State of Society, 2011

State of Society, 2011
Concord Monthly Meeting, NEYM

As we gratefully sink into the process of reflection, we feel a new awareness of all the gifts we have been given this year, as well as in previous years.  Slowly, the rhythms and ways of being in our new meetinghouse have established themselves, settling into routines that have freed us to contemplate the divine with fewer distractions and less “busyness.”  The silence has deepened and gathered us and formed our sense of community. The spirit moves deeply in our meeting for worship. God’s presence is felt clearly among us.

The process of self-reflection and shared work that led to our building has led to a deeper change in our sense of community.  Visitors report an enhanced sense of welcome different from the Meeting, and we find that this has, indeed, been our focus.  Overall, we feel God’s presence more clearly.

However, we are still aware that we are not well known in our wider community and still feel somewhat “separate.”  We are striving to bridge this divide and use our new meetinghouse as a means to serve the community and make ourselves and our message better known.  We invited the wider community to talks by a local peace group and AFSC as well as a sing-along concert by Annie Patterson and Peter Blood.  This outreach continues to be a major focus.  We ask ourselves “What do we do now, God?”  It feels like a lull, the quiet period of rest after much work.  Yet, in the quiet of this period, much was accomplished.

Great joys and sorrows have been felt here this year.  We mourned, along with the greater Concord peace and justice community, the peaceful slipping away of one of our founding members, Don Booth.  We celebrated the wedding of our Friends Mark Barker and Virginia Aparo.  The wedding itself felt like a joyful expression of the couple’s lives.  We have also celebrated many other joys together here. We were grateful that we could return the hospitality of other meetings by hosting Yearly Meeting committees here as well.

First Day School provides great joy to the meeting.  The children arrive steadily to great welcome by all and to a deeply spiritual and well-planned program by our dedicated group of teachers.  Having a space of their own has simplified and deepened their program, for which they feel gratitude.  And we in turn feel deeply grateful for their ministry.

We also feel gratitude for all the weekly service of all of our members.  One member even catalogued our entire collection of books and listed them on our website.  This makes them accessible to all!  They are now beautifully displayed in our new bookshelves manufactured at the local prison.

We end our reflections asking,  “How else can we serve and spread the Truth?”  We know the Light of God’s Love and the darkness of spirit in the world.  What do both ask of us?