Gettysburg Monthly Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports
The text of recently received Spiritual State of the Meeting Reports 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.
|2011 Report||2012 Report||2013 Report||2014 Report||2015 Report|
|2016 Report||2017 Report||2018 Report||2019 Report|
In 2019 we were saddened by loss of members through death, resignation, and moving away. But we also welcomed a new member who transferred in. In the later months of the year, we welcomed an anthropology student from Gettysburg College who conducted an ethnographic study of our small community. The study gave us a unique opportunity to understand what an outsider looking in observes about our Meeting. Much of this report stems from our discussion of his observations.
Much of the study centered on whether we live our beliefs, and although we don’t talk much about our specific beliefs, and discussions of beliefs tend to be informal, we were observed to live our testimonies. We do try to let our actions speak. Some examples: simplicity in dress, listening to others, being open and frank, interest in environmental struggles, meeting regularly in community. We realized that it is more difficult to convey the meaningfulness of the presence of the Spirit in our Meeting and in our lives, particularly since we don’t have a lot of vocal ministry. We do have a monthly discussion on spiritual issues which has been meaningful.
Since we are mostly at the same time of life, we share common concerns and are comfortable with still having questions. It is not as important to know all the answers as it was when we were younger. We appreciate the affirmation of our journeys.
It is obvious to the observer and to ourselves that, since we are a small, aging meeting, we are in danger of losing our existence. Like other churches in the local community, the reality is that young people are not joining. Only one of the children who grew up in our Meeting lives locally. We meet on the college campus, but we have not been able to find a way to relate to the student community. We do try to take advantage of opportunities for community outreach through working on local issues, sponsoring events, contributing to community needs.
We try to treat visitors like one of us, and try to assimilate new attenders quickly, but we also need to be respectful that not every visitor comes with the same interest or agenda. Quakerism takes thought and time to grow into it. Not everyone is comfortable with our testimonies, and we realized that our unique Quaker language can be a barrier to our being understood as a group.
What shines through very much to observers is our care for each other. Our support for each other is sustaining. We come because we want to be here. Sunday worship is priority for every member/attender.
Gettysburg Monthly Meeting is a welcoming community, helping all of us in our spiritual journey. Because we are a small group, we are more like extended family. We are supportive of Friends in need as well as others in our larger community of Gettysburg and beyond.
We try to nourish and support efforts individually and collectively to live our Quaker values – especially equality, fairness for the “least of these”, environment, social and racial justice, peace, and simplicity. We strive for integrity and truth in our world of turmoil. We meet in a lovely small building on Gettysburg College campus. Since we don’t have a building to take our time and financial resources, we are more free to support local, national, and international organizations which share our values. We have been especially supportive of the locally-conceived Abolitionists Day effort.
Our Meetings for Worship are primarily silent with very few spoken messages but the silence is a powerful shared experience. The time to meditate, reflect, and read relevant material is valuable. More spoken ministry would be appreciated. We tend to end worship with a sense of peace and rejuvenation.
Our experiment with a second Sunday spiritual discussion has worked well and participants have been very willing to share their views. We look forward to ever-deeper exploration of our faith.
It would be nice to be a larger group. We struggle with finding ways to advertise our Meeting and message in the community and at Gettysburg College. We have occasional visitors but haven’t been very successful at retaining them.
We could be more involved in the wider Quaker world.
Gifts of money and time to community projects
Empathy and compassion for our members and the worldwide community
Trust in each other
Terrific pot lucks
Youthful in thinking, if not in age
Support of each other allows the Spirit to work in our lives
Bounty of God’s love
Understanding, non-judgmental, and tolerant
Racism concerns and action (support for Martin Luther King Day, attendance at workshops, etc.)
Gun safety concerns and activism
Friendship and friendliness to visitors
Rejoicing in the presence of God
Individual ideas but like minded
Everybody contributes to the work of the Meeting, energizing each other
Nudging and nurturing our activism
Dogs are welcome!
Simplicity in our organization as a small Meeting without a building
Gettysburg Meeting is comprised of a small group, with an average of eight attendees. The group is closely knit and bonded by shared spiritual, political, and personal values (seasoned with humor).
The strength of our Meeting lies in the caring we have for one another – and, as a group, for the greater community. We all agree that caring and sharing are key assets, along with fellowship.
We meet in a beautiful little building on the campus of Gettysburg College, for which we are very appreciative.
Worship usually takes place in complete silence. While we all appreciate the quiet – “the time for spiritual reflection,” as one member put it – there is also a desire for “more messages in Meeting” and for “more sharing of spiritual journeys.” There is also a wish for more group discussions and more community engagement.
Occasionally young people – some from out of town, some from the college – do worship with us, but there is a general wish not only for more regular attendees, but for more young ones, including children.
Gettysburg Meeting provides spiritual and communal sustenance, as well as a commitment to our shared values, and to the community at large.
We meet on the campus of Gettysburg College in a beautiful building, Glatfelter Lodge, that is maintained by the College.
Our Meetings for Worship are held in deep silence with very few vocal messages. Ministry of silence leads to the faithful activity of every member in the meeting. Together we enter the depths of a living silence, where we find one another in “the things that are eternal” upholding and strengthening one another. “True silence...is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” (William Penn)
Not having our own Meeting House relieves a lot of pressure felt by other meetings. But, without our own Meeting House, we are not very visible in the community. We feel this is one factor that keeps our Meeting small. We are determined to find ways to make ourselves known in the Community. One way we do this is by volunteering to help whenever we can. All of our members are active either through their work, or with the Yearly Meeting, or volunteering within the community on committees, in the Soup Kitchen, or for United Way. We have even had the opportunity to volunteer for United Way's Bag the Bounty as a whole meeting to help sort the donated food. We would like to see more young families find our Meeting. We will continue to find ways to get the word out about who we are and where we meet.
Our Meeting is small and we find ourselves fairly like-minded in our concerns for social justice. Our contributions tend to reflect that. It also contributes to the joy we find in fellowship together. We support each other in our needs by sharing meals, providing transportation, or by just talking together. For some that provides the spiritual base for the Meeting. For some, reading books and internet articles has provided spiritual growth this past year. Personal and social support is obvious in the Meeting, but as a group we do not talk a great deal about spiritual things. We would like to explore the possibilities of having more spiritual discussions in the coming year.
We are a connected and strong Meeting in our love for each other. We would welcome all visitors to come experience that with us.
Approved at Meeting for Business, February 7, 2016
We meet on the campus of Gettysburg College in a beautiful building, Glatfelter Lodge, with stained glass windows of owls and grapes. Our Meeting is small but very supportive of each other. We are concerned for the health and well-being of each member and do our best to help each other when needed. Two of our members lost their spouses this past year, and one needed assistance with driving to her rehab appointments after engaging in a battle with a stink bug which caused her to fall and break her knee in four places. Our Meeting stepped up as we could in each of these instances. We nurture our spiritual life with our Meetings each week, our readings, our sharing, and our conversation. Our luncheons before Meeting for Business help us get to know each other even more. We often extend these times together beyond the Meeting Place with meals or shared activities. All of our members are active in either their workplace which gives to the community, or active with the Yearly Meeting, or volunteering within the community on committees or in the Soup Kitchen, or for United Way. We are involved in ways which grow our own spiritual life. Our Meeting as a whole chooses to donate financially to local, national, and international peace causes.
We finished reading “The New Jim Crow” and have continued discussions about what the book said, how this effects us, and how we can change things in the community. This is an overwhelming task for a small Meeting, but we are looking for ways to connect with Gettysburg College to open a community discussion. We are also looking at how we can make a positive impact on the juveniles in a nearby detention facility.
We are not as diverse as we would like to be and discuss ways in which we can make ourselves known in the community. We are open to all ages and anyone who would like to gather with us. We make visitors feel welcome and comfortable at our Meeting. This year we welcomed new members through their request or transfer. As they are able they have been welcomed to participate fully.
We are a small, but mighty Meeting in our love for each other.
Our small Meeting has had much to be thankful for. We have had many visitors some of whom have passed this way more than once.
We were delighted when a Friend from New England Yearly Meeting visited, who was moving to Gettysburg, and looking for a Quaker Meeting in the area. She said that after worshipping with us she knew she had to look no further. She has since transferred her membership to Gettysburg and is now an active member of our Meeting.
The Meeting meets in the middle of the campus of Gettysburg College, so this means we are not visible in the town community. So we make an effort both with financial contributions to local organizations that help the poor and the homeless, and by actions taken by individual members.
At Baltimore Yearly Meeting last year the Working Group on Racism encouraged Monthly Meetings to read the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. We have had some deep discussion on the book. Our experience was broadened by having an attender who worked for the Sheriff’s office in Hagerstown, MD, and brought a different perspective. We have also had input from a member’s niece who works at a juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania.
Members have had challenging physical experiences this past year and our Meeting helped one another in many ways including phone calls, covered dishes, rides, and the Light which comes from a caring community.
We continue to use the queries from BYM’s revised “Faith and Practice” which help us deepen our worship experience.
Gettysburg Friends Meeting continues to be a very small Meeting, and it has the privilege of using the facilities of Gettysburg College, a Lutheran institution. This year we received continued support from the new Chaplain. In spite of its size, individuals find presence at Meeting for Worship to be up-lifting. Spoken ministry is rare but welcome; contemplation in the company of others is spiritually helpful. We utilize the Queries in the new Faith and Practice at the start of the first Meeting for Worship of each month. And we are pleased to welcome two new attenders, who have moved to the area from that served by New England Yearly Meeting. Small though we are, members find Meeting for Worship a valuable and meaningful experience. It is enhanced by our clerk's active involvement in Baltimore Yearly Meeting activities, thus keeping us "in the loop."
Gettysburg Monthly Meeting Spiritual State of the Meeting Report for 2011
Gettysburg Monthly Meeting continues to be one of the smallest Monthly Meetings in Baltimore Yearly Meeting with attendance at Meeting for Worship fluctuating from 1 to 15. We meet at Gettysburg College and find our space to be a place of peace which offers an oasis of quiet and contemplation. We feel deep spiritual comfort and inspiration at our Meetings for Worship, as well as pleasant and caring fellowship.
The Meeting contributes regularly to Gettysburg assistance programs and is recognized in their literature, thereby making the larger community aware that we do exist and that we do care. Several members also work very actively with these programs.
Friends come from Pennsylvania and Maryland to worship together and each individual is concerned with the social and political well-being of that individual's local community as well as the greater Gettysburg community. Different members take advantage of programs offered by BYM, as well as actively participating in Quarterly Meetings and special events offered by other Meetings in the Quarter.
Gettysburg Meeting remains a beacon for spiritual sojourners from near and far. The very existence of a Gettysburg Friends Meeting, allows members to practice the peace testimony in a town best known for three days of horrific violence. Although we do not grow in actual numbers, we welcome visitors from the college, the town, and beyond, quite often during the year.
Approved at Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business, April 1st. 2012.
The Twelve Months of COVID 2020
Gettysburg Friends Meeting
In the twelve months of 2020, our Meeting
Gave 12 donations *
Had 11 surprise visitors*
Managed 10 meetings at the college*
Read 9 queries*
Counted 8 regular attenders*
Enjoyed 7 months of outdoor gatherings*
Attempted at least 6 times to get Margaret live on Zoom!*
Held 5 Meetings for Business*
Had 4 different places for Meeting*
Had 3 potlucks*
Held Dick Wood's celebration of life service in month 2*
Had 1 adoption in a member's family*
*12 We actually made 14 donations to local and world wide organizations, plus gave Christmas to one Teen Angel.
*11 Zoom made some visits possible and outdoors made some feel safer. Including the Wood family, we actually had more than 11
*10 The Gettysburg College campus closed down and we lost our Meeting place
*9 We actually had queries read 10 times, but one was a repeat!
*8 All true
*7 Sometimes the rain or heat made it interesting. Cold drove us back to Zoom
*6 It took some coordinating to get the computer purchased and up and running, and getting greater speed to get Margaret on for longer than 10 seconds!!
*5 Again, all true
*4 Gettysburg College, Liz Wood's front yard, Margaret Stambaugh's back yard, and Zoom. We also submitted 4 Quarterly Meeting Reports.
*3 Boy do we miss our potlucks! We also assisted with the Abolitionist Day Celebration in month 3.
*2 Again, all true and boy, do we miss Dick!
*1 We also held one Christmas Eve musical service this year – in the twelfth month!!
At our Meetings on Zoom, we were pleased to welcome the participation of some of our members who live out of town or who can’t regularly join us. We experimented with different styles – free participation, responding to questions, worship sharing, discussion of various writings, silent worship, and then settled into a pattern of 15 minutes of check-in, 30 minutes of worship, and 15+ minutes of discussion. We also kept contact with each other through phone calls and outdoor meet-ups. At our summer outdoor Meetings, we found that, since no one had other activities to go to, we stayed around and talked after Meeting much more than we did before the closures. Our discussions were free-ranging, but usually included how and what we are doing, the political situation, and spiritual issues. It gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better and to help each other with concerns, fears, and questions. A drawback was that we were missing some of the folks who participated with us via Zoom and others who are not inclined to join us at this time. We went back to Zoom when the weather turned cold, and enriched our time together with Meeting for Business, second hour spiritual discussions, and sharing music.
The Spirit is alive and with us at Gettysburg Meeting and we hope to share that Spirit with new visitors in 2021. Some of us feel that Spirit more than others. We are missing the physical contact, and, like the children who can’t wait to go back to school, we can’t wait to get back together. We are grateful for Zoom which gives us the opportunity to be in contact.