State of Society, 2013

State of Society, 2013
Concord Monthly Meeting, NEYM

The year 2013 has seen a deepening and widening of spiritual life and practices in Concord Meeting and a precious growth in attendance.  We gather in community to share delicious potlucks, with a special delightful gathering in the spring. These gatherings are slowly growing with new people, especially children.  Like flowers in spring, the First Day School has blossomed with a modest but vibrant flowering of new faces.  This has historically been a treasure of Concord Friends, so we nurture each new young friend with delight.  For the first time in 17 years a baby was born into the meeting.  Ministering to the baby, and receiving her cooing ministry is something we treasure.  Our First Day teachers prepare engaging lessons; it can be challenging, however, when busy lives send these children to other places.

Spiritually, the Meeting has entered into a period of deep and gathered silence, with deep messages each week.  Both the silence, and the messages of self reflection and group introspection nourish us.  Some of us enter into worship through singing before meeting for worship.  Many of us gathered weekly from January to March to share ways to deepen our spiritual practices in a seminar format, which contributed greatly to our individual and group spiritual life.  We also held meetings for learning to discuss Steve Chase’s Letters to a Fellow Seeker.  We have begun discussions of the meaning of membership in the Religious Society of Friends asking ourselves, “What does it mean to be a member?”  We embrace and are enriched by our members and attenders who are active in other faith communities.

We feel challenged to reach out more to our local community and broaden our activities within our meeting.  One of the challenges to this is our geographical spread.  Yet we have managed to hold a monthly First Friday Film series with movies containing deep themes.  We held a program on the Doctrine of Discovery that opened our hearts to the way privilege has been used against First Peoples.  The Meeting has been active in the NH Coalition to End the Death Penalty.  We are also active in support of AFSC-NH program, the local homeless shelter, and local refugee community.  We are grateful for the formation of a Peace, Social, and Earth Care Concerns committee to widen our involvement in these and other areas.

Outside of Concord Meeting, we are grateful for many members’ involvement in the wider Quaker community and NEYM.  We serve on boards and committees and even improve the database for NEYM.  We are also involved in the Concord Interfaith community, including taking part in the World AIDS Day program.  We are also enriched by our connection to NH Peace Action.  This outside involvement enriches everyone in our meeting.

We share our gifts in so many different ways in building our community.  We take turns opening and closing the meetinghouse, clean the ash from the boiler and fix things, put up leaflet holders, catalog the library on-line so we can find things with ease, and do so much more.

Finally, we are so busy we have yet to find time to do much landscaping.  In spite of this an apple finally grew on our new apple tree! We continue on in gratitude for each new beginning that life and love brings.