Port Townsend Friends Meeting: 2008 State of the Meeting Report

During 2008, Port Townsend Friends Meeting grew and deepened, with a number of new
attenders joining our beloved community for worship. Our worship, in
silence and in voice, was rich and deep, with Friends frequently
experiencing a gathered meeting. The clerk ably led us in reviewing
the job descriptions of our committees. Friends joined committees
with a calling to pursue the goals of these committees.


The Religious Education Committee planned a weekend retreat with Stephen Matchett,
inviting Friends from Agate Passage Monthly Meeting, Whidbey Island,
Sequim and Lopez Island worship groups to join us. Going to the
Well: Encountering Early Quaker Writers, with a Focus on Barclay’s
Apology
; What Do 17th Century Friends Have to Say to Us Today? brought Friends together
in spiritual inquiry, study of Barclay’s Apology, the Bible
and story sharing.


Friends participated in a half-day of Bible study with Christine Hall, a spiritual
director from the Whidbey Island Worship Group.


Laboring about Owning a Meetinghouse was planned by the Ministry and Counsel and
Meetinghouse Committees as an interactive one-day retreat, including
time for people to draw their ideas for community and/or a
Meetinghouse for Port Townsend Friends Meeting. We spent time looking
at our gifts, joys and fears, and how the Meeting might resolve
conflict. We will continue to seek discernment in relation to a
Meetinghouse.


The Records Clerk beautifully completed the entries for our first six years as a
monthly meeting in our new roll book and organized the archives.


In May, we laid down the Religious Education Committee, until such time as children were
coming to the Meeting, and within a few months had a child attending.
Having children as a part of our Meeting is something we have wanted
for a number of years. We are happy to have a child and the
possibility of some other children, but getting a First-day School
committee started has taken longer than we anticipated. As one of our
members, says, “be careful what you wish for.” We also started a
communications committee to oversee our publicity, newsletter and
website, www.quaker.org/port-townsend
.


Members of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee were called to initiate and explore a
number of concerns and projects.


Tax Day turned into a fun, highly interactive leafletting session in front of the post
office, as we knew many of the people coming in and out. In addition,
our picture and an article appeared in the newspaper.


Our work on prioritizing concerns for FCNL was spirit-led and fruitful. We
forwarded the following priorities to FCNL:


  1. Replace military
    interventions with civilian initiatives to pursue national and
    global security by peaceful means—end the Iraq war, eliminate
    nuclear weapons and remove depleted uranium from the U.S. arsenal.
    (Port Townsend Friends live just 2 miles across Port Townsend Bay
    from Naval Magazine Indian Island, the west coast transshipment
    facility for D.U. and other munitions…)

  2. Provide universal
    healthcare insurance coverage for all Americans.
  3. Restore and
    protect civil liberties, including elimination of torture.

  4. Rescind legal
    provisions that grant publicly held corporations the rights of
    citizen “persons.”

  5. Work for energy
    independence that relies on conservation and non-nuclear and
    non-coal-burning power sources.

In Port Townsend, many are called to work for peace. We participate in the Port Townsend
Peace Movement. A number of collaborative events have grown out of
that movement. Nearly every year, a Port Townsend Peace Portrait is
taken and made into posters and cards. In 2008, the portrait was
taken in Carl Nomura’s field, which has a giant peace symbol plowed
into it. More than 10% of the population turned out to be in the
portrait. A visit to Naval Magazine Indian Island grew out of the
personal connections one of our attenders had been nurturing over a
number of years. Five of our members and attenders were part of a
group of eleven Port Townsend Peace Movement members which was
invited to tour Naval Magazine Indian Island as part of an ongoing
dialogue about depleted uranium and the other munitions stored there.
This tour and dialogue with the base commander was described as “an
extraordinary visit. Commander Whitbred had promised us an hour and
in fact spent four hours with the group. There was candid talk about
the munitions depot’s place in our country’s misguided foreign
policy and the gross disproportionality of the U.S. military spending
in the federal budget. There was a clear sense of meeting with human
beings at the base, not defensive or evasive functionaries.”


Eleven canoes from
2008 Tribal Canoe Journey stopped overnight in Port Townsend in July.
Friends helped in various informal ways to welcome the pullers and
their support teams.


We collaborated with other religious groups on providing a winter shelter for single
adults, including provision of food and night monitoring for our 2
weeks.


We were pleased that Joe Volk, FCNL Executive Director, would take the time in the middle
of a bicycle trip to give an exciting and informative talk on his
trips to China and Iran and what is happening with lobbying in
Washington, D.C. to a room packed with nearly 70 Port Townsend
citizens.


We held a number of meetings about prison reform, including lobbying with Senator
Hargrove on that topic. As a Meeting, we are moving toward some kind
of a post-prison project, with the goal of assisting people who have
been released from prison.

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