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!
Tallahassee Monthly Meeting was a very quaint, smallish group (at least compared to my last stop). There were about 20 individuals in attendance. I am told there are usually several more that were away attending a mid-yearly meeting in Orlando that Sunday. It was unprogrammed but I arrived early enough to participate in some singing beforehand. =) Worship took place in a medium sized wooden room that looked like it had once been a living room of an older wooden house. The whole atmosphere feels quite homely. My eyes were drawn to a flowering tree out the window; their purple-pink exterior provides contrast to the dreary swollen air hanging over the wooden back lot. They shivered in the light whispering breeze. They were occasionally coaxed open to expose their milky white inner lips that surrounded a dark purple cluster of seeds, a place from which their life springs.
There was no noise, save the passing traffic on the road out front. Each wheel brought with it that modulating tone as it approaches and recedes. A chorus of rubber pressing the air in a sort of melody.A beating heart of metal and machine. A gust passed and a draft of cold air caressed my warm face. A dog rested gently on the floor besides his human. Does he pray? Is he sitting in waiting for the divine? And I wonder who is the better listener, him or me?
I don’t know that I have anything to tell you of great significance in terms of this meeting. I was able to meet with a couple people after worship who spoke of the meeting arising from a group of individuals who were brought together by similar ideals of simplicity and peace. They started meeting in a room at the University and were eventually able to get the numbers and finances to buy this house in which they now meet. They continue that tradition of meeting on a spiritual basis; looking for connections beyond doctrine, politics, or the chaos of the outside world. For these people this meeting is a sanctuary-a place of safety and tolerance, where one needs not hide and are accepted and loved unconditionally.