Minneapolis Friends Meeting
State of Society Report, 2013-2014
A defining activity of this year for us was our experience with Quaker Quest. After months of spiritually-deepening preparation, we offered six Quaker Quest workshops during October and November of 2013. Attendance varied but was about 50 each session with just slightly fewer guests attending, overall, than members.
Comments we received from visitors included these answers to a question about what they most liked: “I liked the silent meeting the best. I felt the spiritual respect of the Quaker beliefs at that time”; “The sharing of the 3 speakers; the worship experience; the gracious hospitality & the warm leadership of the facilitator; “Panel of presenters vs. word from on high; sample meeting; warm reception”; “I liked hearing personal stories from members. I related to each one differently.”
The Quaker Quest process seemed to bring out the best in us—warm hospitality, thoughtful and profound presentations, carefully-designed and appealing brochures, delicious snacks, engaged participation by both newcomers and old-timers and deep, inspiring worship at the conclusion of each session. Meeting members commented: “I got to know members at a different level”; “I was reminded that I really like who we are as a community”; and, echoing George Fox, “Through Quaker Quest we were all reminded that we truly are ‘written in one another’s hearts.’”
Additional blessing came from deepening ties with other Quakers and Friends organizations that supported us. Northern Yearly Meeting provided a $300 grant and Friends General Conference gentle oversight for our Quaker Quest process. We also participated in a pilot project sponsored by Friends General Conference and Friends Council on Education called “Exploring Together,” a project is similar to Quaker Quest, but with an explicit goal of deepening relationships between Friends schools and local Friends meetings. Members of our meeting worked closely with members of Twin Cities Friends Meeting and staff from Friends School of Minnesota to plan and host a March workshop about Quakerism for Friends School families and staff. Future meetings are being planned.
We have found that working on a project together deepens our bonds and increases our effectiveness. With facilitation by our newly reconfigured Peace and Social Concerns committee we have chosen three activity topics for the current year: Climate Justice, Racial Justice, and Economic Justice.
During summer of 2013 we held a single meeting for worship each Sunday instead of two separate meeting. We alternated between unprogrammed and semi-programmed styles of worship and enjoyed a fellowship time with refreshments and conversation after the meeting each week. Overall, people felt that the single meetings, which were well attended, helped us get to know each other better and grow closer as a community. Valuing the experiment, we return to that schedule for this summer.
Currently we have 65 active adult members, no active associate members, 35 regular adult attenders, and six regular attenders who are children. We have accepted two new members this year and released six members, three by death and three by transfer. Beloved members who have died include Nancy Peterson on August 17, 2013, Rusk Anderson on September 2, 2013, and John Campbell on February 5, 2014. Two members transferred to Eau Claire Monthly Meeting and one to Duluth-Superior Monthly Meeting. One marriage was taken under the care of the meeting.
“Let us mind that which is eternal, that which gathers our hearts together for we are written in one another’s hearts.” George Fox