Duluth-Superior Friends Meeting greets Friends in Northern Yearly Meeting and beyond. We meet for worship each First Day at 10 a.m. Our Faith and Practice study group meets weekly before Meeting for Worship. Community singing precedes worship on first and third First Days each month. Potluck follows worship on third First Days. Fourth First Day Forum occurs most months. We note increased and steady attendance at Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business on first First Days. We cherish the fellowship we share before, during, and after worship, and we welcome visitors. In keeping with the theme of our annual spring retreat – Varieties of Friends’ Ministries – we contemplate how our faith speaks within our Meeting, in our immediate community, and to the wider world.
A new attender shares that a “real strength of the Meeting is its ability to integrate newcomers into the life of the community.” We strive to achieve this. The major focus of our Ministry and Counsel committee this year was to provide a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for visitors, Friends new to the Meeting, and Friends at a distance. We seek better ways to connect with one another. Our annual Mesaba Park retreat helps in this regard, and was well attended last July by Friends from around the area.
The prime focus of our Peace and Social Concerns committee this year was understanding and responding to hard rock mining activities in our region. The committee guided us in research online, in print and in person with experts in the area. This led us first to approve a statement opposing the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine in northern Wisconsin, which was shared with the NYM and wider communities. Later, after a P&SC guided in-depth exploration into the proposed PolyMet NorthMet mining project, we approved a formal minute opposing copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota. This was also widely shared. We believe that sharing this journey is ministry on behalf of the earth, its resources and all its inhabitants. It continues even as we transition to a new year, during which the P&SC committee’s primary focus will concern inequality in the Duluth-Superior area.
Our Building committee stays busy with projects related to the care of our property. Permanent “Quaker Meeting” signs were installed by the outer doors to enhance our visibility in the community. A major accomplishment this year was the construction and installation of 26 more storm windows. Many Friends assisted in this work. When the final 18 windows are completed and installed in the coming year, we hope to examine in detail further ways to improve the energy efficiency of our meeting house.
We seek to be good stewards of what we have. We note that giving remains strong and our income meets expenses. We look forward in the coming year to paying off our long term debt related to the purchase of the meeting house. We are beginning to explore alternate uses for that money.
Our Fourth First Day Forum tradition continues into a fourth year, inviting speakers from within or outside of the Meeting to share topics of interest to Friends. These range from individual spiritual journeys to wider community concerns. The sessions are well attended and much appreciated.
Nominating committee oversaw several changes in committee membership. In addition, we said goodbye to our Clerk, Gerhardt Q, as he moved to Portland, OR. This was a bittersweet experience. We miss Gerhardt, but share his joy in new opportunities. Our new clerk, Debbi R, assumed responsibilities in January.
Library committee supports Friends’ exploration of a wide variety of concerns. A committee member recommends a notable book from our library each First Day. The committee provides an FGC book box twice a year, encouraging Friends to purchase a book to read and then donate to the library.
First Day School committee continues to organize activities each week through the talents of many volunteers within the Meeting community who take turns spending the worship hour with our children. We treasure the presence of 2 to 4 children on a regular basis.
Vital statistics: We have 31 members and numerous regular attenders. We welcomed 2 new members, one through transfer and one through the clearness process. One Friend transferred DSFM membership to a new Meeting home. Our Meetings for Worship average 20 – 25 Friends.
We give thanks for our many blessings.