We have a spiritual realm of awareness that unites us all.
What keeps us together as a community is love.
Meeting for Worship continues to be the focal point for our community. We vary in our leanings toward silence and our understanding of the place of vocal ministry, but we seek to maintain loving dialogue about how our worship time can best serve our spiritual wellbeing. As one response to a felt need, a member initiated a monthly “midweek meeting for directed worship” guided by queries from Faith and Practice. Some Friends are touched when Friends feel safe enough to speak of things they have long struggled with personally. Other Friends prefer ministry spoken from clarity and Light rather than struggle. But all value silence between spoken messages and seek continuing revelation in the midst of worship.
This was the first full year of worshiping in our renovated building. We now have a more spacious environment for gathering before and after Meeting, as well as for committee meetings, First Day School, and fellowship potlucks. We anticipate welcoming Baltimore Yearly Meeting events in 2011. Improvements to the new space continued during the year, with consequent “settling-in expenses” and ongoing discussions of our budget and how to prioritize expenses if giving falls short. Guidelines were developed and a committee established to coordinate the use and sharing of the renovated building.
Adult Religious Education monthly sessions on the subject of the testimonies were valued by those members who attended. Other similar endeavors included a group studying the gospel of John and an early First Day morning Bible Study group. Our concern for a closer relationship with our young people resulted in several second-hour intergenerational worship sharing times, led by the children, during which the sharing nurtured the spirits of both children and adults. First Day School participation had diminished during our time away from the building but began to pick up again. Classes are lively, though concern continues about intermittent attendance.
Thriving committees are both source of and witness to the life of the Spirit among us.
A number of committees have used second-hour presentations to bring their concerns to Meeting. Our Working Group on Racism, the Meeting, and Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Intervisitation Committee joined to support two Langley Hill members in a summer trip to Kenya to participate in the United Friends Woman’s International Triennial Conference and to teach a seminar at Friends Theological College. Our participation in the weekly peace vigils at the US Capital has declined and we continue to consider how we wish to bear corporate witness to the peace testimony.
The strength of our spiritual realm of awareness and our community of love were tested and revealed in the quality of our Meetings for Worship for Business. Large and small issues were tackled with an over-riding commitment to the light among us. This required patience with our process and a willingness to carry business over to the next week on a number of occasions. Concerns and joys at year’s end included ongoing consideration of several friends in need of special care, seeking a new Meeting clerk, and preparing to celebrate the Meeting’s 50th anniversary in fall 2011.
Spiritual State of the Meeting from Young Friends:
This year, our group of Young Friends underwent many dramatic changes. First of all, we lost several seniors who had led the group over the past couple of years. Despite this exodus, we also gained a group of younger members. Incorporating these new Friends was our main challenge over the last year. We wanted to make them feel both included and at ease. Additionally, we felt we could improve our level of commitment to the Meeting. In the future, we hope to make Meeting more of a priority in our lives. Despite the struggles of the past year, we still had a successful year. We helped raise money for Shelter Box and Three Cups of Tea and volunteered to help at DC Central Kitchen. Our group also began reading the queries before the adult business meeting. This helped connect us more with the Meeting as a whole. Although our group of Young Friends will continue to face challenges, we are very optimistic about the future of our group.