Spiritual State of the Meeting: January 2017
Each year our members and attenders meet to discuss the Spiritual State of the Meeting in response to questions suggested by Southeastern Yearly Meeting. All SEYM Meetings participate in this process. Our January 2017 discussion is summarized here:
CLEARWATER MONTHLY MEETING - Spiritual State of the Meeting Report – 2017
Love is the greatest manifestation of Spirit, and we consider ourselves extremely blessed because we find it evident in nearly every aspect of our meeting. A genuine warmth exists among our members and attenders during our weekly meetings for worship, our monthly pot-luck luncheons, our personal contacts through the week and the welcome we offer visitors. Frequently Friends express their feeling that the meeting truly is our extended family. Into this wonderful relationship we were pleased to receive a new member, Sandra Swartz, and the fellowship of several new attenders.
This year offered many opportunities for us to minister to one another. Several of our members experienced extended illnesses, suffered the death of loved ones and generally needed the emotional and practical support of those within the meeting. When an elderly longtime occasional attender passed away in the fall, we were led to host a memorial service where approximately 50 of his close friends and neighbors were able to share stories of his amazing life.
Both collectively and individually we are actively engaged in various social and environmental efforts. Many Friends volunteer to support a local daycare center serving low income families. Others are involved in efforts that range from climate change to dog rescue and everything in between. In addition, our Peace and Social Concerns Committee offers guidance in promoting political activism.
Despite all of these efforts, we have a great sense that there is still so much that we are not currently addressing. In the past there has been a great deal of effort focused on the physical needs of others. In our current political climate, there is a growing sense that we will need to spend more time pursuing matters pertaining to social justice.
We struggle to be good financial stewards. Our annual budget includes contributions to national Quaker organizations and local agencies serving the needs of disenfranchised individuals in our immediate area. The continual debate lies in whether to accumulate funds towards the eventual purchase of a building, or identify socially responsible organizations that would benefit from additional contributions. This debate is one that we hope to address in the coming year as we seek the way forward.
We continually strive to maintain a spirit of worship in our meetings for business. The temptation to lapse into dialogue is quite strong. Nonetheless, we recognize that relying exclusively on our intellect can obscure the guidance of Spirit and occasionally find it necessary to enter into silence in order to regain a worshipful attitude.
This is especially true when dealing with issues where Friends have strong divergent opinions. We have learned that in those cases we must cherish unity more than the resolution of any issue and allow adequate time to seek a sense of unity. Permitting issues to season often provides an opportunity for Spirit to work in the hearts of Friends and draw us together in a common understanding.
In general, we feel blessed by the state of our meeting but are by no means content. We continue to seek a deepening of our spiritual experience and identify new ways to contribute to our community, nation and planet.