WRIGHTSTOWN FRIENDS MEETING
2017 ANNUAL REPORT TO BUCKS QUARTERLY MEETING
AUGUST 20, 2017
Membership: Our Meeting joyfully welcomed four new families this year – the Brangans, the Brights, the Kilfeathers and Eric Widenmeyer. Kate Biggs, a young person who joined the Meeting when her parents joined turned 21 this year and became an adult Member. Several individuals and families have also begun to attend regularly. We have 190 adult Members, 2 Members under the age of 21 and 20 Associate Members for a total of 212.
Nurturing our Spirit: The quality of worship continues to be strong, both in our silence and our vocal ministry. The Spiritual Exploration Group (SEG) meets the third Sunday of each month. Members of the group rotate responsibility for selecting discussion topics and facilitating group interaction. Bill Sharp led a Bible study session on the ambiguous and complex character of King David, ancestor of Jesus. In addition, a Parents Learning Circle (PLC) was initiated to discuss spiritual parenting. This group meets on the fourth Sunday of the month.
Strengthening our Community: Our members and attenders gather at the rise of Meeting the first Sunday of every month for “Meet and Eat” a pot luck lunch and a program. Topics may be internally generated, i.e. “My personal path to Quakerism” or presented by external speakers. Our Progressive Dinner attracted a great crowd to watch Linda Kenyon’s portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt. We celebrated Christmas with our 75th Annual Community Christmas Carol Sing.
Building our Future: Our Religious Education Committee completed a very successful First Day School program which focused our children on their identity as Quakers in the larger world. The attendance was strong with an average of 13 children per Sunday. Three new families with their seven children joined us. The service project for this year involved collecting books in English for Rwanda’s Peace Libraries. Our students collected 276 children’s books, thoughtfully selected to be relevant for Rwandan life. Several students also collected soccer equipment through BFS’s Outreach Committee.
Next year the service project will support Rolling Harvest Food Rescue. The program “rescues” unused produced from local farms and farmers’ markets and distributes the produce to food banks. The program is an excellent complement to our work with the Wrightstown Food Cupboard.
Our Nursery School enjoyed excellent enrollment this year and is almost FULLY ENROLLED for next year! The Just the Two of Us Program has brought many two year olds to the school and serves as a feeder for the full time sessions. We look forward to good enrollment for the next several years rightstownas multiple siblings go through the program. Because the majority of our Nursery School students and parents have little or no knowledge of Quakerism, the program serves as an important gateway to the Quaker community.
Deepening our Understanding of our History: One of our members, Sam Nicholson, served the National Forest Service during WWII as a Conscientious Objector. He and his father, a Quaker missionary who had served in Japan prior to WWII, also provided supplies and support to the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar. After the war, Sam and his father participated in relief work in Japan. Sam has written journals describing his experiences which will be made available to our wider Quaker community.
Our Meeting was also visited by the BBC this April to film a portion of a documentary on Charles Thompson, an Irish immigrant who supported the Lenni Lenape after the “Walking Purchase.” Charles Thompson was known to the native people as “One who spoke the truth.” The documentary will air in England this fall. Hopefully, we will receive a CD and can show the film to our community on our newly installed AV equipment which was provided through an Outreach grant from PYM.
Improving Our Campus: Our House and Grounds Committee initiated a project to make our second floor more accessible. A two-tiered, sturdy handrail was installed on the left side of the 18th Century “fan” stairway. Both adults and children now have support climbing on both sides of the stairs.
The Meeting also received an anonymous gift to replace the carpeting in the Social Hall and the flooring in the Nursery School and Social Hall kitchen. The new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint has given our social space a whole new look. We also are working to add a few new parking spaces and improve drainage and lighting in our main parking area
Community Outreach: The Meeting is expanding its efforts to contribute to and make itself more present in the community. We continue to participate actively in the Wrightstown Food Cupboard which serves over 130 families in the Council Rock School District. The Meeting hosted a star gazing party on September 24th. Our own Linc Merwin treated the participants to a tour of the fall sky. Students and parents from our Meeting and Nursery School attended as well as students from BFS and a few adults from other Meetings.
Other highlights included a technology night where First Day School students and their friends shared their computer and technology driven projects, David Bucura’s presentation on peacemaking and healing in Rwanda, Kassem Lucas’s presentation on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. and a visit that the FDS families made to interact with the residents at Chandler Hall.
Our Peace and Concerns Committee as well as many individual members contributed to worthy causes which involved our members and local organizations including the Center for Returning Citizens, Wine into Water, the Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, and The Golden Rule.
The Meeting will continue to make the campus available for community discussion regarding environmental concerns.
Looking Forward: We approach next year with a sense of purpose and resolve that as a Meeting and as individuals, we will make the world a better place.
Betsy Bayardi, Clerk