The deepening of our experience of the Spirit and the strengthening of the loving bonds of community
among us continue to be the linchpins of the Port Townsend Friends Meeting, and the support we show
one another in times of trouble continue to define the core strength of our Meeting.
One such time of trouble came early in the year when we once again had to face the passing of one of
our beloved members, Lauren Erickson. We were blessed beforehand with the opportunity to
participate in a joyous celebration of her life with Lauren present, shining her Light upon all of us from
her hospital bed in the center of a loving crowd of friends and family —a celebration that was echoed a
couple of months later at her memorial service.
In 2012 we also marked our tenth anniversary as a monthly meeting with a daylong retreat in early
November, where we explored ways to deepen our worship and nurture our Spirits. Whidbey Island
Friend Chris Hall, whose creation of the Way of the Spirit program we have supported, met with us
during the morning and led us in exercises to deepen our listening and share in prayerful ways. Then
Kristi Rozdilsky of University Meeting led a helpful exercise on identifying the achievements and
spiritual development we envision for the coming months and years.
Inspired by the workshop, many of us are now participating in small spiritual nurture groups, which are
meeting regularly to explore personal spiritual paths and growth.
This was also the year that the Whidbey Island Worship Group, which had been under our care, went
through the process of becoming the Whidbey Island Monthly Meeting. Watching and participating in
the maturation of this solid worship community has been a valuable experience for Port Townsend
A statistical analysis compiled in October, 2012, by the Records Clerk of membership and attendance
in our first decade is worthy of quoting at length here:
“ …Although we continue to be an active Meeting involved in our community as well as providing
care for our members and nourishing our spiritual life, our membership numbers are at present
declining…rather than continuing to grow as they did at first. We have not been able to support a first
day school and currently we have no children among us.
“…Of more concern is the aging of our members and attenders and the fact that so many of our
members because of age or ill health are no longer able to participate actively with the business of the
Meeting as well as be present at Meeting for Worship. The average age…of our total membership is
“…Because of age, illness or the impact of significant life changes, only twelve members are still able
to participate fully in all aspects of our life as a meeting. We are therefore very grateful for the
attenders who are able and willing to carry responsibilities. Sadly a number of regular attenders who
were very active in the Meeting in years past and who contributed greatly to its vitality are no longer
attending or active. Some are no longer connected. The significance of these difficult changes can be
felt throughout the Meeting.”
We are grateful for the challenges as they remind us of our love for one another and have given us
many opportunities to provide support and sustenance for one another.
With great joy we welcomed the transfer of one new active member, Cathy Thomas. We also sadly
released from membership two members, Ellie Mathews and Carl Youngmann, who stated they were
not active enough to remain members of the Meeting.
These difficulties notwithstanding, PTFM continued in 2012 actively to bear witness to our Quaker
Testimonies, including our participation in the Winter Shelter, Earth Day, and the Canoe Journey as a
regular part of our year. We remained deeply connected to the wider community of Friends. Our
dedicated Peace and Social Concerns and Adult Education Committees work hard; in 2012 we
sponsored a full schedule of educational and spiritual nurture opportunities both for Friends and for the
community at large. Most notable was FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall’s visit, which filled
our meeting room with excited townspeople.
We both participate and engage at a leadership level with such organizations as the Friends Committee
on Washington Public Policy, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Friends World
Committee for Consultation, and the Quaker Women’s Theology Conference. Various members and
attenders attend Quarterly and Yearly Meeting, Friends for Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Queer
Concerns Midwinter Gathering, FCWPP’s Quaker Lobby Day in Olympia, and the Friends General
Conference. One of our members even travelled to Kenya in 2012 for the Friends World Gathering, and
brought a report back to the meeting, helping us to feel closely linked to the worldwide Quaker
The challenges faced by the Port Townsend Friends Meeting remain much the same as they were last
year: a small membership and the lack of a permanent home. But progress is being made on the latter
front, and there is a strong feeling of optimism that movement there could well give rise to an upsurge
in attendance and interest. Overall, despite our small numbers, we feel very fortunate to have each
other and to be a part of the larger Quaker community. Our sense of commitment to one another is
strong. We are a community that actively cares for each other, with many active care committees. Our
worship continues to deepen, and we are possessed of a quiet optimism that the Light will see us
through, with brighter days ahead.