Eastland Preparative Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports
The text of recently received Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below. Previous reports were included with those of Little Britain Monthly Meeting.
Eastland members continue to meet regularly. We gather at 10AM for First Day School to discuss Bible lessons for adults and have a separate program for the children. Meeting for Worship gathers at 11 AM. We are glad to welcome visitors. Most of our visitors are from BYM.
Attendance at Meeting for Worship varies. We are a small group and find spiritual support in a wide variety of Quaker interactions. We are blessed by a Quarterly Meeting that covers a small geographic region, allowing us to interact regularly with members of Nottingham Meeting, the Brick, Penn Hill and also Sadsbury Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. We continue to strive to stay connected to BYM through Interim Meeting, Annual Sessions and Committee work. We had a productive joint meeting of Nottingham Quarter member to prayerfully consider and discuss the queries within the current draft of Faith and Practice.
Our members were able to provide physical assistance with the closing of George Fox Friends School and assisted with a variety of sales of office and school items. We participated in the 200th anniversary celebration of Drumore Meeting, coordinating outreach with Lancaster and Sadsbury Meetings. Lancaster Meeting developed a brochure that included all the Lancaster County Meetings and was individualized for each meeting to hand out to visitors as additional outreach. The local Historical Society provided an opportunity for a presentation to about 250 attendees about the Southern Lancaster County Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad and a repeat presentation at Quarterly Meeting brought some additional visitors to Penn Hill Meeting House.
We let our lives speak. Many or our active members and attenders are employed in service jobs allowing us regular interaction with our neighbors, our community, and a wide diversity of living styles and cultures. We have elderly members that also find support within our meeting community, keeping them connected and providing some respite to their family members.
Little Britain Monthly Meeting is unique within Baltimore Yearly Meeting because it is composed of two Preparative Meetings each with their own buildings and grounds. We meet together for Monthly Meeting at alternating meeting sites. We have become a small Meeting which provides us with additional challenges but also gives us many opportunities to find joy in our Meeting and its members.
We continue to enjoy the comfort of meeting with each other in Friendship and fellowship. We appreciate the history of our two Meetings as we consistently meet with continuity in seeking our relationship with God. Each Meeting has a First Day School program that revolves around the Bible lesson prior to Meeting for Worship. At times Penn Hill varies the lesson by discussing concerns that Friends face in the wider world. Eastland has a regular children’s program as well as an adult class. We enjoy the comfort of meeting with each other in Friendship and fellowship and hold ourselves open to the Spirit moving among us as we seek to strengthen our relationship with God. Penn Hill has had a challenging year with repairing the sexton house and the Meeting House, damaged by storm damage. We miss two trees that had to be removed. Both Meetings embrace our rich history of over 200 years as a Monthly Meeting.
We strive to actively participate in Quarterly Meeting activities and functions keeping strong relationships with the members of Nottingham Monthly Meeting. We continue to support visitation among Friends and remain connected to Baltimore Yearly Meeting through service on their committees with frequent reports back to the Meeting and the Quarter.
We were saddened by the closing of George Fox Friends School and continue to provide spiritual and financial support as well as labor in the complicated task of closing down a school.
We find ourselves challenged by the question of how to make a difference in a nation where greed, fear and hate seem to dominate our national politics. We pray that way will open to help each of us show that Love worked well when William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania and can work in the present.
Our Meetings have prayerfully considered the Queries proposed by Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s committee on Ministry and Pastoral Care regarding Harmony, Diversity, and Community in our Meeting. Little Britain Monthly Meeting has 2 Preparative Meetings that meet at Eastland and Penn Hill Meeting houses. We also meet once a year at Drumore Meetinghouse, a laid down meeting that was once part of Little Britain Monthly Meeting. The Ballance Meeting house and burial ground has come to be a part of our care. It was a Wilburite break from Eastland about 1840. Both of our Meetings are dwindling in size and our members find themselves challenged on many levels.
We welcome visitors and would like to attract more attenders. We need to make ourselves more visible to seekers and are beginning to work towards an increased presence on line. Modern technology has been slowly growing in use among our members and we now feel we are able to consistently maintain a Meeting Web presence. Penn Hill will be hosting a monthly open house following Meeting for Worship on the 4th Sundays during the warm months, welcoming all with a sign in front of the Meeting house. Eastland is not on a major road, thus not as visible to traffic. We now have an address so can be found via GPS and have updated meeting contact information for Quakerfinder.org.
House and ground issues consume large amounts of time and energy for our small meetings. Eastland has lost three of our dear members in the past year who have been faithful trustees committed to the care of our Meeting House. Penn Hill has struggled with maintaining a spiritual face, while managing the loss of our caretaker and needing to change ground maintenance personnel. Work days at Ballance Meeting have given us an opportunity to share work, history, and skills with other members of our Quarter, which also struggle with maintaining laid down Meetings.
Finding the Spiritual leadings among the mundane of daily cares and issues that are laid upon us is an ongoing struggle for all of us. Our members and attenders strive to take the Spirit of themselves into their jobs, volunteer activities, and their presence in the community; feeling the need to be more aware of opportunities in our immediate community interactions. Members of the Monthly Meeting continue to feed their spirits by actively participating in Quarterly Meetings, Yearly Meeting committees, and by attending Yearly Meeting interim and annual sessions. We continue to encourage Linda Coates, as she is led to travel as part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Intervisitation Program. She has helped us to be more aware of the wider community of Friends; their struggles, celebrations, and how the Spirit is moving among them. The Quaker Sewing Ladies continue to meet regularly to sew lap top covers and walker bags for Conestoga View Nursing Home. George Fox Friends School is supported by two members serving on their Board of Trustees. Several give donations and add support for their programs and fundraisers.
We find joy in the fellowship in the weekly usually with Bible discussions at both meetings. Divergent viewpoints keep us aware that we are at different places in our spiritual understanding and are encouraged to listen to all.
Little Britain Monthly Meeting continues with two small Meetings. Those at Penn Hill appreciate the caring for all who come to join with us for worship. The silent Meeting for Worship helps nourish the Light. Eastland continues to struggle with low attendance and the dichotomy of Meeting for Worship and First Day School; which continues to provide Bible study for adults and some children. Many who attend First Day School do not stay for Meeting for Worship, while others only attend Meeting for Worship. The current Bible study from Matthew, printed by Evangelical Friends, focuses on the Biblical foundation for many Friends’ testimonies, leading to interesting discussions; as attenders express how their individual leadings differ and relate to the printed material, while maintaining the Light in their daily activities. Our varied discussions show the diversity among Quaker beliefs from poverty, race, or sexual orientation, as well as more fundamental Biblical lessons. It is good that we are content to have discussions where we don’t all agree with one another, but are agreeable to be able to disagree. This adds to our spiritual growth. We can be responsible for ourselves and have the freedom to grow and direct our lives with the power beyond us.
Linda Coates is no longer sojourning in New Hampshire; as she and John Yost are again living in Lancaster County. She continues to feel led to travel among Friends as way opens. The two Meeting meet monthly for Business Meetings and some attend Quarterly Meeting, while a few get to Interim or Yearly Meeting. Often the presentations are spiritually sustaining. We feel strongly that peace and justice should be the way of life for all who live in the USA, whle we try to live in such a way to take away the occasion for all wars. Hopefully we are all living in the way Jesus would have us live. We would like to influence the general population that caring and concern for allis the way to help all citizens and residents reach their potential. We need to be able to be good listeners.
Eastland continues to support George Fox Friends School through regular collections, while Sue Lamborn volunteers as the librarian. We all want to see this fine preschool succeed, as the preschool population is a wonderful group to be a part of. Fund raisers for the school are important.
We are blessed when we have visits within the Quarter when those within the Yearly Meeting visit us. We were delighted when some of those meeting at the Brick joined us for the annual Thanksgiving covered dish at Eastland this past year. We want to be welcoming to all at our two Meetings.
Eastland and Penn Hill continue to meet separately for First Day School and Meeting for Worship. Like all meetings we have different personalities. Most people who attend First Day School at Eastland do not stay for Meeting for Worship, which means there are times when there may be one – three present. Penn Hill uses the same lesson leaf, based on the International Sunday School lesson, but finds that some first Sundays of the month discussions different from that lesson are desired by some. Most attend FDS and stay for meeting for worship. On the Sunday we have monthly meeting at Eastland; Penn Hill joins Eastland for First Day School. Trying to make the lessons useful for the 21st Century is a challenge for all.
We enjoyed the Faith and Practice discussion in February 2013 on the new Faith and Practice with Martha Gay and Frances Schutz and welcomed their letter saying it was a productive Meeting. We are pleased that our unusual Monthly Meeting with two active Preparative Meetings will be recognized in the final version.
We find our spiritual growth continues as we meet with Quarterly and Yearly Meeting. In December Eli Fishpaw, from Maury River, contacted us at Penn Hill for Quarterly Meeting and with the help of Gunpowder helped us grow in our awareness of walking lightly on the earth. We were pleased to hear it was one of our better Quarterly Meeting presentations.
Visitors are always welcome and add to our growth.
Our spiritual life enhances everything else we do. We hope we are listening well. There is a sense of peace and comfort as we search, knowing we all need to grow. We admire the early Friends zeal in following their leadings and carrying them out. Hopefully in our small ways we can continue to be a light to those who are looking for a spiritual home.
Little Britain Monthly Meeting is encouraged that our Quarter is growing and we spent the first Sunday in June 2011 at Deer Creek. We miss them in our Quarter. We are thankful for the visits by Betsy Myer as she travels to meetings within the Yearly Meeting as clerk.
Recently the Little Britain Monthly Meeting clerk read Rufus Jones book New Eyes for Invisibles. Many of the thoughts written in 1943 are pertinent for today. If there is no prayer many things are let go. We as Friends must restore faith, vision, and rebuild the spiritual structure, which can house the immortal soul. The Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Befriending Creation challenges us to be leaders in Eco Justice, equality and open space for democracy and environmental sanity. We hope that we are listening and able to act in ways to help the world heal and live peacefully among all varieties of people.
We are encouraged with the Quaker Quest workshop last year seeming to open doors for our spiritual journey. We continue with two small Meetings coming together monthly for Meeting for Business, having discussed the same lesson in different ways in our individual Meeting Houses.
For the past two years the local historical society has raised money by having house tours. Drumore and Eastland have been open for people to learn about our history. The person who plans the sites has arranged for Homeville Meeting to be open in 2012, and possibly Bart the following year. These latter are two of Philadelphia Yearly meetings that were active in the Underground Railroad, as was Drumore. We hope we can inspire others to join us for nurture. We had a friend, who joined Penn Hill decades ago, who found a new spiritual life where he spread that light as he lived in New Mexico and Costa Rica. We are sad he is no longer with us, but think he has found peace in the next world.