Friends began to use queries to ascertain the state of Society only a few
years after its founding in England. The first set of such questions
to be asked of monthly meetings read as follows:
Which Friends in service to the Society, in their respective regions,
departed this life since the last Yearly Meeting?
Which Friends, imprisoned on account of their testimony, died in prison
since the last Yearly Meeting?
How among Friends did Truth advance since last Yearly Meeting and how do
they fare in relation to peace and unity?
Faith and Practice, North Pacific Yearly Meeting
During the calendar year 2005, Port Townsend Friends Meeting pondered many
such queries. While we can report that no one from our meeting has been
imprisoned on account of their testimony during the year, we are concerned
about others whose testimony has resulted in imprisonment.
Friends in Port Townsend were busy in many spirit-led activities as we
discerned the way forward. Each week on First Day Friends gather at
the Port Townsend Community Center for silent worship. Singing
precedes worship every week. Our meeting now lists 23 members, but
is joined by many regular attenders and guests to bring our weekly
attendance to about thirty. In light of our continued growth, we
have moved to the larger room at the community center. This room not
only allows for more chairs, but is more open and pleasant. A new
wooden cabinet on wheels was constructed by three of our meeting’s
carpenters to house our library, and allow for its display each week.
What a convenience just to roll our portable library/office out each
First Day morning and to open its shelves and "desk top"
for use by our members and attenders! Our new phone number provides
information on worship times.
Mary Welch, a founding member of the meeting, departed this life on
February 18, 2006. She was a teacher and proponent of peace who
inspired many. A memorial was held to celebrate her life on February
24, 2006, in Sequim, Washington.
Two new members joined the meeting: Phoebe Huffman by
convincement in March 2005, and Katy Festinger by transfer from Mendocino
Monthly Meeting (California) in June 2005.
Following a meeting retreat held in mid-January 2005, a meetinghouse committee
was established to further our interest in finding a permanent
meeting place. By the end of 2005, a fund had been started to
receive donations and pledges. As we considered a potential move into a
physical space of our own, we continued to hold in the light the beloved
community we have come to be for one another.
In October, a mid-week meeting for worship began, and is well attended.
Throughout the year we have learned from each other and grown as a meeting
community. At our monthly potlucks we have heard the spiritual
journeys of several Friends. In addition, we have discussed many
other topics of spirituality and peace at potlucks and at monthly
education presentations, including “Experimenting with the Light”
and Yearly Meeting structure. We have crafted poems together, and
celebrated in many ways. Book groups have met to discuss Quaker
related books. Other informal gatherings have brought Friends
together to share food and conversation. Care committees have met
with Friends to help them through difficult times. We have grown as
a meeting, not only in numbers, but in our depth and understanding of
Olympic Conscientious Objectors Group became its own organization through the
efforts of many who attend meeting. They have established a presence
in the local high schools, and are a point of contact for young
people who are seeking an alternative to military enlistment.
Gathering together on Easter Sunday 2005, Friends from Port Townsend Friends
Meeting decorated tiles that would be glazed with the word ‘peace’ in dozens of
languages and put on a ceramic dove. Thus, Freda, the “Peace Dove” was born.
Freda, who was crafted by Friend Phoebe Huffman, made her debut at the Quaker booth
at the local Earth Day festival in April. Since then she has been to
many venues inspiring peace and hope. More words of peace–like
‘justice, ‘ human rights,’ , ‘diplomacy,’ ‘honesty,’ ‘respect,’ and
‘earthcare’–also found their way onto tile-covered "peace
balls.” These peace balls, inspired by Friend Bob Schultz, have
made their way to Yearly Meeting Annual Session, and to FCNL and the
William Penn House in Washington, D.C. Following a leading of Friend
Mary Welch, shortly before her death, a "peace ball" from
the Meeting is soon to be sent to Kosovo, in cooperation with young
Kosovars Leart Zherka and Jetmir Bakija, whom Mary had befriended and
Meeting raised money, including a garage sale, to support Friend Beth Cahape
in attending Pendle Hill. She has been sojourning at Pendle Hill for
the year starting in September.
In addition to being active in the local meeting, Friends have
participated in activities at Yearly Meeting, Quarterly Meeting,
clerking workshops, FGC, FCNL and Pendle Hill. Many have been active
in planning the Spring 2006 Quarterly Meeting (along with Friends
from Whidbey Island Worship Group). Others have been involved in
planning for the upcoming Friends General Conference Gathering to be
held in Tacoma next summer.
In summary, the past year has been a time of growth, both in numbers
participating in the life of our meeting community and in the depth
and variety of our discernments about our corporate life. Our
meeting fares well in these times of war and conflicts, and we pray