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.
We have a consistent core group of Friends who come together in search of spirit and meaning in our lives. As a group we comfortably focus on the business at hand. We are flexible and have been willing to take risks and try new things. Having the Head Start Program leave after sharing our space with them for eight years has been a significant transition for our meeting this year. It has felt good to have our kitchen back for our own use. This fall, members cleaned the kitchen extensively in preparation for a member’s memorial. This process did something for us in reclaiming the space and connecting with one another. Preparing meals and eating together has always been a positive experience. We have a lot of strength and resilience when we work together. When there is work to be done we show up and do it joyfully. All this supports both our corporate spirit and our sense of community.
In the past year, we have done better at allowing disagreements to surface. Tolerance has been a great tradition in our Meeting but things could fester. We are becoming better at bringing up matters that have brought tension and are taking steps to resolve concerns rather than drawing back or avoiding conflict. There is more effort to listen to each other and to come to some resolution. There is a concern that we have lacked balance in our devotion of time towards spiritual development versus property maintenance demands. We seem to have more anxiety when focusing on the spiritual aspects of worship . Although members experience refreshment and support in the sphere of silence created in our corporate worship, there are also expressed desires for more vocal ministry.
As a Meeting and as individuals, we seem to be in contemplation of transitions of significant proportions. We are a small scattered group. Coming together to accomplish things has taken great effort at times. Although our smallness causes us to worry, it has also provided many opportunities for us to grow in unexpected ways as we share and appreciate members’ gifts.
Specific activities this past year:
1. We changed the time that Meeting starts and ends.
2. A professional sign was designed and erected for the Meeting yard.
3. The Book Group continues to meet monthly.
4. Members continue to serve as Board Members and staff at George Fox Friends School.
5. Meeting Members continue to receive support from community volunteers in stewardship of our properties at Little Elk and the Brick. The iron fence at Little Elk was repaired and painted.
6. Even though the Christmas candlelight service required a last minute change of date and place, we saw a good turn-out of those who had not attended for awhile as well as attendance from the Quarter.
7. We saw increased participation within our Quarterly Meeting. We mapped the burial ground at Little Elk during the spring Meeting.
8. Our historic Meeting houses have been open more frequently for both Meeting for worship and outreach to the community.
9. We are pursuing legal work to bring our Charter into compliance with Commonwealth of PA laws.
10. The Revised Queries proposed by the Faith and Practice Revision Committee of BYM were worshipfully considered during Adult First Day .
11. Mariah Bradley presented Quaker Quest at our Meeting during Quarterly Meeting with discussion of fellowship opportunities.
12. A member of our Meeting attended FWCC in Oregon for the Section of Americas Annual Meeting.
13. Maintenance: a large tree was removed. We have several dedicated Friends who care for the grounds and gardens.
14. Fellowship: summer picnic, Crop Walk with potluck dinner afterward at the Meeting, gingerbread houses made with younger members.
15. We provided support to George Fox Friends School by offering our property for concerts and yard sale with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
16. Losses: Albert Jon Magoon died October 7th and a Memorial was held at the Meetinghouse November 7th. Tom Ryan, Sojourner , retired to State College, PA.