The process used in preparation for this Spiritual State of the Meeting report included Ministry and Counsel committee discussion, and Meeting worship sharing in response to queries provided by the yearly meeting. Continue reading
In preparation for this State of the Meeting Report, we have tried to look at who we are, what we believe, and what we are led to do now. The process used, both as a committee and as a meeting, was through worship sharing in response to the queries provided by the Yearly Meeting.
Our Meeting continues to be concerned about our shrinking size. Some members and attenders have pulled back their involvement with the Meeting. We do not seem to be attracting new attenders and appear to lack incentives for young people to attend. Financial support has decreased and there are fewer people to take responsibilities for managing our three properties.
By the time you read this, our record-setting winter will be fading in memory behind the onslaught of spring’s glories. But, we’ll continue to smile over one January First-Day following two of those big January storms. With our usual sidewalk shoveler out of town and uncertainty over whether the lot would be plowed in time, our Clerk canceled Meeting for Business but expressed hope that we could gather for worship. The first attender arrived around nine (delighted that the lot had indeed been plowed) and started in on one of our walks. More soon arrived and the scene began to resemble a snowy Pac-Man display as folks gobbled up the over 30 inches of packed snow from our various walks. This proved one of our best attended Meetings for Worship of the year. Dwindling attendance is an ongoing concern in our Meeting. But, when we remember that snowbound day in January, we give thanks for constancy, faith, mutual commitment, and grace.
Our Meeting has seen worship become more silent over time — not uncommon for small Meetings with falling attendance. Some Friends rejoice in the depth of the gathered silence; some are challenged to center in the absence of vocal ministry; and some experience both from time to time. Our individual busy-ness complicates our desire to nurture the Meeting Community.
As an experiment this past summer, we shortened the expected time for worship to 45 minutes and shifted the starting time from 11:00 AM to 10:30. At the rise of Meeting we gather in a circle to share a particular joy or moment of meaning from the past week. We are carrying these changes into the fall, when we also plan to resume monthly adult discussions before worship.