Port Townsend Friends Meeting is still relatively young and we are
learning as we go. One major 2009 theme has been looking inward. We
have six active care committees and were asked to hold a number of
clearness committees for various members and attenders. We held two
creative conflict resolution sessions. We found these shared games
and activities helpful in addressing our hope to view conflict as a
rainstorm that comes and goes, that fulfills a vital purpose and then
moves on. We talked about who we missed (people who are no longer
coming to Meeting) and identified following up on them as one of our
key priorities. Another priority is unmet needs for eldering. Our
third priority is addressing business meeting issues, including
getting lost in details and differences of opinion. Eldering and
nurturing our gifts, gently bringing us back to the spiritual basis
of meeting for business and checking in with people we miss are
ongoing concerns for Ministry and Counsel Committee and the Clerk.
During 2009, we added three new members and our beloved Belle Zimmerman
died. We began a photography project in order to get pictures of all
of our members and attenders for our archives.
Whidbey Island Worship Group is under our care and actively participated with
us in planning the Fall 2009 Quarterly Meeting with the theme of Wild
Earth Wild Mind Wild Heart, culminating in calling a Council of All
Another major theme is to look outward as well. We carry concerns on our
hearts, particularly about Palestine, prison issues, and Naval
Magazine Indian Island (a facility based very near Port Townsend). We
are grateful for our vital Peace and Social Concerns Committee. They
take the lead in addressing these concerns.
We have had educational sessions on the situation for prisoners in
Washington state and lobbied our legislators on this issue. One of
our members testified for re-establishing voting rights for
ex-felons. This was one of the few positive bills which passed the
Washington state legislature in 2009, thanks in part to the
continuing lobbying from Friends around the state.
On Nagasaki Day (August 9th), we held a vigil across from the Naval
Magazine Indian Island gate. This is the major armament facility for
the west coast of the United States. We expect to invite other
churches in our area to help us make this an annual event that
recognizes this depot is a deliverer of suffering and death. We
minuted our concern about the navy’s plans to increase military
training in our Hood Canal area.
On Quaker lobby day in Olympia, a member who had lost his job because of
the economic downturn spoke with his legislator, Lynn Kessler,
saying, “I’m one of the people that you need to come up with an
answer for.” The group also talked with her about green issues and
she accepted the FCWPP (Friends Committee on Washington Public
Policy) issue sheet. Her positive response showed us yet again that
it pays to do person-to-person lobbying.
From January through May, we released Friend Bob Schultz to be a circuit
rider for FCNL, providing a travelling minute that read, in part:
The weight of this concern is close to [Bob’s] heart, and has become a
calling for him. He has . . . received our Meeting’s consent that
he be released from his current committee responsibilities so he can
follow this spiritual calling in support of FCNL.”
Bob visited 13 meetings across Washington state, from Lopez Island and
Friday Harbor to the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla, telling FCNL’s
story. Events also included a how-to-lobby workshop, three talks to
non-Quaker community groups and a radio interview. He met with 283
attendees and collected 80 new names of potential FCNL
donor-activists. Our Meeting grew with this shared leading.
We continue to support the region’s Tribal Canoe Journey and Jefferson
County’s ecumenical winter homeless shelter. For a week in January,
we provided two night monitors per night and dinner, breakfast and a
sack lunch for about 25 shelter residents.
We are moving forward slowly in the direction of an owned Meetinghouse.
We made a decision to pursue formal incorporation as a Washington
state nonprofit and as a 501c3. Our Meetinghouse Committee is
following up on responses we received to an article about our
interest in a Meetinghouse which appeared in the newspaper.
Port Townsend Friends Meeting is excited that we are maturing and evolving
as a Meeting. Like a good team of oxen, we are learning to pull
together and throughout this process we celebrate our spiritual