Saturday, May 23, 2009

Third All-Meeting Retreat Report

64 adults and three children joined together for our third retreat on May 16. We laughed, reflected on what we want for our Meeting, and cleaned up the Meeting House and grounds. We moved from talking about discernment to doing it.

The children were given $200 of UFM's donation budget. They chose to give a goat to a family through Heifer International and, thus, give an ongoing gift of milk and more goats. Through WaterAid America they are giving clean water to communities who then have more time and better health, allowing them to improve their lives. Thanks to Bre M and Daniel B for their running of the children's program for the retreat.

After a humorous skit that highlighted what not to do at a business meeting, the adults met in small groups to think together about what it feels like to be part of satisfying corporate discernment. People mentioned the times at UFM when the Meeting struggled to discern what we were called to do about buying Quaker House in 1973, how to help Central American Refugees in the early 1980s, and what to do about same sex marriage for the 10 years leading up to a deciding Minute in 1992. We are continuing UFM's history, and Quakerism's in general, of laboring with each other to find our right paths.

Once again many hands made fun work as people climbed up on the roof, weeded down below and cleaned places in the Meeting House that most of us didn't even know were there. The place sparkles! Special kudos go to the folks who once again tackled the office and upstairs storage closet!

Small groups met again in the afternoon to decide as a group which of UFM's current ministries they thought needed more of our time, energy and money. It was exciting to push ourselves to make some choices and hear how others did it differently. The groups reaffirmed that Worship and Care of our Community lie at the heart of UFM. Judging from the evaluations and comments from the folks at the retreat, we are strengthening both of these as we dig a little deeper into discerning who we are and what we are called to do as a community.

There will be a fourth all-UFM retreat in the Fall of 2009. Between now and then, there will be other activities, such as the June and Summer Business Meetings, that continue our corporate discernment. Please join us when you can, and reflect on what you think we are called to do as a community.

--Dorsey G
For the Year of Discernment Steering Committee