We framed our Spiritual State of the Meeting report in response to the queries from Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
How does the Spirit prosper among you? How does your Meeting ensure that ministry is nurtured, and that members and attenders feel valued and cared for?
The Spirit prospers among us in many different ways. It works through individuals, small groups, committees, and through our corporate worship. Diligent attention to Quaker process has been fundamental to Spirit’s prospering in our meeting. Increased use of listening circles has helped to nurture the spirits of all the individuals who participated and the meeting as a whole. The use of clearness committees has been helpful in discerning and supporting several Friends’ ministries. There is an increased trust in our own leadings and those of others. This is particularly true in business meeting where items for business are carefully prepared and well-seasoned.
Our meeting is generous in offering its resources to individuals during personal challenges and joys. We nurture our children and young folks and are nurtured by their vitality among us.
What supports the life of the Spirit in your meeting community? What challenges and troubles are you facing? In what ways is the meeting less than you would wish it to be?
We are blessed with diverse and divergent views on the Spirit. Some of us are Christ-centered while others of us are not. Some of us are non-theistic. We need to be mindful of our differences and to nurture everyone regardless of perspectives. We find openness to the views of others leads to the growth of the Spirit in individuals and the meeting as a whole.
Desire for deeper worship experiences and the hunger for spiritual growth and learning has been expressed in various ways. Responses have been Spirit led and are ongoing. Morning adult RE classes and offerings have yielded fruits in a deeper corporate worship experience.
Challenges of course exist. It can be challenging for us to respond to the Spirit in mutually supportive ways, given our different backgrounds and beliefs. It can be a challenge to listen lovingly as we try to discern where the Spirit is leading us. It can be difficult to speak our concerns openly and honestly to one another. Like many Meetings we continue to seek better ways to support and nurture parents, teachers, and children. We continue to seek ways to increase the integration and participation of all our members and attenders.
We are looking for clearer and better ways to explain being a Quaker. How do we explain membership and encourage it? How do we explain silence? How do we encourage vocal ministry that is spiritually nurturing?
How is the presence of Spirit manifested in our lives individually and as a meeting community?
There is vibrancy in the meeting evident in the individuals working in various groups and committees, in the large task of handling a bequest and in the completion of the lodge addition at the Clearing and in the Spiritual Formation Group. Meeting is a safe harbor to seek the Spirit and to grow.