Gunpowder Friends Meeting
Our Spring and Summer at Gunpowder Friends Meeting has been quite eventful. We had two marriages in June. Rebecca Richards and Kathy Schaafsma were married under the care of our Meeting on the 15th day, Sixth Month. Katherine Acton and Randall Bauer were also married under the care of our Meeting on the 29th day, 6th month. The weddings were held in good order and our community is so very happy as our Friends move forward as a couple with our loving support. We mourn the loss of two Friends. John Montgomery Sexton and Peggy Matthews Miller. John Sexton’s memorial was held under the care of our meeting on the 20th day, Seventh month. Peggy Matthews Miller’s memorial service is will be held on the 25th day, Ninth month under the care of our meeting. Our Gunpowder Meeting community holds both families in the Light and in prayer during their bereavement.
Eli Fishpaw, Maury River Friends Meeting
On December 2, Friend Linda Davis of Gunpowder Meeting and I shared with Nottingham Quarterly Meeting our Meeting’s Minutes on Finding Right Relationship. Aldo Leopold defines, “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Our minutes were warmly received and respectfully considered by those gathered. We encouraged Friends to deliberate on how we achieve the love response to the powerful dilemmas faced of our times. Some expressed interest in doing so. I was impressed by the deep Quaker heritage in these Meetings.
The Unity with Nature Committee is encouraging all Local Meetings to deliberate on these dilemmas. To be sustainable we must meet our needs in ways that maintain or enhance the value of the resources and environmental resilience available to the future. Are we called to find such a standard? Our search is for a path to living in peace with the creation. To do that requires honest recognition of the truth of the unsustainable practices we still depend on. With that recognition will come a culture wide determination to creatively adapt to protect the renewable abundance of life in our environment. This requires us to stretch beyond our comfort zone. Consider the Sustainability Queries on the Committee’s page of the Yearly Meeting website. The full text of Local Meeting Minutes on Right Relationship and Sustainability are gathered there as well.
Unity with Nature Committee meets in person when possible, but more commonly holds discussions by telephone, Skype, or email. The Committee has recently examined Quaker’s spiritual connection to sustainability, and the role of Faith and Practice in deepening our relationship to nature.
The art exhibit Reflections: Homage to Dunkard Creek, displayed at Annual Session 2012, is now available in portable form. The original art has been reproduced on several scrolling banners, simple to unfurl and display in meetings, schools, libraries, etc., both indoors and out. The show offers Quakers an opportunity to consider the true costs of energy consumption. Info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304.292-7673.
We have welcomed several new members into our Gunpowder Meeting community over the past several months. Jennifer Robinson, Tracy Haidar, Kerensa (Kerry) Zimmerman and the entire Lane family consisting of Ben Lane, Anne Lane, Emily Lane, Rebecca Lane and Abigail Lane joined our community in the way of membership. Kerensa (Kerry) Zimmerman and Meredith van den Beemt, members of Gunpowder Meeting, were married on 22nd Ninth Month, 2012.
Our dear Friend, Karolyn Sue Kelsey Huffman died on 22nd Tenth Month, 2012. Karolyn is greatly missed by her F(f)riends and family. Karolyn is survived by her husband, John, her daughter, Laura Huffman Reynolds, her son in law Robert Reynolds, her son, Stephen Reynolds, her daughter in law, Leda Longwood and 2 grandsons and 3 granddaughters. Karolyn was the Director of Admissions at the Broadmead Retirement community for 33 years before she retired. She worked endlessly to assist residents with the transition to their new home. Karolyn’s Quaker witness led her to serve on several committees with the American Friends Service Committee, to actively participate in rallies for Peace and Civil Rights and to be work with the Baltimore City Exchange Program. Karolyn left an indelible mark on those around her. Karolyn’s memorial service was held on 17th Eleventh Month, 2012 in good order in the way of Friends at Broadmead Retirement community under the care of Gunpowder Meeting.
Gunpowder Friends Meeting is actively refurbishing the Meeting House benches to make them more stable and to improve their appearance. We are getting assistance from a cabinetmaker that works at Friends School of Baltimore. We have also increased the number of cushioned chairs for those Friends who need the added back support. First Day School is very happy with the success of the Faith and Play curriculum as well as the impressive fund raising from the Christmas bake sale. FDS teachers are planning for additional storage facilities to keep up with their growing activities. The adult religious education program called “Quakerism” has been renamed “The Quaker Way” and is now occurring at the rise of Meeting on the 2nd First Day. Attendance is dramatically improved and feedback is encouraging. The topic changes from month to month, so participants do not need to prepare ahead of time. This makes it more attractive to those of us whose schedules may not allow us to attend consistently.
Our First Day School families had a very successful and very wet camping experience on 13/14 Eighth Month. The inclement weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of either the children or the adults.
The Meeting has just completed installation of an induction hearing loop system, which hopefully will increase access to vocal ministry for those Friends with hearing aids. In the next few weeks we will be “tuning” the system to our Meeting Room so we can maximize its effectiveness. The new rectangular bench configuration continues to work well, and we will soon begin refurbishing those benches that require stabilization. In some cases the benches will need to be shortened somewhat to fit the new floor plan. We expect the bench work will take a few years to complete.