At our Adult Education session this month, the Gifts and Leadings committee led a discussion of Gifts in our spiritual community. We were reminded by texts from Paul and Lloyd Lee Wilson that gifts, while they manifest in an individual, are from God to the community. We spent time in small groups considering our own and each others’ gifts, and gathered again to reflect on our mutual responsibility in recognizing, naming, and supporting gifts.
During one of our Third Sunday, Adult Ed sessions this year, we explored how we speak about Quakerism and why we come to Fresh Pond Meeting.
Some Friends wrote “Elevator Speeches” to practice what they might say if asked:
“Quakers believe that people of all ages are able in direct contact with the Divine. By being faithful to Divine Guidance we are transformed, and by doing this we transform our families, our communities and the world. This is a journey or process that we undertake together. We do not travel alone but we learn from each other. We are all ministers, not just by our words but by the example of our lives.”
“The Religious Society of Friends is a community of people who are working together to understand their own beliefs about God. We have no creed but do read the Bible and Quaker writings. The Divine Spirit transforms our lives. The sense of our silent meeting is guided by God’s will. We govern ourselves by being attuned to God’s will rather than particular individuals. It’s a Christian religion with no minister – God speaks through each person. The testimonies are the closest to a creed that we have.”
“Fresh Pond Meeting is a community of spiritual seekers who come together weekly to listen to the voice of God within and help each other on their spiritual journey. There is a wide range of beliefs among Friends. Each person is welcome. We meet in silent expectant worship and value our time together. Our outward lives are transformed by our inward journey. Sometimes when we listen to God, we realize that we are moved to do something different with our lives as a way to make the world a better place. We often support each other following these motions. When we accompany each other on these spiritual journeys, the opportunity for deep spiritual friendship occurs.”
Also this Sunday, Jan 31, we will have a discussion, led by Nancy and Karin, about “Our Ministry of Money: We will explore what money means to us and issues around how we might use it to do healing work in the world.”
This Sunday, Jan 31, we will continue our occasional practice of having extended worship. For those who wish for a longer opportunity to experience the peace and divine presence, we begin worship at 9:00. Friends are welcome to join us at any time after that, we ask only that you enter the room, respectful of those who are already in worship. We close at our usual 11:00.
This week in our Third Sunday discussion we considered what it means for a concern or ministry to grow out of the life of the meeting. How does the Meeting support an individual’s leading? What does it mean for the individuals in a Meeting if the Meeting as a whole comes under a concern?
We did not come to any conclusions other than it is important spiritual and community work, and that we intend to return to the discussion.
January 17th is the third Sunday — and that means our Third Sunday Program is coming up next weekend. The session will run from 11:30 AM until 1pm and will be facilitated by Kristina and Callid Keefe-Perry, who will facilitate us in the exploration of what it means to “carry a concern:” the ways that we listen for and respond to leadings from the Divine, and what we can do as a meeting community to encourage and support one another in our responses to God’s call.
This was a busy weekend for Fresh Pond Friends:
*On Friday, Kristina brought flowers and cards as a gesture of support and compassion to two Islamic centers.
*On Saturday, a number of Fresh Pond Friends marched in the Jobs-Justice-Climate march, and
*On Sunday we were visited by the Boston QVS fellows. We hope they will come again!