will be announced on our website and via widely distributed emails. Sign up to receive Pendle Hill’s monthly e-newsletter.

Information for People and Groups Wanting to Make an On-Campus Reservation

We will not accept or make new reservations for additional Pendle Hill education programs or personal retreats until we determine our reopening date. For on-campus rentals, we will only accept new reservations for dates after August 31, 2021.

We Faithfully Await Your Return

I am sad when I see empty dormitories, dining rooms, and gathering spaces here on the Pendle Hill campus. And yet, in the absence of humans, the wilder inhabitants of the property are more visible. Almost daily, we hear reports of seeing the shy fox, whom we have named Georgie. Bull frogs at Owen’s garden abound, and squirrels are dashing over the branches of Mama Beach, across the roots of the three Dawn Redwood sisters, and throughout the labyrinth.

We look forward to the time when this beautiful campus once again welcomes human visitors. Until that day arrives, Pendle Hill will provide alternative ways of gathering, learning, and discerning together. Many people are exploring faithfulness in the midst of the pandemic. We pledge to be your partner in that endeavor as we seek Guidance and find meaning.

Pendle Hill Needs Your Financial Support and Your Prayers

In the next few weeks, we will make dramatic reductions in expenses, and will painfully say good-bye to many dedicated colleagues during this time.

Our work continues. With your generous financial support, Pendle Hill can fulfill its commitment to steward the land and continue our 90-year-old legacy of supporting spiritual development and discernment.

We need your engagement, and we need your gifts to keep going through the pandemic. Please consider making a monthly or one-time gift today.

Your prayers are also much appreciated – for Pendle Hill and for the world. Our love goes out to those suffering physically, emotionally, and economically from the pandemic. I know that many staff and Board members share my feelings of shame and rage about the disproportional pain experienced in communities of color and the poor. We pray for those who risk their own health to provide medical and other essential services to their communities.

Thank you for staying connected to Pendle Hill. We can feel your prayers, and we trust that you can feel ours as well.

Light and Love,

Traci

Traci Hjelt Sullivan
Interim Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors
March 26, 2020

Dear Pendle Hill Friends and Family,

It’s only eight days since I last wrote to you. A lot has happened in eight days, here at Pendle Hill and throughout the world.  On campus, the cherry trees are in blossom and the daffodils in full bloom.  I am so grateful that spring’s beauty accompanies me through these challenging times

The Pendle Hill Board is deeply engaged in discerning an institutional response to the sudden drop in income caused by COVID-19 cancellations – and to the new opportunities for ministry.  I am buoyed by the Friends who join us on Zoom for worship each morning at 8:30 am Eastern.  Each morning, our attendance increases – we now number more than 100!  About six of us are physically in the Barn; nonetheless the room fills with the spiritual energy of Friends from across the continent, sprinkled with others from Australia, Great Britain, and Germany.  Worship is filled with deep silence, and messages about fear, compassion, and connection that transcends touch. Please join us!  Keep an eye on the Pendle Hill website – we may be adding other worship or worship-sharing opportunities soon.

Workshop leaders and our Education staff quickly adapted two Pendle Hill programs so that they could continue as online experiences in spiritual deepening and community building.  Our Education staff are discerning which other spring programs might be modified for online engagement.

"Living in Dark Times," by Rex Ambler (pamphlet cover)We continue to recommend to you the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #447 “Living in Dark Times” by Rex Ambler.  If you don’t have it on your bookshelf, you can read it online until March 31 at no charge.

Earlier this week, my husband’s favorite uncle died of COVID-19 in Vermont.  He was 72.  Please stay safe, Friends, and help keep others safe.

Love and Light,

Traci

Traci Hjelt Sullivan
Interim Executive Director


The Pendle Hill Campus is Currently Closed to Visitors
March 18, 2020

Dear Pendle Hill Friends and Family,

How are you, dear friends? How fares truth and love with you during these challenging times?

We are thinking of you as you care for your own health and the health of others. We join you in a concern about job loss, food security, and lack of health care by many across the country. We too are praying for friends and family who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are awaiting diagnosis. We are holding you in our heart as all of us learn how to continue building the Beloved Community in this critical moment.

At Pendle Hill, we are adapting to the quickly changing circumstances while striving to let Love be our guide. We have been implementing extra measures to maintain a healthy and welcoming environment in our campus, and last weekend we closed to visitors for at least two weeks following the governor of Pennsylvania’s request for all non-essential businesses to close. (Many groups and workshops had already cancelled.) On one hand, we are deeply concerned about the sudden loss of earned revenue which is essential to our annual budget; on the other hand, staff are stepping up to think of creative responses. Faced with the need for payroll cuts, staff united in the need for a “Voluntary Pay Reduction” survey so that senior management could understand the various degrees of financial need, responsibilities, and flexibility within the staff.

We feel connected to you, and we appreciate your support whether via prayer, donation, or joining us in worship.

In the middle of all of this, we are sitting with the question, “What is Pendle Hill’s ministry in this time of uncertainty and social distancing?” The answer is still unfolding, but today, we would like to share two opportunities with you.

Please join us for worship, 8:30am-9:10am any morning. A handful of Pendle Hill residents gather each day in the Barn, continuing the 90-year-long tradition of daily worship. This week, we start an experiment of opening the circle of worship to YOU in your home. You can join us via Zoom by clicking here.

"Living in Dark Times," by Rex Ambler (pamphlet cover)Also, this week, we commend to you Pendle Hill Pamphlet #447, Living in Dark Times, by Rex Ambler. If you don’t have it on your bookshelf, you can read it online until March 28 at no charge.

For me, my spiritual discipline this week is joy. This is an eternal joy that walks hand-in-hand with worry and compassion. The daffodils are still beautiful. Music is still inspiring. And in the stillness, I can still connect with my Guide, if only to sit together in the silence.

Bless us all,

Traci

Traci Hjelt Sullivan
Interim Executive Director


Join Worship Online or By Phone

Please join us in worship by Zoom, 8:30am – 9:10am Eastern Time, any morning.
Return here later today for tips for first-time Zoom users.

Join via computer.

If you join by phone, please mute your phone unless you have ministry
To join only via phone (without video):

+1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 432 071 090

One tap mobile
+13126266799,,432071090# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,432071090# US (New York)

International access, find your local number: https://pendlehill.zoom.us/u/ackPzoqYUZ

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