Bridge City Friends Meeting
State of Society Report – 2009
Bridge City Friends Meeting is nearing the end of its 5th year as a Monthly Meeting, 13 years after being set off as a Worship Group from Multnomah Monthly Meeting. As we reflect upon our Meeting today, we note that just as Bridge City Friends Meeting has aged and matured, so have its individual members and attenders. While there are few young families and children among us now, our desire for deep spiritual connection with one another has remained constant, and we continue to be nurtured by the Spirit in our Worship and other gatherings. We are enriched by the fellowship we enjoy through our active participation in our Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, as well as with the wider body of Friends. For example, many from our Meeting attended the recent Annual Meeting of the FWCC Section of the Americas in Canby Grove, Oregon.
We have been challenged this year to meet the First Day School needs of our small group of children, ranging in age from pre-school to high school, and varying in attendance from regular to very occasional. Recently we have felt led to respond to this need by gathering for an intergenerational Meeting for Worship one First Day each month, where children remain with the adults and ministry is offered in a more child-friendly manner. Our first intergenerational Meeting for Worship was a deeply gathered Meeting. We open ourselves to guidance as we endeavor to support and strengthen the spiritual lives of our children.
We are blessed by our time together in fellowship following Meeting for Worship and at other gatherings. We have an active Hospitality Committee and are enjoying the fruits of their focused attention. We deeply appreciate our annual camping trip. There was a New Comers Gathering in the fall that was well received. Some social events are not necessarily planned, initially, by any committee. An example of this was a Day of the Dead event last fall. Those who attended were grateful for the opportunity it provided. The Meeting takes it as a healthy sign that events arise in this manner. Three groups provide invaluable spiritual grounding for our worship community. Two are Spiritual Support Groups where Friends gather to share their individual spiritual experience. The other is a worship study group of selected historic Friends books.
In addition, our Ministry and Oversight committee oversees support groups for individuals from our Meeting. We have released a Friend to pursue and support the revision of NPYM's Faith and Practice. Several other people have received support committees for their particular condition. The Meeting is grateful for these opportunities to offer support.
This year several Friends have experienced family illness, death of a family member, job loss, reduction of income, and personal crisis. We have sought to bring the comfort and direction of the Spirit to these Friends. We learn from all our experiences with varying amounts of gracefulness.
We continue to receive significant leadership from our Peace and Social Concerns Committee. We are blessed with committee members who are inspired to work for the community, finding direction for action in which we can engage. We look forward to these events.
As a Meeting with no "permanent home" Bridge City continues to experience frustration with the level of accessibility of our current space. This is another point of ongoing work for the Meeting. Also Ministry and Oversight continues to labor with the twin responsibilities of: a) responding to particular issues that arise in the Meeting family, and b) care for the quality of worship in the Meeting. We are using the wisdom from various Pendle Hill pamphlets to help guide us as well as our own search for the way to open in these matters. That we are concerned is a healthy sign.
Overall Bridge City Friends Meeting is working to remain conscious of our strengths and the limitations of our Light. We continue to grow. Imperfect ourselves, we genuinely welcome newcomers to our commitment to grow in the Light - in worship and in work. Generally people report they find benefit in Meeting for Worship.
Gerhardt Quast, clerk, BCFM