State of Society Report May 2015
Cannon Valley Friends Meeting
With deeply grateful hearts, Cannon Valley Friends held meeting for worship in our new meetinghouse for the first time on September 21, 2014—the International Day of Peace.
We have been blessed with two active four year olds in our First Day school this year. Their energy and joy have been a welcome gift. Our young teens regularly attend un-programmed worship, except on the fourth weekend of the month, when instead they have a presentation and discussion on a topic chosen by themselves and the Education and Communication committee. Students from St. Olaf and Carleton colleges regularly worship with us, and one college student has taken the lead in holding midweek meeting for worship on the Carleton campus twice a month. Our fully accessible meetinghouse has also made it possible for members in wheelchairs to attend meeting for worship with greater ease.
A focus this year has been on climate change and the environment. A Friends’ Forum was held on using energy efficient light bulbs, a film on climate change was shown in a public place which was well attended, and Friends are regularly encouraged to attend opportunities for education and involvement on this topic. The Meeting continues its support of long-standing vigils for peace and social justice at Bridge Square in the center of Northfield.
One attender has been corresponding with a man incarcerated at the Faribault prison who requested contact with a Quaker, and another member continues to facilitate Alternatives to Violence workshops at this prison.
Being in our new building has meant a great deal of practical work to be done as well. Some Friends have organized the planning of landscaping and a rain garden, and several work days were held when many hands helped with these tasks. A Friendly Loan was offered, enabling us to put a hardwood floor in the First Day School area when we discovered the subfloor was too dangerous to leave for a later floor installation. Volunteers will soon be returning to work on varnishing all the bare woodwork and installing wood trim throughout the meetinghouse, work that had to be suspended during the cold months.
A study group using Michael Birkel’s book Silence and Witness has been meeting. We have had two Spiritual Nurture groups that have met for a couple of years and will be having a second one day workshop in support of these groups in May, when Mike Resman will be present to guide us.
We were open for visitors during Northfield’s “Winter Walk” in December and many community members stopped by for a tour and activities. Cannon Valley Friends have been able to return to our practice of holding a monthly potluck for fellowship and conversation. We welcome visitors from Northern Yearly Meeting to join us! We are thankful for the generous support and warm interest of so many Friends across the country, including individuals and Meetings within NYM and the yearly meeting itself, during this process of building a meetinghouse.