Hello my name is Joshua Ponter. I am a member of Haddonfield Monthly Meeting in South Jersey’s Philadelphia area. I have embarked on a year-long mission to travel around the country collecting stories about the founding of different meetings and looking at the way we practice Quakerism today. I will be blogging about my travels on the PYM website. Find my latest entry below. Please email me at JPonter1@gmail.com if there is anyone from your meeting who would like to sit down with me and speak to some of your history — or if you would like more information on me or my project . Thank you!
The city of Albuquerque seems to sit in a dish, like a pool of water surrounded by a porcelain desert and red sandy mountains. I feel like there is a significant amount of history here, but I decided not to indulge myself at this stop. I often feel that I walk the line between introvert and extrovert. After some extreme amount of socialization in El Paso, I decided I needed some time to myself. That, coupled with secondhand stories in regards to the high crime rate, influenced my decision to find a secluded RV park well on the Western outskirts of the city. The only real time I spent in Albuquerque proper was to attend worship that Sunday.
I was surprised to find Albuquerque Friends Meeting to be somewhat larger than I imagined. It is housed in what looks like an old Pueblo-like structure though the interior has clearly been renovated, somewhat recently. There are however, things like old iron door latches and red clay siding that give some reminiscence to its pasted life.
The meeting started in the 1950’s under the care of Santé Fe Monthly Meeting. It originally lived in a house near the university but as the membership increased with both convinced Friends and the offspring of original members the need arouse for a bigger space. The current building was bought from an Evangelical Church in 1985. It was involved in early LGBTQ needs and continues to provide sanctuary for the overflowing refugees that can no longer find a bed in El Paso.
This Sunday there are about 40 attenders, along with a dozen or so young children who were ushered into the basement for first-day school while the adults sat in waiting worship. Beforehand I was able to enjoy an adult discussion group where we shared our experiences and perspectives on our “Small Quiet Voice”; the way we hear it and the discernment involved in our listening.
Like El Paso, I am inspired by stories about how the city pulls together to help a tremendous number of those seeking refuge; individuals and whole families, now in the country legally, who are dropped off on the city streets with no means of food, shelter, or transportation. I ask you dear reader, what lessons can be learnt from these two cities?