Third Haven Friends Meeting
State of the Meeting Report 2021
Third Haven Friends Meeting remains a vibrant community of Quakers. In 2021, we continued our hybrid (in-person and Zoom) services for worshiping together, meeting in committees and gathering for memorial services. We will continue to provide virtual options for the foreseeable future. In caring for the safety and comfort of each other, we follow local Covid guidelines for our social distancing and masking recommendations. Hoping to accommodate as many Friends as possible, we continue to discuss and improve our technology, accessibility, and safety measures.
Locally, we joined nearby Asbury United Methodist Church to assist them with their historic renovation project. Because of this collaboration, we decided to become sister churches, hoping to forge our connections in 2022. Finally, we are happy to get back on schedule with our Planning Committee efforts and hope to hire an architect and move forward improving our building and grounds, facilities and land use.
The following provides a summary of Third Haven Friends Meeting and committee activities.
Our Pastoral Care Committee has worked diligently this year to make sure members and attenders are regularly contacted and connected. Some people have experienced more than their share of difficulties: including financial burdens, mental health issues, family crises, and personal losses. The Committee continues to deal with these individual hardships with compassion and care. Pastoral Care contacts members and attenders regularly and sends Christmas cards to all on our mailing list. The Committee buys gifts for the children of First Day School families. Pastoral Care keeps updates on our memorial intentions file and plans gatherings such as our new member and attender lunch, now planned for 2022. Pastoral Care has recently updated our guide to membership pamphlet.
Worship and Ministry
During the first half of 2021, the Meeting conducted meeting for worship mostly on Zoom. We all found ways to center and find spirit together during these unusual times. We all felt joyous gathering in the Old Meeting House, together in person when the weather turned warm. At meeting for worship, the Committee members are responsible for being weekly greeters and reading the Query aloud each month. Worship and Ministry often holds adult religious educational opportunities. A recent example of this was the worship sharing held on 10 th month 31st with emphasis on committee work. Another well received monthly offering is the sharing of individual spiritual journeys. This activity builds understanding and strengthens community. This Committee, along with Pastoral Care, began special Holding in the Light services on Zoom in late 2020. For the upcoming year, the Committee is excited to sponsor another educational opportunity for deepening the spirit in developing Trust Circles.
Testimonies and Concerns
The Testimonies and Concerns Committee began working in person as soon as conditions with the Pandemic improved. Although Friends continued to collect for local food pantries throughout 2020, in person interactions came to a standstill. However, in 2021, Friends were allowed back into a local homeless shelter, Talbot Interfaith Shelter, as well as the Talbot County Detention Center Library. The Committee also worked on a Giving Guide for Meeting and individual donations highlighting organizations that practice one or more of our Testimonies. With a Meeting international education fund established some years ago, the Committee appropriated money to the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund, the Patmos School in Guatemala, and the Agricultural Education Project in Puerto Rico. Testimonies and Concerns approved donations towards renovations for Asbury United Methodist Church in Easton. Our representatives to Quaker Voice kept the Meeting up to date on important legislative issues in Annapolis. A dedication of our new Peace Pole in memory of Ralph Young took place on the grounds in June. Many community members attended the event as a beautiful wooden handmade pole with "Let Peace Prevail on Earth" inscribed in 4 languages found a permanent home on our grounds in a garden of plants symbolizing peace. This year, we will be joining Food Link volunteers, looking into food insecurity in our area, continuing the Peace Vigil and recruiting volunteers to work in our local shelter.
Property and Grounds
Property and Grounds completed several projects this year. New doors were made and installed on the 1880 Brick Meetinghouse. Rejuvenation pruning on a large rhododendron helped improve moisture and light issues inside the Brick Meetinghouse. Windows that have long been tightly closed have been unstuck improving ventilation inside the Brick Meetinghouse. The Trustees financed and carried out extensive historic restorations in the Old (1684) Meetinghouse. Much of this work is being done by well-known experts in historical restoration. The plaster and graffiti in the attic space are now cleaned and stabilized. The windows are being repaired and repainted. Issues with drainage and moisture underneath the building have been addressed. This coming year, Property and Grounds plans to focus on land use planning, prioritizing accessibility and safety issues.
Although use of our facilities came to a standstill during the Pandemic, the facilities use committee stayed busy. The meeting purchased a corporate Zoom account and used a well-organized calendar to schedule events using the same meeting account for most meetings to simplify and avoid conflict. The buildings are open and now being used on a case-by-case basis. Our calendar is updated weekly on paper and online. Hospitality Now that we are back together in person, we have begun holding hospitality weekly after our meeting for worship.
The Scholarship Committee offers scholarships to Friends attending college and secondary school. Scholarships are double when the student is attending a Quaker school. This past year, the committee gave $3500 to 5 students.
First Day School
Throughout the Pandemic, our families visited virtually. However, this June, First Day School met outside to help plant flowers for the Peace Pole Ceremony. In July, First Day School held outdoor camp and in September, First Day School started meeting in person once monthly. We now have 5-7 families and usually 5-8 children participating. On Moving Up Day in June, we honored 5 children graduating from middle school, high school, and college. A big thanks to Melinda Wenner-Bradley and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for helping families and kids stay connected during lockdown.
Budget and Finance
This fiscal year (July-June), our total income equaled 99.6% and total expenses 91.5% of our approved budget leaving us over $5,000 of net income. We continue to maintain a diligent eye on our expenses and gently remind Friends of their financial responsibility to the Meeting with a biannual letter.
We acknowledge or deep appreciation of both Nominating Committee and Communications Committee for the ongoing work they do to keep all the rest of us functioning smoothly and seamlessly. Outreach Committee resumed its work this year. Outreach committee has kept up with advertising the meeting for worship and started a monthly introduction to Quakers for the public.
A couple of years before the pandemic, our meeting for worship averaged around 60-65. During the Pandemic, we lost several regular attendees at meeting for worship and active participants in the life of the Meeting. Some deaths occurred and some moved away, often older members to be closer to children. At present, we have about 45-50 attending hybrid meeting for worship, on First Day. With First Day School more regular now, more families with children are attending. We have several new attenders. We hope attendance will grow as the Pandemic wanes. We currently have 148 Members on our records.
Although we may be slightly less in numbers this year, we have grown closer in community with a desire to continue as a vibrant Quaker community for many years to come.