Meeting for Business July 2018
Frederick Friends Meeting
Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business
Seventh Month 2018
Today’s Meeting was used for a Worship Sharing around the Queries:
As we do business are we functioning with an awareness of the Divine Presence? How do we respect the inner light of those with whom we disagree?
Where do our leadings come from? How do we keep from outrunning them?
Michele Hartley, Annette Breiling, Carol Ahlum, Ann Payne, Karen Lockett, Susanna Laird, Debra McCoy, Carlotta Joyner, Nick Funkhouser, Ellen Lerner, Kathy Funkhouser (Co-Clerk), and Betsy Tobin (Co-Clerk)
Meeting began with silent worship. Out of the silence the Clerk read:
Meeting for business is about looking for Truth as a body, rather than about our individual senses of truth. We need to enter worshipfully into our meetings for business. We need to wrestle with the issues, to share our glimpses of the Truth as we see it, and then we need to let go and listen deeply until all those glimpse give us a sense of the Truth as a whole. This takes time, patience, and surrender.
Michael Wajda, Expectant Listening: Finding God’s Thread of Guidance
The primary aim of the business meeting is to deepen the spiritual life of the community, rather than getting things done.
Paul Lacey, Some thoughts on Quaker Process
Individuals shared the following in response to the first queries:
Not comfortable with the distinction between “Mullers” and “Doers,” we should be both.
Mulling is doing. Sometimes we need to hold items over to come to a clearer sense of our corporate Truth. Time is precious, and generally consensus can be reached when we take things in God’s time.
(When faced with irritation or impatience) Look for what is causing this reaction within ourselves and acknowledge it, so that we can listen to others with love.
If you don’t clean and care for your house it can literally fall apart. There are necessary tasks to be tended to. But if those tasks become the only focus relationships can be lost. Hopefully the house provides a space that fosters love, creativity, and fun, building strong bonds. So much so, that when tension and disagreements arise, the strength of these ties help hold the group together and lead to ideas and places that could not be envisioned by a single individual.
2nd quote jumped off the page and said, “Hello, talking to you.” I want to get things done and checked off the list, this is not the purpose of Meeting for Business.
(Also in response to the second quote) I am reminded of our spiritual practice of service, deeds and works. This deepens our spiritual life and community and should result in getting things done...getting things done from a spiritual foundation. We need the balance of acting out of our faith - beliefs and actions.
Saying my Truth, then letting go to find the Greater Truth. Trusting Spirit and each other to find “The Way.”
I disagree with the query. Part of our challenge is never to see another’s words as a disagreement.
Are we functioning with an awareness of the Divine Presence in Meeting for Business? No, many times it isn’t there. Often it seems we don’t respect all views or ideas. Quaker belief is so beautiful and it is hard work. I am looking for a Faith Community that lives their beliefs, respecting each other’s inner light.
Being Quaker is not easy. Assuring that all Friends are heard, ensuring the equality of viewpoints. In Meeting for Business many things can be addressed in short order, but other bigger issues need time to season. Using the example of Moses arguing with God to save the Israelites, we need to be open to moving towards one another. This trust in each other to move towards each other should be kept in mind at all times.
In response to the second query:
I didn’t have the time to get work done, really I didn’t have the focus to get it done. I appreciate others’ ability to get things done. Feeling overwhelmed by the global need makes it hard to figure out where to place one’s spiritual action.
For a workshop, I put a pumpkin under a cloth on a table. I had the participants sit around the table. I uncovered the pumpkin and asked the participants to describe the pumpkin. Some described a perfect pumpkin, others described areas that were rotting. It is important to listen to each other to discern the whole truth.
I’m dealing with what’s important to what is in front of me. I don’t have to fix the whole pumpkin.
We entered into a time of discussion about Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business.
We discussed Quaker Protocols - addressing the Clerk, standing to speak, sending reports out a week ahead of Meeting for Business, etc.
Leaving time between speakers. Taking the time to discern if something we want to say is essential for our corporate worship. There is power in the phrase, “This Friend speaks my mind.”
Ours is a faith that is lived every day, can we do that in Meeting for Business also?
How do we attend to the circular relationship between Meeting for Business and Meeting for Worship?
Peace and Social Concerns is struggling to find the balance between worldly needs, BYM requests and being realistic about their working timeframes.
Our business comes from a spiritual place. Hearing committee reports broadens our awareness of how each committee carries their measure of the Spirit.
Maybe we could have small forums for each committee throughout the year.
Kathy Funkhouser, Co-Clerk
Betsy Tobin, Co-Clerk