Saturday, February 28, 2009

Third Retreat: May 16

Our second retreat on January 25 was a wonderful sequel to last year's! More than 70 adults and 6 children participated in the afternoon session with Cathy Whitmore on individual discernment or in the children's program on individual gifts. 26 UFM community members--young and older--and 3 men from the University Shelter group had much fun and accomplished wonderful work on the buildings and grounds. The talent show was foot stomping,laugh out loud fun. Dozens of us marveled at the talent in our community. There was everything from mouth spoons and conch shell blasts to families singing and playing a variety of instruments. We have some mighty fine singing voices among us as well.

Save the new date for the next retreat! We have changed the May retreat to Saturday, May 16
not the 17th as previously announced. As we move through the Year of Discernment, we are heading toward the end goal of figuring out who we are as a community and what we are called to do with our resources. Thus, the third retreat will begin to focus us on corporate discernment. We do not have the day planned out yet, but we think wewill begin in the morning and have a work party/break in the afternoon. We will be working on the content and the rest of the structure in the next couple of months.

Another piece of our discernment work this year will be in the information gathering and threshing about what to do about our buildings. Please join others in the UFM Community for an upcoming information session as we begin to look at what we want to do and can afford to do with our buildings and grounds.

Please let us know if you have any ideas you have for the retreat or the Year of Discernment.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adult Education Committee Report

The Adult Religious Education (ARE) committee has a complicated ministry to our community. Through regular sessions each Sunday morning, the ARE program works to build community by nurturing increased understanding of Quaker history, process, and activities, and by providing a place and time for people to share their beliefs and feelings.

Traditionally, Quakers have relied on three sources in their search for Truth: (1) Various religious traditions and scriptures, (2) the experiences and work of Quakers over the centuries, and (3) our own experiences in our spiritual seeking and life. If Quakers only cared about the first two, ARE's job would be easy. We could just assign readings and make up study questions.

The experiential side of Quaker spiritual life means ARE must look for ways to approach topics of interest such as homelessness, prison reform, or war where people share their different perspectives in a worshipful way. It is in such sharing that participants synthesize a much deeper human insight into the topic than could be reached by just doing readings.

In search of topics, ARE committee members keep their ears to the community, trying to pick up on our individual and communal needs and interests. Many people within our community are following deep personal leadings in their life and work and often have much to share about how the Light works within and among us to do good works. We try to give them a place to come talk with us about it.

-- Rick E, Adult Education Committee

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Threshing Session, March 15

Our meetinghouse is getting old and needs repairs and updates that add up to a large sum. Building and Grounds is doing further evaluation of the needs, while Finance is considering options for how to come up with the money. Because of the importance and complexity of the issues involved, we will have a special Threshing Session on Sunday March 15, after a potluck lunch.

A Threshing Session is a time when we gather to listen to each other without the goal of making an immediate decision. This Threshing Session is likely to begin with a presentation of information, but some information will also be made available earlier so that we have a chance to ask questions and give thought to our personal reactions.

Meanwhile, please think about how much you can increase your contributions in this troubled economy - or what type and amount of volunteer activity you can commit to. B&G will be putting out information about the kinds of work needed and will be looking for feedback about how much we may count on volunteers. Alternatives could involve selling Quaker House or even the meetinghouse. This is an extremely important issue, so mark your calendar.

--Beth B