Third Haven Friends Meeting Worship and Ministry Committee 2018 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.
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 2018 were: Mark Beck, Gwen Beegle, Susan Claggett, Tom Corl, Connie Crow, Catherine Cripps, Susan Dickinson, Jeanne Halpin, Katherine Johnson, John Turner, and Jonathan Slocum. In addition, for the WMC, Peg Walbert cares for the midweek meeting for worship. Mike Pullen and Nancy Robbins facilitate the Course in Miracles (see below). Gwen Beegle clerked the WMC this year. 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 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. 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. This year, WMC experimented with having greeters also announce their availability to receive and answer questions, with mixed response. An informal rather than formal method seemed most acceptable to the committee and meeting members.
The attendance at meeting for worship on First Day varies from week to week and month to month. Based on estimated counts, attendance averages 40-50, with as many as 60 at times. Midweek meeting attendance is estimated from 5-10 people weekly. Both meeting times regularly attract visitors.
Worship and Ministry Programs:
The WMC offered a variety of adult religious education opportunities, programs and activities in 2018, listed and described below. First are the regularly scheduled programs, followed by the religious education events and activities of 2018.
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 facilitates and supports these meetings, also providing coffee and breakfast pastries. The committee thanks Susan for her initiative to start and to continue these regular conversation opportunities, which draw from 3-8 participants each time. Topics have included loving kindness, gratitude, and mystical experience in Quaker faith.
Mark Beck organized this series of events, (approximately) monthly 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: Susan Dickinson (January), John Turner (February), Katherine Johnson (April), Heidi Wetzel (May), Paige Tilghman (June), Connie Crow (July), Mary Coady (August), Jeanne Halpin (October), Catherine Cripps (November) and John Schreiner (December). Approximately 20 people, or more, routinely attend 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.
Inward Bound Quiet Days:
Facilitated by Katherine Johnson and Candace Shattuck, these silent retreats were held on March 22, June 21, Sept 20, and (planned) December 20, 2018. 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. 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 2018, 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 studies and reflects on texts by Carl Jung and works inspired by him. The group meets the second Tuesday each month at 6:00pm in the common room and uses readings, DVD's, workshops and outside speakers. 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. Three members attended the Hayden Dream Conference in the summer.
Additional Religious Education Activities:
Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Formation Retreat:
As a result of the Spiritual Formation program in 2017, reading groups continue to meet. In addition, Katherine Johnson has joined the Spiritual Formation Collaborative at PYM. Through her efforts, 7 members and attenders of Third Haven attended the Spiritual Formation Retreat at Kenwood Retreat Center in Lebanon, PA, on October 12-14. The committee thanks Katherine for her leadership in these valuable efforts.
Bob Denison, from Chester River Friends Meeting provided a session on Quaker Spirituality and meditation, on February 25. Bob studied at Pendle Hill with Rex Ambler, author of the book, Light to Live By: An Exploration of Quaker Spirituality. Bob shared his use of meditation and its value as a Quaker practice.
Clearness Committee Education:
As a collaborative effort with the Pastoral Care Committee, a reading and study group met from March through September to learn about Clearness Committees and their use in Friends Meetings. The result was that on September 23, at the rise of meeting, WMC and Pastoral Care facilitated a one-hour discussion on key characteristics of the clearness process, which include spiritual leading, searching questions, silence, listening, and discernment. A follow up session included a clearness committee demonstration on September 30. Both sessions were well attended and meaningful for participants and for WMC members involved. In addition, a short paper and list of resources were developed as part of the study.
Faith and Practice:
Jonathan Slocum helped disseminate the 2018 PYM Faith and Practice to members and attenders. He took responsibility for both acquiring the copies and for ensuring a continuing supply for the Meeting's use. Many members have contributed toward the cost of the books. The WMC thanks Jonathan for this work on behalf of the Meeting.
This week, the WMC has reviewed this report and discussed the new Queries related to our worship, ministry, Spiritual nurture, and religious education roles and responsibilities in the Meeting. The practice of regularly discussing the quality of meeting for worship, including the vocal ministry and our collective Spiritual experience, should continue, with loving acceptance of difference and guided by the search for unity through inquiry. Regularly occurring programs, like First Day Conversations and Spiritual Journeys, provide opportunities for members and attenders to nurture and discuss their spiritual experiences with each other, to build community. Looking ahead, WMC anticipates that upcoming religious education will focus onFaith and Practice, Quaker processes, and Spiritual development and discernment. Finally, the WMC appreciates the opportunity to meet, to work, and to grow in our own spiritual journey as a part of our service to the Meeting.