Third Haven Friends Meeting Worship and Ministry Committee 2017 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 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 2017 were: Mark Beck, Gwen Beegle, Tom Corl, Catherine Cripps, Susan Dickinson, Jeanne Halpin, Katherine Johnson, John Turner and Mary Yancey. Valerie Sypula moved away in the summer and regretfully left the committee. In October, Jonathan Slocum and Connie Crow expressed an interest in joining the committee, and they have been active members since then. In addition, for the WMC, Peg Walbert cares for the midweek meeting for worship and Mike Pullen facilitates the Course in Miracles. Gwen Beegle clerked the WMC this year. The WMC met monthly at the rise of meeting for worship on 4th day after the 1st first day, except for 7th month when we did not meet. Members attended WMC meetings regularly and actively supported many WMC programs and activities.
Meeting for Worship:
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 often discusses the rise of meeting for worship. The WMC finds the meeting for worship consistently meaningful, spiritual, rich and nourishing for members, attenders and visitors. 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.
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.
The attendance at meeting for worship varies from week to week and month to month. Based on estimated counts, attendance averages 45-60. Attendance at a few meetings for worship approached 80. In summer months, attendance drops to around 40-45. This count includes children and adults who go out for First Day School. The meeting for worship continues to attract visiting Friends, non-Friends, and seekers curious about Quakers and our way of worship. It seems that Third Haven averages 2-3 visitors each First Day, sometimes many more. 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.
Approximately 5-7 people consistently attend 4th day meeting for worship, with up to 8-10 on dates that coincide with other meetings, including monthly WMC meetings.
Late arrivals and coming and going during meeting for worship continue to be of concern. The WMC reminds Friends—to "come with heart and mind prepared for worship" and arrive on time. Reminders happen periodically through the year.
Vocal ministry was a concern for many this year and WMC discussed and addressed vocal ministry throughout the year. A concern from a member was brought before the committee in late September/early October. This concern pertained to political overtones in vocal ministry and afterthoughts. Several actions were taken. First, a careful and thorough discussion by the committee surfaced both a desire to provide education and support to Meeting members on vocal ministry and a concern that others may feel disaffected in meeting because of partisanship. Deciding on a plan of action, WMC (a) responded to the member via email about the plan of action, (b) provided copies of THFM's 1998 Advice on Worship and Ministry (a brochure that has been regularly available in the foyer of the brick meeting house) on the benches (c) invited members and attenders to speak to WMC members about concerns or responses to the Advice, (d) put the same announcement in the 11th month THFM Newsletter with a copy of the Advice, and (e) held a discussion about the quality of meeting for worship on the 3rd day of the 12th month.
Worship and Ministry Programs:
The WMC offered a variety of adult religious education opportunities, programs and activities in 2017, the largest of which was Spiritual Formation, a PYM program that was facilitated by 4 PYM facilitators and Katherine Johnson from THFM, who also became a PYM facilitator during this program.
Spiritual Formation Program
Third Haven Friends Meeting offered the Spiritual Formation Program this year, beginning in March 2017 and ending in November 2017. Members of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Spiritual Formation Collaboration facilitated the program, along with Katherine Johnson. Katherine Johnson, Connie Crow, Dona Sorce, and Cynthia Quast provided oversight for the program, planning logistics for each retreat, monitoring the activities of the reading and small groups, and meeting regularly to ensure program quality. WMC is very grateful for these THFM members who worked so diligently to provide oversight, guidance, and logistical support for Spiritual Formation.
The Spiritual Formation Program offers components of retreats, personal spiritual disciplines, Quaker and associated readings, devotional groups, and prayerful support. These combine to provide a structured community in which each member may discern God's call and prepare to follow it. During the nine months, many insights and deep relationships are forged in this intimate exchange. Participants agree to participate in their small reading group and their smaller spiritual support group monthly and to attend each of the three retreats.
The program included the following dates:
- Interest session: November 20, 2016 and scheduled Jan 15, 2017
- Opening Retreat: Weekend of March 24-26, 2017 (Friday pm, Saturday, Sunday am)
- Midyear Gathering: Saturday June 3, 2017 (day)
- September Gathering (added on request by participants): Saturday September 23, 2017
- Closing Retreat: Weekend of November 17-19, 2017 (Friday pm, Saturday, Sunday am)
- Monthly Spiritual Friendship Gatherings
- Monthly Reading Group Meetings
Nineteen participants (18 from Third Haven) participated in the program. Third Haven Worship and Ministry is grateful for the PYM Spiritual Formation Collaboration for their wise and loving presence and leadership. Most especially, WMC acknowledges the spiritual gifts and personal commitment by Katherine Johnson, without whom the program could not have been conducted or been so meaningful to so many people and to the THFM community.
From January to August, Mark Beck facilitated monthly discussion sessions, open to the wider local community (starting at 6:15 pm, lasting for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Organized by Mark Beck, a program of sharing spiritual journeys has been reintroduced to THFM. Thus far, Gwen Beegle and Tom Corl have shared their experiences at the rise of meeting following a period of hospitality. About 20 people stayed for each session and these will continue in 2018.
Jung Dream Group
Catherine Cripps organized and facilitated the Jung Dream Group, under the care of the WMC. The group studies and reflects on texts by Carl Jung and works inspired by him. The group meets the 2nd Tuesday each month at 6:00pm in the Common room and uses readings, DVD's, workshops and outside speakers.
About half of the participants are from Third Haven. Several new names have been added to the email list. The Jung group is proving to be a good outreach program for the Meeting. Some in the group are practicing psychologists or therapists with very great experience with Jungian approaches to psychology and Spirituality. The Jung Dream Group will continue in 2018, 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.
First Day Conversations
Facilitated by Susan Dickinson, First Day Conversations (which began in 2016) continues to meet the First and Third First Days from 8:50-9:50 before meeting for worship. Topics are announced by Susan at the rise of meeting the week before. From 3 to 10 participants have joined the group discussions this year. Susan provides coffee and breakfast foods to accompany the conversations. WMC appreciates Susan's leading to organize and facilitate these conversations that serve to deepen and extend the spiritual experience and community of our Meeting.
Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck organized and facilitated Inward Bound on behalf of the WMC. Inward Bound is a silent retreat or quiet day held 4 times a year—in March, June, September and December. Participation varies between 5 to 12 participants and has drawn seekers from Third Haven as well as the local population and the Southern Quarter. Sessions run from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, including silent reflection, other silent activities, potluck lunch and worship sharing at the end.
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 Southern Quarterly Meeting, and occasionally participants from the wider community. Participants are encouraged to find Spirit-led activities that encourage listening for the Light within, reflection, reading and enjoying the grounds of Third Haven. Inward Bound will continue in 2018. The WMC is grateful to Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck for organizing these silent retreats.
Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles is an individualized, self-study curriculum that leads towards knowledge. Knowledge, as used in the Course, comes of itself when we meet its conditions. The condition of knowledge is peace, which can be taught and is the goal of the curriculum. The Course includes both a metaphysical framework and daily lessons for practical application. It uses forgiveness, to lead us beyond our own mistakes, our misperceptions, and ultimately our own misidentification towards acceptance of others and ourselves, as we truly are, brothers and sisters sharing the same journey, "a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed". The weekly discussion group meets Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm in the common room following silent worship. The group has been meeting for several years and is open to anyone with an interest in the Course. The group typically includes 3-4 members and usually takes summers off. Mike Pullen leads the group and the WMC encourage new participation. Nancy Robbins will be facilitating or cofacilitating in 2018.
John Turner has convened singing opportunities before meeting for worship, 9:15-9:45 on First Days, about one time a quarter. This has been suspended as a regular event.
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.