STATE OF SOCIETY REPORT 2009
Barnstable Friends Meeting
In 2009, Barnstable Friends Meeting celebrated the beginning of its fourth year of gathering for worship and business. What began as a fledgling group has become a family whose members love and care for one another. Our worship is deep and meaningful, and our outreach into the community truly is inspired by our inward leadings. We strive to be faithful to the certainty of Creator’s light and love in the individual’s soul.
We decided this year that each of us would write a personal statement describing the spiritual state of our meeting. The following statements are the outcome of that effort:
- Barnstable Friends Meeting is my spiritual home, and I mean this apart from the physical building that houses us, as special as the Burgess House certainly is. This past year I feel very strongly the presence of “seeking” within the meeting. During challenging and difficult times this question has often directed us: “What is it that Creator would have me do?”
- Our Meeting has become more cohesive as we accept each other and perceive our roles within our community. Although concerned about our status within the greater Quaker community, our angst has diminished and we proceed forward. I think the search for our path is honest and we do well.
- Just some small words of thanks for being open to the experiment of a mid-week meeting…Being in touch with this group of Friends has been very gratifying. While the 80 mile drive (RT) and Sunday meeting time presents some personal challenges, we have found there a place of peace, comfort and connection, and we are hoping to resume attendance of some Sunday meetings.
- As those present on first day settle down, a sense of communion permeates the room. The thoughtfulness and love generated carry over to the social time after meeting for worship. Discussions are thoughtful and well reasoned. The caring of each other is always evident. I feel that my spirit has been refreshed and that my strength to carry through another week has been replenished; I am thankful.
- It is most satisfying to worship with such dedicated Friends. It is obvious that the small, nine or ten, active members make a committed group but also a fragile entity: for it is conceivable that if a couple were to leave due to health or attrition we would most assuredly be concerned. Our clerk has been exemplary in expenditure of time, energy, physical needs, and spiritually all the while adhering to the proper proceedings as laid out in Faith and Practice.
- A passage in Faith & Practice, Chapter 1. The Quaker Message speaks of what I'm trying to say. “Since those early beginnings, Friends have continued to hold that their faith is one of first-hand experience of God in their lives. Spiritual life, they say, does not depend upon the acceptance of certain doctrines, nor … external authority in religion, because they feel that for them these do not serve the life of the spirit. … They seek to be obedient not only in the quiet gathering for worship together, or in their meeting for settling practical affairs, but also as they are led as a group to be concerned for those about them, particularly those suffering injustices or inequities. ” I feel so strongly and proudly that Barnstable Friends Meeting is so very grounded in this. I pray that Quarter will understand this about us, love this about us and welcome us as a monthly meeting.
- Barnstable Friends Meeting grounds me, and helps me remember to stay aware of The Light; the meeting provides me with friends on whom I can rely and a weekly sanctuary that spreads peace throughout my week.
- Barnstable Friends Meeting is the source of my spiritual strength. When I feel discouraged my heart and mind turns toward these Friends with whom I worship each Sunday. I feel restored. Like David in the psalm “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” It is this worshipping together that grounds my life as I feel present with Friends who love me with all my flaws. In those last few moments of silence before the hour hand hits 11 o'clock, I breathe deeply that stillness; for meeting is where I find the sustenance to continue the journey of service to Creator. A harmony is present without sound as in the following poem by a George School classmate.
- Words for the Silence, by Shmuel Klatzkin
We look forward in hope to the restoration of loving unity of all Friends on Cape Cod, and patiently attend the labors of Quarterly Meeting in achieving this goal. May the spirit of Love that binds Barnstable Friends to each other and the wider Quaker community of Friends bless all we encounter along our path of spiritual devotion.