State of Society, 2012

State of Society, 2012
Concord Monthly Meeting, NEYM

Over the past year or so we have shifted our attention from preparing our new meetinghouse to caring for our community within it.  This long and faith-filled journey began many years ago with a realization we needed to grow and change.  This began with a new building, but always we remembered the many other ways we needed to grow and change.  We hope we have been faithful to that vision and here are some of the steps we have taken in that journey.  It continues to be a remarkable journey.

We feel our community has grown — welcoming two new members and many new regular attenders.  But also joyfully and humbly welcoming back those we have not seen for a while.  We welcomed the presence of several new families with young children.  Their energy and spirit is a gift to us all. We are blessed by the need to nurture and support young spirits.  Our First Day [School] teachers prepare their lessons with mindfulness, intention, and care, seeking to nurture that Light within no matter the age of the child.  We try to keep in mind how precious it is to have peaceful worship, while your children receive equal care.

We are sad that so many young adults — those who have left our meeting but not found a new spiritual home- as well as others in the community, lack a spiritual connection.  We are challenged and hope to find a way to reach out and bring them together in a way that meets their needs.

We minister to each other, providing pastoral care one to another, passing on our gifts. We share our love and care for those with cancer, holding them in the Light, so they may find peace.  (Note:  In 2013 those with cancer are now doing well and we are rejoicing.)  We support each other as we age, giving loving attention and rides to our elders, mindful of the day we will have some similar need.  We are aware that the gift of the spirit is available even when we can’t hear well and minister to the needs of those hard of hearing amongst us. In giving we receive much in return.

Our Quaker Quest day of in-reach blessed us with a deepening sense of shared community.  We acknowledged how we had grown, and saw some needs we were not meeting.  After reflection, one member, Greg Heath, offered to organize a seminar in Deepening Spiritual Practice to begin in January.  We know we need to offer more ways to connect with each other outside of Sunday morning.

We were grateful for the spiritual insights Jann Sparks and Greg inspired in their leading an exploration of The Gospel Of Thomas.

We precede meeting with joyful singing and feel a sense of gathered-ness in deep, nourishing silence and heartfelt messages during worship.

As our spirit has taken root in our community, we have gathered some strength for more peace and social justice work.  With joy we resurrected a Peace, and Social Concerns committee, and added Earthcare concerns to the committee.  This committee work brought to us a statement on the need to turn our swords into ploughshares, or shift our nation's spending on war to nonviolent peace building.  We united on a statement and had it published as an opinion piece in the statewide paper, The Union Leader, and sent it to our representatives in Congress.  We deepened our understanding of the widening gap between rich and poor in our country, after listening to Arnie Alpert.  Outreach support by members for the homeless, American Friends Service Committee, and the campaign against the death penalty in New Hampshire have connected us with the many needs in the world around us.  Two members continue a prison ministry, opening eyes to the injustices of that broken system, but also giving gifts of ministry.  We were also able to sponsor an Awakening the Dreamer symposium, an out-reach which reached about fifty people.  We feel a great need to do more in this area and continue to search for the opening that will enable us to do more for our Earth.

We are so humbly grateful for the gifts of Truth among us and the blessings this year has brought.

Ruth Heath
Clerk, Concord Friends Meeting