Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

June Newsletter




Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

Please respond to vbfm.emailer@gmail.com with ideas for future Newsletter Articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications committee
vbfriends.org


Contents:



Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

Minutes from our June business meeting are posted at this link…

Highlights include:

  • The Clerk read the following quote from the Handbook of Protocol and Procedures, 1995. “Unity can encompass differing views and emotions, so it is not the same as unanimity. A Friend may have a strong personal commitment to a preferred outcome, yet be in unity with the sense of the meeting that decides on a different path because he or she recognizes that the decision is the right way forward for the group as a whole at a particular time...True leadings are reached when there is unity of spirit regardless of difference in attitude or ideas.”
  • The meeting approves the Clearness Committee’s strong recommendation to accept Richard Taylor as a member of Meeting and looks forward to his family joining us.
  • Nancy A. Delle Famine read her beautiful and heartfelt letter requesting membership. Members of the Clearness Committee include Dave and Barb French, Nancy Craft (Convener), and Bob Clapp.
  • Travel Minute: The Meeting approves the travel minute that Nancy Craft go to the Ohio Yearly Meeting where she will represent our monthly meeting. The clerk will request Yearly Meeting to also endorse this travel minute.
  • NCYM representatives: The Meeting approves Nancy Craft, Tom Bertrand, Elizabeth Waitikus, Dave French, Gayle Cameron, Nancy Nixon and others as led will be our representatives at Yearly Meeting.

Query #12 / Outreach: Do we welcome newcomers and non-members to our meetings? Are they encouraged to share in Meeting activities and to consider membership when they are in agreement with the principles and practices of Friends? Are our younger members appointed to committees and encouraged to share in other responsibilities of the Meeting? Do we visit one another frequently, remembering those who may be lonely? Does this visitation and caring extend beyond the members of our own Meeting?

Response: Our Quaker worship is powerful and inclusive. Members and others have found deep trust, caring, encouragement and have felt welcomed. We are reminded to visit those who may be lonely or grieving.


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Yearly Meeting

June 15 2018 Update:

The DEADLINE for registering for staying in the dormitory and for requesting display space for NCYMC yearly meeting sessions at Guilford College is June 25. Spaces cannot be guaranteed after this date and we must inform Guilford College officials of how many rooms are being reserved soon after June 25. Once we inform them, then we are committed to paying for these reservations.

We encourage online registration (www.ncymc.org) but the payment should be sent to the yearly meeting post office box POB 4591, Greensboro NC 27404 by June 25. A paper registration form (see attached) can be filled out and sent in with the payment.

Registration for commuters (day attenders) with meal purchases "at the door" does not have a deadline, but advanced registration is strongly encouraged to facilitate planning.

Thanks for your assistance

Ray Treadway, Registrar



Original Post - Details are on the newly upgraded the NCYM(c) website - www.ncymc.org:

Introductory letter for those unfamiliar with NCYM-C sessions...

Yearly Meeting Invitation and Theme...

Preliminary Schedule...

Registration...

 

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Inner Light Yoga Series III - Grace, Silence and Our Nervous System

April Megginson Mitchell is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and an ERYT-500. She has a private practice, teaching individuals and groups. She is trained in yin and restorative yoga, Ayurveda, fascial anatomy, and postural biomechanics. April believes it is profound work to discover our own habits and patterns in a compassionate way in order to unravel them, moving toward Wholeness. Her greatest passion and purpose is to teach and share methods which promote good health, awareness, empowerment, healing, connection and calm abiding.

In this month's Newsletter April continues the series, Inner Light Yoga.

For printing, the PDF version of this article can be accessed by clicking here...

Key Terms:

autonomic nervous system= ANS =controls involuntary functions

sympathetic division= SNS = survival = fight, flight, freeze, appease

parasympathetic division = PNS = thrive = rest, digest, heal, nourish

“I’m too tight to do yoga,” and, “I’m really bad at meditation,” are the two phrases I most hear when I explain to people what I do. These misconceptions are ubiquitous and the idea behind them easily demystified. The answers are all tied up in the amazing nervous system. When we train this system, Grace touches us and we are able to abide more fully in the Silence.

I won’t go into the complex anatomy of our entire nervous systems except to explain a little about our autonomic nervous systems (ANS). This system largely regulates key involuntary functions, such as digestion, heart beat, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The two branches that we’re concerned with are the sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic (PNS) divisions. The sympathetic division is concerned with fight, flight, freeze, or appease; in a word-survival. The parasympathetic division allows us to rest, digest, nourish and heal.

In all of the teaching and training we’ve had in our lives and that which we pass down to our children, teaching the important wisdom of the nervous system is rare because we’re just not aware of its significance. What I have found as I have worked with myself and my students over the years is that training, strengthening, and balancing the ANS is key to not only well-being but also in moving deeper into Grace and Silence. This is woven into all of my teaching. We train for our vocations, we train for athletic events, and we understand the importance of practice in whatever skill it is we are trying to acquire. We can do the same for the nervous system.

Our modern human state is one where we are, by and large, operating almost singly out of our sympathetic divisions (SNS). This is our survival mechanism and is incredibly important. The SNS breaks down our systems by sending out hormones and siphoning energy from the rest of the body in order to survive that moment. It raises blood pressure, heat in the body, and sugar levels and cuts off digestion, triggering adrenals, thyroid and for muscles to be at the ready. In other words, all available energy is funneled into surviving the current threat. Because of the function of the muscles always being ready for “fight or flight,” this causes constant tightness and stiffness-thus being “too tight to do yoga." The psychological effects are fear, aggression, guilt, anger, anxiety, willfulness, worry and depression. It can trigger certain behaviors such as excessive thinking, not listening, eating disorders, all kinds of addictions, overexercise, and much more. We can easily identify this imbalance in our world today. We also see it manifested in most of our modern diseases. National Geographic produced a informative documentary called Stress: Portrait of a Killer (click link to watch) about this very subject.

When our sympathetic division (SNS) is triggered, our bodies are designed with the expectation of moving quickly back into our parasympathetic divisions (PNS) to reset. But the difficulty comes when that doesn’t happen due to the constant chaos of our world. The function of the PNS is to build up and replenish our systems. It stimulates digestion, rest, the immune system, elimination and its psychological effects are steadiness, calm, joy, peace, contentedness, patience and happiness. The ANS system works beautifully.

The problem comes when we don’t understand that we must actively train our system to become balanced. We are hard-wired to see the negative because we are built to survive and live. Our SNS is constantly looking to the horizon for threats and often imagining them where none may exist. This is an amazing tool of survival. However, because we don’t understand the necessity of balancing our ANS, we become slaves to the sympathetic division of our nervous systems. So often, what we see happening in our world are the physiological effects of most being in a flight or fight state and constantly scoping for even the slightest thing deemed threatening. This is slavery.

And almost no one realizes they’re slaves to their own nervous system. I certainly didn’t understand there was another way because I hadn’t experienced anything else. But if there is slavery on one side, there can be freedom on the other.

When we balance the ANS and train it to be in the SNS when it senses true threat, and allow our PNS to take a larger, more active role in our physiology, amazing things begin to unfold. We begin to uncover an ability to be with what is instead of trying to force or control this uncontrollable thing called life. We begin to open to compassion in deep ways, and not just for those we agree with, but for all beings. This compassion opens up patience when we have grasped, as wisdom, the working of the nervous system and that someone who is reacting fearfully, aggressively, unkindly, or any other number of ways, may be doing so out of an untrained system that is in a constant “fight or flight” state. This allows us to open even further to live the truth of the “inner light” in all. When we commit to train this system, we begin to gently see our knee-jerk reactions have been coming out of the place of unawareness and that we have the ability to respond gracefully instead of blindly falling into our stories and patterns. And deeper still, we open to the Grace that has always been there. We can begin to open in silence to the Silence.

The timeless space where we are suspended between a situation and our answering of it becomes longer because our nervous systems are strong and balanced. We can watch our initial reaction, let it move through and decide to respond with grace. This is, in many traditions, is called the “gap,” or the pause. We practice silence to move into the Silence.

So, when people tell me, “I’m really bad at meditation,” I try to reframe it. Many of us have some kind of automatic, ANS reaction to the word “meditation” itself. It has many connotations, so I prefer to call it Stillness Practice. Most people wouldn’t go out and run a marathon without training (I hope no one would!), and this is the same. We can access different perspectives about how to strengthen our nervous systems by having an active Stillness Practice. That is exactly as it sounds-we practice stillness. We practice at first, just staying physically still. We do other practices such as yoga poses to come into more and more balance in our physical bodies so that our systems are supported by a healthy postures with less pain. Then maybe we start to notice how tight and wound up our breath is and how we constantly hold it. We can do the same with our emotions and thoughts, and we can start to watch them become fuller and deeper as we bring attention to them. Then one day, as we practice, or even as we go about our day, something extraordinary happens. A deep, calm abiding peace alights upon us. We drop in the Silence, and fall into Grace.

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Then weave for us a garment of brightness:
Breath of Life
I breathe in All That Is—
Awareness expanding
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.
From the unnamed
vastness beneath the
mind, I breathe my
way to wholeness
and healing.
Inhalation. Exhalation.
Each breath a “yes,”
and a letting go,
a journey, and a
coming home.
-Danna Faulds


April is leading a Yoga class, "Group Therapy Yoga Sessions", on Thursdays at the Meetinghouse beginning July 12.

Click here for details...


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Peace and Social Justice committee: How to take action on Immigration Issues: uniting families separated at the border, giving Dreamers a path to citizenship, pressing for comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system:

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Related - Joanna Clinton and linguist colleagues are donating time and language skills to a group in Norfolk, and to Translators Without Borders to secure onsite linguists, provide interpreters, and manage documents translation & certification for the children caught at the border who may need interpreter and document translation assistance.

For more information Joanna can be contacted at joannaclinton@gmail.com, or 757-818-1541.

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The Peace and Social Justice committee will meet this Sunday at Rise of Meeting with a full agenda for this summer - click here for the committee's meeting agenda...


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Meet The Friends School Head Reception

On June 24 at rise of Meeting, the Meeting welcomed Michael and Kristin Barclay along with their two children. It was a well attended reception at the rise of meeting where we all enjoyed good food, great conversation and learned about the vision Mike holds for Friends School.

Mike believes in all actions being purposeful. Mike comes from an extensive background in building enrollment at universities and schools. Mike recently had a position as head of school at Quest Montessori School in Narragansett, RI.

Galen McNemar Hamann, a Quaker minister and formerly director of Friends Education at Moses Brown will be an enormous addition to our community when she and her wife, Jayme and their three children arrive. Galen is the new Assistant Head of School.

Mike expressed his deep appreciation for the welcoming he and his family have received in the two weeks since he arrived. May Galen and her family experience the same warm, and excited reception when they get here.

We are ready!


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Friends Indeed (Underground Railroad in Northampton County)

This article was submitted by P. Michelle Felton and originally was published in the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald.

Barbara Gosney shared this article by P. Michelle Felton on the NC Yearly Meeting Facebook page. With B Gosney’s permission, we reprint here in our Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Newsletter:

Scattered through the corn, tobacco and soybean fields, at the crossroads of Highway 258, lie hidden the footprints of the Underground Railroad in Northampton County.

The group more historically associated with the Underground Railroad were the Society of Friends, also referred to as “Friends” or the “Quakers”. For purposes of this article they will be referred to as just “Friends”.

As students we recall reading in history books and being taught in middle and high school about the bravery demonstrated by individuals who worked on the Underground Railroad such as Levi Coffin. He was known as the “President of the Underground Railroad”. Coffin was born in what is now Guilford County, NC and later moved with his family to the free state of Indiana.

Then, there is Harriet Tubman, born into slavery on the eastern shore of Maryland and called the “Moses” of her people. We have heard of Tubman’s heroics, her daring escape from slavery to freedom and then again returning to free others even though there was a price placed on her head in exchange for her capture.

However, there is little recalled about the courage of our neighbors the “Friends” in Northampton County, their contributions to the Underground Railroad and valiant peaceful fight for human rights.

This state historical marker, located on the grounds of Cedar Grove, tells of the 1760 organization of the Quakers in nearby Rich Square.

Edgecombe, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties had a modest population of Friends living within the northeastern North Carolina corridor. As early as 1665, the first Friends made their presence in Perquimans and Pasquotank. George Fox, known as the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, and William Edmundson, also an Englishman, traveled from England to the outskirts of Hertford in 1672. At this time, Friends were holding ”meetings” in private homes with conservative forms of their silent services until a formal and centralized ”meeting house” was designated or constructed.

The first North Carolina Yearly Meeting was established near Hertford in 1698. The “Yearly”, “Quarterly” and “Monthly Meetings” were held to conduct business, provide governance to the organization and to provide guidance to its members. These types of meetings were similar to the Protestants’ monthly conference meetings, association meetings and state conventions.

Northampton County was home to at least three meeting houses; the Rich Square Monthly Meeting House, the Jack Swamp Meeting House near Garysburg, and the Cedar Grove Meeting House in Woodland. Members extended beyond Northampton County into Hertford County, especially into the town of Murfreesboro.

The Rich Square Monthly Meeting was established in 1760 after being granted a request from the Quarterly Meeting in Perquimans County. Joshua Daughtry deeded one acre of land for the original meeting house. It was situated near what is now the intersection of Highways 258 and 561 in the center of Rich Square. The meeting house property became increasingly undesirable when travelers littered the area while stopping overnight to sleep on the grounds and rest their horses. Consequently, Friends made a decision to move their meeting house from the center of town to a location just east of Rich Square on what is now Highway 561 and close by the old depot. They purchased the land from James T. Lambertson in 1866 and moved their meeting house to this location in 1869.

The Cedar Grove Meeting was established in 1868 upon the request of Friends who wanted a meeting house closer to home. Travel by horse and buggy was arduous on the makeshift roadways and when factoring in adverse weather conditions. Cornelius and Elijah Outland deeded the land on which the Cedar Grove Meeting House sits. It was situated next to a Friends school house that educated both genders.

As early as 1768, North Carolina Quakers condemned the importation of Africans, the purchase of Africans and asked members to provide moral guidance to the enslaved individuals they may have owned. Friends were far more advanced than their contemporaries of the day.

Thomas Newby, of Belvidere in Perquimans County, requested advice about freeing or manumitting his slaves in 1774. The Yearly Meeting gave instructions that any Friends wanting to free their slaves should receive permission from their Monthly Meeting. Not all Friends were in favor of manumission.

The same year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Newby freed 10 slaves. A year later, Newby and 10 other Friends freed approximately 40 slaves. This drew the ire of the courts and the North Carolina General Assembly. These were precarious times with the colonists fighting against the British during the American Revolution. North Carolina did their part in this fight for liberation. It would have been a honorable and just cause. However, the colonists fought for their rights, at the same time they overtly denied the rights and freedoms of others.

In 1777, the NC General Assembly took efforts to thwart the actions of the Friends toward manumission by adopting an “Act to Prevent Domestic Insurrections”. A portion of that law stated, “sections of the Act stated: “No Negro or Mulatto Slave shall hereafter be set free, except for meritorious Services to be adjudged of and allowed by the County Court, and Licence first had and obtained thereupon. And when any Slave is or shall be set free by his or her Master or Owner otherwise than is herein before directed, it shall and may be lawful for any Free holder in this State, to apprehend and take up such Slave, and deliver him or her to the Sheriff of the County, who on receiving such Slave, shall give such Free holder a Receipt for the same; and the Sheriff shall commit all such Slaves to the Gaol of the County, there to remain until the next Court to be held for such County; and the Court of the County shall order all such confined slaves to be sold during the Term to the highest Bidder.”

The United States Congress went so far as to validate and reinforce the North Carolina law with the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

To avoid conflict with the laws and their philosophy of life, many Friends living in Northampton County made the decision to move north and westward to free states or free-soiled territories. Thus the migration to Indiana and Ohio begin. In some cases, Friends deeded the enslaved they owned over to the Friends Meeting and in other cases the enslaved accompanied them to the free territories where they were freed.

Some of the Friends decided to stay behind and peacefully challenge the disconnect between the charters of freedom (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights) within an increasing hostile environment from neighbors.

One such Friend was Josiah Parker. Josiah was an elder of the Rich Square Monthly Meeting and lived with his family near Lasker in Northampton County. According to Quaker Records, Josiah made his livelihood as a farmer and miller. He served on a committee assigned the task of providing oversight and protection of the enslaved that had been deeded to the Yearly Meeting. The committee cared for the enslaved until they could receive safe passage to a free territory, state or be legally manumitted.

Glimpses into the life of Josiah and his wife, Martha (Peele) were documented in letters of family members, Friends and family acquaintances that had migrated from the Roanoke-Chowan area to the states of Indiana, Ohio and parts north. The Parkers had three sons to migrate; Samuel, William and Nathan. Correspondence can be found between Josiah and his brother, Jeremiah Parker. The letters shed light on the way of life for Friends. More significantly, the letters share differing views between Friends on the issues of race, religion and slavery.

The centuries old letters were maintained along with business papers and account records belonging to Josiah. The valuable records are a part of the Josiah Parker Collection held at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

The entire collection is both insightful and intriguing. It includes a letter from Hannah Elliott, a former enslaved African-American who was moved from Northampton County to Indiana. Hannah wrote a letter dated September 21, 1829, from Jackson Township, Wayne County, Indiana, to Martha Parker. The letter reflected the close bond between Hannah and the Parker family. Hannah concluded the letter by inquiring about her mother’s husband and his impending trip to Liberia. It revealed Friends’ efforts with the American Colonization Society to migrate a number of former slaves from the Roanoke-Chowan area to Liberia and freedom.

Finally, there was the strength and courage of Henry Copeland, Sr. and Dorothy Copeland. The couple resided about a quarter of a mile east of Rich Square on what is now Highway 561. The Copelands’ residence was a part of the network of homes and places within the Underground Railroad. The house contained a “secret hiding place” where the Copelands harbored the enslaved who were on the move seeking freedom.

The home is no longer standing. Nevertheless, the gravesites of the Copelands are recognized by the National Parks Service (NPS) for the couple’s contributions to the Underground Railroad.

Although the meeting houses in Rich Square and Jack Swamp no longer exist, the Cedar Grove Meeting House remains today. It is here where the past meets the future. Like the Friends that have passed on, its members carry with them a tradition of exploring ways to build a ”more perfect union.” Where there are injustices, they find ways to carefully ensure justice; where there is violence they create peace; and where there is hate they create love. This place, Cedar Grove Meeting House, the house that sits inconspicuously on Main Street in Woodland, a plain white wooden structure with black shutters, shines as a beacon of light and leads us to the footprints of a rich history within the Roanoke-Chowan area.

A special thanks to Barbara Gosney for contributing and making available many Quaker documents for this article; the Cedar Grove Meeting House; the web site at Earlham College containing the Josiah Parker Collection and making this collection available to the public; and Friends Historical Collection at Guilford College.

Schools interested in making field trips to the Cedar Grove Meeting House to learn more about the Friends of Northampton County and the Underground Railroad need to write to Rich Square Monthly Meeting, PO Box 482, Woodland, NC 27897.

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QuakerSpeak

QuakerSpeak is a project of Friends Journal and is directed by Jon Watts.

QuakerSpeak is in its 5th Season!

A new QuakerSpeak video is released every Thursday and folks can SUBSCRIBE to be in the know!

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Recently a new Meeting for worship attender pointed out the What Do Quakers BELIEVE QuakerSpeak video.

 

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Communications cmte and the VBFM Newsletter staff have decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018.


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Local Organizing Meeting to Begin a Campaign to Promote the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Our goal is to talk with Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and to bring each 1000 Peace Cranes along with 1000 signatures on the petition by Virginians who'd like to see the US sign the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons and work relentlessly to bring the rest of the nuclear powers to sign as well.

So make some cranes when you have a chance and ask your friends if they'd like to sign the petition.

- Steve and Kim Williams-Baggarly

Contact Steve or Kim @Norfolk Catholic Worker, 757-423-5420.


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Mothers Out Front - Climate Action Focus Group Meeting / Forum on A Sustainable Climate Future

Date: Saturday June 30
Time: 10 am - noon
Location: Virginia Beach Friends Meetinghouse
Contact: Kim Miller at 757-817-1806 or email kim.miller@mothersoutfront.org.

Last summer, Mothers Out Front Hampton Roads (http://va.mothersoutfront.org/) in partnership with the Sierra Club, convinced the mayor of Norfolk to get serious about reducing carbon emissions in our region. Mayor Alexander signed on to the Global Covenant of Mayors, implemented his Climate Change Commission, and appointed two of our moms to serve on the committee. We believe that this campaign was successful because we joined together with friends, neighbors and others in Norfolk sharing common concern about a livable climate future.

We hope that all Hampton Roads mayors will follow Norfolk’s lead so we are asking for your help to take action with other mothers and grandmothers in Virginia Beach.

Your insights as a local mother (or other protector of children) are invaluable and will certainly help us plan for our next action in Virginia Beach. Refreshments will be served including vegan and Gluten-free choices.

RSVP on our website(http://va.mothersoutfront.org/) for this event and find other Mothers Out Front activities. Questions? Call Kim Miller at 757-817-1806 or email kim.miller@mothersoutfront.org.


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Pearl Faith Community

Virginia Beach Friends Meeting joined the Lynnhaven River Now Perl Faith Community this month!

Our Meeting has joined a number of other local Perl Faith Community Members doing exciting things being good stewards of the Lynnhaven River.

Below Penny Moulis presents the Pearl Faith Community banner to our Meeting on Sunday, June 17 (L-R, Rosalie Deer Heart, Nancy Craft, Penny, Tom Kennedy and Jean Crawford.


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Collaborative Table of Hampton Roads

The Collaborative Table of Hampton Roads met on June 11 to update their agenda in preparation for the next General Assembly sessions. With about 45 folks present we took time to celebrate Medicaid Expansion with a cake (photo below).

The tentative date for the Social Justice University is September 30.


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Our Trees

The scheduled improvements for the Laskin Road Gateway Project includes cutting down all the trees in front of our Meetinghouse.

Gayle Cameron has agreed to take pictures...


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Waterway Cleanups This Summer

There are two main Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanups scheduled this summer:

  • Saturday July 14/Old Mooselodge Site - technical hard/core and fun get muddy!
  • Saturday August 11/Mount Trashmore- Family Friendly and fun get muddy!

Both Waterway Cleanups are from 9 am - noon. Contact Whit Peace to sign up, whitpeace.vbfm@gmail.com, or 757-613-2828.


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Quick Links


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Next Meeting for Business Query - #1 / Meeting for Worship:

Do we faithfully uphold our testimony for worship which is based on silent waiting, and for free and un-programmed ministry that may be shared by all? Is there a living silence in which we feel drawn together by the Light of Christ, the power of God in our midst; and is this inspiration carried over into our daily lives? Do we come to Meeting with hearts and minds open and ready to worship in silence or in vocal ministry or prayer as the Holy Spirit leads us? Does our meeting encourage those who may have a gift for the spoken ministry?


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Updated: Monthly