Blacksburg Friends 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.
|2011 Report||2012 Report||2013 Report||2014 Report||2015 Report|
|2016 Report||2017 Report|
The Blacksburg Friends Meeting is an intergenerational and financially diverse Meeting, both of which contribute to the health of our community of faith. The oldest member of the Meeting is 92, and we have regular attendance at Worship by a few Virginia Tech students. There is a strong youth group with dedicated mentors involved with them. Last year the teen-age youth, with their mentors, studied and discussed current issues such as intergenerational relationships, conscientious objection along with the complex side of war, and racial injustice.
The Blacksburg Meeting is intent on maintaining good stewardship practices with finances and care of the property. We maintain a budget that is balanced and are currently paying off the mortgage for the Meetinghouse, which was constructed in 2010. A monthly Saturday work day helps keep our building and grounds in good order, and we have a strong Building and Grounds Committee. Another strong committee is our EarthCare Committee, which focuses on issues of environmentally wise practices for ourselves and for our role as a concerned organization in the larger community. The Adult Education Committee has provided programs of substance that are thought provoking and of current interest. We’ve discovered the value of the Quaker Speak videos and intend to use them again as a basis for some of our studies.
We are also a community of people who are mindful of the emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of each other, both members and attenders. Many people associated with the Meeting are involved in hospitality, outreach, and ministry in the local community and beyond. Some of the outreach efforts are the community Interfaith Food Pantry, The Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, and various ministries of visitation in the area. A member of the Meeting is currently revising the Blacksburg Friends web site with the intention of making the format more user friendly and providing information for people who might be interested in local Quaker activities.
Members and attenders, who are committed to the Spiritual Formation group, participate in a quarterly large group meeting and once a month in small worship sharing groups. After Meeting for Worship, we share our joys and concerns with each other. This can at times become a lively and spirited exchange. At other times, there is compassionate listening and affirmation for what someone expresses. A technology committee that is part of the Buildings & Grounds Committee is currently assessing possible resources for providing audio amplification in the meeting worship room for those with hearing difficulties.
We’re also trying to be attentive and active in making visitors feel welcome when coming in to the Meetinghouse.
For the second year, on 2 October 2016, we conducted a brief order of observance for World Quaker Day at the beginning of Meeting for Worship. The focus of the observance this year was the historic involvement of Quakers in the Boarding schools for Native American youth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We are concerned about the cultural and spiritual damage to the Native American children and families, even in the present generation. We see this as an injustice imposed on native people’s lives.
Blacksburg Friends have established a tradition of ending each calendar year with an informal Christmas Eve shared meal and service, and a New Year’s gathering as we look forward to the year to come.
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I. What are the greatest joys as a Meeting?
The collective silence of the group is very profound and a tremendous joy
We are a congenial group
We have a fellowship time after meeting with tea, coffee and snacks
We have gatherings during the year outside of meeting for worship
What leadings does your Meeting feel most strongly?
The Earth Care Committee has been very effective in inspiring the meeting members to work on environmental problems and concerns; we are interested in preserving the world not only for ourselves but for future generations. We are also involved in the Pipeline controversy in our area.
What challenges are you facing?
The funds we must pay to BYM is a continuing challenge, as we struggle to pay off the mortgage of the Meeting House. As a result, we are not able to pay as much as BYM requests.
The number of contributing members/households is 20; this is less than we wish it would be and we are actively working on outreach and publicity about the Meeting. Attendance at meeting is stable, but we have room in the meetinghouse for more participation.
II. How does your Meeting nurture the spiritual life of members and attenders?
We have singing Sunday on 5th Sundays of months
We are working on reviving a Spiritual Formation program that we have had in the past, in the absence of the person who spearheaded it recently. We also have a Bible Study group that meets monthly after Meeting. This group has been going through the Bible and has a regular group of attendees.
Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship?
Our Meetings for Business are friendly and held in a spirit without significant contention.
III. How has your Meeting explored issues that divide us or attempted to listen across the divide?
Is your Meeting as diverse as you would like it to be?
We have some diversity in our Meeting.
We have a rainbow sign at the bottom of our driveway, so that the public will realize we are open and inclusive to everyone.
How welcoming are you to newcomers?
We introduce ourselves in a large circle after each Sunday’s Meeting for Worship and we make a point of talking with people whom we have not met before.
Do friends of all ages feel fully a part of the Meeting?
We have teenagers in Meeting for whom we have special gatherings outside Meeting for worship so they get to know each other (there are not many); there are young adults and some students and older adults.
Do you engage with other Meetings for shared projects?
We have the Blue Ridge Gathering planned for April 2018 which brings together other Meetings in the Blue Ridge region for worship, service and fellowship.
How do you put your faith for peace and justice in the world?
We actively support the local Food Pantry through food donations and service each month to help with the Food Pantry.
We have a member who is belongs to the Blacksburg Ministerial Association.
Peace and Social Concerns Committee is actively engaged with peace and justice causes.
Has your Meeting made any witness to your community and/or the world regarding the recent elections?
We have not done so as a Meeting, but rather as individuals. We have made witness through the work of many members and attendees on the 2017 elections (Virginia governor and General Assembly), and 2018, especially in response to the 2016 elections.