Gettysburg Monthly Meeting Spiritual Stateof 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.
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Gettysburg Meeting is comprised of a small group, with an average of eight attendees. The group is closely knit and bonded by shared spiritual, political, and personal values (seasoned with humor).
The strength of our Meeting lies in the caring we have for one another – and, as a group, for the greater community. We all agree that caring and sharing are key assets, along with fellowship.
We meet in a beautiful little building on the campus of Gettysburg College, for which we are very appreciative.
Worship usually takes place in complete silence. While we all appreciate the quiet – “the time for spiritual reflection,” as one member put it – there is also a desire for “more messages in Meeting” and for “more sharing of spiritual journeys.” There is also a wish for more group discussions and more community engagement.
Occasionally young people – some from out of town, some from the college – do worship with us, but there is a general wish not only for more regular attendees, but for more young ones, including children.
Gettysburg Meeting provides spiritual and communal sustenance, as well as a commitment to our shared values, and to the community at large.
We meet on the campus of Gettysburg College in a beautiful building, Glatfelter Lodge, that is maintained by the College.
Our Meetings for Worship are held in deep silence with very few vocal messages. Ministry of silence leads to the faithful activity of every member in the meeting. Together we enter the depths of a living silence, where we find one another in “the things that are eternal” upholding and strengthening one another. “True silence...is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” (William Penn)
Not having our own Meeting House relieves a lot of pressure felt by other meetings. But, without our own Meeting House, we are not very visible in the community. We feel this is one factor that keeps our Meeting small. We are determined to find ways to make ourselves known in the Community. One way we do this is by volunteering to help whenever we can. All of our members are active either through their work, or with the Yearly Meeting, or volunteering within the community on committees, in the Soup Kitchen, or for United Way. We have even had the opportunity to volunteer for United Way's Bag the Bounty as a whole meeting to help sort the donated food. We would like to see more young families find our Meeting. We will continue to find ways to get the word out about who we are and where we meet.
Our Meeting is small and we find ourselves fairly like-minded in our concerns for social justice. Our contributions tend to reflect that. It also contributes to the joy we find in fellowship together. We support each other in our needs by sharing meals, providing transportation, or by just talking together. For some that provides the spiritual base for the Meeting. For some, reading books and internet articles has provided spiritual growth this past year. Personal and social support is obvious in the Meeting, but as a group we do not talk a great deal about spiritual things. We would like to explore the possibilities of having more spiritual discussions in the coming year.
We are a connected and strong Meeting in our love for each other. We would welcome all visitors to come experience that with us.
Approved at Meeting for Business, February 7, 2016
We meet on the campus of Gettysburg College in a beautiful building, Glatfelter Lodge, with stained glass windows of owls and grapes. Our Meeting is small but very supportive of each other. We are concerned for the health and well-being of each member and do our best to help each other when needed. Two of our members lost their spouses this past year, and one needed assistance with driving to her rehab appointments after engaging in a battle with a stink bug which caused her to fall and break her knee in four places. Our Meeting stepped up as we could in each of these instances. We nurture our spiritual life with our Meetings each week, our readings, our sharing, and our conversation. Our luncheons before Meeting for Business help us get to know each other even more. We often extend these times together beyond the Meeting Place with meals or shared activities. All of our members are active in either their workplace which gives to the community, or active with the Yearly Meeting, or volunteering within the community on committees or in the Soup Kitchen, or for United Way. We are involved in ways which grow our own spiritual life. Our Meeting as a whole chooses to donate financially to local, national, and international peace causes.
We finished reading “The New Jim Crow” and have continued discussions about what the book said, how this effects us, and how we can change things in the community. This is an overwhelming task for a small Meeting, but we are looking for ways to connect with Gettysburg College to open a community discussion. We are also looking at how we can make a positive impact on the juveniles in a nearby detention facility.
We are not as diverse as we would like to be and discuss ways in which we can make ourselves known in the community. We are open to all ages and anyone who would like to gather with us. We make visitors feel welcome and comfortable at our Meeting. This year we welcomed new members through their request or transfer. As they are able they have been welcomed to participate fully.
We are a small, but mighty Meeting in our love for each other.
Our small Meeting has had much to be thankful for. We have had many visitors some of whom have passed this way more than once.
We were delighted when a Friend from New England Yearly Meeting visited, who was moving to Gettysburg, and looking for a Quaker Meeting in the area. She said that after worshipping with us she knew she had to look no further. She has since transferred her membership to Gettysburg and is now an active member of our Meeting.
The Meeting meets in the middle of the campus of Gettysburg College, so this means we are not visible in the town community. So we make an effort both with financial contributions to local organizations that help the poor and the homeless, and by actions taken by individual members.
At Baltimore Yearly Meeting last year the Working Group on Racism encouraged Monthly Meetings to read the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. We have had some deep discussion on the book. Our experience was broadened by having an attender who worked for the Sheriff’s office in Hagerstown, MD, and brought a different perspective. We have also had input from a member’s niece who works at a juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania.
Members have had challenging physical experiences this past year and our Meeting helped one another in many ways including phone calls, covered dishes, rides, and the Light which comes from a caring community.
We continue to use the queries from BYM’s revised “Faith and Practice” which help us deepen our worship experience.
Gettysburg Friends Meeting continues to be a very small Meeting, and it has the privilege of using the facilities of Gettysburg College, a Lutheran institution. This year we received continued support from the new Chaplain. In spite of its size, individuals find presence at Meeting for Worship to be up-lifting. Spoken ministry is rare but welcome; contemplation in the company of others is spiritually helpful. We utilize the Queries in the new Faith and Practice at the start of the first Meeting for Worship of each month. And we are pleased to welcome two new attenders, who have moved to the area from that served by New England Yearly Meeting. Small though we are, members find Meeting for Worship a valuable and meaningful experience. It is enhanced by our clerk's active involvement in Baltimore Yearly Meeting activities, thus keeping us "in the loop."
Gettysburg Monthly Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting Report for 2011
Gettysburg Monthly Meeting continues to be one of the smallest Monthly Meetings in Baltimore Yearly Meeting with attendance at Meeting for Worship fluctuating from 1 to 15. We meet at Gettysburg College and find our space to be a place of peace which offers an oasis of quiet and contemplation. We feel deep spiritual comfort and inspiration at our Meetings for Worship, as well as pleasant and caring fellowship.
The Meeting contributes regularly to Gettysburg assistance programs and is recognized in their literature, thereby making the larger community aware that we do exist and that we do care. Several members also work very actively with these programs.
Friends come from Pennsylvania and Maryland to worship together and each individual is concerned with the social and political well-being of that individual's local community as well as the greater Gettysburg community. Different members take advantage of programs offered by BYM, as well as actively participating in Quarterly Meetings and special events offered by other Meetings in the Quarter.
Gettysburg Meeting remains a beacon for spiritual sojourners from near and far. The very existence of a Gettysburg Friends Meeting, allows members to practice the peace testimony in a town best known for three days of horrific violence. Although we do not grow in actual numbers, we welcome visitors from the college, the town, and beyond, quite often during the year.
Approved at Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, April 1st. 2012.