Rochester Friends Meeting State of Society Report
Rochester Friends Meeting has been infused with new life: new attenders and with it new challenges: challenges of incorporating the new attenders in the life of the Meeting and responding with a First Day School that is meaningful for the 10 children (if all attend the same week) ages 2 years to 16. We are excited.
We continue to have worship on First Day and a twice monthly mid-week Meeting for reading and discussion. We had special semi-programmed “Christmas” and “Easter” worship for all ages that were inspiring. We have had two intergenerational social events: snow tubing at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch (even some of the “elders” in our Meeting went snow tubing) and a fall event at the Girl Scout Camp, enjoying hiking, decorating cookies and enjoying each others company over a common meal.
We continue to meet in the same space, now rented from the new owners. They have raised the rent from $350 to $400/month. We received two special large contributions to our Meeting this past year. One was specified for Right Sharing of World Resources (RSWR), and this gift enabled the Meeting to fund three RSWR projects. We hope to have some ongoing relationship with those projects. Part of the other large gift has been set aside to help members and attenders who need financial support to attend Quaker Gatherings. We have not decided yet on how to use the rest of that generous gift. We have over many years contributed to a “Meeting House Fund” and that fund has grown. Since we have no immediate plans to build a Meeting House we are discussing what to do with that money. We had a threshing session on this question after worship in April. Discussion is ongoing.
We also had a special meeting to consider the direction of our Meeting. Out of that came a decision to have prayers for the Meeting for a half hour before worship on the first-First-Day. Discussion of our direction is also ongoing.
We have continued with a spiritual nurture program and currently have two small groups. With the new attenders we plan a retreat in May to review, renew and possibly revise the spiritual nurture program for our Meeting.
We change officers in June and this year the Nominating Committee has been using the “Strawberry Creek” method of discernment. We used their questions to interview all members and attenders.
With the help of the Quaker Cloud from FGC we have a new website and are working to improve it and get it to it’s full potential. We have a Facebook page that is minimally active.
We continue to volunteer as a Meeting at our local food bank each month. Individuals share their gifts in many ways including: NYM (Middle School retreats for NYM; NYM spiritual nurture program); FCNL; AFSC; FGC; the Minnesota Peace Project; editor, treasurer and contributors to the periodical “What Canst Thou Say”; writing history, on local issues and children’s books; prison visitation; seed savers; Dances of Universal Peace; a hospice choir (Prairie Heart Hospice Singers); the local food bank; CROP Walk; work with caregivers and senior healthcare issues; swimming the Straits of Mackinac to raise money for diabetes research; officiating at weddings (an ordained minister); President of the Rochester Teachers union.
Census: adult members and attenders: 24; children: 10