Twin Cities Friends Meeting, St. Paul MN — State of Society Report for May 2015
We celebrate many strengths, but are aware of difficulties in Twin Cities Friends Meeting (TCFM) around racial justice, gender identities and intergenerational concerns, with hopes of building a stronger and more welcoming community as a goal. We have a sense of urgency to sustain the health of our meeting and its individuals, respond to social and environmental justice issues in the world beyond our meeting, and to step forward to care for each other.
We celebrate the vitality and strengths of our community: welcoming six new members; recognizing the lives and work of eleven of our over-80 members; bringing together young adults, elders, and those in between in social/spiritual nurture gatherings; providing opportunities for families with children through Family Worship and Family Fun Nights; with a revitalized Advancement Committee helping to provide ways for the community to come together in more ways; deepening spiritual participation through increased worship sharing sessions, book groups, workshops, and Friends Forum programs; providing worship space for Prospect Hill Meeting and Laughing Waters Meeting in addition to our three scheduled meetings for worship; reaching out to provide worship at people’s homes for those who have difficulty getting to the meetinghouse; and hosting a successful art fair with participation from other local Meetings. Currently we have 106 resident members, with 30 children attending FDS.
We struggle with difficulties: declining First Day School (FDS) attendance and the number of participating families; crafting a proactive response to the challenges of insuring the safety of our children and vulnerable adults through the Safe Churches initiative; providing enough participation in many of our committees to keep them viable and spiritually healthy; finding a way to accomplish the tasks of a treasurer in a Quakerly way without overburdening members who serve in this capacity; being mindful of the sensitivities of our varied community compositions. To help support our Meeting we have added two part-time staff as Office Coordinator and Friend in Residence/Caretaker.
We appreciate the presence and participation of young adult Friends in the life of the Meeting while looking to find ways to invite a stronger presence and more welcoming opportunities. Three members of the Young Adult Friends group have become TCFM members in the last year, but the group as a whole has problems finding ways and times to come together.
We’ve established a discussion and action group around climate change issues. We established an ad hoc Racial Justice Committee to do social justice work – and we suspect we have work to do within ourselves as well. After joyful welcoming of Marriage Equality in Minnesota, we continue to support and try to provide a safe space for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (GLBTQ) members and attenders. We support Quaker values of equality and integrity but are challenged by unconsidered biases which we have previously overlooked.
In our individual and collective spiritual quests we seek to gain openness and clarity as we face the many challenges of living as a worship community and as a part of the wider world. Several of us serve on the School Committee of Friends School of Minnesota as it welcomes a new head of school in June. Many of us help Friends for a NonViolent World with fund raising at its annual Holiday Fair. We have joint activities with our Metro Friends Meetings, reconstituted as Four Rivers Friends. We have a sense of anticipation and excitement, looking forward to help host the 2016 FGC Gathering!