Goose Creek Friends Meeting Interchange Reports
Joined by neighbors, family, and friends, we held an autumn harvest festival to celebrate Bill and Bobbie Cochran’s 50th anniversary at Goose Creek Meeting. They moved into the caretakers’ home in the old stone Meeting House (across the road from our present one) in October 1965, and have been looking after Goose Creek Meeting in myriad ways ever since.
We have been pursuing closer spiritual relationships though a regular Wednesday evening discussion gathering and a Spiritual Formation group. A new group is currently being organized to study and discuss the history of Quaker spirituality. Anyone from a nearby Meeting who would like to join this group is invited to contact Patricia Barber (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-271-8244).
First Day School students have met with an artist-beekeeper and an architect who helps to build affordable houses in Haiti. They have spent time with a young Friend who has been teaching them about sustainable farming, permaculture, and his work growing heritage fruit trees. Monthly activities include a knitting circle and interviews with Friends to find out about their Quaker journeys. We’ve rolled out a new website with lots of information about Goose Creek Friends and what we’re doing: www.goosecreekfriends.org.
On December 6, Goose Creek Friends Meeting opened its doors to the community to dedicate a Virginia Civil War Trails sign telling of the Union burning raids of early December 1864. We had more than 80 people from the community and historians from afar. The First Day School children presented a newly revised rendition of a children's history of the Meeting written by Asa Moore Janney in 1957. By celebrating the persistence of the Quakers and the adherence to the Peace Testimony during such trying times, we were reminded of our Peace Testimony today.
During the past year, Goose Creek has celebrated the birth of several new babies and the addition of several new members. Sadly, we have had to bid farewell to members who have died, including Arlene Janney, whom many in BYM knew over a long period years, and Julie Guroff, who was active in BYM’s Unity with Nature and the Friends Wilderness Center.
We have continued our support of Midwives for Haiti through Wendy Dotson, and Hlekweni Friends Rural Service through Patricia Barber (Goose Creek MM) and Steve Brooks (Friends Meeting of Washington). Our friendship with a group of seasonal workers who come to our neighborhood each year from Mexico and Central America continues to grow. They join us for increasingly lively suppers two or three times during the landscaping season, and a group of Friends tutor several of them in English in the evenings – marveling at how they can muster the energy after a long day of work. In November our Camping Committee staged a successful silent auction of artwork, antiques, and collectibles, raising funds for BYM camps.
Goose Creek Meeting was enriched and enlightened by an inreach/outreach workshop held in November under the leadership of Walter Brown (Langley Hill) and Ken Stockbridge (Patapsco). We celebrated the Christmas season with a potluck supper, carol singing, candle lighting, and an exchange of homemade gifts. Meetings for Worship were held on Christmas and New Year’s Eves. Meeting continues to support the work of Friend Wendy Dotson, who is a volunteer with Midwives for Haiti. We finance a mobile clinic’s monthly visits to treat women in the village of Naran. In February Wendy makes her sixth trip to Haiti, where she will be training local midwives and setting up a new birth center in Trianon.
In June, we celebrated Book Sunday, an annual ritual in which each First Day School student receives a book from Meeting, teachers are thanked for their work during the school year, and everyone enjoys an ice cream social. Many of our kids attended BYM camps this summer, and we were happy to be able to make a donation towards the construction of the new pond at Shiloh.
On a beautiful August evening we held a potluck picnic on the lawn, and afterward hosted a showing of The Last Hardware Store. This new documentary film about the wonderfully old-fashioned Nichols Hardware Store in nearby Purcellville was produced by Goose Creek’s Sarah Huntington. The late Ed Nichols, one of the proprietors of Nichols Hardware, was our treasurer for more than forty years.