State of Society — Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends — 2013

 Our journey as a spiritual community seeking God’s will among us was rich with the continuation of many beloved traditions and our commitment to a number of inner and outer concerns that we hold dear.  We continued to be sustained by our traditions. Our Pastor’s spirit-led messages gathered and deepened our Worship. Music was an important part of each Meeting.  Our Youth Minister and Christian Education Committee offered a vibrant and engaging program for the young people and children of the Meeting.  Adult study remained an inspiring and sustaining practice for many. The Woman’s Society continued to be a strong and important part of our vitality.  Through this group we constructed numerous baby quilts, held the annual yard and plant sale, provided a reading program for all ages, and offered financial support to many community and wider Quaker concerns.  Peace and Social Concerns engaged with environmental concerns.  Our library continued to provide a rich resource to the Meeting.

Our spirits were nourished in additional ways.  The contemplative prayer group was a powerful means of centering and deepening for those who participated.  Community dinners and fundraisers, such as those for Lisbon Area Christian Outreach (LACO) and Kakamega, Kenya, Orphan Care Center, served to strengthen our friendships and build strong bridges among us. Ministry to those needing special attention provided a mutual benefit to all and served to deepen our relationships to one another.  We were delighted to receive a number of traveling friends from Bolivia and Cuba this year.

Care of worship was especially important this year, particularly when we received the news that our pastor, Daphne Clement, would be retiring in October.  This drew us together to arrange an interim plan, and further deepened a movement toward exploring and visioning the emerging needs of the meeting. While we know our spirit is strong, we recognize that our numbers have diminished. We know that each of us carries the power of ministry, and we are drawn to find new ways to develop and share these gifts more fully.  We desire that our corporate Light would shine more brightly in the larger community, encouraging others to more easily find us.

As the year came to an end, we found ourselves on the cusp of new growth, bringing both a feeling of excitement and exhilaration and also a sense of caution and confusion about a future that will bring some form of change.  We seek wisdom and strength for our journey, and so we call upon the One Who Knows All to watch over us, and we say:  Divine Creator and Guide, help us to deepen our practice, awaken our insights, and remain true to Your Way, so that we might expand our vitality and feel Your Presence among us.  Keep us steady and trusting of Your Wisdom.  Greet us with patience each day, as we learn to listen and grow in love for You and for one another.

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