Spiritual State of the Meeting – 2007

1. Spiritual Condition

Although there is very little spoken ministry during a Floyd Friends Meeting for Worship, we feel the evidence of a sound spiritual condition is apparent. We have members and attenders who regularly attend Meeting for Worship, Meeting for Worship for Business, our monthly Adult Discussion groups, and who contribute time and effort in maintaining our building and property. We are a welcoming Meeting and during the year had a number of first time attenders come to Meeting for Worship.

We became concerned with the matter of people coming in after Meeting for Worship had started; sometimes visitors didn’t know when Meeting for Worship began. We struggled with the negative impact that a sign on the closed door to the meeting room might have and decided that a caution that would not offend people would be appropriate: “Welcome – Silent Meeting for Worship has begun – Please enter quietly – Thank you.” Another way in which we were mindful about providing information for guests and visiting worshippers was to update our brochure that is available on the table in our community room along with our guest book which we encourage people to sign. A phone tree list was created to enable efficient and quick contact of members and attenders when essential information needed to be disseminated.

A Covenant Group of five Floyd Friends members was formed and met for six months during the year. The concept for the group was based on material in a Pendle Hill pamphlet which had been used for one of our Adult Discussions in 2007 – “Quaker Social Testimony in our Personal and Corporate Life” by Jonathan Dale. The purpose of the group was to share, in a small and confidential meeting, how each of us felt we were living our faith and sense of calling in our ordinary, every day activities. In our weekly Meeting for Worship, the Clerk reads the query for the month soon after Worship begins and, shortly before the end, the Clerk invites us to voice any thoughts, concerns, joys which hadn’t yet been offered. We had questioned whether or not we wanted to continue the practice and have concluded that it is a meaningful way of centering into Worship and preparation for ending our time together. A highlight of our sense of being a worshipping and cohesive community came with our Christmas gathering for dinner and carol singing at the home of Wil & Mary Stratton. It was especially meaningful as it would be the last Christmas we could gather at the Strattons’ since they will be moving from Floyd in 2008.

A major part of the year was spent in the preparation for and drilling of a new well as we no longer had access to our former water source. Various people were instrumental in collecting data about the cost and in making an effort to locate the most reliable people to do the job. The community as a whole approached the project with a discerning and responsible attitude about providing the meetinghouse with an adequate and safe supply of water. A weighty issue that was raised during the year was the possibility of becoming an incorporated Meeting and we also considered whether we needed or desired having trustees for the Meeting. Our discussions concerning these items were carried out with the intention of doing what was best for the Floyd Friends Meeting and with respect and concern for all involved in the process.

2. Meeting for Business

We ended the year 2007 in good order with a financial surplus and we discussed the ways in which we might best use the money. We have been very prudent in deciding how we would pay for the new well. We received a surprise release from a former obligation which could be assigned to reduce the debt payment. A loan for the remaining balance came from two Meeting members which is being repaid through monthly contributions from the members and attenders. We spent considerable time discussing the landscaping and upkeep of the grounds and meetinghouse and had two work days in which members and attenders provided the labor in good spirit. Alan Briggs from BYM came to enlighten us about how apportionments are calculated and applied since we were uncertain about the formula used to ascertain our increasing assessment. A member has built and donated a table for our kitchen microwave and a small round table for the center of the Worship room for which we are most grateful. The community room and Worship room have been used by outside groups and we carefully considered the intention of the groups that contracted for the use of our building.

3. Religious Education

We started the year with an appropriate curriculum for our First Day School and a rotating group of members and attenders provide the teaching staff. As the year ended, the children who had regularly attended First Day School were taking time away from Meeting for Worship and for about six months there wasn’t an active First Day School. The Adult Discussion group meets once a month, except July and August, with a shared meal before the meeting. During 2007, our topics were varied and the evenings were well attended. The following is the material we studied: Quakers and Non-theism; Why God Won’t Go Away by Andrew Newberg, Eugene d’ Aquili, and Vince Rause; Pendle Hill pamphlet, “Answering the Call to Heal the World” by Patience A. Schenk; a sharing of personal spiritual journeys; Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg; a talk by Mike Ryan about Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad in Appalachia; “Food for the Soul”- individual sharing of meaningful poetry, by a variety of authors; a Thankfulness and Gratitude sharing of bread, signifying a memorable part of our lives or heritage, which each of us brought and ate with soup as our meal.

4. Peace & Social Concerns

In the past, we have tried to observe a practice of bringing non-perishable food items for the local food bank on the first Meeting day of the month. This was not entirely successful as it was the day when we also brought food to be shared at our meal prior to our Meeting for Worship for Business and we tended to forget the non-perishable food items. We now have designated the second Meeting day of the month as Second Sunday Harvest in which we bring our non-perishable food items to Meeting for Worship and a member of the Meeting takes the food items to the local food bank for distribution. Various members and attenders are involved in outreach ministries within the local community and nationally. In 2007, our year end financial giving was (1) to the local Empty Bowl/Backpack Project to supply meals for children of low income families who wouldn’t have nutritious meals on weekends and (2) to the AFSC.

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