State of Society Reports are a long-standing Quaker custom. They are annual reports written by a monthly meeting to the yearly meeting (regional group) with which it is affiliated, describing the condition of the local meeting — its strengths, challenges, spiritual health; responding to posed queries, offering statistics and practical information.
Bridge City Friends Meeting
State of Society Report
May 1, 2017
During a recent Meeting for Worship for Business, Bridge City Friends were posed this query, “What images or words come to you that describe our corporate spirituality today?” Following are some of the responses given at that time.
The title of the song, “Rooted and Grounded in Love”, (Eph 3:17b) perhaps indicates our present spiritual state. Since the General Election of 2016 we, like many of our countrymen and countrywomen, describe ourselves as being in a period of unsettling transition. One member describes us as “an open-ended bridge, full of people standing in a misty light; a place between places.”
Another Friend says that we stand in Quaker “orderliness in a new world that seems upside down.” This orderliness has deepened within us over our years as a meeting. Friends speak in one sense or another of “finding refuge and a stable, not static, place within our gatherings.”
We sense a shift in our purpose as a meeting as we find ourselves caring for our members. We reflect that committees of various types are one way we sustain one another. Over the years we have lost our meeting space; individuals lost their health, livelihoods, relationships, and experienced deaths of family members and friends. We speak of “feeling the support of Friends during these trials, especially with Friends once part of a support committee.” Perhaps, these experiences help form us into a community of caring, stable and inclusive Friends.
Today we see ourselves once again experiencing the stages of grief. In the past we grieved individual losses. Today we grieve collectively for political institutions compromised. Our tradition of speaking truth to power, of seeing that of God in all, and of respectful and truthful discourse informs us. We humbly note, “we Quakers are at times looked to for leadership.”
Time is precious. This truth propels us to action. We see possibility based upon our history. We feel the hope of our faith. We are strong in love for one another. We seek Spirit’s guidance in the way forward. “Fires of discord may rage around us; our Quaker pond is deep and still,” to cite another Friend.
This year we welcomed new members and attenders. They add new strength to our community.
We are thankful for our community of Friends whose clarity of present concerns and vision of future possibility gives us hope. As George Fox exhorted us, “We keep to The Patience.”
Click here to read the most recent State of Society reports from other Monthly Meetings in North Pacific Yearly Meeting.