Lancaster Friends Meeting has been doing state of the meeting reports for a long time. At least by the mid-1990’s, the meeting designated three people to write the report. These three individuals pulled things together from across the various groups and committees active in the meeting. With this process, the report gradually deteriorated into a very lengthy list of the all the things the meeting had done in the past year; it seemed the meeting’s newsletters accomplished the same basic task of listing all of the community’s activities. When this conundrum finally became apparent, no one really knew what to do.
There were a couple of years when there weren’t any state of the meeting reports written at all.
A few years ago, someone from the Worship & Ministry Committee noticed state of the meeting reports had ceased as a practice. This isn’t good, she said!
The Committee decided there should be a forum to address queries about where we are as a meeting. For several years now, 25 to 35 people attend these forums, which happen after the post-worship social hour on a Sunday in January. We gather first as small groups of two or three, then we come together as a whole to share responses. One person takes notes and writes up a report, which is approved at the next meeting for business. In addition to sharing this state of the meeting report with all of our members and attenders, and PYM, the clerk of the meeting reads a condensed version at our Caln Quarterly Meeting gathering in May at Camp Swatara.
It’s been really valuable to us and our community to reach inward, seeking what the state of our spiritual community is. There is benefit to relationships and the sense of purpose and direction for the meeting to take time each year with a spiritual self-assessment. Our process might also aid other monthly and quarterly meetings in their spiritual work and to develop a report to share.
- What are the fruits of the Spirit evidenced in our Meeting community?
- What are the challenges we have had and met in the past year?
- What challenges do we still face?
- What work have we done in seeking to heal racism?