Kendal Monthly Meeting (KMM) makes its home at Kendal at Longwood (KAL) in Kennett Square, PA. KAL is a life plan community celebrating its 50th year. It is comprised of about 300 residents living independently, and about 80 residents receiving additional levels of care in our Health Center. Kendal Meeting was formed at KAL’s inception. Our year was dominated by the tasks of adapting to a world transformed by the Covid pandemic – and by the increased technologies that helped us through it.
KMM’s strength lies in the love and respect we strive to bring to our members and the larger community, especially in the final years of our lives. We seek ways to lessen the isolation and loneliness felt by residents in our Health Center. By the nature of our community of seniors, we have loved ones and friends who faced physical and cognitive challenges, who have changed their levels of care, and who departed this life. Kendal Meeting members gave devoted care to celebrating the lives of those we lost – finding in Quaker memorial services an abiding love.
After a Covid-related gap, we re-instated our Margaret Fell Study Group via zoom, reading together When the Spirit Calls, by Jay Marshall. We weren’t able to sustain the study group, once we embarked on hybrid worship. We need a new approach.
We made a sustained commitment to resuming in-person worship while continuing to have it available online so that all are able to attend, regardless of circumstances. Developing our hybrid approach took many steps. Tech-savvy meeting members came forward with generous offers of time, ideas, equipment. We appreciate the PYM resources made available to monthly meetings as the pandemic restrictions eased. Specifically, we benefited from the expertise of John Marquette who made onsite visits, loaned us an OWL, advised us on purchasing one, and helped us conduct in-person and remote tests. We continue to try to learn how to use our technology to provide the most meaningful worship experience for those attending in person and for those using zoom. We are so appreciative of the volunteers who give generously of their expertise – and their time. We recognize the need to keep growing our tech volunteers, so that we don’t burn out our regular helpers.
In response to the query concerning our relationship with those in the wider Kennett community, we noted that we have connections with a number of local social service agencies, and that we have representatives who keep in touch with those agencies and report back to us. For more than 20 years we have supported an organization serving single men – including men who are returning to civil society. During the year, the agency underwent a transfer to new management. Renovations were made and the facility has reopened with appropriate social services. Our piece may be small, but we are glad to help.
Once the pandemic restrictions eased, the Kendal dining room reopened. Our meeting decided to reserve two tables for Sunday brunch. These Quaker Tables are open to all, and provide opportunity for fellowship.
An Ad Hoc Committee on Social Justice Giving met several times and prepared a set of guidelines for discernment about donations. In approving these guidelines, the Meeting expressed a desire to have Meeting contacts for the organizations receiving our support.
The meeting has not taken collective initiatives on the PYM minutes concerning racism and climate change. However, we have individual members who are very actively involved in these areas. In particular, several members are active in Senior Stewards Acting For the Environment (SSAFE), a new organization that has arisen among the Kendal affiliates. We added Quaker Earthcare Witness to the organizations we support. As we already have those who are working passionately in the area of climate change, we hesitate to burden them with giving them an additional title (Climate Witness Liaison) and perhaps additional responsibilities.
A poignant comment relating to Query #9 on Equality and Justice shows where work is needed: a friend said “that our silence about these issues implies that although we may be thinking about them, we are not comfortable talking about them.”
Several members of our meeting are part of the Kennett Square Advocacy Team, launched and supported by the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The 2022 campaign sought to end the war in Yemen, and the complicity of the United States in it. The new FCNL General Secretary, Bridget Moix, came to Kendal in June and spoke in dialogue with KMM attender Joe Volk, an emeritus FCNL General Secretary.
Kendal Meeting sponsored a World Quaker Day social event in October, inviting Friends from nearby Meetings and residents at Kendal who attend other Meetings. Several attendees spoke about their experiences in the wider world of Friends.
Approved, Meeting for Business, March 9, 2023