Carlisle Quaker Meeting Interchange Reports
Carlisle Meeting has been able to provide hospitality to Friends who were trekking across Pennsylvania for social justice. We provided dinner, breakfast and overnight lodging for EQUAT walkers who were walking from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to protest PNC Bank providing loans to mining organizations who were practicing mountain top removal. Later we provided overnight and meal hospitality to Jesse-Blue Forest, from Charlottesville Monthly Meeting who plans to walk across the country to the Pacific Ocean. He was walking to urge citizens to support legislative action to abolish the Selective Service System in the United States.
A group of Carlisle Friends has been reading and studying Conversations With Christ by Douglas Gwynn, and meeting biweekly for discussion and meditation. In our discussion of the transfer of membership to Carlisle of the Fisher family which includes three children Carlisle Friends considered the process of designating children of active members as birth-right Friends. Carlisle Friends lacked a sense of the Meeting concerning this designation. Baltimore Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice does allow it, while the Revised Faith and Practice does not have a provision for it. The Fisher children were transferred as associate members. Karen Anderson and Horst deLorenzi and children Lars and Hanna are transferring to State College Monthly Meeting. Pegi Siegel transferred to Medford Monthly Meeting (New Jersey.) On August 26, Friends enjoyed worship, picnic and singing in a nearby park.
When Carlisle Friends bought an aging church in 1993 we saw possibilities for it to become a serviceable Meeting House for us. Certainly the price was affordable even when we included the most necessary improvements. So we settled in to pay the mortgage, and after fifteen years we paid it off. Then we turned to major projects which had been postponed until funds were available. With no more mortgage payments, we were able to proceed. We took down a rotting steeple, sold the bell, repaired the roof, repaired damaged windows, put in a new furnace with air conditioning, and remodeled the entrance. Of course, we have become aware that the list is endless. But the biggest jobs are complete, so come visit us.
In the midst of all this activity we sponsored Quaker Quest. We had a few visitors, most of them people who were very active in their own churches, who came to us to learn who Quakers were. We did not get any new members but the in-reach was meaningful to us as a faith community. Then in 2011, a year since, we have seen an influx of visitors, several of whom have become regular attenders. What happened? We think maybe the advertising of Quaker Quest informed people of our presence. Certainly a new and improved web site has helped notify the public.
Carlisle Friends are seeing our youth mature and leave Carlise for education far and wide. With a smaller First Day School we faced the problem of an isolated teacher and only one child attending. We are very grateful to the Yearly Meeting’s response to our cry for help. We are following the lead of several of the Meetings who replied to our pleas. Now we have regular attenders who are willing to join the “class of two” to prevent possible accusations of abuse. We keep a record. So far this is working.
Carlisle Friends are involved with studying and plans to purchase a new furnace and air conditioner for the Meeting House. We are grateful that the oil burner and the large window air conditioners that were part of our building when we purchased it in 1993 have continued to operate since we moved in. The decision to pursue this improvement was motivated both by our understanding that the current equipment is well beyond its life expectancy and by our desire to make our Meeting House much more energy efficient. The Property Committee is close to a decision among the three bids we have been given, seeking the wisest choice concerning both price and quality factors.
One of the highlights of recent months was our Christmas coffee house which included musical, dramatic reading, story and commentary offerings. In a more serious vein, we were stretched and deepened with a series of four meditative second hour sessions with music led by Ruth Fitz and sharing led by David Fitz of York Monthly Meeting. Friends started to fulfill our desire for more music in the meeting with Don Kovacs and Morgan Evans leading us in song. Friends have mentioned hoping this program continues. Carlisle Friends Don Kovacs and Sherri Harper McCombs and Sandy Grottburg of Chambersburg Meeting (PYM) visited the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Carlisle to lead a lively discussion of the peace testimony.