Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Morning Silences

I arrive at the meetinghouse for 10 a.m. on Wednesdays.  I often encounter a few people leaving from our newly instituted mid-week silent worship.

This brief 30 minutes of quietude was organized by a Friend who felt led to seek a chance to regroup in stillness and silence mid-week.  She invited in several people she knew, none of whom are Quakers, and all of whom gave it a trial. Local Friends have also joined her.

She arrives and unlocks the meetinghouse at 9:30 a.m.  She enters quietly and goes directly to the worship room and others do the same. After half an hour, they quietly disperse.  They may wish each other good day but they do not linger long; there is no expectation of a social time or coffee hour.

True silence is the rest of the mind; and is to the spirit, what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
~ William Penn, 1644-1718

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Children’s Program/Potluck for June
Once a month, a special exploration with children for first day
followed by a family style lunch!

June 5:  Walking in beauty with Miss Rumphius

Since the Meetinghouse is surrounded by lupine in full show, we thought we’d continue our theme of “walking gently” on our earth by sharing the story of the lupine lady.  Some consider this the original “green” story. 

I’m guessing you all know Barbara Cooney’s story about Alice Rumphius and her desire to do three things: live by the sea, go to faraway places and make the world a more beautiful place.  It can prompt discussions on a wide variety of topics (environmentalism, aging, travel, family ties and the many positive aspects of feminism). We’ll try and center down on some concrete things the children can do right now to be “green” (help remember to turn off light switches, compost, garden, etc.).  We’ll add some more footprints to our “walking gently over the earth” display.  Here's the poster we started last month, with our first batch of footprints. 


And I certainly hope the weather will be nice so we can go see those lupine up close!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Can you be a Quaker and a misanthrope?"

I agree with Albert Einstein’s great belief in the power of asking good questions! Questions that are thought-provoking, spark curiosity or start great conversations. 

The Society of Friends has had a long history of making use of queries. A query is a question or series of questions used for reflection.  Queries are can be read aloud at the start of a meeting for silent worship (we do that once or twice a month) and sometimes during business meetings. They were at the heart of a worship sharing session we recently held. 

Here are some of the ways our Meeting has asked questions.

A display on our board poses a set of questions for a Quakerism 101 discussion:  
Can I wear polish on my toenails?  
Do you have to be a pacifist to be a Quaker?
What is a “popcorn meeting”?

During Meeting for Worship, my friend Suzy shared a question that she received in the mail recently:
You are a Quaker.  Can you tell me what that means in 60 seconds or less?

We've also had a worship sharing recently, where we shared three questions:
Do you consider yourself a newer or seasoned attender at Meeting, or somewhere in between?
What excites you about being at Meeting today?
How has Meeting changed your outlook or world view -- and/or how do you hope it will?

The person who breaks Meeting for Worship offers to be available in the meeting room for a while if anyone wants to bring them a question.  That's how I got that question:
Can I be a Quaker and a misanthrope?

How would you answer?  I can tell you, it sparked an interesting conversation about our planet and the effects of human greed on it.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Program for Parents and Caregivers ...

Raising Children to Be More Adventuresome!

A workshop for parents on ways to help your children learn how to be risk-taking and creative! 

Presented by Nat Shed, Director of the Friends Camp in South China, Maine
Friday, March 11th
Mid-Coast Friends Meetinghouse
77 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta

4:30 PM  - Questions & Answers about the Friends Camp—Nat Shed
5:00 PM   - Please join us for a Family and Friends Pasta Dinner!!!
5:45 PM—A Discussion about Unstructured Playtime:  Why It’s Valuable and Hard to Achieve—Nat Shed

This workshop provides parents with an opportunity to explore the benefits and risks of unstructured playtime for children, in a world where caution and structured work dominate. Nat has worked with the Friends Camp for more than 30 years and is a member of Vassalboro Friends Meeting. He is the parent of two grown daughters and an uncle to 25 nieces and nephews.

         DINNER AND PRESENTATION FREE TO THE PUBLIC
CHILDCARE PROVIDED
“The most important time for children is when they are left alone and can take full responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of their decisions, it’s a thrilling experience.” Ellen Sandseter, Associate Professor of Physical Education at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Norway.
Sponsored by Mid-Coast Outreach and Peace Center


Contact Sue Rockwood for more information at 207.563.3757

Monday, December 14, 2015

WHY WE SHOULD WELCOME SYRIAN REFUGEES

Members of Midcoast Friends Meeting urge Americans to welcome Syrian refugees into our country, communities, and homes.

We have been impressed by the caring, humanitarian response, and courage of countries willing to take in nearly 1,000,000 refugees this year. One quarter of these refugees fled the misery of camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey where 4,000,000 still languish.

We need to respond with the same care, courage, and commitment.

Two months ago Americans were shocked by the photo of a drowned two-year-old boy on a beach in Turkey. Today compassion has given way to sweeping fears that terrorists will be embedded among refugees coming to the U.S.  Remember that apart from one terrorist in the Paris attacks those killers were French and Belgian citizens.  Their terrorism was born in depressed and disaffected urban communities in Paris and Brussels and fueled by ethnic and sectarian inequities.

We know that fear will lead to serious moral and political failures and dangerous misunderstandings.  We fail to remember that U.S. military interventions have devastated so many lives and communities in Iraq and Afghanistan, enhancing the rise of virulent anti-American jihadi groups such as ISIL. The more we treat Syrian refugees as security threats, the more we reinforce Jihadi assertions of the West's indifference to Muslim suffering, indeed the claim that the West is at war with the whole Islamic world.  Fear-based attitudes also alienate American Muslims in our communities. Such alienation breeds violent responses.

Current anti-refugee and anti-Muslim attitudes underlie the Congressional attempt to block the entry of Syrian refugees as well as Governor LePage's pledge to do everything in his power to prevent relocation of refugees to Maine.

We urge our Governor, legislators, and fellow citizens of Maine to look beyond their fears and to support a full humanitarian response to Syrian refugees.


Midcoast Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Damariscotta

This statement was composed at the direction of Midcoast Friends Business Meeting, November 2015. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Activities

October was a busy month. Here's some of what we've been up to:
We celebrated our building's 20th anniversary
with a pot luck and the installation of a peace pole.
Steve Gorry working on the lettering of
"May Peace Prevail on Earth" in many languages.



Installation
Checking to see if it looks straight!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sharing, Worship, and a Query

In the late 1950s, Rachel DuBois began leading “Quaker Dialogues” to deepen communication among members of over 300 meetings in Friends General Conference. In the decades that followed what she began was continued, borrowed from, and modified.  It seems likely that her group dialogues were the precursor to many “creative listening” and “worship sharing” practices of today.[i]

“Worship sharing” is still evolving among Quakers. Various groups have developed guidelines and resources.[ii] Culling through several resources I find these common characteristics:  
  • ·         a small group
  • ·         holding a topic or query
  • ·         using some structure to create a safe space for listeners and speakers
  • ·         Silent Worship
  • ·         not a conversation (but it can lead to deepened understanding among those in the group) 

We plan to hold worship sharing sessions periodically.  One Friend, in particular, wants to connect with others over her concerns around today’s challenges to peace.  I’ve been thinking about what the specific query might be. It is a good exercise and I look forward to the session.




[i] Check out “When did Quakers start worship sharing?” and the resources listed in the comments for more.

[ii] Friends General Conference offers resources here   Worship sharing sessions occur regularly at PhiladelphiaYearly Meeting. I particularly enjoyed Clearwater Friends Meeting’s definition and example.