Before putting faith into practice it is helpful to reflect on faith itself. The Meeting held a series of Quakerism 101 classes in September and October. Several new visitors joined us to learn about the Quakers as a group, their history, their diversity of faith and practice, their organizational structure, and their way of conducting business. Later in the fall there was a worship sharing session entitled “Sharing the Diversity of our Faith” that helped those in attendance honor the variety of individual faith experiences within the Meeting.
Additionally there has been exploration of the faith of other. The Spiritual Formation Group is meeting monthly to share reflections on Walter Wink’s experiences from his book, Just Jesus, as a stepping stone to personal sharing. The mid-week Seeker’s group is reading Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry edited by Steve Heinrichs and learning about the differences between settler and Indigenous perspectives. This book was recommended by Elizabeth Koopman as part of her ministry in support of Indigenous peoples.
Putting faith into practice can be challenging due to the constraints of the clock especially during Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business. However Friends have been open to experimenting with several variations of the timing in order to help maintain a sense of worship while conducting business. Currently the Meeting is starting Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business one half hour earlier at 9am. To aide in earlier attendance, the Community Life Committee is in charge of the food for potluck that day to remind Friends of Right Sharing of World Resources and encourage Friends to donate to RSWR in place of the cost of food they would have brought.
Another opportunity to put faith into practice was on New Year’s Eve by inviting F/friends within and beyond the Meeting community into the Meeting House for the evening. The luminaria on the front steps were a sign of welcome and a reminder of the Light within. Ruth Fitz practiced her ministry of music by coordinating the program and singing with friends in a group called “Friends of Light” featuring solo and ensemble offerings of vocals and acoustic guitar. Michael Molz sang songs with a blues and jazz influence while accompanying himself on guitar and Jack Bray played a haunting Native American flute. Although some in attendance missed the former New Year’s Eve performers, Ed and Fran Norton who moved away, the standing room only audience expressed appreciation for the wonderful music and fellowship.