Pipe Creek Friends Meeting Interchange Reports
Pipe Creek celebrated the wedding of Linda Payne and Bill Atwater on 1/27/08 with the first wedding in the Meeting House in more than 50 years. We welcomed Mary McIndoe as our newest member of the Religious Society of Friends in December. New officers for 2008 include Tony Breda as clerk, Evelyn Gosnell as Recording Clerk, Anita Virkus as Recorder and Lynda Payne and Mary McIndoe as co-treasurers. Things are really getting interesting at Pipe Creek as we see many new faces, vocal ministry from new places and what can only be described as a lessening of shadows with a gathering of Light.
Pipe Creek has received two requests for membership this summer, one of which was accepted and the other is currently under consideration. At the end of Eighth Month we shared in the wedding of a member under the care of our Meeting, the second in the year. These weddings are a particular source of joy to us as we have been through a long dry spell of some five decades without being asked to take such a union under the care of our Meeting.
Outreach continues to be a focus for the Meeting. In July the Outreach Committee staffed an outreach table at two local festivals. We are also deepening ties with the local Heritage Committee in Union Bridge and will host them for an open house and their board meeting in September.
We have been led to a number of external activities including our continued support of the Heifer Project with a donation of a goat and bees, the purchase of a share in a CSA with the produce of said share and our own garden’s bounty going to the local food bank.
We continue to struggle with Meeting House maintenance issues, dealing with termites, interior painting and planning to install a new floor.
We recently invited the Head of Ramallah Friends School to speak to us about her experiences at the school and living in Palestine. After two years of planning and work, we launched our web site, located at http://pipecreekfriends.org.
In 1770, Elizabeth Farquhar planted maple trees on the grounds of the soon-to-be-built Pipe Creek Meeting House in Union Bridge. Using bricks from England, the foundation of the house of worship was laid in 1771 and the oldest Quaker meeting west of the Susquehanna has been open ever since. Pipe Creek continues the tradition of planting with our organic garden whose produce is distributed to the Union Bridge Food Pantry. As part of the effort to address rural hunger and simultaneously build community, the Meeting recently provided an Italian style dinner for Food Pantry patrons. Under the care of the Meeting, we have celebrated several weddings. We are preparing for Quarterly meeting, in which Gwen Handler and Bill Powell will discuss the influence and history of Pipe Creek Meeting. All are welcome.
At Pipe Creek Meeting, a recent inspection of the bathroom, kitchen and activity room floors revealed the need for extensive repairs. Although the replacement of the floor in the Meeting Room was achieved with all-volunteer help and minimum expense, we believe that this project will require professional services. In contemplating the best approach to this renovation, we have initiated a capital campaign to establish a Building Fund. This fund will be separate from our current operating budget that allows us to keep the doors of Pipe Creek open to all who wish to join us. We will use the monies raised to apply for matching grants to create a permanent fund for the care and growth of the Pipe Creek Meeting. We are asking for your support. To contribute, please make your check to: Pipe Creek Meeting and designate “building fund” in the memo. Mail to: Pipe Creek Meeting, 455 Quaker Hill Road, Union Bridge, MD 21791.
Members of Pipe Creek have translated their concerns about hunger, health care, violence, and education into action. As an extension of the vegetable garden project that supports the local food pantry, Pipe Creek sponsored a well-attended Italian supper for pantry participants as a way to build community.
To encourage Maryland state legislators to ban the sale of assault weapons, members attended a protest in Annapolis. In addition, a called meeting was held to discuss our position as a Meeting. We supported the MINGA project, a self help women’s health care initiative in the Amazon with emphasis on preventing violence against women. Members of Pipe Creek were organizing members of the Carroll County single payer health initiative/ Health Care Now - Maryland Healthcare is a Human Right campaign. At a statewide kick off rally, we met with participants from other counties in the state to combine our efforts to achieve universal health care in Maryland.
Since the late 1970s, there has not been a First Day school at Pipe Creek. Recently, 4 young persons were introduced to Friends through teachings on peace and the history of Quakers. Monday night book club continues to examine issues related to the principles of Quakerism.
Pipe Creek Meeting continues to support the local food bank with its organic garden. We were able to stave off the groundhog invasions with have a heart traps and extremely an extremely intricate fence system. Fresh produce is picked on Sundays and delivered Mondays. St Paul’s Lutheran Church organizes the food bank that now serves more than 100 families in the Town of Union Bridge. The 2nd annual Pipe Creek Reunion will take place September 21 from 12-2. Current and former members attend meeting together and share a meal following.
Members continue to support the efforts to provide adequate housing and healthcare by serving on the coordinating committee of Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland first organized by the Vermont workers and now spreading to other states. http://healthcareisahumanrightmaryland.org. Our Meeting over the years has been supporting the efforts of some in Congress to pass a peace tax bill. This would allow us to support out government without using our tax money for war. This year our federal government, and now the courts have given churches and private companies waivers from participating completely in the ACA on religious grounds. This resurgence of religious freedom has given us some hope that we too may participate with a waiver of some kind. We have completed our draft and will ask the wider Quaker community for their endorsement as well.
The Wright family has returned again to the Quaker community of Montverde, Costa Rica for another school year. Their energy and dedication will be truly missed.