Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

July Newsletter

Dear Friends:

Thank you for all who contributed.

Please respond to with ideas for future Newsletter Articles and suggestions for improvements.

Thank you,
VBFM Communications committee


Link to Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Home Page -

Summer Pictures

From Yearly Meeting, front left to right is Dave French, Nancy Craft and Nancy Delle Femine, in back middle is Gayle Cameron.

From Bob and Louise Wilson's grave-site New Garden Friends Cemetery, Greensboro NC.

In the first picture is Mae Brown, Charlie Ansell, Nancy Craft, Gayle Cameron, Dave French, David Eley, Janis Ansell, David Brown, Edward Pearce, Tom Bertrand.

Charlie and Diane Hofheimer - thanks to Tom Bertrand.

The picture below is of Laley Lippard and Teacher Loretta Springer. Tom Bertrand took this picture while he and Laley were on a walk near Loretta's apartment in the Acqua Senior Living Apartments on Providence Road at Indian River Road.

Tom added that others would enjoy visiting with Loretta.

The following two pictures are from a Friends School Year Book, of Teacher Loretta 'back in the day'. Thank Mary Pelham White.

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What Can We Say? - One Quaker's Ponderings at Yearly Meeting

Thoughts offered by Tom Bertrand during a worship session at Yearly Meeting - with Hope...

"You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this: but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?" —George Fox

Since Interim Body Meeting in Fayetteville, where urgent things were tenderly spoken and tenderly heard, Bruce and Lloyd Lee and I have pondered how to help us in our yearly meeting sessions address the deep concerns many seem to have about the adequacy of our corporate witness on racial justice in our time. Though all three of us seem to resonate to this imperative and respect each other's individual ponderings, we have not reached agreement on how to help the yearly meeting reach unity on very complex issues this week.

So I speak only for myself this morning. These words came early this morning during a long and almost sleepless night. They came not out of the "earthquake, wind, and fire," but out of deep and, I pray, perhaps helpful pondering:

As we gather today, the national and world orders we thought we knew and within which we pursued our various forms of witness to bring about a juster, healthier and more peaceful existence for our fellow creatures -- these orders are in disarray. "The center does not hold...the ceremony of innocence is drowned" wrote Yeats about a similar time almost exactly a century ago.

And, as usual, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are most at risk in this disordering of values, especially those who seek a safer life for their children by crossing borders or simply by crossing the streets of their cities. In our own nation once more we of privilege are reminded how disheartening and dangerous it is to be different, to have dark skin, or to be a refugee seeking asylum here, or to choose a partner in a way that challenges certain cultural stereotypes held dear by many.

We Friends take comfort in our reliance on the Inner Light to guide us in answering and honoring the God in everyone we meet, even those with whom we may strongly disagree. We take heart when we listen to each other's answers to Query 11.

Is this tender listening enough today? In pondering our piecemeal revisions to our F & P we have been seeking to discern what our faith leads us to stand for as a Religious Society in this, our time. Today when a different narrative is being spun, is our Query 11 enough?

I'm not the scholar of our history that some of you are, and so I may have missed something, but the last time I can find that NC Yearly Meeting saw fit to offer an explicit TESTIMONY to the obligations of its members regarding racial justice was 142 years ago. In 1876 our Yearly Meeting committed itself to a testimony "our indispensable duty to declare to the world, our belief in the repugnancy of slavery to the Christian religion," to prohibit our members from holding slaves, and to foster the obligation to contribute to the education of those who had been enslaved.

That testimony entitled simply "Slavery" was sandwiched between testimonies against participating in war and against taking oaths, both of which could get you disowned from the NC Meeting in 1876, if you compromised your passivism or swore an oath. The testimony on slavery had no such penalty for backsliding.

With the benefit of a century and a half of hindsight, we can find faults within that 1876 testimony. That was the year that the post Civil War Reconstruction era ended in the South, when the gains in human rights for 350,000 emancipated NC slaves were disintegrating in the face of KKK-led terrorism and political resistance to allowing freedmen to vote.

But however inadequate, that statement was deliberately put there in our discipline as a guide for Friends, and it did lead Friends in NC and TN and VA to take an active role in creating and supporting freedmen's schools for a time.

That seems to have been the last time we articulated a "duty" to take action on racial and economic justice as a testimony within the Faith and Practice of our YM.

Members of Virginia Beach Meeting have a respectable but of course insufficient history of activism in our community on issues of racial and economic justice. Your meetings too have track records of principled activism. Over the past several years our Monthly Meeting has taken note of the Moral Mondays in NC. Some of our members have been attending Poor Peoples Campaign organizational meetings, have met with Rev Dr. Barber several times, fought for Medicaid expansion and reform of our immigration & sentencing systems. We'll be active this fall in Voter registration efforts, which constitute the next phase of the Poor Peoples Campaign.

We have also begun -- only begun -- talking in our P&SJ Committee and our F&P Committee about the need in this precarious time in our country and in our world to craft a testimony for our Faith and Practice that firmly states what needs to be affirmed in the face of racism and misogeny.

We have a good able committee in our yearly meeting leading us through this F&P revision process. We trust the process. We trust its deliberate pace.

But is it not timely to rise to our feet THIS WEEK and nail certain testimonies to the door of our Yearly Meeting, setting forth certain uncompromisable expectations rising from our faith concerning conduct toward other human beings, expectations bearing on economic and racial equity that transcend the colors of our skin or the urgencies of our geographical migrations or the choices we make in our loving?

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Inner Light Yoga Series IV - Learning the Language of “Pain”: An Awareness Practice

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...

Pain is a language we must find the courage to learn. This, at its essence, is a profound awareness practice. We can commit our attentions to bringing back the pieces of ourselves that we have dismissed, ignored, or rejected. We haven't done this intentionally, but maybe, in the past, we’ve had to in order to survive the moment. It’s extraordinary, really, how strong we are. However, if we’ve come to a place in our lives where we are desiring to move into thriving, we must cultivate what I call “Whole-Self Proprioception.” This deliberately brings back of all those scattered pieces of ourselves we never knew we lost. We can start with the basics of the grammar of discomfort through the lens of the physical body.

Pain is a ubiquitous word and it’s not very descriptive. As a Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), one building block I use in my first session with a new student, is teaching them the language of pain. I begin gently with “better” questions. I’ve found “how do you feel?” does not give an accurate picture and invites an ambiguous answer like, “fine.” Instead, I ask “Where is the exact location you’re feeling this pose? Is it deep or shallow? Does it feel more like a burning or an aching?” I always make sure to say that if the pain is electrical, tweaky or feels dangerous that either the student is too forceful in the pose or alignment must be corrected. However, the specificity of the questions does two things. First, it allows me to understand, by the student’s answer, whether the area is a joint, muscle, fascia, or full compression (bone on bone) and whether the pose in its current form may be harmful. Second, it allows the student to begin to open to his or her “pain” in a gentle, almost subconscious way.

Once I have worked enough with specific cues, I can get deeper into teaching this language. I begin to encourage students to feel the sensations and I omit the word pain as we work together in our poses. “Sensations" does not cause the same alarm bells as does the word “pain” in our nervous systems. Using a different word, I find, allows students more freedom and permission into further explorations of feeling.

Next we go even deeper together by breaking down the word sensation. I have found that naming these formerly nebulous discomforts changes their nature and fortifies the nervous system so that we need no longer be chained to those blind reactions. I often apply the cue, “use adjectives in this conversation with yourself around the sensations you’re experiencing.” At this point, I don’t like to “lead the witness” so the students may experience freshly how those sensations feel. I do, however, begin to ask more general questions like, “Where is the location of the sensation? What is its temperature? Find three adjectives for its description.” Roots of empowerment and awareness are grown. I ask my students and myself to stay with the sensation and journey into it. This cultivates a more balanced nervous system by not immediately defaulting to an overload of our SNS (Sympathetic division of our nervous systems). We can essentially debunk the fear and the overwhelming dread that accompanies the idea of pain.

Our nervous systems are built so that when we feel pain or discomfort, without training, our SNS triggers. With sirens blaring in our minds, we go blank and either grit our teeth and fight through or flee to some recess of the mind. Each time we do this, we choose not to attend to the part of ourselves that is feeling and we dismiss it and thus cut off awareness of it. This is especially true if this becomes a habit. Here is the paradox: if we do not attend to our pain we are doing ourselves great harm.

Learning this language has profound implications for this “whole-self proprioception,” and a more connected, healthy and graceful life.

In our physical bodies, empowerment around our health, and prevention are benefits to this research into ourselves. In society, it is acceptable to relinquish our power to the medical community as it decides for us what we feel. However, if we already recognize what is happening for us because we are seasoned “feelers,” we can make healthy, calm decisions. In prevention, especially in the musculoskeletal system, we can tune in to unhealthy movements and postures intuited in the form of tweaks and correct them. Without these adjustments, continued patterns lead to dramatic consequences like bulged discs or joint replacements. This is aptly named “last-straw syndrome.” In my teaching to illustrate this point, I often say the Colorado River didn’t carve out the Grand Canyon in one minute. We build up our pain over a lifetime and thus we must have patience to unwind it as well. Simply because we aren’t versed in recognizing our little tweaks, doesn’t mean these signs weren’t there. By not being fluent in the language of our pain, we may perceive our breaking point as occurring in an instant and this has huge implications for our treatment, recovery and recidivism.

In our mental bodies, a benefit to becoming familiar with the language of pain is steadiness. Instead of being tossed to and fro by the chaos of our minds’ reeling against anything discomforting, we can respond rather than react. Response is our careful answer to a distressing catalyst. Instead of living with the sirens in our head we can simply allow them to be there and then watch them also leave, clearing space for thoughtful action.

In our emotional bodies, we can create profound intelligence through learning of the language of pain. Our emotional bodies create reactions in our physical bodies, and when we become astute in what is manifesting in the physical body, our inroads to the tricky and subtle world of emotions can open up. This allows us vast freedom in owning and accepting how we feel. Instead of those emotions being right or wrong, they are simply an extension of the sensations we feel in the physical body and we can understand that it’s ok. Because sensation is not right or wrong we give ourselves permission to feel deep wells of grief or anger without guilt. We can embrace sparkling joy and let it move through without attaching.

I often daydream about a society that has found the courage to truly learn the language of its pain and discomfort. This would be one caring, thoughtful, and accepting place. So very few of us are operating through careful response but instead through the automatic reaction of a nervous system against any kind of discomfort. This includes when our opinions and beliefs are challenged, which we feel we must instantly defend. This unseeing reaction creates the “Me versus You” attitude pervasive in our culture. As yoga teachers and students, and indeed-anyone wanting to lead a balanced life-taking responsibility, learning about, and allowing our pain grants empowerment around our health, a deep emotional intelligence, a balanced nervous system including mindful reactions, which cultivates equanimity. And isn’t that sensational?

Previous articles in the Inner Light Yoga Series:

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

Click here for details...

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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!


Communications cmte and the VBFM Newsletter staff have decided to focus on a different QuakerSpeak video for each of our issues in 2018. This issue features Lloyd Lee Wilson discussing "Committing to the Quaker Spiritual Path".

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A Short Dispassionate Report From Overseas

By Liana Fleming, July 11, 2018

According to official Reports, more than one million migrants and refugees have entered Italy.

As of today, the 4th of July, over 20 thousand migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea, near the Libyan coastline.

According to INSTAT, in 2017 those who obtained residency in Italy were in excess of 5 million migrants. This is 8 and half per cent of the population. Women migrants represent more than 55 per cent.

Their Countries of origin include Romania, Albania, China, Ucraine, Philippines, India, Moldavia, Bangladesh, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Eritrea, Libya, Syria...

Between January and June of this year, the situation has dramatically precipitated.

The European Union is unable to reach an agreement between its Nations who are as concerned with their personal welfare as they are to find a just solution in the interest of the Union in accepting refugees.

The EU has closed its borders and its ports. And the two weeks old Dublin III Regulation has established which European Nation ( closest to Africa ) is responsible for the asylum.

While the Coast Guard and Navy vessels of Italy and Greece are saving lives and collecting the dead at sea on daily basis, nations of Central and Northern Europe, such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, have closed their borders arbitrarily and canceled their quota of entry.

Nations of Eastern Europe of EU, such as Turkey, are totally denying entrance to refugees, sending them back to their Islamic world, creating more violence.

Last January, the Israeli Government ordered 40 thousand African asylum-seekers to leave the Country.

Spain Prime Minister Sanchez, France President Emmanuel Macron, Malta Head of State Marie-Louise Preca have all closed their ports to refugees.

Last month, in order to stop the escalation, Italy has followed their example. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Salvini of the Northern League, (elected by the recently formed government) has ordered the closing of all the Italian ports. The Country is now split.

Boats overloaded capsize on daily basis. Human beings languish and drown out there in the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, Adriatic Seas, and on the Libyan Coastline of the beautiful Mediterranean.

Is there a more pressing priority today?

Are there more horrific images of children, men and women broadcast live on European TV?

Will there ever be a solution to migration?

Why the development policies of the European Union, spending billions of euro worth of aids to African Countries, are still failing?

What are the root causes of illegal migration?

As people of Faith, we are witnessing an extraordinary exodus and massacre of the poor and underprivileged.

Will there ever be peace and social justice for migrants and their children?

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Bob Clapp Interview

This month Dave French interviews Bob Clapp:

Bob Clapp was born July 20, 1929 (yep, he’s 89 years old) and grew up in Massachusetts. He attended Weston public schools, Deerfield Academy, and the University of Mass (Amherst), and concluded with a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard Graduate School of Education on the GI bill.

After his junior year in college, Bob joined the U.S. Marines from 1952 – 54. Following boot camp at Paris Island, he trained as an historian instead of studying electronics. Bob became a sergeant, went to Korea and Japan on an aircraft carrier and supervised guys fixing aircraft radios. That’s where he learned to cut hair, and has trimmed his own ever since.

Bob originally thought that he would be a Unitarian minister, but changed his mind and pursued landscape architecture. An offer to teach brought him to Virginia Beach. The schools in Norfolk were being closed to avoid desegregating, but he took a teaching offer at Little Creek elementary 6th grade. Next he became Director of the Therapy Dept. at A.R.E. where massage is a prominent offering. He became a certified Massage Therapist. Bob started his own “Massage from Bob” where he’s worked for past 31 years. His patients testify about how helpful his massages have been. Bob does massages because he likes seeing how satisfied his clients are.

Soon after arriving in Virginia Beach, Bob met Ann in a parking lot at A.R.E.. Ann was a music teacher and taught piano. They dated about 4 years before marrying. The wedding was in our Meeting House. Ann died in 2016. Bob and Ann had two children - Gwen and Linda.

Bob’s mother had a biography of Edgar Cayce (There is a River) that he read as a student. It inspired Bob in oriental religions and metaphysics. Reincarnation and learning about “near death” experiences are important to him.

He and Ann started the Virginia Beach folk dancing club at the A.R.E. and went to summer dance camps all over the east coast.

Bob took organ lessons as a kid, and sang in the Unitarian church choir (all males). Bob always loved classical music. His mother got him season tickets to the Boston Symphony, which he loved. He is also an opera buff. Bob did volunteer work as an usher at Virginia Symphony Orchestra concerts at Chrysler Hall and now is a frequent attender at Symphonicity concerts in Virginia Beach.

Soon after moving to Virginia Beach, Bob began meeting with Bob and Louise Wilson at their home before our Meeting House was constructed. He has always been active in our Meeting, serving on various committees including Building and grounds and F&P revision. He’s been a trustee, elder and overseer, and even the Clerk briefly. Now Bob likes to help out with whatever is needed instead of being assigned to a committee. You’ll often find him in the kitchen helping clean up after meetings.

Simplicity is one of Bob’s testimonies; he has lived in his same house for over 50 years. Bob likes the queries – especially the one about overindulgence in tobacco or alcohol. Another testimony Bob approves of is “Speaking truth to power or people who need to hear it.” Bob was part of the Meeting when they decided to establish Friendship Village – a new residence area for (mostly poor black) people displaced during the construction of the Virginia Beach convention center. He helped establish the Village, was a cheerleader for the project, and helped find funding. The Funeral Consumer Alliance of Tidewater is another important testimony; Bob is treasurer, and has been involved for many years. Bob has also a keen interest in Native American causes, and keeps track of several tribes. Another more recent testimony is “Feeding America”. This group is able to provide large amounts of food to places that feed the hungry people among us, and donations to Feeding America provide vastly more food than if we individually bought it ourselves. Bob has organized publicity and donations at Meeting each year recently. When Bob moved here he was shocked to find segregation practices, and worked to help end them by doing some door-to-door canvassing.

I asked Bob what is his least favorite chores – he said he doesn’t mind doing chores, but the flood of mail is annoying. After looking the “junk mail” over, it becomes a starter for his wood stove. Bob likes cooking, and tries to use organic foods, avoids sugar, and otherwise eats healthfully.

If you could spend some time with Bob you would learn a lot more than this brief summary – he’s a wealth of local history and overflows with good will and generosity.

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Video Projector for Meeting

By Tom Kennedy

A number of times people have suggested for different locations and different applications that Meeting purchase a video projector.

This is not debating the question as to whether that is a good idea.

This is asking, on the assumption that if we were going to purchase a projector, do you have a better idea for criteria and model? Maybe a question might be, what would you buy for yourself instead of a good sized TV, if you were inclined to buy a good sized TV?

This particular model is not being proposed at the moment, it is being tossed out there as a possible baseline to compare other things to.

This particular model has a couple of unnecessary features, but I have not found what I consider a better value. For example, this one has the cool feature of being ready for a 3D input, but I place zero value on that feature.

Criteria - 1080p which is now normal broadcast TV. More than ten years ago 1080p was cutting edge High Definition. It is well suited to Blu-Ray disks for movies.

At least 3000 lumens as the measure of brightness so that it works well in a room that is not dark. Fairly quiet, under 30 db.

Not too high of a lens ratio, so the projector does not have to be too far back from the screen.

Possible model for comparison purposes:

  • Optoma HD143X sold by Amazon at $500.

Comments for people who are particularly interested in this stuff:

  • I tend to recommend recognizable brands such as Optoma, Epson, Viewsonic, LG and Sony. I tend to stay away from no-name brands and products and dealers that ship direct from China, even though the can be very inexpensive. But I am usually too cheap to buy Sony or high end brands. Optoma may be a brand you have never heard of, but it is big in the projector market specifically.
  • Optoma HD143X is a current model which is comparable to and a little bit better than the one I bought more than 12 years ago for my living room. Some hardware and just a very little bit of content is now available at 4k resolution, which is impressive, but I do not recommend making that jump for at least a couple of more years.

Please forward tech thoughts to Tom Kennedy,

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We're Drowning In Plastic Trash. Jenna Jambeck Wants To Save Us...

When a huge floating gyre of plastic waste was discovered in the Pacific in the late 1980s, people were shocked. When whales died and washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic, people were horrified. When photographs of beaches under knee-deep carpets of plastic trash were published, people were disgusted.

Though some of it came from ships, most, presumably, was from land. But how much was coming from where?

No one really knew until 2015. That's when Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, did the math. Her groundbreaking study suggested there were hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of times as much plastic washing into the sea as people were seeing in those ocean gyres.


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Report on the New Amazing F. A. C. T.

By Liana Fleming

F.A.C.T. stands for Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater, age 4 to 21.

As locals know, this organization, which has been a proud partner of Virginia Beach Friends School for a long time, has been doing wonders for our area children.

Having adopted F.A.C.T. as one of our Charities at our Cape Henry Rotary, Robert Kent and I would order, pick up, and deliver a Full Sheet Birthday Cake for their monthly Celebration. And we would meet with about 50, 60 children in the Lower School.

This month, however, as we continued our tradition, we had a nice surprise.

We had returned just on time from Europe for our appointment, and to order, pick up, and deliver the very tastefully decorated gigantic Cake to F.A.C.T., when we learned that they had a new address.

We found out that in June, a one-of-the-kind Camp for disabled children and adults, and for wounded warriors had opened in Virginia Beach, at 115 Prosperity Road.

You must see this state of the arts Camp to believe it!

We went to this fantastic Day Retreat and marveled at the sight of its outdoor and indoor facilities.

This is a 70 acres beach style Camp with recreational programs, and educational and social events to which participate entire families!

We visited the Lake for Fishing, the Cable Wakeboarding, the Splash Park, the Archery , the Sport Field, the Reflection Garden, the Climbing Tower, the Outdoor Lazy River, and other amazing sites. There were children everywhere. Very happy children!

This peaceful and joyous Camp, with its share of caring and skilled counselors and volunteers, send everyone home at night with an empowered sense of confidence and independence.

I was speechless! And I thought how grateful and blessed we are to live in a Community where people who care, have contributed in making this magic place a reality!

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Job Opening in California - Ben Lomond Quaker Center

The Ben Lomond Quaker Center is a self-service conference and retreat center in northern California that offers simple, modestly priced, comfortable accommodations. We are located on 80 acres of redwood forest, an hour and a half south of San Francisco and 25 minutes outside of Santa Cruz. After six years at the helm, Kathy and Bob are moving on to the next phase of their journey, and the board of Quaker Center is looking to hire new co-directors.

Application information is posted at this link...

You'll see a deadline of August 1 listed on the job description, but the search committee has extended that out to August 8. The other instructions for applying are current.

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Save The Dates!

Listed below are events that Virginia Beach Friends Meeting is supporting/promoting for the next three months - as recorded on our website at the time this month's Newsletter was published.

Frequently check our Virginia Beach Friends Meeting Upcoming Events webpage as event details are worked out and new events are added.

Coastal Friends Gathering

Date: Saturday August 4
Time: 11 am worship followed by potluck
Location: The home of Greenville Friends Meeting members Mary Kay Glazer and Mark Moss
2607 Rondo Dr., Greenville, NC

Lynnhaven River Now Waterway Cleanup - Lake Windsor at Mount Trashmore

Date: Saturday August 11
Time: 9 am - noon
Location: Mount Trashmore

Meeting For Eating - Faith and Practice Discussion

Date: Sunday, September 16
Time: Noon - 3pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Creeds Hum Dinger

Date: Sunday September 30
Time: 10:30 am until...
Location: Creeds Preparative Friends Meeting

Lynnhaven River Now Fall Festival

Date: October 6
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Williams Farm Park
5269 Learning Circle
Virginia Beach VA 23464

World Quaker Day

Date/Time: Sunday October 7, noon - 2 pm
Location: Meetinghouse

Interim Body Meeting

Date: Saturday October 27
Location: Virginia Beach Friends Meeting

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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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