Clerk's Annual Report for 2015:
Worship & Spiritual Life
Meeting for worship was well attended in 2015, with an average of 65 on most First Days, in the late summer months about 50. Attendance was slightly less than in 2014. Meeting for worship on 4th day has a regular attendance 5-7, occasionally more. Meetings for worship were consistently spiritual, rich and nourishing, occasionally deeply gathered. The Third Haven meeting for worship is meaningful and vital. Worship is followed by afterthought, joys and concerns, greeting visitors and announcements. Third Haven has many visitors, who acknowledge the power of silent Quaker worship. The Worship Ministry Committee (W&M) cares for meeting for worship thoughtfully and tenderly. W&M provides greeters before meeting for worship, welcoming visitors and providing information. W&M reads a Query each month on the First Day of meeting for business and reads the 4 Advices over the course of the year. In 2015, WMC offered the Course in Miracles, 4 silent retreats, 4 opportunities for singing, facilitated 11 monthly discussions on Spiritual topics and held monthly meetings of the Carl Jung Study group.
The Testimonies and Concerns Committee (T&C) is very active locally, effectively articulating our Quaker testimonies and demonstrating witness in the wider community. T&C engaged the Meeting community and other local organizations, working on Quaker testimonies in a wide variety of projects. T&C has addressed and worked this year on racism, white privilege, mass incarceration, and justice reform, among other things. T&C offered 5 Faith in Action events in 2015, presenting programs with local individuals whose work reflects Quaker values. T&C supported a monthly Peace Study Group, reading and discussing important writing on peace and non-violence. T&C worked within the Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity, the Talbot Interfaith Homeless Shelter, the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center and others, helping to further their work locally. Projects of long duration included weekly work with Talbot County Detention Center lending library and the local Coalition Against Hunger's Wednesday "Marilla's lunches." This coalition, led by Third Haven, also cooked and delivered 150 Thanksgiving dinners to elderly and shut-in community members this year. With PEACE (Peace Education and Community Effort), T&C has participated in weekly peace vigils for 14 years and been an active presence in the local Multicultural Festival held each 5th month for a decade. T&C also allocates and administers the proceeds from the Shoffner International Education Fund on a yearly basis. The most recent recipient from this fund has been Aguayuda, which improves life and health in poor rural communities, through clean water, sanitation, and education.
2015 was another year of growth at Third Haven, with 12 new members. There are 138 adult members and 26 members under the age of 21 for a total of 164 members. In addition, there are 87 attenders in the Meeting directory. There were 2 member deaths in the Meeting community in 2015. Third Haven is 1 of the larger meetings in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM). The Meeting cares for its young and old members with consideration and tenderness.
The First Day School (FDS) continues to thrive. Although our numbers are smaller than 10 years ago, FDS has 4-5 committed families with regular attendance. After a period of silence with the Meeting each First Day, FDS meets together in classrooms. FDS follows PYM curriculum, Godly Play and Faith and Play storytelling. The Scholarship Committee built up its endowment fund, held by Friends Fiduciary, to $98,777. The operating fund is $4,919. The Scholarship Committee awarded $5500 to 2 Third Haven students in Quaker schools and 7 in colleges.
Overseers care for the wellbeing of members and attenders with pastoral care. During 2015, the Overseers helped guide 11 attenders through the membership process. Overseers facilitated memorial services for Betty Jean Wheeler and Molly Bond. Overseers were delighted to play a role in the marriage of Overseer Paige Bethke to regular attender Ben Tilghman. Overseers sponsored 2 Meeting community luncheons this year: the annual new member luncheon on a snowy First Day in 3rd month and a luncheon in 9th month that featured several members discussing their path to Third Haven.
The Hospitality Committee seeks to welcome and engage members and attenders by offering fellowship after the meeting for worship each First Day. Hospitality partnered with First Day School on an annual picnic lunch and the Christmas holiday celebration; and with Overseers on 2 more lunches. Hospitality membership and participation are fluid and responsive to the needs of the Third Haven community as various activities and events unfold during the year. Hospitality supports plans to upgrade the kitchen and serving areas.
Business and Communications
The Clerk of the Meeting and Recording Clerk served and led the Meeting community very well. Meetings for business are conducted in the good order used among us, with all difficulties handled with tender care. The minutes are carefully recorded, approved and kept in very good order.
The Communications Committee produces an excellent and informative monthly newsletter, with the minutes of each meeting for business and fine photographs, distributing it each month by email, or post if needed. Communications provides frequent announcements, Meeting calendar updates and other information by email. Communications maintains and continually updates the very valuable and useful Third Haven Friends Meeting website and directory at http://www.thirdhaven.org . The Meeting maintains a very useful library.
The Outreach Committee expanded its membership and developed a new outreach program—the George Fox Forum (GFF)—to extend an understanding of Quaker testimonies to the wider community; create a quality, learning environment; and provide a forum for a dialogue on meaningful contemporary issues. Quaker Quest inspired the GFF. GFF will help Third Haven Friends share their personal faith experience and spiritual journeys. The 4 GFF sessions, 1.22-4.22.16, will address Community, Equality, Integrity and Peace. GFF seeks to attract others from the wider community. Outreach worked with the Third Haven website manager to develop the first Meeting Face Book page.
Property and Grounds Committee (P&G) maintains our lovely grounds and historic buildings in good repair. P&G made improvements in our buildings and facilities and managed the plantings well. P&G has an ambitious program for the year ahead. There is broad participation in seasonal clean up days. The committee secured approvals from the owners of Third Haven's historic easement for an access ramp to the 1684 meetinghouse. P& G made progress on making the common room facilities fully handicapped accessible. P&G has begun to consider the northern portion of the property with respect to water quality, a healthy and rich ecosystem, and the prospect of bordering a public bike path.
The Trustees of Third Haven Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is a separate entity with financial assets that are used to support specific Third Haven property and grounds projects. In 2015, the Trustees covered the cost of a new gas burner for the brick meetinghouse, half the cost of resurfacing the driveway and parking areas, masonry work on the brick meetinghouse and new heating and air-conditioning units for the common room. The maintenance and the character of the historic Third Haven buildings and grounds owe a great deal to P&G and the Trustees.
The Meeting is in good financial condition. The fiscal year 2014-15 ended on 6th month 30th, 2015, with operating expenses of $53,782 and income of $59,932. The Meeting tries to keep one year's operating expenses in reserve. The Meeting financial reserves, as of the end of 2015, are expected to be around $90,000.
Third Haven Friends is a vital and growing Friends community, nurturing and supporting young and old members and attenders, nourishing the corporate and individual Quaker Spiritual journey in the Meeting community.