Spiritual State of the Meeting – 2009

Meeting for Worship anchors our lives both individually and corporately. Many like the increased silence in a full 60 minutes of worship, followed by joys and concerns. A special Meeting for Worship for Young Friends graduating from high school was much appreciated. Esther Webb’s Memorial Meeting was a time to say farewell to a long-time member who had taught us much about peacemaking, tenacity, and simplicity.
Preparation for Meeting for Worship continues to enrich our worshiping experience and deepen our understanding of each other’s spiritual journey as individuals took turns sharing before Meeting for Worship once a month. There are still struggles. Older attenders struggle to hear, and younger attenders struggle to sit still. The meeting continues to explore a better sound system and ways to enrich the silence for the children.

Our Long-Range Planning task group continues to develop proposals for Adelphi’s future, forming work groups such as ones for outreach (called “Go Forth”) projects and for Facilities. As part of the Long-Range Planning process, a Meeting-wide retreat was held at Sandy Spring in January generated new ideas including the “Go Forth” projects and a suggested First Day schedule. We continue to explore ways in which modifying our schedule might help us meet the diverse and growing needs of our dynamic community life.

Religious Education continues to be an important part of our corporate life. Adelphi’s active First Day School enriches all ages. Children and youth appreciate gathering with friends, learning about Quakerism, and discussing spiritual matters. Both groups gather monthly for worship: grades 1-5 in Junior Meeting, and grades 6-12 in Young Friends Worship Sharing. They also appreciate special Meeting-wide events. Junior Meeting sponsors an annual Games Day where all ages play and raise funds for initiative chosen by the children. Young Friends have generated much energy here and in BYM. For the third year in a row, a Young Friend from Adelphi has clerked BYM Young Friends. Adelphi Young Friends have served as campers and counselors at Quaker camps, and several are attending Quaker colleges. Adult Religious Education offers multiple opportunities for sharing and learning. Bible study is held monthly with a small but dedicated group. Quakerism 101’s evenings during the week were well-attended. The Spiritual Exploration Program deepens our spiritual lives. A group discussing the book Fit for Freedom not for Friendship has helped people reflect on the role of African Americans in the Religious Society of Friends.

Meeting for Worship for the Conduct of Business has been better attended than in recent years. The Ministry and Worship Committee has designated a member to hold these meetings in the light, a practice modeled by BYM at its sessions, enriching our worship as we conduct our business. Adelphi continues to search for ways to help both adults with young children and new attenders to find ways to participate fully in the life of Meeting by joining worship groups and doing the work of the Meeting in committees. While the Long- Range Planning Committee deliberated on the systems and structures that would best serve our growing and changing community, some committees labored hard with fewer members. We also recognize our need to nurture the next generation of leaders.

Our many support and clearness committees are a sign of the vitality of our Meeting’s spiritual life. We have begun to see the larger dimensions of eldering, which can call forth spiritual gifts as much as offering correction. Our Pastoral Care Committee has labored with a concern to address long-standing and emerging conflicts within Meeting, including a number of attenders who are divorcing, including some married under care of the Meeting. The Pastoral Care Committee and others have struggled on how to reach out to them.

We look forward to a fruitful 2010 based on projects initiated in 2009. A “Go Forth” group will hold monthly coffee houses and Spanish language classes to reach out to, and build community with, local Spanish speakers. Three young friends and two adult Adelphi members will join a service project building homes in Tijuana, Mexico this summer. We look forward to deeper dialogue with Kenyan Friends on how our communities can strengthen one another. A significant outcome of our Long-Range Planning process has been an assessment of our 50+ year old facilities as in need of substantial repair, remodeling or replacement; a dynamic dialogue is underway.

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