Bridge City Friends Meeting
State of Society Report
We are a faithful and close-knit, graying Meeting. Bridge City Friends Meeting gathers fifteen to twenty for worship weekly with a planned children’s program when a family returns to Portland each summer. We are settled in the “upper room” at the Architectural Heritage Center, a space that meets our needs well.
This year we have taken up the call of Uprooting Racism, the theme of North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Annual Session last July. We have expanded our considerations to recognize and work with how privilege and power dynamics effect our society. Through worship-sharing and group work exercises, members are gaining insight and new understanding about how race and privilege have been woven into our lives and effect us beyond our conscious understanding. In this regard we came to unity about calling our executive committee Ministry and Pastoral Care, rather than Ministry and Oversight, the latter perhaps being an obstacle to our efforts to be a meeting welcoming to all. We have not yet considered the issue of unity with the minute as a meeting, believing that more discernment is needed. We have had one threshing session and will continue to consider the issue.
We shared concerns among us and came to a shared sense that our meeting social activities should be free of alcohol.
We struggle to keep up with technology. A Friend is updating our website, but we still need to learn to maintain and use it effectively.
We meet in a central city location with homeless people all around and have not come to clearness about how we can respond to their conditions and needs as a meeting.
Once again we supported Spiritual Deepening Groups, a practice recommended by Ben Lomond Quaker Center. To date, about fifteen of us have participated in this method of exploring self-chosen spiritual practices.
We have experienced serious health challenges this year. Friends responded with hands-on assistance and deep spiritual support. The cared-for and the caregivers felt blessed by our interactions. We foresee such challenges becoming more frequent as we deal with illness and loss within our community.
Our “new” Peace and Justice Committee meets monthly and all members and attenders are welcome to join in. The new focus is on supporting and encouraging Friends currently engaged in such activities as individuals or as part of a group, as well as those of us who might be seeking such a calling. Of course, Peace and Justice activities will continue to be organized by the Meeting from time to time, as such issues arise. Bridge City Friends are also connected to their personal communities in deep and tangible ways and support many charitable organizations.
Bridge City and three other local Friends churches and meetings continue to sponsor the Quaker Voluntary Service Fellows here in Portland. We take part in an advocacy team we have organized with the support of Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Friends are involved with Willamette Quarterly Meeting and North Pacific Yearly Meeting as well as other Quaker organizations. Many of us participate in cross yearly meeting gatherings, including Convergent Friends Worship twice a year in our meeting space.
We are a small, warm and loving community. We persist.