Buckingham Monthly Meeting
Annual Report to Bucks Quarterly Meeting
Fifth Month 2016 to Fifth Month 2017
Held May 21, 2017
The last twelve months have been ones of activity and growth for Buckingham Monthly Meeting. We recorded 61 adult members and 27 minor members (including 1 new member), for a total of 88. There were two births, no deaths, and one transfer of membership.
Our Meetings for Worship have been peaceful and gathered, with consideration of appropriate messages by Friends in attendance clearly evident. In particular, we weathered the storm of the 2016 election with admirable restraint by Friends to not intermix the secular and the sacred. We have been welcoming towards new attenders, of which we have had several in the past year. Two meetings for worship were also held outdoors in the graveyard during the summer. On the fourth First Day of each month, we extend our pre-worship singing an extra fifteen minutes to make a joyful noise together through song.
Numerous programs outside of worship have brought our faith community closer together. For our informal “Quaker Conversation” adult programs we began using videos from the Friends Journal QuakerSpeak series as a starting point for discussion. Our Social Concerns committee has planned an ambitious Speakers Series that has included an imam, a Standing Rock protester, education about drug addiction and human trafficking, and an advocate for homeless teens. Buckingham also hosted presenters from the Spiritual Formation Group of PYM to prepare for an upcoming Bucks Quarterly Meeting group. We have cut our Games Nights back to a more infrequent schedule. The meeting continues its outreach to the community through our newsletter, web site (www.buckinghamfriendsmeeting.org), and Facebook page. We have also started using a Google Group so members can send messages to the entire community more directly.
Last year’s Peace Fair, which we host under the care of Quarterly Meeting, was again very successful and well attended. There were more volunteers from the Quarter than ever on the day of the Fair. We are most grateful to all of our participants, and to the Quarter for its continued personal, spiritual, and financial support of this important expression of Quaker testimonies. The 2017 Peace Fair is on Saturday, September 23.
The members of our First Day School committee have been rotating teaching duties so as to not put too much responsibility on one individual, while continuing to provide a coherent program to meet the needs of our children and their families. Due to increased attendance by members and attenders with young families we have been blessed to have up to a dozen children on some First Days! In an effort to stay connected to and support our college-age Young Adult Friends we sent care packages to them at school.
Caring for our National Historic Landmark property is always a financial challenge, but this year we had some significant help. After seeing an article in the Bucks County Herald about our deteriorating slate roof, a member of the community with no ties to the meeting wrote us a check for $10,000. We also received a substantial grant from the Quaker Buildings & Programs Granting Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting toward the project. These unexpected sources of revenue demonstrate that we do not always know what image we present to the community at large, and that we might be surprised with the results if we take our Light out from under a bushel. Another way we have defrayed some costs is by doing work ourselves which otherwise would have gone to contractors. Our all-volunteer effort to re-cap the graveyard wall continued, and now about half of the wall is completed. After receiving high estimates for the re-glazing and painting of windows our caretaker and hired summer help made significant progress in completing the work at a lower cost.
Our co-clerks, the Head of School, and the clerk of the School Board, Michael Godshall have begun regular “triad” meetings to keep lines of communication and cooperation open between the Meeting and Buckingham Friends School. While we (and other meetings) have not yet filled our quotas for membership on the School Board, the School continues to focus on enrollment and the sustainability of their programs and budget.