Whereas most people think of January 1st as “New Year’s Day,” many organizations begin and end their “years” according to financial calendars. At Pendle Hill, our year ended on August 31st and we began again on September 1st. Because of you, we finished this past year in a strong position; having offered hundreds of needed and meaningful programs, retreats, and daily experiences that further peace and seeking in the world. We also finished the year in good financial health. Let me share some glimpses into what our community achieved and what we plan to do next.
Many people came to Pendle Hill for fellowship, study, and rejuvenation then went back into the world to build Beloved Community far and wide. Groups such as the Dialogue Institute, an interfaith group of young people who are rising leaders in their middle eastern communities, the Threshold Choir International which sings to people in their moments of entering and exiting life in 150 locations, and the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, a leading center for integrative medicine and mindfulness as a professional practice all chose Pendle Hill as their place for grounding and visioning. Members of our staff community attended the White Privilege conference in Philadelphia, the Common Bound conference in Buffalo, Friends General Conference Gathering in Minnesota, and several yearly meetings’ Annual Sessions. This work was in support of and supported by our financial health. We came in “better than budgeted” at the end of the year and our Board approved next year’s balanced budget. We had a 27% increase in our Annual Fund total, including 100 donations from people who had never given to Pendle Hill before.
Our community enriched itself by grounding in gratitude, building our skills, and receiving the skills brought by others. We experimented with Strengths-Based Leadership, and we held memorials for good friends Bill Reis, Catharine Morris Brinton Cary and John Richard Cary. We learned about raising Quakers in a secular society from Emma Lapsansky-Werner (our Stephen G. Cary Memorial speaker). We explored the impermanence of pottery with Owen Coursin (our Minnie Jane artist in residence) and examined Quaker involvement in Native American boarding schools from our Cadbury Scholar, Paula Palmer. Many other Friends came and shared their gifts, too. Some visitors stayed for days, others for weeks, months and all year.
We brought online learning to Pendle Hill and also began broadcasting many of our offerings around the world through the internet. We razed three buildings that were beyond repair and collaborated with the Living Building Collaborative in design charrettes to design a net-positive building. We added new lighting, made roofing repairs, made new paths and planted trees. One architect, moved by our community, shared:
“I didn’t really know anything about Quakers when I came here with my group of green architects and some of our graduate students. Each of us commented on how the ‘simplicity’ commitment here, throughout the décor and landscape, is really at the heart of ‘green design.’ So many of us have been taught to ‘build it’ but Quakers seem to ‘protect it.’ We are interested in learning more about Quakers and were glad that we were allowed to come and join you for worship. Talking to the Friends in Residence was very informative, too.“
— Living Building Architect
Our conferences on Moving Beyond Mass Incarceration and Faith-Based Organizing for Climate Justice helped hundreds of people to strengthen their networks and prepare to have more impact in the world. Our Radical Faithfulness program helped people to become more spiritually grounded in their work for social change. Our food, prepared in a farm-to-table, slow-food, locally-sourced fashion, continued to reflect our food philosophy, fill thousands of happy bellies, and prompt thinking about our shared world resources.
This year, we go forward into another chapter filled with opportunity. We know that we can have greater impact on the world through our programmatic themes of building peace through justice—be it at our December Moral Economies conference, our winter course Exploring the Quaker Way online, or our October Community Rights workshop. We continue to provide a place for renewal, contemplation, art-making, and purpose-finding. We continue to welcome groups from sectors including non-profit, academics, grassroots, and a wide range of religions – all of them seeking ways to make beloved community thrive in the world – and we all learn from one another.
If it has been awhile since you have been a part of the Pendle Hill experiment, please come visit. If the work we are doing, and the difference we are making for thousands of lives each year, is something you would like to secure and magnify, please help us have a strong start to 2017 with a gift to our Annual Fund. Your support will allow us to make good on our plans to help even more people reach toward peace, find it within themselves, and build it with their neighbors.
We look forward to seeing you and yours on campus soon!