At the end of the winding road, known as Ye Greate Street, in Greenwich, Cumberland County, NJ, stands a historic Quaker meetinghouse. Built-in the mid-eighteenth century and known at that time as “The Place of Prophets,” the building – situated at present far from the bustle of contemporary life on the banks of the Cohansey River – remains an active, albeit seasonal, Friends meetinghouse today. Yet for all of its contemplative and rural qualities, Greenwich Friends Lower Meetinghouse also serves, at times, as a touchstone of community activism, storytelling, education, and outreach.
June was a big month for the Friends community as it emerged from pandemic conditions. A number of meetings have been “open” in one way or another for a time, others have met only via Zoom. Those that have been meeting in person for some time (including Centre, Quakertown, Little Egg Harbor, Plumstead, Horsham, and Third Haven) found that as (mostly) smaller communities they could find ways to safely meet. Some set up outside worship, developing and sharing safety protocols that were appropriate to meeting under the wide open sky. Numbers of communities–large and small–accessed indoor in-person worship once local restrictions eased by keeping windows open, or functioned safely by having plenty of space between people and requiring masks.
On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, approximately 30 leaders from our quarterly meetings met for the second of three annual gatherings. At this gathering, our Co-Presiding Clerks, Jean-Marie Prestwidge Barch and Frank Barch, shared some thoughts on the relevance and importance of quarterly meetings. They noted that quarterly meetings have, “more intimate connection with their members and simultaneously can have greater perspective on the gifts and talents of members as those attributes fit into the large whole of the yearly meeting and beyond.” [Read more…] about Report on Quarterly Meeting Leaders Gathering