Bridge City Friends Meeting
State of Society Report
Bridge City Friends Meeting is a small and stable monthly meeting which continues to meet at the Architectural Heritage Center near downtown Portland, Oregon. We have experienced a loss of several members over the past two years – two by death, two by transfer and one by request. A year ago we had more members, but the size of our worship on Sunday was shrinking. We are now a meeting of 31 members and regularly have 16-20 gathering for worship each Sunday morning. We have embarked on a major update to our website and hope that this and other outreach will bring more first-time attenders to our Meeting community.
We now have more of a sense of acceptance, both as we grieve those we have lost and we recognize that for now we are a meeting of older Friends without the need for a children’s program. We are comfortable in renting space rather than seeking to own a meetinghouse. The quality of silence in our worship is deep and meaningful and our vocal ministry is often rich bringing us together in worship. We find that we have many members who are involved in online spiritual support groups, which has also deepened our Sunday Worship.
There is a deep caring in the Meeting for our spiritual lives. We have sponsored several individuals to attend workshops and retreats beyond our local area. We have been using our Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice (North Pacific Yearly Meeting, Faith and Practice) as a study guide for our regular Second Sunday adult education gatherings. Our business meetings are well attended and our other events such as retreats, secular holiday gatherings and welcomings are likewise well attended. As our Meeting ages, we are more aware of working to include those who don’t wish to travel at night. Thus, we have concentrated on having more meeting functions both before and after Meeting for Worship such as letter-writing, adult education and guest presenters. Several committees are also meeting on Sunday mornings.
We now have a more active Peace and Justice committee. The topic of interest for the year is Climate Change. Although we empathize with the homeless people who are in the physical area of our Sunday worship, we, AS A MEETING, have not found a comfortable way to interact with them. However, one of our members has had a calling to connect with the homeless, both financially and through encouragement by our Peace and Justice Committee.
We support the Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) both locally as sponsors of the QVS house and its activities and nationally through donations. Many in our Meeting community continue to be active in the wider Quaker world. Several Friends hold positions at the Yearly Meeting level, others are active with AFSC, and FCNL.
As a Meeting, we feel as if we are home.
Addendum to our State of Society Report:
Home, as we knew it when this State of Society Report was written in early March 2020, is changing as we come to grips with the world wide pandemic of Covid-19 virus. For now we are safe and like many Monthly Meetings are finding virtual ways to stay connected.