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.
The meeting property has gone through some changes, with a new traffic circle and new main road going past the property. This has increased our visibility in the community this past year. That increased visibility led to a request, which we granted, for a sign to be placed about a concert to increase awareness of hunger in the community.
We continue a vast amount of outreach in the community with support for the homeless shelters, the food banks, the mediation centers working with the county justice systems (which has expanded into St. Mary’s county and continues in Calvert County), and the Calvert County Interfaith Council; including their International Day of Peace Celebration, Safe Nights, and End Hunger in Calvert county. We also have friends who facilitate a group that meets at the public library to discuss Civil Discourse for a Sustainable Calvert County. And we have members continuing mediation training with Mediators Beyond Borders in Liberia and Nigeria.
We are working on improving our pastoral care; remembering to reach out to Friends and friends, to keep in touch with those at a distance, or those we have not seen in awhile, or those under the weather for one reason or another.
In the past year we have had two weddings held under the care of the meeting. One was held on the banks of the Patuxent River for the daughter of a co-founder of Patuxent Friends Meeting. The other was a joint Quaker and Catholic ceremony for the son of the meeting clerk.
The meeting community was devastated this past summer by the sudden, horrific death of a meeting friend and father of two of our first day schoolers. We gathered ourselves together for strength, support and love, trying to sustain the family and the meeting community through a very challenging memorial service and trying time for our whole community. The outdoor memorial meeting was well attended by over two hundred people, with over a third present being children.
We continue to grow as a meeting, both spiritually and physically: our meetings for worship now average 20 persons. We strive to care for each other within our meeting community and we continue to care for those in our wider Southern Maryland communities and in the world at large. We find ourselves spread thin at times, for example in needing to hire grass cutting assistance for the Patuxent Friends cemetery in Hughesville, and at other times we find we accomplish more than we had expected to be able to do with so few members. We continue to seek God’s truth, to walk lightly upon the earth, and to assist our fellow people of the earth.