The Spiritual State of the Meeting - 2019
Each year, Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) asks individual Meetings to prepare a statement of the spiritual condition of their Meeting over the past 12 months. BYM’s Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee collects these reports and uses them as the basis for the development of the Yearly Meeting's Spiritual State of the Meeting report, which is presented to, considered by, and approved by the Yearly Meeting during Annual Session.
The 2019 Frederick Friends Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting was presented and approved at Meeting for Business in April 2019.
Second reading, April 14, 2019, Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business
In the path of the Spirit, way opens.
Way opens for Frederick Friends when we center in the Spirit, and out of that Spirit find our direction.
Way opens for children to feel they have found an extended family together in Meeting. Way opens for them to conduct science experiments in the guidance of loving First Day School teachers who support the harmony of science and religion and artfully weave bible parables about yeast, treasure, and seeds into Sunday lessons. Way opens for children associated with FFM to receive scholarships to attend life-transforming BYM camps.
Way opens for us to see that we are less diverse (other than theologically) than we would like to be. Many newcomers attest that we are welcoming. Some have sensed that we are not comfortable with change. Way opens for us to acknowledge our differences, yet travel along the same path. Our sense of community can be fragile, and we are reluctant to jeopardize it. As with many Quaker groups, we are conflict-averse. We have personal resources and communication tools to manage disagreements, but do not always handle them well. Although transitions can be difficult, we affirm the joy we often find in each others’ presence. Way opens for us to sit with discomfort, recognize the ways we have fallen short of the integrity we strive for, and challenge ourselves to work together to find a way forward.
Way opens for our fellow pilgrims’ leadings to work toward mutual understanding—beyond “both sides” thinking. Highlights of these involvements include membership in the Frederick Area Ministerial Association (FAMA), involvement with Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), outreach through Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beloved Community” dinner, July 4th picnic, work with Multifaith Climate Stewards, Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform, and soup kitchen. We feel a continuing need to avoid assumptions that we are unified in political thought. Our attention to the Spirit is strengthened largely through social expectations that we will not be consumed by the discord and expressions of hate that surround us.
Way opens for FFM to offer opportunities for us to grow as a spiritual community. Community-building events, time for joy and fellowship, prophetic witness, book study group, third Sunday singing, worship sharing during Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, and care of the Meetinghouse. Way opens for us to continue to offer, in the words of a newcomer, “a quiet place among thoughtful, caring people.” Spirit, as we feel it when we gather for worship, binds us together and fortifies us to face what we encounter throughout our journey.