State of Society, 2010

State of Society, 2010
Concord Monthly Meeting, NEYM

This was the year our new spiritual home became a reality.  By transforming ourselves into a visible accessible meeting, we have begun to transform ourselves.  The spiritual growth is an outgrowth of our physical work together.  This is the story of what building a meetinghouse means to a Quaker spiritual community.

Early in January 2010, we began finishing the building that our builders had put up.  Almost every weekend, various crews of volunteers turned up to paint, stain, urethane, and work on anything that the volunteers were capable of.  As we transformed the bare wall with paint and trim we built our community.  We learned to be patient and kind to one another, and this required attentiveness and effort.  We were moved by the sight of newcomers pitching in and old friends returning.  Many times, if patience wore thin, we would be reminded by each other that we must use that tender hand to help each other up.  With that forgiveness could be offered and healing begun.

This is something that we continue to be reminded of since building a close community is an ongoing process and never easy.  One family left us abruptly this year and efforts to make amends were rebuffed.  We have heard from another attender that we can be short with and unkind to one another.  Though these experiences are difficult, they are challenges we seek to rise to.  We are thankful for the opportunities to learn about ourselves even when such learning comes the hard way.

Concern for wise use of resources is ever on our mind.  We are pleased that we can heat efficiently with wood [pellets] and not fossil fuels and our super insulation makes this new building more efficient.  We are seeking and finding other spiritual uses for the building that brings in the wider community and makes use of this resource.

To help us build a better community, committees have been reactivated that had been laid down.  Our new Ministry and Counsel has prayerfully taken on the spiritual life of the meeting, by having meetings for learning, discerning materials for newcomers and holding us all in the Light.  A new Hospitality committee has formed.  Our old Finance Committee is now a Budget committee and helps us deal with the financial realities of owning a meetinghouse.  With new responsibility comes a renewed commitment.

Also this year, our long time clerk (five years!) finished her term and our very long (we can’t remember how long!) term treasurer passed the baton to new co-clerks and a new treasurer, respectively.  We are so grateful for the work that everyone puts into the community.

We have cherished our elders and sought through rides and hearing assistance to keep them in our midst so we can continue to benefit from their presence and wisdom.

As some of our older generation passes on our younger generation continues to grow.  Our First Day School is small, but it has blossomed this year with steady attendance and rich teaching.  Our teachers deepened their spiritual lives by attending training in the Godly Play curriculum.  We are all enriched by their teaching and example and the lessons our children teach us in return.  They are our joy!

In spite of the demands of building a meetinghouse, we continued our support of other Quaker organizations on Yearly Meeting committees,  The Meeting School, and AFSC.  We have had a strong presence on the Concord Interfaith Council.  We have begun to reach out to members of an Islamic prayer group and embrace the challenge this entails.

On the whole Concord Meeting is on an up swing.

In November we dedicated our new meetinghouse.  We welcomed and thanked over 120 of our supporters and visitors from far and near.  We felt dedicated anew to the spirit of Love which brings us together and holds us up as we strive to create the blessed community here today.