Spiritual State of the Meeting – 2010

Members and attenders of Little Falls Meeting met on January 16, 2011, during Adult First Day Program time which follows the rise of meeting to begin discussion of the spiritual state of our Meeting. BYM’s Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee had proposed three queries with six specific questions as possible guides to this discussion. Following is a brief summary of some of the responses in the hour’s sharing.

How does the Spirit prosper among you? This could mean some sort of spiritual growth or an increase in numbers of participants. These are undoubtedly interconnected and essentially involve sharing. Each life is an expression of the Spirit. For some a concept of God is important and for others a sense of the potential for good if mankind could but learn to live in peace and brotherhood is enough. We as a Meeting share an openness for more, a need for becoming “better”.

How does your Meeting ensure that ministry is nurtured, and that members and attenders feel valued and cared for? There is general feeling that the quiet and space for thinking/listening are the core of the Meeting and that Meeting for Worship is central. Comments shared in meeting are invaluable and accepted as gifts of the Spirit. Those from new people add depth and energy. Members and attenders are equally accepted in our Meeting community.

What supports the life of the Spirit and your meeting community? What challenges and troubles are you facing? In what ways is the meeting less than you wish it to be? We are a small Meeting of folks from a fairly wide geographical area, so meet pretty much only once a week. Many would like more contact and interaction, more socializing. We have tried various possibilities but people seem to have too many other responsibilities and we have not found a solution. We have strong voices and weaker voices in our ministry. We would like better balance and wider participation. Perhaps caring response and more follow-up with those who speak would be encouraging. Discovering what is common among the group takes input from various sources and openness to other points of view. Speaking up is important as well as recognizing that a message strikes each individual differently. Being able to hear speakers well was discussed. Somehow we have resisted the idea of standing when we speak and coming closer into a square formation to see and hear better. Perhaps we should rethink our reluctances. We are a caring community, welcoming, careful not to step on toes, and take some pride in our casualness, flexibility, and tolerance of people in and out. We should probably share more the pros and cons of our practices as part of better understanding one another.

How is the presence of the Spirit manifested in your lives individually and as a meeting community? “Let your life speak” is a basic Quaker message that we take seriously. Our individual lives and decisions and the organizations that we participate in reflect the Spirit we seek and share in our Meeting. Whatever outreach projects the Meeting organizes reflect that Spirit. Every day in every way we try to live up to our ideals. But to do that we must feel validated in ourselves, to truly believe that there is that of God in us and that we share this gift with all others. The presence of the Spirit is always there for us.

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