On January 10, 2010, members and attenders at Little Falls met following Meeting for Worship to discuss the State of the Meeting and to suggest goals for the coming year. The discussion was organized around the two principles of Faith and Practice. It included areas of strength and of needs for improvement and concluded with goal setting. The young people in the First Day School also participated, and their input is included.
Strengths of the Meeting in 2009
- The Cemetery and Meeting grounds tree planting represented Quaker decision-making at its best. It involved careful consideration of the concerns of each member and moved forward by enlisting the expertise and research of many. It drew together virtually everyone within the Meeting community to make decisions and to carry out the work that needed to be done. A need for financial support was met by more than adequate donations from the Meeting as well as the wider community.
- The increased interest in the Meeting by attenders who are seeking to find a place of worship which is suited to their spiritual needs has strengthened the Meeting in many ways. The organization of a Quakerism 101 program has been helpful in explaining the fundamental beliefs of Friends and of general practices within the Meeting structure.
- A core of ‘seasoned’ Quakers helps to provide stability and spiritual grounding for the Meeting and for newcomers.
- Projects and business are carried out by the people in the Meeting with relative ease which is in contrast to places of worship at which these jobs are carried out by paid staff.
- There is a sense of deep faith and the listening for God to speak to each.
- The intergenerational traditions at lunches, Valentine making, Easter, community concerts and Christmas are valuable and enjoyable opportunities for young people and adults. The Christmas Eve Meeting for Worship was a deeply spiritual experience and an excellent means of bringing families together.
- Members and attenders appreciate the flexibility in attendance.
Needs for Improvement
- There should be more emphasis on getting to know each other.
- Young people feel that there is a significant separation between the adult and children’s groups and that there is little communication and interaction between the two.
- Young people also feel there is a lack of commitment to being involved in the Meeting other than simply attending. There is very little if any involvement in Meeting committees.
- There is a general concern about the balance of responsibility in the Meeting with some people doing most of the work especially in the area of hospitality.
- Regular attendance at Meeting is important to assure continuity and a sense of shared responsibility among all who are a part of the Meeting community.
- More should be done to assure community outreach.
Goals for 2010
- Newcomers should be warmly welcomed and provided with adequate information about Faith and Practice in Quakerism, the processes and expectations within Little Falls in particular and be encouraged to become fully involved members of the Meeting.
- Little Falls should become more socially responsible in the community. The Peace and Social Order committee should organize manageable projects which can be addressed with adequate involvement from the Meeting. Prison issues may be one of these. More involvement in world affairs would also be advised.
- Outreach to Harford Friends School should be strengthened, and more information about special school projects should be shared with the Meeting.
- Young people should be given increased responsibility on committees. Possibly use some Sundays for Committee work during First Day education times.
- Young people could take up a project or identify one that can involve the whole Meeting to increase connections within the Meeting.
- The Meeting should plan events like the Christmas Eve program to include extended families. Mother-daughter, Father-son overnights might be organized within the Meeting.
- Special encouragement for regular attendance should be organized.
- Planning for the 275th Anniversary of the Meeting should begin immediately and should involve as many people as possible in the Meeting and in the wider community.
- The Meeting should determine Quakerly ways of approaching the need for financial support.