2015 State of the Society – Minneapolis Monthly Meeting
This year has been one of grace and challenge, courage and joy.
The current of God’s grace is evident in our corporate life, despite the mounting struggles and tensions in the world. Vocal ministry has been strong and we continue to find refreshment and encouragement in our times of worship together. Our community is enriched, our worship deepened and our hearts enlivened by a host of new faces – some new to Quakerism, some others, Quakers who have moved to the area – and have seen our first day school blossom with children, eliciting fresh vitality from teachers and the Meeting as a whole. While we strain to live within our means – financially and in the work we yearn to take on – we, by the grace of God, seem to manage to honor our financial obligations and tend to each other and the Meeting’s needs with tender care.
We have stretched and grown under the guidance of the Quaker Quest ad hoc committee-turned Welcoming Committee. We are learning new habits that remove previously unrecognized barriers for those new to Meeting. We are thankful so many newcomers have gotten to know and be known by the Meeting. They have quickly become “newcomers” no longer! We rejoice in them and in the opportunities for fellowship outside of Sunday morning – Fall Camp; the potluck mixer; the Thanksgiving potluck. We are grateful, too, to have gotten to know each other through and in the context of art this year – in the adult program’s artist’s series; worship in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher at the Walker and the Twin Cities Friends Meeting art fair.
We continue to find that the combined summer worship experience feeds our sense of being one community of seekers and believers. We delight in the opportunity to worship as one body and forge stronger bonds, across worship groups, in that which is eternal.
We feel burdened by the many, many challenges in contemporary society – the seemingly insurmountable obstacles between where we are and the realization of God’s kingdom – right sharing of resources, racial, economic and social justice, climate stability, environmental preservation, peace. Individuals and the Meeting as a whole find their care extending beyond our community. We are increasingly responding to the call to climate protection and racial justice. With the latter, we are blessed with the powerful work and example of the American Friends Service Committee’s St. Paul office. In the face of violence – done to each other, to other species, to the Earth – we are moving, by the grace of God, from a place of fear and discouragement to a place of determination, courage and faith.
We also know that change will be coming in our meeting community as we acknowledge the finite tenure of our beloved Director of Ministry. We are leaning on the grounded wisdom of a few Friends who are guiding us through a care of the future planning process.
While we grieve all that is lost with change – in our community and in our world – we feel comfort and a quiet joy that we have the assistance of God and each other as we step into the future.