Bridge City Preparative Meeting

State Of Society Report -- 1999

The spiritual state of Bridge City Preparative Meeting is strong and growing. The consideration of moving from worship group to preparative meeting status grounded our activities for the year. The ad hoc clearness committee appointed by Multnomah Monthly Meeting assisted us in reflecting on our history and experience over the last two years as well as our hopes and fears for the future. We realized during this clearness process that our worship group already functioned in the manner of a preparative meeting, and we felt confident that formalizing our existence in the Society of Friends could lead to a deepening of our life together as a community of God. The Bridge City Worship Group and the Ad Hoc Clearness Committee joined to bring Preparative Meeting status for Bridge City to the March 1999 Meeting for Worship for Business of Multnomah Monthly Meeting, and Friends so approved. As Bridge City minuted in our request to the Monthly Meeting, "We are grateful for the loving support and mutual care that has been part of our relationship with Multnomah Monthly Meeting and pray that it will continue."

Bridge City Preparative Meeting’s spiritual strengths coalesce in our sense of community with one another. We appreciate our varied activities together, such as gathering on Sunday mornings for singing/worship/religious education, potluck meetings for intergenerational activities and business meetings, our summertime camping trip and winter snow retreat, and playing in the gym after worship. Friends share interest in computers and technology across the range of ages. We responded to family changes in our Meeting community over the last year as three newborns joined us and two parents of Friends died. The Preparative Meeting welcomes newcomers, and notices a significant increase in attendance by those unrelated to Multnomah Monthly Meeting. We commit to food preparation at the St. Francis Dining Hall, another activity that encourages participation of our children with the adults.

We recognize that the intimate size of our Meetings for Worship allows us to become better acquainted with the entire Meeting community. It also demands of us a shared accountability for the Meeting’s spiritual and physical health. Ministries during worship rise from a wide variety of worshippers. Many Friends share in the work and learning for the four age groupings of children’s program that we offer each week. A number of us serve on the Preparative Meeting’s committees and as participants from Bridge City on Shared Function Committees of Multnomah Monthly Meeting. We believe this joint responsibility for the Meeting’s well-being fosters spiritual growth in both our individual and corporate lives.

As Bridge City Preparative Meeting moves beyond our internal functional concerns, we hope to attend to peace and social concerns in a more purposeful way. We sometimes feel self-satisfied with our closeness, wishing to hold onto the simple structures and homogeneous nature of our present population. We want to challenge ourselves to be open to the changes that will take place in our Meeting as we continue to seek Divine leading in our lives together.