How does Meeting ensure that ministry is nurtured, and that members and attenders feel valued and cared for?
We find joy in coming together as a Meeting – to worship, to work, to play, to share in the communion of a potluck meal, to support those in need, to consider what it means for us to be a Friend/Quaker.
At the rise of Meeting each week we take time to share and listen to “after thoughts” – messages that weren’t ripe enough for sharing out of the silence and/or heartfelt responses to messages spoken during meeting. We ask for and listen to the children’s report of their First Day School activity, and often query them further. We share the joys, sorrows, and challenges in our lives and ask that others hold us in the light. We introduce ourselves and welcome any guests that are present. Continue reading
Early months of 2011 have been a time of growing in community through thoughtful conversation. Ministry and Counsel Committee started us off with a round of discussions exploring our potential inputs for State of the Meeting report. Friends met after meeting for worship and in the evenings at members’ homes to share fellowship, perspective and some excellent food! We shared the richness of our meeting experience, as well as the challenges and barriers we face. Tim and Kim Keck then organized a Friendly cross-country skiing retreat in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. Fifteen members of meeting, from young children to “weighty Friends”, traveled into the mountains of West Virginia where they shared outdoor activity, community meals, and an evening discussion about BYM’s new proposed Faith and Practice queries. An excellent time was had by all! One-to-one conversations also explored our shared values and our continuing participation in the Southern Maryland Action Coalition (SMAC), a faith based collaboration which reaches across lines of race and class to affect positive change in our communities. All of these conversations take preparation and thoughtful participation, and all of them are an investment in stronger and better community inside and outside of our meeting.
In our 2008 report, we shared some of our strengths as well as some of our weaknesses. In reviewing this past year we have strengthened some of our strong areas. And since being made aware of areas of weakness in our community we have made some improvements, had some sliding back and we still have some areas that need work.
A former area of weakness, now moving into a strength: our First Day School was stabilized for most of the year with weekly Bible studies under the care of one friend. They now continue with Bible studies one first day a month, the query of the month on one first day, and the other first days are up to the ‘FDS leader of the day’. The children continue to use food as outreach to both the meeting community and to our ‘safe night dinner sponsorship’. Finishing the kitchen area in their FDS room has been a great boost for their creativity.
A number of Patuxent Friends have been in the process of accompanying and assisting Tom Wisner on his final journey. While not a Member of the Society of Friends, Tom has occasionally attended Meeting for Worship with Patuxent Friends, and he has lent his voice and his spirit to help us host Quarterly Meeting, raise funds for local non-profits, and celebrate the lives of our members at Memorial Meetings. Friends have passed hours with him and his friends and family in Hospice as Tom waits for way to open. His gifts have been many, his spirit will be missed.