We feel that the spirit is prospering well among us at this time. We remain a small group, a core group of about ten to twelve adults, but are blessed with several members and attenders who have been together for several years. Our meeting is composed of people of differing backgrounds and educational levels and ages. We welcome visitors and greet them warmly and are accepting of everyone’s expressions of worship. Individuals do not feel judged for their various beliefs of theism or non-theism, but feel that their varied viewpoints are valued. We accomplish this by listening to individuals as they share their thoughts and by giving everyone a chance to speak. However, some of us questioned exactly what you meant by “nurturing the ministry”, wondering which aspect of ministry you were referring to. Some would like to see more visitors, families, and men, as we are a group that is predominately women.
Our meeting for worship is rich and deep, and is often enriched by the presence of visitors and children. Meeting for Worship is largely quiet which gives plenty of space for people to pursue their own paths. There is increased vocal ministry in our meeting, but we do value the silence. Vocal ministry is sometimes a song or a spirit-inspired statement about what is going on in our lives or the world. We find this sustains us during the coming week and allows us to focus on nurturing peace and good will within ourselves.
We have some new attenders who feel free to ask questions and old-timers feel free to respond. This gives us good experience in sharing Quaker process. Our adult discussions give us a chance for growth and the opportunity to share our spiritual paths. People feel safe sharing because we are accepting of everyone’s opinions; no one feels criticized.
We try to honor the Quaker belief of honoring and nurturing our children. One mother feels that the children are valued and encouraged to be themselves. We have the delightful challenge of dealing with the varied ages of our young people, infant to early teen years, and having a small group of adults to meet this challenge. It has become apparent that, in order to adequately nurture these young minds, we need to divide them into two age groups. We are struggling to work out the logistics of this and also with the content of the material that we want to present to them. This is an area in which Baltimore Yearly Meeting is a good resource.
We have a covenant group that meets monthly that is a means of supporting interested individual’s spiritual paths in a very intimate way. Some have found great help and support from this group. It is not a closed group; however, it is limited in number. It is a committed group.
We feel that we have a good sense of community and that the spirit of love and caring is strong. For a small group, a goodly proportion of the group have had personal sorrows or trying family times in the past year. People say that they feel emotional support from the group, and they have been cared for by gifts of food and time spent with transportation and visits. Some of us would like to see more of a group presence in community service; this seems possibly to be hampered by the fact that we are a rural group and some live many miles away. Also we all have busy lives, making it difficult to coordinate our time. Some individuals have been led to community service on an individual basis.