Third Haven Friends Meeting Worship and Ministry Committee 2014 Annual Report:
The purpose of the Worship and Ministry Committee (WMC) was approved at the 10.3.11 meeting for business. The (abbreviated) purpose is:
- Meeting for Worship: The WMC cares for the meeting for worship.
- Spiritual Nurture: The WMC nurtures and supports the Spiritual life of the meeting, and the Spiritual journeys of members and attenders.
- Adult Religious Education: The WMC provides opportunities for the Meeting community to learn about our Faith and Practice, the Religious Society of Friends, and Quaker and other Spiritual practices. The Committee offers and supports teaching and learning opportunities to support the meeting for worship, and the Spiritual journeys of members and attenders.
Worship and Ministry Committee
The participating members of the WMC for 2013 were: Mark Beck, Gwen Beegle, Molly Bond, Tom Corl, Katherine Johnson, Joyce Macijeski, John Turner and Rob Wieland. Luisa Adelfio served until she moved to Norfolk VA in 8th month. Catherine Cripps formed and facilitates the Jung Study Group and joined the WMC. Connie Lewis rejoined the WMC. Mike Pullen served the WMC, facilitating the Course in Miracles. Valerie Sypula joined the WMC late in the year. Tom Corl clerked the WMC. The WMC met monthly at the rise of meeting for worship on 4th day, except for 8th month. Members attended WMC meetings regularly and actively supported many WMC programs and activities.
Meeting for Worship
The WMC provides greeters before the meeting for worship to welcome members, attenders and visitors. Greeters offer various pamphlets, brochures and information to visitors and those new to the Third Haven and our Quaker meeting for worship. Members of the WMC read the 12 Queries on the First Day of meeting for business and the 4 Advices in meeting for worship during the year.
The attendance at meeting for worship varies from week to week and month to month. Based on regular counts by Robert Shattuck, attendance averages around 65-75, slightly less than last year. Attendance at a few meetings for worship approached 90. In 7th-8th months, attendance drops to around 50. This count includes children and adults who go out for First Day School. There were fewer children this year than in years past. The meeting for worship continues to attract visiting Friends, non-Friends, seekers and people curious about Quakers and our way of worship. Though difficult to estimate, it seems that Third Haven averages 2-3 visitors each First Day. Members of WMC, the Outreach Committee, Overseers and other Friends often greet visitors at the rise of meeting for worship and follow-up with visitors as may be appropriate. The WMC regularly discusses greeting and welcoming practices. Some visitors return and become involved in the life of the Meeting.
Peggy Walbert reports that 4 people consistently attend 4th day meeting for worship, with up to 8-10 on dates that coincide with other meetings, including monthly WMC meetings. The attenders have changed over the last 10 years, but the seeking for a hushed silence has remained the same. Because of the small number, close relationships are formed. Often there is an exchange of books or conversations about readings. In the last 10 years, 7-8 people have gravitated to First Day meeting for worship and become active in the Meeting.
Late arrivals and coming and going during meeting for worship are chronic problems. The WMC reminds Friends, from time to time, to "come with heart and mind prepared for worship" and arrive on time.
All the members of the WMC attend the meeting for worship as regularly as possible, listen, experience and appreciate the meeting for worship, silence and vocal ministry. The WMC considers and discusses the meeting for worship and vocal ministry at each WMC meeting. The WMC finds the meeting for worship consistently vital and meaningful for members, attenders and visitors. The WMC finds the Third Haven meeting for worship consistently spiritual, rich and nourishing. Newcomers and visitors frequently acknowledge the meaningfulness of the meeting for worship in attracting them and leading them into participation in Third Haven Friends Meeting. The Third Haven meeting for worship, and participation in it, are blessings, appreciated by members, attenders and visitors. The Third Haven meeting for worship is a great gift from each of us to all of us. The WMC seeks to nurture and sustain our blessed meeting for worship.
Worship and Ministry Programs:
The WMC offered a variety of adult religious education opportunities, programs, and activities in 2014:
Speakers and Discussions:
The WMC was able to invite some distinguished Friends to Third Haven as speakers in a program on the essentials of our Quaker Faith and Practice:
- On 3.30, Linda Chidsey of New York Yearly Meeting spoke on "Worship and the Spiritual Journey." This session went very well with 36 attending and participating. Friends noted that Linda offered very powerful accounts of her own Spiritual journey and her "conversion experience" at Third Haven.
- On 4.6, John Andrew Gallery, from Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting in Philadelphia, spoke on "Testimonies, Witness and Action." John taught Quakerism 101 at Third Haven around 2007. The suggested readings, including pieces by John, were excellent. Friends felt that his presentation was very well done, and the session deep and powerful. 21 participated.
- On 4.27, Patty Levering, from North Carolina Yearly Meeting, spoke on "Quaker Meeting as a Faith Community." Patty's presentation covered "foundation stones" of Quaker meeting as a faith community, Spiritual gifts—nurturers, conservers, and challengers—and the Bill Taber's 4 stages of meeting for worship. 23 attended. She told stories and facilitated a discussion on our Quaker faith community. The excellent session was very well-received.
- On 5.4, Thomas Swain, former Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) and an international traveler in Quaker ministry, spoke on "History and Beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends." 23 attended. Thomas discussed the early stages of Quakerism. He provided powerful quotations from early Friends, including women Friends. Friends discussed a quotation from Francis Howgill at length. This was another outstanding presentation.
Tom Corl coordinated this program. Overall attendance was good. The WMC prepared a press release, invited Friends from Southern Quarterly Meeting (SQM), and distributed posters and information on the program in the community. However, almost no one from outside the Meeting community attended. The WMC arranged for hospitality, reimbursed speakers' travel expenses and provided a small honorarium to each speaker. The WMC found this program to be very meaningful and valuable to Third Haven Friends.
In addition, 2 members of the WMC facilitated discussions of practices important to the life of the Meeting community:
- On 9.7, "Prayer and Other Spiritual Disciplines," facilitated by Gwen Beegle. 15 attended and participated in this very good program.
- On 10.26, "Discussion of Quaker Process," facilitated by Tom Corl. A very useful new book, Quaker Process for Friends on the Benches, by Mathilda Navias, was the basis for this session. 15 attended. Friends found this session useful.
Mark Beck facilitated monthly discussion sessions, open to the wider local community (starting at 6:15 pm, lasting for 1 hour and 15 minutes). The dates were adjusted for Friends with different schedules. Topics for discussion were chosen to offer the possibility of personal and spiritual understanding and growth. The general sense from those attending is that they come away with a deeper appreciation of the meaning of topics discussed and the applications to their own lives. Beginning in 7th month 2013, Mark Beck organized 5 discussions: "Why Am I Here?" "Presence," "Happiness," "Forgiveness" and "Faith."
In 2014, the sessions were:
- 1.30, "Prayer and Meditation"
- 2.27, "Gratitude"
- 3.25, "Higher Consciousness and Spiritual Awareness"
- 4.17, "What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?" with Rob Wieland
- 5.29, "Metanoia," with Tom Corl
- 6.26, "Conscience"
- 7.31, "Images of God," with Candace Shattuck presenting "Faith & Play," a Quaker adaptation of Godly Play
- 8.28, "Attitudes"
- 9.25, "Attitudes" (repeated)
- 10.25, "Compassion"
- 11.18, "Inner Peace"
- 12.18 (scheduled), "Christ as a Symbol of the Self"
Since 7th month 2013, 43 different people have participated in these discussion groups. The average attendance is 8.4. Attendance varies from as few as 4 to as many as 15. 8 people have attended 6 or more sessions. Attendance totaled of 117 person-sessions. Most are from Third Haven Friends Meeting. Mark Beck plans to expand the number of facilitators in 2015 to add interest and breadth of perspective. The participants valued and appreciated these sessions. The WMC is grateful to Mark Beck for organizing and facilitating these valuable discussions.
Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck organize and facilitate Inward Bound on behalf of the WMC. Inward Bound is a silent retreat or quiet day held 4 times a year—3.20, 6.16, 9.16, and (scheduled) 12.18 in 2014. They communicate and reach out to other Friends Meetings in SQM and seekers in the wider local community. Sessions run from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and include silent reflection, potluck lunch and worship sharing at the end. Attendance ranged from 6 to 10 participants.
Inward Bound provides the opportunity for a weekday retreat and time for silent reflection for members and attenders of Third Haven Friends Meeting, members of SQM, and occasionally participants from the wider community. Participants are encouraged to find Spirit-led activities that encourage listening for the Light within. These quiet days provide the opportunity for weekday retreats away from the busy-ness of everyday life. These silent retreats are for listening for the Light within, reflection, reading, and enjoying the grounds of Third Haven. Inward Bound will continue in 2015. The WMC is grateful to Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck for organizing and facilitating these valuable silent retreats.
Course in Miracles:
The Course in Miracles is a self-study curriculum, consisting of the metaphysical framework, a workbook with 365 daily lessons for a 1-year study period, and a manual for teachers in question and answer format. The curriculum, gently teaches us how to change our mind and undo the misperceptions of the ego through forgiveness, healing, and understanding our separation from God and from each other.
Mike Pullen continued to lead the Course in Miracles for the WMC, in weekly meetings at 6:00 pm on 4th day. The Course took a break over the summer. Generally, there were 4 members of the group. The group mourned the death of its very active member, Denny Bliss, in 2nd month. A Friend from Frostburg MD comes once a month. This life-long Friend, a 10-year Course student, brings a great sense of Spirituality to the group.
This course, started in 2010, will continue in 2015. Mike Pullen will continue to facilitate. For discussion to be meaningful, the Course requires at least 4 participants. More are welcome but the Course requires a continuing commitment to participation. The Course and Quakerism share much in common—both undo the obstacles to the awareness of love's presence. The WMC is grateful to Mike Pullen for organizing and facilitating the Course in Miracles.
Carl Jung Study Group:
This year Catherine Cripps formed and launched the Carl Jung Study Group, under the care of the WMC. She joined the WMC as well. The group studies and reflects on texts by Carl Jung and works inspired by him. The Jung Study Group met on:
- 9.18 to discuss symbolism and transcendence, with 7 attending;
- 10.14 to discuss selected paragraphs from Jungian thought that moved them, with 8 attending; and
- 11.11 to discuss an experience of a felt sense of Spirit from anytime in life, with 11 attending.
- 12.9 to discuss "Christ as a Symbol of the Self," with 5 attending.
About half of the participants are from Third Haven. Some in the group are practicing psychologists or therapists with very great experience with Jungian approaches to psychology and Spirituality. The Jung Group will continue in 2015, with Catherine facilitating. The WMC appreciates Catherine's work to organize and facilitate the Jung Group, a valuable addition to WMC programs, serving the wider local community.
- On 2.16, Third Haven Friends participated in a discussion of Third Haven and our Faith and Practice, with Bryan Russo of WMAU FM (National Public Radio in Washington DC and Ocean City MD) for broadcast on WAMU FM. The Communications Committee disseminated the broadcast and posted it on the Meeting website.
- The WMC Clerk helped arrange a 6.15 visit by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) Long Range Planning Group (LRPG) to Third Haven.
- Though the Third Haven Spiritual Formation program ended in 2011, one small group continued to meet until recently.
- Following up on a new WMC idea, on behalf of the WMC, John Turner led singing before meeting for worship on 12.7, with 10 participating.
- The WMC is developing its speakers program for 2015, which will probably include 2-3 speakers from Pendle Hill. This will help strengthen the Meeting's long connection to Pendle Hill.
- The Meeting plans to invite Arthur Larrabee, former Clerk of PYM and a leading expert on decision-making in the manner of Friends, to Third Haven again in 2015.
Third Haven Friends Meeting has a long tradition of Spirit-led practice in its WMC, caring for the meeting for worship and the Spiritual journeys of members and attenders. The WMC encourages all members and attenders to come to meeting for worship as often as possible, with heart and mind prepared, at the appointed hour of worship. Friends should participate in and support the meeting for worship, in expectant silence or with vocal ministry, as moved by the Spirit. Third Haven is blessed with a deep, rich and nurturing meeting for worship, and a vital and growing Meeting community. The WMC is grateful for the opportunity to help nurture and support the meeting for worship and the Spiritual life of the Third Haven Friends Meeting.
Clerk, Worship and Ministry Committee
Third Haven Friends Meeting