Buckingham Monthly Meeting
Annual Report to Bucks Quarterly Meeting
May 20, 2018
Held at Camp Onas – Ottsville, PA
The last year has been an exciting and spiritually nurturing one at Buckingham Monthly Meeting. We recorded 62 adult members and 23 minor members (including 2 new members), for a total of 85. There was one death.
Most notably, our Meetings for Worship and First Day School have been enriched by new attenders—multiple young families with children. We try to be welcoming toward new attenders, and our post-meeting gathering—our snacks have now expanded to be nearly a brunch each week—also helps to facilitate meaningful connections. Our attenders, some of whom have become members, have shown exceptional willingness to participate in all aspects of the life of the meeting, as well as finding new ways to get the rest of the membership to be active.
Meetings for Worship have been peaceful and gathered, perhaps more quiet than in the past, with consideration of appropriate messages by Friends in attendance clearly evident. We held meeting for worship outdoors in the graveyard on several Sundays during the summer under a large shady tree. Members have been providing rides for older Friends who are no longer able to drive to meeting themselves. A few power outages also found us worshipping in Buckingham Friends School, which we thank for its hospitality.
Numerous programs outside of worship have also brought our faith community closer together. Our monthly informal “Quaker Conversation” adult programs have continued, and our Social Concerns committee has facilitated other engaging events, including a performance by the META Theater group and a guest speaker from the Peace Center. We frequently seem to have so much going on that it is difficult to schedule committee meetings to get our work done. Unfortunately we were not able to sustain our Games Night this year, but are looking forward to find other ways to gather and socialize.
This year we laid down our formal newsletter (or at least it went on a well-deserved vacation), but communicate more regularly through two different Google email groups, one for general Meeting business or announcements and one for social concerns and activism. We also maintain our web site at www.buckinghamfriendsmeeting.org and Facebook page, which attract inquiries from the wider community. Internally we completed an evaluation of our property manager, and continue to be led in business and spirit by our co-clerks, Pam Caprio and Bethann Morgan.
Last year’s Peace Fair, which we host under the care of Quarterly Meeting, was again very successful, with a record number of exhibitors. The Peace Fair committee is now a standing committee of Bucks Quarterly Meeting, and asks that every meeting try to contribute a member, or at least provide a point of contact within their meeting. Last year there were more volunteers at the Fair from the Quarter than ever on the day of the Fair. The 2018 Peace Fair is on Saturday, September 22.
Our First Day School is a hive of activity every week with new children, whose parents are attending regularly. Committee members have been rotating teaching duties so as to not put too much responsibility on one individual, but we are actively considering hiring a paid teacher to expand our program while letting parents stay in meeting to worship. Our efforts to reach out and stay connected to our college-age Young Adult Friends have resulted in several applying for full adult membership.
This year our meetinghouse will be 250 years old! Caring for our National Historic Landmark property is always a challenge, particularly financially. We applied for and received one grant from PYM’s Quaker Buildings & Programs Granting Group to repair our roof, but were unsucessful in securing another to help strip our shutters of centuries of built-up paint. Our all-volunteer effort to renew the wooden cap on our graveyard wall continued, and now over half of the wall is completed. The many storms we had last winter wreaked havoc on trees all around our property, some of which fell in the graveyard and damaged the wall. We discovered that it is possible to make insurance claims that will cover some of the removal and repair costs, and that doing so does not raise our premiums.
Our relationship with Buckingham Friends School has continued to be strong. It is very helpful that the clerk of the school board, Michael Godshall, is a member of our meeting, but we (and other meetings) have not yet filled our quotas for membership on it. While the school continues to be challenged by enrollment and budget considerations, they have hired a new permanent head for next year, Paul Lindenmaier, who will help take them in a new direction (and who is a Quaker).