“Our Meeting is . . . rich and vigorous. We are small in number but we are a welcoming community and our committees and other members are tireless in trying to broaden and expand and deepen our own commitment to the life of Meeting as well as invite others to join us.” (Quotation from a member survey conducted early in the year)
This year saw a strengthening in attendance especially in meeting for worship with attention to business. The presence of an appointed elder has ensured that we are more spirit-led and conscious of discernment during our proceedings. The same deliberate process was evident in restructuring our committees with new members thanks to the efforts of the Nominating Committee.
Through guidance by Ministry and Counsel (M & C) we have better teamwork among the major committees and there has been a spiritual deepening of our worship practices. Members of M & C continued to lead monthly worship-sharing sessions on the Advices and Queries. In January a special effort was made to introduce both newcomers and returning Quakers to customary ways in meeting for worship with such topics as “Sitting in Silence” and “The Gathered Meeting”. M & C and the Nominating Committee took a lead role in firming up the structure of our committees by approving job descriptions for each position.
The Meetinghouse Committee strengthened our sense of community through work parties and by planning our exterior spaces. The Port Townsend Public School District started negotiations with the Meetinghouse Committee and the Clerk of the Meeting to enable the use of our parking lot by the nearby elementary school.
Outreach Committee produced a series of Meetinghouse Concerts. We invited the community and charged a donation admission (no one turned away). Purchase of a better piano has given us additional concert options.
The Finance Committee has helped the Meeting understand and face the budgetary challenges of moving into a new facility, building a kitchen, and paying down our mortgage. This has been accomplished through Meetinghouse Concerts and the increased rental use of our building.
Meeting reconstituted the Peace and Social Concerns Committee (P & SC). The committee has provided dynamic leadership and has rekindled enthusiasm in social service and witness, led by our Testimonies. Several official Minutes, shepherded by P & SC were approved: a Gender Identity Minute on inclusiveness of LGBT Friends, a Minute on our intention of developing a Carbon Tithe Program, a Minute in support of Standing Rock, and a Quaker Earthcare Witness Minute. We hosted a post-election gathering of parents and children to allow a space for people to express emotions and concerns about the election
We are delighted that a few children are attending our First Day School. We are still working on how to encourage more attendance for our developing vibrant program.
Our oldest member Margaret (Peg) Stark died at the age of 99. Her memorial meeting was well attended by members, family and friends, who traveled from near and far to honor her, and a Memorial Minute for her was entered into our newly created Book of Memorial Minutes. Finally, we joyously added a new member, Tom Butts, to our Meeting.