April 13, 2014
Port Townsend Friends Meeting is a community of 16 active members, and 10 regular attenders. On most First Days we have 15 to 20 people gathered for Meeting for Worship. Our Meetings have been rich and deep with inspired vocal ministry. We also have a midweek Meeting for Worship with a small and committed group.
We have organized Spiritual Nurture Groups as an outgrowth of our retreat in November, 2012. Four groups have each set their own agenda and frequency of meeting. Our hope is that these groups will continue to provide a place for spiritual growth and inspiration for ministry.
Meeting House Committee has continued to explore various opportunities to find a home of our own. We have looked at properties and considered sharing space with other groups.
Members of our Meeting continue to play a major part in providing planning and logistical support for the annual Canoe Journey for Native American youth. Over 250 community volunteers worked together on this program, which speaks to long-standing Friends concerns to empower Native Americans.
We are active in the greater Port Townsend community, participating along with other members of the faith community and other agencies, in the program to feed and shelter the homeless. We cooperated this year with the congregations of the local synagogue and the Buddhist community. This fall we met with St. Herman’s Eastern Orthodox Church to plan our week together in January, 2014. We provided night monitors in addition to cooking and serving the evening meal and providing an early breakfast and bagged lunches.
Our Peace and Social Concerns committee is involved locally, regionally, nationally and internationally in a number of activities and concerns. Some members participate in a weekly demonstration at the Indian Island Munitions Depot and some of us have taken part in Anti-Trident Vigils at the Bangor Naval Base. Other members are involved in Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (including attending Quaker Lobby Day in Olympia), Washington Coalition against the Death Penalty, Friends Committee on National Legislation, American Friends Service Committee, Friends for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Concerns, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quaker United Nations Organization and Friends General Conference.
In September, Meeting oversaw the first wedding under our care. The bride is a member of San Francisco Meeting, the groom a member of Port Townsend Meeting. The wedding was a joy to both meetings!
The Meeting approved a scholarship and organized a January 2014 yard sale raising additional money, so that we could send a member of or Meeting to Pendle Hill for the spring 2014 term. We look forward to rich spiritual rewards, to be shared upon her return.
At our annual Christmas party we enjoyed a marvelous potluck, followed by “sharing from the Spirit” which provided fellowship and insight into each other’s spiritual journeys.
In the fall we planned the Quarterly Meeting with Whidbey Island Meeting. We also celebrated with them the first anniversary of their becoming a Monthly Meeting.
Singing before Meeting has long been an integral part of our worship. Unfortunately, to the sorrow of many, singing has become sporadic in the absence of enough piano playing Friends to lead us. We appreciate the written weekly announcements online which help keep us organized.
The membership of our group has changed this year. We have lost several beloved members to moves and other meetings, and have gained several new members and attenders. We have struggled to fill our committee positions. Our Meeting is like a tree trunk, with many of the old branches missing, but with new, smaller branches thriving and taking the place of the older ones. We have been growing spiritually in this time of transition.