Buckhannon Preparative Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports
The Buckhannon Meeting is a very small, isolated meeting in central West Virginia. We have been in existence since 2006, and while a number of people have visited and attended for varying periods of time, the core of three people, with two more attending regularly when the weather permits, has remained steadfast. The three of us met in worship sharing to consider the spiritual state of our meeting.
The question of how the Spirit was prospering among us found us a little puzzled. We decided that two indicators that we are growing in the spirit are the increasing participation and depth in the vocal ministry of our group, and our incredible faithfulness to our difficult task of growing a new meeting in rural WV.
The growth of the Spirit in our lives has been nurtured by our participation in BYM. We did not feel a part of LEYM at all. The welcoming ceremony at the annual meeting and the visits from the staff, as well as the communication by e-mail, have given us a sense of belonging to a larger Quaker body. In our own practice, we have added worship sharing this year. As we have become more practiced with it, we rejoice in the additional closeness it brings to us as a community and to each member as an individual as we share in the spirit. We also share books and magazines informally.
The Spirit in our individual lives manifests itself in our desire to live the testimonies of the Society of Friends. Our discussion topic for one of our worship sharing sessions was how to respond to That of God in those we meet in our lives. Since we are such a small and scattered group we have not been able to find a community mission that we realistically can maintain and which at the same time gives us an individual identity (rather than just helping someone else’s project.) We are considering a presence in the local state mental hospital.
Our image in the community is that of a tiny voice crying in the wilderness. More positively, we are a refuge for those who want the Spirit without the constant pressure of proselytizing and salvation. We have had attenders who say that they have been Quakers without knowing it On the other hand, in a quiet way, we hunger for more recognition—at present we are mistaken for Amish, Puritans, or the man on the cereal box. We will be sponsoring a film for the college students who surround us, with hopes that this will give us an opening for discussion. We are hoping to join the Ministerial Association and perhaps invite some young people’s groups to come learn more about Quakers.
We have had no difficulties as a group. In fact we have all become very good small “f” friends. Small as we are, we are part of the great cloud of witnesses to the presence of the Spirit among us.
No report received.
Buckhannon Preparative Meeting is a very small meeting of three members, but these members are very faithful. This year we had a visit from Betsy Meyer, the clerk of BYM, who gave us the message that “God had a purpose for our meeting.” This was an encouragement to all of us to keep on trying to grow a meeting in Buckhannon.
The three members feel very close. We keep in touch by e-mail, especially in the winter. We support each other in prayer, as well as praying for the meeting and the towns and counties where we live.
Our quest is always to grow, in size and in the Spirit. We read a query from the BYM Faith and Practice at every meeting, and this gives us a common theme in our worship. We are also searching for a community service we can render. We have just put up a Face Book page.
We try to bring the Quaker way of doing things to our daily lives. One of our members is a teacher in the public schools. She tries actively to bring Quaker values and ways of doing things to her work with colleagues and students. For example, she encourages longer discussions and consensus rather than majority votes when there is a lot of diversity and conflict. Or people ask, “What would Quakers do?” It is a challenge to represent “Quakers” but often we can offer a different viewpoint and voice to discussions.
Many of our seekers have different concepts of God and Jesus. We try to focus on the testimonies and the way of life, rather than getting into theology. But if we must get into theology, we emphasize that there is room for all. We hope to be like the yeast in the parable, to grow from a small beginning to a leavening force in the community.
No report received.