Bridge City Friends Meeting
State of Society Report – April 2005
This year we have moved from being a Preparative Meeting to Monthly Meeting. During this transition we have been involved with the development and refinement of our physical, social and spiritual culture as an independent Monthly Meeting. Our efforts have focused on building our center as a spiritually centered body that has a positive outreach to the larger society.
Bridge City recorded our first members in the fall. We transferred memberships from other meetings and several attenders joined the Society of Friends with Bridge City astheir spiritual home. Newcomers are worshiping with us and becoming active participants in our Meeting community. We continue to worship with between 20 -30 adults and children each Sunday. The community has drawn together to offer support for members in times of need.
We marked our first autumn as a Monthly Meeting with a daylong retreat aimed at celebration and reflection on Bridge City’s spiritual identity. It was clear to all involved that the Meeting’s strength is its capacity for pastoral care and spiritual support. At the same time, there is a yearning within our community to take a more active role in addressing peace and social justice issues.
We have developed the physical environment to nurture our new meeting with our move to meeting space at the Portland French School in the John’s Landing neighborhood. This new environment has provided a good space for worship, First Day School program and facilities for social hour.
We have increased our social interaction to further develop our cohesiveness and build a mutually supportive body. During this year we have had our group camping trip, a retreat in the fall to further develop our sense of community and mission, and multi-generational events. We are organizing more events and consider a meeting that is welcome to all ages a high priority.
We are uplifted and delighted as we watch our children grow in the experience and understanding of the Light. Our children’s program now has infant, preschoolers, elementary, middle and high school participants. The Children’s Program Committee provides the structure and lessons, and many adults in the community participate in bringing the activities to our young people. Our Children’s Program faces the challenges common to most small meetings – one or two children in many different ages groups. Despite, or perhaps because of that, the children of the Meeting are connected to the larger Meeting and individual adults.
Our Bridge City community is strongly represented at the Quarterly and Yearly Meeting level, and our connection with Friends throughout the region brings us joy. We continue our collaborative and cooperative relationship with Multnomah Monthly Meeting. Supporting Multnomah Monthly Meeting’s consideration of a move to a larger worship space clarified our interest in a regional Quaker presence. We see the need to minister to the needs of our Meeting, the regional Friends community, and to enhance our outreach and mission to the larger community in the greater Portland area.
Chris Cradler, Clerk