Sandy Spring Friends Meeting Interchange Reports
After several months of listening sessions and seasoning, the Meeting has approved a Minute on Same Gender Marriage. Friends regard marriage as religious in nature, being a solemn covenant made between two people in the presence of God. We apply the Procedure for Marriage under the care of Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to all couples, regardless of sex or gender.
Sandy Spring has been planning a building program for the past several years, raising funds in hopes of building improved spaces for religious education and fellowship. At the Third Month Meeting for Business, Trustees recommended the Meeting not continue with the current building plan, as they seek to reconsider the best use of Meeting resources. The Clerk of Trustees reported this to be a Spirit-led decision, and a matter of continuing revelation for Way to Open, and the Meeting community is in unity with this decision. The Peace Committee has proposed a minute to ask Friends Fiduciary to divest in companies that enforce, maintain, and profit from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the Meeting community has learned more about this item through listening sessions and heard from several speakers, the minute has been honed and refined. Friends in Unity with Nature (FUN) have been working on stream monitoring of the streams around the SSFM property, and have planted a native plants garden outside the Community House which they plan to introduce at a garden party on Mothers Day. FUN is also planning for Earth Day when Mark Tayac of the Piscataway Tribe will join us and talk about native traditions of earth care.
We will host Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting, with Tom Farquhar as speaker, on September 23, 2012. The Hospitality Committee has been heavily involved in making sure guests are welcomed with the traditional corn pudding and tomatoes. Friends in Unity with Nature (FUN) is active in two projects concerning the quality of local streams; one involves improving on-site retention of storm water on the SSMM campus, which is located on the headwaters of the Anacostia River. Eliminating storm water runoff from our property will both help recharge ground water levels and reduce erosion downstream. We are sharing information with appropriate Meeting committees as they develop a plan for the entire campus, including new construction—to be used incrementally as opportunities arise. The other project involves stream monitoring by Young Friends from our First Day School and some of their friends. They are led by a member of FUN and other adults. They monitor the water quality at a nearby location on the Northwest Branch three times a year, recording data on the quantity and variety of stream-bed life (mainly water insects), the volume and temperature of the water, and the condition of the stream bed. We have been involved in this ongoing project for several years as part of a region-wide effort associated with the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase. Maryland.
Sandy Spring Meeting is dancing in the Light! Our new regularly scheduled activities include:
- Second Sundays Hymn Sing in our Lyceum/Community House from 10:10am to 10:50am
- Third Saturday Evenings from 6p-9pm we offer a Simple Dinner followed by activities. Third Month we all enjoyed a Talent Show with singing, music and antics. During Fourth Month we will have a Tails & Scales presentation with live birds and reptiles!
- First Sundays during Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business (10:15am until rise of Meeting) Craft Projects for kids, followed by a family pot luck.
Our usual activities continue, including: Second and Fourth Sundays 9am Bible Study, Fourth Sundays 10:10am Quaker Reading Group; Third Sunday 4pm Sacred Harp Sing; Every Monday 7:30pm free Ballroom Dancing Lessons.
Our new Rain Garden is blooming! This natural species garden was developed with a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Fund. We look forward to our Spring Graveyard & Grounds clean-up on Seventh Day May 11th. We have returned to an annual Mother’s Day Bird Walk which was started by Martha Ligon. Please join us early First Day, May 12th to discover what birds are in the area. The walk will be followed by a breakfast in the Community House.
Also in May, we are happy to host a “Not In Our Town Conference” event for middle schoolers in the Olney-Brookeville-Sandy Spring areas. This was a program developed by one of our Junior Young Friends to support anti-bullying and anti-discrimination teaching within communities. (www.niotobss.org/)
The compiled cookbook by Sandy Spring Friends and Sharp Street United Methodist members, Feast of Goodness: A Collection of Two Communities, is available again in a limited number. It is a scrumptious book! If you would like a copy please contact Deborah Kahn, firstname.lastname@example.org or Donna Hamilton, email@example.com. Olive oil sales for Tent of Nations! Continue at Sandy Spring. Please stop by for olive oil tasting and purchasing opportunities on the following dates: April 21 Easter 9-1; and May 19 from 10-1. Olive oil is perfect for Spring salads and a tasty way to support peace in the Middle East!! Please contact Charles at Charles.Lewis@SSFS.org with any questions.