Third Haven Friends Meeting Worship and Ministry Committee 2019 Annual
Prepared for Meeting for Business, 12th month 8th day, 2019
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.
In addition, the WMC is charged with thoughtful consideration of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) Faith and Practice Queries, related to our purpose: (1) Deepening Our Faith: Meeting for Worship, (2) Deepening Our Faith: Spiritual Nurture, and (5) Nurturing Our Community: Religious Education in the Home and Meeting.
Worship and Ministry Committee:
The participating members of the WMC for 2019 were: Mark Beck, Gwen Beegle, Susan Claggett, Tom Corl, Connie Crow, Catherine Cripps, Susan Dickinson, Jeanne Halpin, Katherine Johnson, Nancy Robbins, John Turner, and Jonathan Slocum. Gwen Beegle clerked the WMC this year and Katherine Johnson served as assistant clerk. The WMC met monthly at the rise of meeting for worship on fourth day after the first First Day, except for the 7th and 8th months. Members attended WMC meetings regularly and actively supported 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. We regularly and thoughtfully consider the quality of meeting for worship, vocal ministry, silence, afterthoughts and the rise of meeting for worship. We believe that members, attenders, newcomers, and visitors find meetings for worship meaningful and spiritually rejuvenating.
WMC provides greeters for each week's meeting for worship, who read the 12 topical queries from Faith and Practice monthly. Greeters also replenish brochures and are careful to reach out to newcomers and visitors.
The attendance at meeting for worship on First Day varies from week to week and month to month. A recent census of meeting attendance during the month of November yielded the following information regarding attendance at First Day meeting for worship: 11.3: 69 adults, 10 children; 11.10: 50 adults, 4 children; 11.17: 68 adults, 8 children; 11.24: 71 adults, 7 children. The mid-week meeting attendance is generally between 4-12.
Worship and Ministry Programs:
The WMC offered adult religious education programs and activities in 2019, listed and described below, with a wide variety of types of opportunities for adults in the Third Haven Friends Meeting community focused on understanding Friends' religious practices, deepening spiritual lives of individual members, and responding to issues that arise within the Meeting which can be addressed through religious education.
Quakerism 101 for Third Haven Friends Meeting
The Worship and Ministry Committee studied prior offerings of Quakerism 101 and contemplated the topics to be included in this educational series. Committee members then met together to plan a version of Quakerism 101 which was held in the fall of 2019. There were 6 sessions, each about 75 minutes in length, held at the rise of meeting after hospitality (11:45-1:00):
- Introduction to Quakerism, September 22, facilitated by Gwen Beegle and Katherine Johnson
- Faith, September 29, facilitated by Susan Claggett and Jonathan Slocum
- Testimonies, October 6, facilitated by Mark Beck and Gwen Beegle
- Witness and Action, October 27, facilitated by Jeanne Halpin with support by Connie Crow and Gwen Beegle
- History, November 3, facilitated by Tom Corl and Adrienne Rudge
- Meeting Community, November 17, facilitated by Katherine Johnson and Nancy Robbins.
THFM purchased two books (The Quaker Way: A Rediscovery (2013) by Rex Ambler and Letters to a Fellow Seeker (2012) by Steve Chase) and a pamphlet (PHP #307 Beyond Consensus: Salvaging the Sense of the Meeting by Barry Morley) for participants. A course outline was developed, including queries, an outline, and recommended preparation for each session. Each session included options for preparation, to include book chapter, blogs, or QuakerSpeak videos on the topic. The course outline was posted on the Third Haven website and distributed as part of a course packet for participants. Session attendance ranged from 21-29 persons, with a total of 42 members and attenders of Third Haven taking part in one or more of the sessions. Feedback from participants will be gathered from a program evaluation, currently being planned by Nancy Robbins. Course materials will be collected in a binder and housed in the Worship and Ministry section of the Clerk's closet.
Spiritual Formation 2
The Spiritual Formation Program at Third Haven was facilitated by the PYM Collaborative in 2017. This nine-month program consisted of three large group weekend retreats, monthly book groups and small friendship groups that met monthly for nine months. One of the book groups continued to meet through Spring of 2019. Based on the desire by this group to continue and to involve others, a Reunion Retreat was held on June 23, 2019, with approximately 25 participants. The Reunion was planned for the 2011 and 2017 Spiritual Formation program participants by the 2017 Oversight Committee: Connie Crow, Dona Sorce, Cynthia Quast and Katherine Johnson. Energy was positive to continue Spiritual Formation styled activities as result of the Reunion. Beginning in August, 2019, the following groups were organized and began to meet. Members of the Meeting were invited to attend organizational and subsequent meetings, as appropriate to the activities. There is a lead organizer for each group, and the oversight for these activities is held by the Worship and Ministry Committee. The following groups are ongoing:
- Light Meditation Group meets twice monthly in the evening, based on the work of Rex Ambler and his book, Light to Live By. Bob Denison of Chester River Meeting facilitated the first meeting of the group. Gwen Beegle is the organizer of this group, which is attended by 4-8 individuals each meeting. This opportunity is announced regularly and additional participants are encouraged to attend.
- Spiritual Friends Group is composed of 8 members who were randomly partnered to create Spiritual Friends. Members of the group decided to meet periodically to touch base with each other, while pairs of two friends meet generally once a week or every other week to discuss their spiritual journeys, life opportunities and challenges. The large group met in August, September, November, and has a meeting planned for January 9th, 2020. Work is based on the Pendle Hill Pamphlet #345, More than Equals, Spiritual Friendships by Trish Roberts. Bob Day is the coordinator for group meetings.
- Reading Groups: There were two reading groups formed, and members of the Meeting were invited to join these. Groups meet monthly and individually determined their meeting guidelines. Each group selects books to read and then discuss the following month. The Thursday evening book group is announced to the meeting regularly to invite participants. This group has read: Rex Ambler's The Quaker Way and Rex Ambler's Living In Dark Times. Bob Wack organized the first meeting and subsequent organization has been shared by Gwen Beegle. Participants take turns facilitating the book discussions.
Mark Beck organized this series of opportunities for Third Haven Friends Meeting members to share their lifelong experiences with and reflections on Spirituality. The following persons shared their experiences this year: Lorraine Claggett (January), Mary Yancy (February), Dee Rein (March), Dona Sorce (April), Jon Slocum (May), Larnie Claggett (June), Clay Owens (July), Amy Owsley (August), Mike Pullen (November) and Steve Meixner (December). Approximately 20 -25 people attended these sessions, showing the Meeting's support and appreciation to hear about the Spiritual lives of our members. The WMC thanks each person who shared and Mark Beck for inviting each speaker.
First Day Conversations:
These 50-minute opportunities for topical discussions are held before Meeting for Worship on the first and third First Days, except during the summer months. Susan Dickinson and Bill Schauer facilitate and support these meetings, also providing coffee and breakfast pastries. The committee thanks Susan and Bill for their work to provide these regular conversation opportunities, which draw from 3-8 participants each time.
Inward Bound Quiet Days:
Facilitated by Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck, these silent retreats were held on March 21, June 20, Sept 19, and (planned) December 12, 2019. Each day (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) offers a day of listening for the Light within, contemplation, reading, walking the grounds, writing, and self-chosen art activities. A Light Meditation was experienced during the September Inward Bound. Participants share a silent potluck lunch and end each session with a short sharing session. 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. The group typically includes 4-8 members and usually takes summers off. The weekly discussion group meets Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm in the common room following silent worship and includes persons from the community. Topics of the course are peace, forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves and each other as brothers and sisters. Mike Pullen and Nancy Robbins co-facilitated the group in 2019, and the WMC thanks them.
Jung Dream Group:
Catherine Cripps organized and facilitated the Jung Dream Group, under the care of the WMC. The group meets twice monthly to discuss readings and dreams with a focus on the spiritual import of dream work. The WMC appreciates Catherine's work to organize and facilitate the Jung Group, both an addition to WMC programs and serving the wider local community.
Spiritual Formation Retreat
Katherine Johnson represents the Meeting and the Quarter on the PYM Spiritual Formation Collaborative. She was instrumental in planning and facilitating the PYM Spiritual Formation Retreat October 12-14, 2019 at Kenbrook Conference Center. Twenty people attended. The committee thanks Katherine for her leadership in these valuable efforts.
Susan Claggett facilitated a Worship Sharing on the topic of Faith on January 27, which enabled members of the community to participate in and learn about this valuable Quaker practice. Twelve people attended.
Decision-Making in the Manner of Friends
Tom Corl facilitated this session on February 17. Tom has provided similar information at Third Haven in 2004 and 2013, and he has written and updated a paper on the topic, which was the focus of the discussion. Between 20 and 25 people attended this session.
Discernment of the Guidance of the Spirit
Katherine Johnson facilitated this session with support from Worship and Ministry Committee members. About 20 people attended this session, and each person shared their thoughts and experiences as part of this discussion.
Meeting members may not be aware that the quality of our meeting for worship is regularly discussed and prayerfully contemplated each month by this Committee of Friends. The goal of the activities and programs undertaken by the Committee is to enrich the spiritual lives and experiences of THFM members and attenders.
This has been an active year for the Committee, with a strong focus on religious education and opportunity for adult conversations focused on spiritual life in Quaker communities. We believe there is a wider variety of opportunities for individuals to learn, to share and to deepen their understanding and participation in spiritual conversations as a result of the work of the committee and the committed individuals who organize or facilitate the programs and activities.
Most of the regularly scheduled opportunities will continue into 2020. A major goal for next year is the maintenance and updating of the Worship and Ministry related material on the Third Haven Friends Meeting website.