- What is the name of the person submitting this report? Jesse White
- In what role does the person submitting this report serve in their community? Clerk
- What is the email address of the person submitting this report? firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is the date that this report was submitted? 05/02/2018
What practices and strategies are employed by our meeting to help members and attenders of all ages prepare for worship—whether in meeting for worship or in meeting for business?
Frankford Monthly Meeting has strong leadership in our Clerk, who offers helpful reminders, queries, readings at the beginning of each Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. For worship, we provide written information to newcomers about Quakerism and about what to expect in worship. We offer adult educational opportunities through Quakerism 101, informal dialogue, and spiritual discernment sessions on second Sundays. We greet visitors, attenders and members and model how to remain centered in worship. Children have a vibrant First Day School program each week.
What are the challenges to and opportunities for enhancing the worship of our meeting, and what are we doing to address these?
Our Meeting’s challenges involve: our small size – we often set unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish together. We also have difficulty with keeping track of our commitments and protocols. Our opportunities for enhanced worship involve greater education for Meeting members and attenders. (Quakerism 101, coaching, welcome packets, and First Day School are examples.)
What opportunities are provided to address topics important to deepening both personal spiritual journeys of members and the spiritual life of the meeting?
Our opportunities to deepen spiritual journeys for members include: adult religious education through the promotion of Pendle Hill programs, our spiritual discussion group, Quakerism 101, sharing our afterthoughts following worship, and fellowship with refreshments together. We could be better at sharing information around meeting news and sharing copies of Faith & Practice.
What is most needed to strengthen the communal witness of the meeting to the local community and beyond?
We feel a general sense that we are not doing enough to strengthen our relationship with the local community. Some members feel a great sense of overwhelm by our school/Meeting commitments which affects our ability to be more engaged with the local community. Others have a great desire to do more towards this effort, and have suggested ideas around our public presence, but these hopes feel insurmountable at this time.
To what priorities does God call our meeting? How do our annual budget, our meeting’s standing committees and other aspects of the meeting’s life reflect those priorities?
God calls our Meeting primarily to foster the care relationship with Frankford Friends School. We are in a process of clarifying our current care relationship and defining our hoped-for care relationship. As a small Meeting, many members feel called to this vital work, while many others feel overwhelmed with the responsibility. Our budget reflects our support of the school, providing tuition support and funding for Quaker Life educational programs. We have made commitments to pay for quality religious education for children and adults. We see opportunities for growth in our standing committee structure (our small numbers has made our standing committees pretty ineffective, and more often, individual members take on tasks and responsibilities as they are led), hosting events on our property for local community groups, and better supporting personal ministries/callings of Meeting members.
What specific issues of concern has your community experienced in the past year?
Our primary concern is the need to clarify and strengthen our membership application process. Also, our Meeting demographics have changed in the past 5-10 years and we have very few active elders in our community. We have a need for Meeting guidance and are considering asking for help from a wider Quaker community. Additionally, we need to practice how to speak our truths with respect and compassion for one another. Finally, we are actively considering our care relationship with Frankford Friends School, and if separately incorporating the school feels right at this time.
What threshing, dialogue and/or discernment has your community recently experienced regarding the purpose and importance of membership?
We have a great deal of work to do in the area of membership. Recent applications for membership were met with an unclear and extended process, and this resulted in rifts within our community. We hope to begin a dialogue around membership after we have sat with our concerns around our care relationship with the school, and after we have discerned if separate incorporation for the school is the right way forward.
What anti-racism work has your community engaged in or explored in the past year?
We have had limited anti-racism dialogue/training/work in our Meeting. We did have a called meeting in response to a request from PQM. At that meeting, we committed to educating ourselves further about anti-racism work but so far, have only had one discussion. We are aware that there are other resources in the Quarter that we could tap. We might also engage in some work with our local community which is quite diverse racially, ethnically, and religiously.