At our recent threshing session, aimed at getting input on the state of the meeting, one friend summed up the inner feelings of many regarding Meeting for Worship, its central place in the life of the meeting, and the value of the silent hour in strengthening the spiritual life of individuals and of the community as a whole.
Vocal ministry may be infrequent, but added “afterthoughts” can also be a helpful stimulus. “Seekers” meetings have been held on a variety of topics during the year. Regular visitation to the Ojai Worship Group has continued.
Meeting for Worship for the purpose of conducting business has been taking place every other month, but should be better attended.
The social life of the Meeting has flourished through annual events such as Christmas singing, the annual retreat, Friday night film shows and regular potluck lunches. We now have a pre-meeting sing along and a healing circle (both monthly).
Thanks to the efforts of many, our meetinghouse is well-maintained and supported, with useful additional income derived from temporary occupants, among whom are the ACLU board, the Threshold Choir and the breastfeeding support group, La Leche League. Many organizations like to make use of our space, including Pro-Youth Movement’s Juvenile Justice Committee! This is an important aspect of our outreach to a wider public, which is an ongoing concern.
The publication of the monthly newsletter (“Among Friends”) is highly valued, being far more than a mere calendar of past or future events. For example, a recent issue included an informative article on the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP), which highlighted our local connection with that wonderful enterprise.
Our witness to the world finds expression in other activities too, such as monthly protests at Vandenberg AFB, prison visitation and preparing meals at Transition House. Peace, Earthcare and Social Concerns Committee has sponsored work on immigration reform and is involved with Veterans For Peace on several initiatives, including the demilitarization of local schools. Two Friends volunteer at Cottage Hospital, Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.
Under the heading of religious education, it is satisfying to note that the weekly reading group continues under seasoned leadership. For those of more tender years, First Day School is thriving as never before, with its own welcoming space amply equipped, two teenage sisters alternating as teachers with regular oversight by adult helpers. The great event of the year has been the play presented by our young people, “The Trial of William Penn”, which was most successful despite the challenge of archaic legal language!
Also illustrated in this Report is another landmark event in our community life: a wedding celebrated under the care of the meeting, which was very special for being for the first time a same-gender union. We are also sponsoring a letter on marriage equality, to be brought before the whole meeting.
Our thanks to Nicholas and Margaret Dewey for compiling this report.