Annapolis Friends Meeting Interchange Articles
The text of Annapolis Friends Meeting reports in the Interchange 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.
Annapolis Friends Meeting remains a vibrant and caring spiritual community even as we transition to virtual meetings. Our early Meeting for Worship enjoys meeting “physically apart, spiritually together” without the use of technology. For other activities, including Meeting for Worship, children’s RE, committee and working group meetings, and business meeting, we make full use of our new Zoom account. While there was a slight learning curve initially, our clerk, a topnotch “tech support” team, and our Ministry and Worship committee worked hard to develop and disseminate Zoom meeting protocols and tips, manage our online meetings, and provide individual support as needed. As a result, we have become relatively proficient at meeting virtually. A silver lining is that some old friends who have moved away or are not otherwise able to regularly join us in person have Zoomed in to Meeting for Worship, delighting us with the opportunity to catch up. One of our sadness’s is that we have had to cancel our in-person spring Quaker Market. We’re still hoping to offer plants and perhaps other items on-line, and look forward to a bountiful Holiday Market in December.
Many in our community have enjoyed staying in touch through uplifting or humorous messages and pictures sent via our email listservs. Others, however, found the increased email traffic overwhelming. In response, our clerk reminded us of the different purposes of our two listservs, Announce and Discuss, and asked that we join together to be caring and responsive to the differing needs within our beloved community. She encouraged us to pause and consider whether this is “something that those feeling overwhelmed by email need to know” before posting to our Announce listserv while continuing to share and respond to the joys, inspirations, and personal perspectives through our Discuss listserv. Our community has taken that request to heart and are glad to care for each other by recognizing and appreciating differences.
While adjusting to gathering in new ways, our community continues active commitment to ongoing concerns. In late March, AFM volunteers supported Magothy United Methodist Church to provide Winter Relief shelter to those who are unhoused, by staffing several overnight shifts and providing a final dinner. The Meeting embraced a “Call to Oppose Lethal Drone Use” minute and approved the “AFM Declaration as an Anti-Racist Faith Community” after a lengthy discernment process and inspired by the BYM Declaration. The AFM Declaration is meant to be a living document and embracing it is recognized as a first step toward live fully into our declaration.
In a memorial service on April 9 celebrating the life of our beloved Careen Mayer, Friends recalled the many ways Careen’s spiritual leadership and teaching affected countless lives. As an early contribution to AFM’s May Quaker Market, soprano Katrine Anderson and a group of fellow musicians put on a beautiful concert of Scottish music in April, raising $1500 to go toward the charities AFM will support in the market. An ongoing concern for vocal ministry has led to a series of adult education programs. Attendance at AFM has increased so much that sometimes when we form a circle for introductions at the end of worship, we stand shoulder to shoulder around the perimeter of the room. We have recently had an unprecedented eight applications for membership. Friend Francis Wayne recently returned from several weeks in Kenya where he met with David Zarembka and took on a project of assisting the Wamama Wasanaa Self-Support group of widows to learn the guidelines for exporting their baskets to the United States. He also visited Friends Theological College. AFM’s Green Team envisions a sustainable Peaceable Kingdom. It acts to deepen our meeting’s understanding of the interdependence of humans with nature and of our individual and collective responsibility for nature’s wellbeing. It has held meetings for learning on energy, climate change, and environment-friendly lifestyle changes and organized rides to marches such as the Women’s March, The Scientists’ March, and the Climate March. The Meeting continues to support the two organizations that began at AFM but grew into much larger organizations: Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform.
Annapolis Friends met in October to discuss our situation with regard to diversity. We used the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Institution. Friends wrote their answers to some queries, then discussed them. The queries asked about the state of the Meeting with respect to inclusion of persons of color, possible barriers to inclusion, and how our Testimonies inform our approach to attracting and including persons of color. Another query asked what aspects of our Meeting are essential to our identity as Friends? In other words, what parts of our culture can be modified to accommodate people from different cultural backgrounds, and what aspects are essential to who we are? Another meeting is planned to continue moving forward.
Many Friends are giving good support to the youth of our Meeting. A strong group of teachers is supplemented by others who offer one-time sessions at First Day School. Others check in at the nursery to make sure any baby newcomers are cared for. One family donated outgrown playground equipment and other families dedicated several weekends to disassembling and then reassembling it, involving the kids in the process.
Every New Year’s Eve, Annapolis participates in an interfaith service in which we ask people to join us in five minutes of silence. We also reach out to the greater community by hosting meetings of Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform.
Annapolis Friends have posted several Black Lives Matter signs and had them destroyed by vandals. We continue to post them and meanwhile, several Friends are finding ways to work with other congregations in anti-racism efforts.
The Peace and Justice Center continues to give financial and spiritual support to the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform and Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis, both of which have grown well beyond our meeting. In addition, we are exploring leadings to support immigrants, at this point by learning all we can.
Annapolis Friends are holding monthly worship sharing sessions on Friends’ testimonies. We are also studying the book Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. We have hung a Black Lives Matter sign three times, and it has been stolen three times. Nearby churches have had the same experience. A number of Friends are joining other church members for dialogue on racial issues. On New Year’s Eve, Annapolis Friends played a large part in an interfaith service including Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Baha’is.
Carol Brantley, who represented Annapolis Friends on the board of a local homeless shelter and went on to play a major role in reorganizing, expanding, and improving services at the shelter, was honored in the county’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. dinner. Our Holiday Market earned a record amount of money for three charities: Smile Train, Alternatives to Violence Program, and the Mennonite Central Committee’s Syria and Iraq Response. We wrote and sent to the local paper an open letter to Governor Hogan, asking that he welcome Syrian refugees to our state.
After lengthy negotiations, we have reached an agreement to trade land with a neighbor whose garage extends onto our property.
We will host Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting on March 13 with a program describing our Peace and Justice Center, how it came to be and the programs that have grown from it.
Annapolis Friends Meeting is planning a number of adult educations programs this autumn, including The Quincy Solution (concerning domestic violence), William Penn, What Is the Budget Process? and Aging in Place. Every fifth First Day, Friends meet for worship sharing, with a special invitation to newer attenders (but all are encouraged to attend). Also with a special invitation to newer attenders, Friends meet for lunch every First Day except when there is potluck at the Whole Foods salad bar and buffet. We have found that the informality and flexibility of this venue works well.
Annapolis partnered with another congregation to provide shelter to homeless people one week in March. We are having a two-session class on Quakerism 101. Quaker architect Evan Lippincott has attended some meetings at AFM to get guidance for preparing a “conceptual design scheme” as we consider adding to our current Meeting House. The theme for our First Day School this year is leadership. Many Annapolis Friends are involved in Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis, an outgrowth of Annapolis Friends Peace and Justice Center (P&JC), and Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform, which also began with the P&JC.
Our new cookbook containing recipes and bits of wisdom was printed just in time for our Holiday Market. The 200 copies quickly sold out. Recipes, of course, include one for 13-bean soup, the soup mix that Annapolis Friends sold for years to raise money to build our Meeting House. Some Friends will remember the reliably corny skits about 13-bean soup that Annapolis Friends always performed at coffee house at Annual Session. Annapolis Friends are beginning to consider adding on to our Meeting House. We especially need more space for First Day School. There also is interest in acquiring a building on an adjacent property. We are taking the time necessary to hear all points of view and to discern the best way forward.
Ministry and Worship Committee has been developing guidelines for embracing ministries and leadings, based to some extent on the Yearly Meeting’s guidelines. Ann Riggs has returned from her five years as principal of Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya. She is now teaching in Chicago, but we get to see her a bit more frequently than during the past five years.
Annapolis Peace and Justice Center continues to sponsor two very active spin-offs. The Climate Change Stewards of Greater Annapolis is sponsoring a trip to New York to march for action regarding climate change. The Center also has nurtured and hosted the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform (MAJR), a coalition of individuals and nonprofit organizations now organizing a statewide initiative for legislation to fund changes in Maryland’s criminal justice system, without raising taxes, which could simultaneously reduce incarceration and improve public safety.
The Meeting held a dinner catered by a food service training program sponsored by a local homeless shelter. We plan to repeat it quarterly. Besides a good meal among Friends, an evening not requiring cooking, and supporting a wonderful training program, we had the opportunity to visit with spouses we seldom see on First Day.
Following approval of a climate-change minute and sponsorship by our Peace and Justice Center, Annapolis Friends have established the Climate Change Stewards of Greater Annapolis. With participation by people from many faith traditions, the Stewards have created two subgroups: Education & Outreach; and Public Policy. Our children are looking forward to decorating eggs on Palm Sunday and hunting for them on Easter Sunday. They are also planning projects to raise money at Quaker Market on May 10. In addition, $100 of the Market earnings will go to our children to give away based on their own discernment process. The major recipients of Quaker Market will be a local after-school program in Annapolis, the Madison Quakers’ Vietnam Program, and our sojourning member Ann Riggs as she winds down her tenure as Principal for Friends Theological College in Kenya. We also are soliciting donations of women’s business clothing for the New Opportunity School for Women in Appalachia, and any appropriate leftover items will go to the 10,000 Homes Project. Finally, we will line up SPCA animals for adoption at the market.
Annapolis Friends hosted Interim Meeting in March. We supplemented our space with rooms in a local church, and our children created works of art from natural objects to decorate the path through the woods between the two churches.
In accordance with BYM’s One-Book Program, Annapolis Friends Meeting formed a group with St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, a mostly African American congregation, to study the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Naming ourselves the Interfaith Coalition Against Mass Incarceration, we attended a Public Priorities Hearing held by the Anne Arundel delegation to the General Assembly in November and used our five minutes to request that they introduce a bill to form a task force to study mass incarceration and report back to the 2015 General Assembly. More recently, Senator Joanne Benson of Prince George County has agreed to sponsor the bill. Our group has now formed a larger coalition in support of this bill. We urge other meetings in Maryland that have studied the book to follow this bill and support it among their senators and delegates, and we urge all Friends to look for opportunities for coalition and for lobbying.
The theme for our 2014 First Day School program is sustainability and stewardship. We have had Adult education programs on the Quaker clearness process, our 2014 budget, “Experiment with Light,” advent Christmas carols, and mass incarceration.
We have newly installed solar panels at the Meeting House. To show them and our two charging stations for electric cars to the larger community, we hosted a breakfast meeting for the Chesapeake Interfaith Environmental Group in early February. We held our annual Christmas Market in December. We have become famous for the soups we sell for shoppers as well as the baked goods, crafts, bulbs, and gently used, gift-quality white elephant items we sell. A large part of the proceeds went to two homeless programs.
We are so proud of these kids! At its public program in 2011 to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Annapolis Friends Meeting Peace and Justice Center offered $100 to any students who could develop a peace program. Some high school students at Key School, a local K-12 private school, developed an anti-bullying curriculum called the Teaching Peace Initiative and started using it with fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. Today, with the Center’s ongoing support, students at over two dozen schools in 13 states and three foreign countries are part of the Initiative, and college students from all over the country have come together to help guide this innovative solution to bullying. For more, see teachingpeaceinitiative.com.
Previously, AFM Peace and Justice Center hosted a presentation by Israeli and Palestinian members of the Geneva Initiative (GI) during President Bush’s Annapolis Middle East Peace Conference and later assisted the GI in reaching an accord on water rights during negotiations conducted in Maryland. A project this year will include participating with other organizations in a candle-light vigil for peace at the White House on October 1 and hosting a news conference for GI spokespeople at the National Press Club on October 2.
Once again we are collecting school materials for an inner city school in Philadelphia and a low-income school in Takoma Park. In accordance with BYM’s “One Book” program, we have organized a study group on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. We will meet with members of St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, a nearby mostly African American church. Our sojourning member Ann Riggs was home from Kenya for several weeks and she updated us on Friends Theological College, of which she is principal.
Three members of AFM went to Indonesia in February with Friends Peace Teams-Asia. The Alternatives to Violence Program was the source for some of the tools they used. They reported being able to make meaningful connections with people there.
Annapolis Friends Meeting will hold their annual Spring Market on May 5. Off the top, $100 will go to a charity to be determined by the kids in First Day School. Other proceeds will go to FAIR Girls, which prevents sex and labor trafficking, and No Kid Hungry. The remainder will to the AFM Peace and Justice Center.
The Peace and Justice Center is partnering with the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking group, to make American decision makers and the public aware of the hopeful work of the Initiative on the occasion of the Initiative’s tenth anniversary.
We have signed on as a participating member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Volunteers from the Severn River Association and the Naval Academy spent a Saturday in April cleaning up the stream behind our Meeting House.
A study group read John Woolman’s Journal in the fall. A brunch program introduced new attenders to the committees of the Meeting prior to Nominating approaching people to serve. Framed important minutes of the Meeting, including our peace Minute and our Minute on marriage equality, now are a permanent exhibit in our front hall, and we are updating our member picture board. Annapolis is hosting Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting in March. The program will be the BYM Working Group on Racism’s presentation of the workshop What Is This Thing Called Privilege, and What Do We Do With It?
The children’s program this year is on community. We held a child welcoming ceremony in November and each child received a certificate signed by all present. Our Christmas program featured the musical talent of our young people. We provided Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for a family that was having serious financial problems and we provided school supplies and winter coats, mittens, and scarves to our partner school in Philadelphia and to a school in Takoma Park. We had a very successful Christmas Market in December. Proceeds went to Friends Peace Teams to support Kenya’s pre-election peacemaking and to FUM to buy water filters for Kenya. In addition, $100 was given to the First Day School children to donate to a worthy cause of their choice.
In May, we welcomed Maurine Pyle and Helene Pollack to give a workshop on Worshiping with Early Friends. In June, Dot Walizer reported on the Friends World Gathering in Kenya. In July, Molly Finch gave a PowerPoint presentation on her several months with Ann Riggs at Friends Theological College in Kenya. Over several months we have written and approved a new peace minute. It will be at the center of our public program for the International Day of Peace. We also have approved a minute in support of marriage equality. This summer we met several times to discuss the book The American Soul by Jacob Needleman. We were gratified to find that the kind of community the author believes was mandated by the Bill of Rights is very similar to what we find in our Quaker communities, where we freely meet, talk, and listen together in search of truth, rather than to win a point. This fall we will be studying John Woolman’s Journal. We have a monthly partner enrichment group; a monthly poetry group; and a threshold choir, a women’s choir with a ministry to enjoy singing a cappella music and, eventually, to bring small teams to minister to those who are sick or dying. We are once again collecting school supplies for low income schools in Philadelphia and Takoma Park.
Annapolis Friends Meeting installs Charging Stations
Bob Bruninga, Annapolis Friends Meeting
Quakers have a tradition of simplicity and stewardship of the Earth. To clear the land for our 1992 new Meeting House, Annapolis Friends Meeting used horse power (a Clydesdale) to clear the land. Now, to further reduce our carbon footprint, AFM has installed two Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations and is also investigating solar panels. The charging stations encourage the use of EVs, demonstrate the simplicity of standard 115v charging, and let members extend their Sunday driving range by about 10 miles after visiting the Meeting House.
With many Friends already driving hybrids, and with over 20 new models of Plug-In electric vehicles coming on the market in 2012, the Meeting wanted to be ready for this new clean energy means of transportation. Rather than go with expensive fast chargers, Annapolis chose the simplicity of adding two 115v outlets in the parking lot and putting up signs for EVs.
All electric vehicles are able to charge from standard 115v outlets, so this is an economical way to provide modest charging. During a two hour visit on Sunday, the cost to charge is about 25 cents and provides about a 8 mile boost for the way home. Having outlets at work, at Meeting, and at home effectively doubles the range of plugin EVs.
There is too much emphasis on expensive high-voltage quick chargers for EV’s. Most EV’s will never be driven across country or far from their local area commute. The EV is less like a gasoline car—always needing access to public gas stations—and more like a laptop or cell phone that you use every day and plug in at home and at work. The EV is ideal for the regular commuter. A standard outlet can charge about 32 miles of range in 8 hours. This is enough for 50% of American commuters. If the car can also be plugged in at work, then an 8 hour charge at home and work will satisfy 90% of all commuters in the USA. Please see the web page: aprs.org/EXorder-EVs.html
Fully 2/3rds of all Americans live in single family detached homes and have access to a 115v outlet. These 200 million commuters have the potential to be the first adopters of EV’s. The cost of electricity to drive the same distance as a gallon of gas is about 75 cents. Additionally, 100% of that electricity can come from clean renewable solar or wind energy just by signing up for Clean-Currents from the power company.
We held a threshing session on March 11 to consider giving from the Meeting budget to worthy causes. Our practice has been to give away 10% of all unrestricted contributions. Annapolis Friends would be interested in hearing what other Meetings do. We are looking forward to a retreat on May 12 led by our former member and clerk Maurine Pyle from Illinois Yearly Meeting and Helene Pollock from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Our young adult member Molly Finch has spent several months with Ann Riggs at Friends Theological College in Kenya. A Visitors Sunday was held on March 25 with an orientation before worship and lunch afterwards. Because of the small number of visitors, the lunch was opened to all who wished to stay. A number of Friends are participating in the Winter Relief Homeless Shelter, in some cases spending the night. The proceeds from our May 5 Quaker Market will go to AFSC, the properties of the BYM camp, and our solar trellis project, with $100 going to our children to decide on what cause should receive it.
In January, Annapolis Friends had an adult education session on Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Pat Schenck addressed those gathered for potluck on why she wrote her recent Pendle Hill Pamphlet and why she wrote it in the first person. Riley Robinson and J.E. McNeil talked with us about Friends United Meeting. In February, we were addressed by Dr. Safi Kaskas. He works to find commonalities among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Our own Sam Shropshire works with him and others in Jedda, finding similar messages in the Bible and the Quran. Our children are learning about prophets and prophecy, both biblical and Quaker. Annapolis Friends are looking for meaningful ways to connect with the Occupy movement. Young adult Friend Molly Finch has gone to Kenya to assist Ann Riggs at Friends Theological College. Annapolis Friends Meeting has installed two electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot and is investigating solar panels for the roof of the Meeting House.
A recent adult education program led by Will Candler looked at the problem of global warming and what Friends can do personally and in the political arena. Friends will be participating in an interfaith program on the environment. First Day School has been looking at the Testimonies, recently on equality and then on stewardship. The children are starting seeds and making other crafts to sell at the Spring Market. In April, Alison Duncan gave a history presentation and led a discussion based on the first half of Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship, by Vanessa Julye and Donna McDaniel, examining the work Friends did to end slavery among themselves and then in the nation.
In August, Young Adult Friend Martin Krafft offered a presentation about his trip to the South Pacific and subsequent adventures hitch-hiking through New Zealand.
An all-ages gathering in August discussed what an ideal First Day School program would look like.
Adult learning programs have included Quaker Religious and Social Testimonies and a fresh look at the Quaker Peace Testimony. Meg Meyer met with us to discuss our relationship to Baltimore Yearly Meeting. We held a midweek gathering to hear from Ann Riggs, home from Friends Theological College in Kenya to which she will return for a second year as principal.
The Meeting held a threshing session on whether Nominating Committee should enforce term limit for service on Committees.
Several Friends are very active with the Annapolis Light House Shelter, serving on the board and coordinating Friends contributions to a monthly dinner. They also collect non-perishable food items to deliver to the pantry after each First Day.
Ministry and Worship Committee conducted a survey to learn Friends interest in attending Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. They hope to interest more people in attending.
A new tankless water heater has been installed and three green areas or islands and a bio-retention area constructed in the parking lot as required by county ordinances.
Annapolis Friends hosted Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting on March 14. The Peace and Justice Center continues to take the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) into the local community. After discussion about privacy and minutes on the AFM Web site, we have decided to include the minutes but without last names. For many years, our children have worshiped with the adults the first 15 minutes. We are experimenting with having them come in for the last few minutes.
On Easter, Friends gathered at 7:00 a.m. for worship, followed by a walk around the ravine on our property. Then Friends returned for a pancake breakfast. A new Bible study group is using the Quaker Bible Study model. Sharing is deep and new understandings are emerging.
Our family camping weekend was held at Catoctin in September. In spite of the rain, we hiked and canoed, cooked s’mores at the fireplace, and had a great time building community.
The Annapolis Friends Meeting Peace and Justice Center has offered two sessions of the basic Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), one session of the advanced program, and one of the training for trainers program, which will qualify graduates to apprentice as leaders. Participants represented the Meeting, the board of education, the city and county human relations commissions, and a local African American church. We hope to offer the training throughout the community and we are lining up opportunities to give presentations on the program to community leaders.
A visioning session was held in October to consider the future of the meeting. Sixteen Friends identified and prioritized their spiritual leadings for two, six, and twelve years into the future. Each First Day in October, Outreach Committee provided sandwich materials and invited newer attenders to share a meal and get to know one another better.
In November we welcomed four new children into the meeting community. Kind words were spoken, certificates were signed, and a potluck was enjoyed by all present. Many tasks were completed at our fall project day, including an extension to the parking lot. The adult education program offered the Exploring Quakerism program over several sessions. Pastoral Care Committee has created a buddy system for Friends who live alone and would have no one to help them if they had an emergency. Individuals can sign up to have someone check on them each morning. We are offering a spiritual friendship group based on the BYM Spiritual Formation Program.
We continue our relationship with an inner city school in Philadelphia. We have established a program of pen pals between Friends and the children there. We have provided school supplies and mittens and gloves.
Three quarters of the proceeds from our annual Christmas Market on December 5 will be used for scholarships to AVP workshops. The other 25% will go to our Growing and Greening working group to pay a consultant to advise us on greening issues. We celebrated Christmas late—January 3 (!) at our regular potluck with a children’s program and caroling, due to the 20 inches of snow that made it impossible to reach the meetinghouse the Sunday before Christmas.
We have temporarily stopped posting the minutes of our business meetings on our Web page as we seek unity on how to balance desires for confidentiality with the desire to let our light shine into the digital world. We would be interested in other Friends’ thinking and practice.
Our sojourning member Ann Riggs has gone to Kenya to serve as principle (president) of the Friends Theological College. She will be there for about a year.
The proceeds of our spring Quaker Market were divided between support for Ann Riggs’ ministry to Kenya, William Penn House, and the greening of our Meeting House.
In June a group traveled from AFM to visit our third-grade partner children at their school in Philadelphia. We collected school supplies for them prior to their return to school.
The Meeting participated in an Annapolis Area Interfaith Earth Day Celebration held at a nearby church in June.
In June, instead of the usual potluck, Friends were treated to a simple meal followed by a talk about Right Sharing of the World Resources from Ted Hawkins. Friends then had the opportunity to contribute to the organization.
Our sojourning member Ann Riggs has been invited to be interim principal of the Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya. Annapolis Friends are supporting her call. She must raise funds for her position, and contributions from BYM Friends can be made either to her directly or to Annapolis Friends Meeting. A support committee is meeting with her to provide spiritual support.
At this writing, the meeting is about to offer its first two series of Quaker Quest meetings. The three topics selected are peace, simplicity, and God/the divine. We are publicizing with newspaper articles, yard signs, posters, Google access, and mention on radio station WAMU following the weekly broadcast of Speaking of Faith. Details of the program can be found on our Web site.
On Easter we had a 7:00 a.m. (almost sunrise!) worship followed by a ravine walk on our property and a pancake breakfast.
Business meeting has minuted its discernment in support of marriage equality in the state of Maryland. The local newspaper published our letter to the editor, which included the minute.
In April, the Friendly FolkDancers performed for us after a potluck supper. Soon we were all dancing, the reluctant teen-agers, the adults who came only to set up, our friend in a wheelchair, the husbands who had wanted to leave early to watch basketball. The evening ended in a meditative walking dance with sacred singing in which we offered up a prayer for peace within ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world.
The next day Gaston Hector Shyaka, a dancer from Rwanda, told us about his work at the Friends Peace House in Kigali. Our own peace pole has Kinyarwanda as one of its six languages, inspired by the peace garden at Friends Peace House.
We have a bench in our lobby, a gift from the Quaker family of the teacher of the class in Philadelphia that our First Day School supports with school supplies and winter wear.
We continue to provide a meal each month for the local homeless shelter and collect nonperishable food items for their pantry. A collage art workshop at the Meeting House in February raised money for the shelter.
The annual silent retreat for Annapolis Friends was held at Dayspring in February.
In January, the Children’s Religious Education Committee hosted an intergenerational event with BYM Young Friends focusing on substance abuse policies and policy making. We appreciated the opportunity for dialogue, deep listening, and increased understanding of each other and of our substance abuse policies.
Center has made a commitment to work in a local low-income community. We are still investigating ways we might do that. One possibility is a listening project. In addition, two members of the Meeting are supporting inmate leaders of Alternatives to Violence workshops at the Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup.
We are preparing to offer the Quaker Quest outreach program with three sessions in March, to be repeated in April, on the topics God/the Divine, Simplicity, and Peace.
A small group of Friends is meeting regularly to respond to the current draft of the new Faith and Practice.
Our First Day School curriculum for the year is focusing on Old Testament covenants and journeys, complemented by a recent intergenerational event where some of our Young Adult Friends shared their spiritual journeys, and we discussed possible journeys with respect to the military and conscientious objection. Young Friends enjoyed our Meeting’s fall camping trip to Catoctin and two events they organized: a Halloween party/sleepover and their Christmas play, A Modern Christmas Carol (beautifully adapted by two of our Young Friends and skillfully performed by all of our children).
The First Day School has supported a variety of intergenerational community service activities. At the local level, we provided families and seniors with holiday meals and presents, and caroled at a rehabilitation center. At the regional level, we have an ongoing partnership with an inner-city public school in Philadelphia, for which we have collected school supplies, outerwear, and educational enhancement materials for the classroom, and have established a pen pal program. AFM is also supporting a small homeschooling program this year.
Meetings for Learning over the summer highlighted personal Spiritual Journeys. Those presenting found the challenge of considering and sharing their journeys personally enlightening; those listening met others on a deep spiritual level.
Our Children’s Religious Ed. Committee (CREC) continues to partner with an inner-city Philadelphia school, welcoming the teacher and her family to our Meeting in late August and treating the visitors to a swim party. CREC has also been able to lead our Meeting to unity around a Youth Safety Policy that has been a couple of years in the making.
FGC gave a Quaker Quest inreach workshop at our Meeting House in June and Annapolis Friends plan to use this rich program as outreach in the spring with three themes: Quakers and (i) God/the Divine, (ii) Peace/Alternatives to Violence, and (iii) Simplicity. Participating Friends will spend the fall and winter discovering more about their faith and practice as we prepare to share our unique experience of worship.
Our Growing and Greening Committee held a Dept. of Natural Resources workshop on how individuals can lower their carbon footprint. The DNR did an audit of our Meeting House and gave it a high "green" score. We continue to explore how to simplify our current impact as we consider when and how to grow.
The Annapolis Friends Peace and Justice Center has had a huge summer agenda with two especially successful undertakings.
- We provided Help Increase the Peace (HIP) training to both staff and youth at the Boys and Girls Club and plan a train-the-trainer for October through AFSC.
- The Palestinian-Israeli Geneva Initiative Water Dialogue surpassed our expectations with agreement on about 95% of the issues concerning shared water resources at the close of the sessions and ongoing final tweaking now in progress. Ten delegates (five from Palestine and five from Israel) joined five neutral advisors and two facilitators at Bon Secours Spiritual Center for three days of intensive dialogue with many Friends and supporters holding us all in the Light.
Our thanks to so many BYM and Annapolis Friends and interfaith networks for their financial support, prayers, and transportation services. For updates, see www.quaker.org/annapolis.