2016 Spiritual State of the Meeting Queries

November 28, 2016

Dear Meeting Clerks and Clerks of Ministry and Pastoral Care Committees,

Each year we ask our Meetings to submit a Spiritual State of the Meeting Report that reflects their experience during the past calendar year. We are aware that this can be seen as a time-intensive process in our already very full lives in community, but please let us remind you of how important these reports are to the life of our Yearly Meeting.

The Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting reads these reports carefully, looking for common themes and insights that will help us to discern the spiritual state of BYM. We then prepare a report that is read to the gathered body of the Yearly Meeting at Annual Session in August. This report is shared with other Yearly Meetings around the world through our Yearbook and web site—as theirs are with us.

Our committee also reads these reports to listen for places where help may be needed in Meetings, or for practices and experiences that may be helpful to others. Thus, these reports help us to do our work of pastoral care within the Yearly Meeting. We also know that our Presiding Clerk and General Secretary also find these reports of great help in their work nurturing and caring for our Meetings.

So, we invite you to a time of discernment and reflection about your experiences as a Meeting community in 2016. Here are some queries that may help you in writing your report.

  • What are your greatest joys as a Meeting? What leadings does your Meeting feel most strongly? What challenges and troubles are you facing? In what ways is the Meeting less than you might wish it to be?
  • How does your Meeting nurture the spiritual life of members and attenders? How deep are your Meetings for Worship? Are Meetings for Business held in a spirit of worship?
  • Is your Meeting as diverse as you would like it to be? How well do you attend to the needs of newcomers? Do Friends of all ages feel fully a part of the Meeting community?
  • Do you engage with other Meetings through visitation or shared projects? What message would you like to share with others in Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and with Friends around the world?
  • How do you put your faith into action for justice in the world? Are you aware of the encouragement of the Working Group on Racism within our Yearly Meeting? How has that awareness shaped your work for justice?
  • Has your Meeting made any witness to your community or the wider world as a result of the recent Presidential elections?

Please use these queries to the degree that you find them helpful. They are not a checklist to be answered in full, but an aid for reflection. You may wish to add summaries of your Meeting’s activities as an attachment to your report. Consider asking your children for input!

Please return your responses to the Baltimore Yearly Meeting office by the 15th of Fourth Month. Electronic responses are strongly encouraged and may be sent to admin@bym-rsf.org. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

In the Light,

Melanie Gifrord and Amy Schmaljohn, Co-Clerks
BYM Ministry and Pastoral Care Committee