Each to the Other
The overriding theme of the year 2007 at Goose Creek Meeting was the hope for and celebration of connectedness as the sharing of joy and of pain kept us connected to each other and to the divine within us. Through both the silence and spoken messages, our Meeting for Worship continued to be the fount of our inspiration to reach into ourselves, out to each other, and to the world.
Our spiritual connectedness brought us joys as we celebrated weddings, new babies, and new members during the year; but the painful and disturbing deaths of a couple in our Meeting community left us with grief, guilt, and determination to stay in meaningful touch with persons experiencing trying circumstances. How do we reach out to those who don’t ask for assistance or share their struggles? How do we offer help without being intrusive? Can we do more to remain in touch with members no longer in our immediate geographical vicinity?
Even in the midst of loss we perceive the possibility for new openings. During a period of silent worship at the funeral in another faith community for the two who died suddenly, persons of both faiths of the deceased offered messages. While we missed having a memorial at our own meetinghouse then, we also were gratified to be united with the wider community in sharing this loss.
Although we have sought to relate more personally to other members, we have not neglected the young as we rejoice in the flourishing First Day School and as our older children continue to find the Quaker camping programs highlights in their spiritual growth, leading many to Quaker high schools and colleges. An opportunity to connect to the broader area was afforded through two Meeting projects: our Oakdale School Living History Program which features an 1818 school day and our scholarships to students in Loudoun County made available by a bequest to the Meeting.
Our various Meeting endeavors depend on the commitment of many people. In an effort to encourage new attenders to become more active in the Meeting, our nominating committee successfully infused new people into sundry committees. Through mutual work we become friends as well as Friends. In addition, new groups of Friendly Eights helped us integrate new people more personally into the Meeting community.
Meeting for Business is usually well attended, but we note the absence of parents who must choose between responding to the needs of children and attending business meeting. In the process of conducting the business of the Meeting, we remind ourselves we proceed in service for each individual’s spiritual growth.
As we see leadership in the Meeting taken up by a new generation, we mourn the loss of our old storytellers, those who led us into an understanding of our history and our faith. Thus, we have initiated an Archive Committee with the hope of keeping our rich history and memories alive. As a result of an active Finance Committee which revised our budgeting procedures, we are developing new guidelines regarding the use of our money.
In an effort to relate to ecological concerns, our Unity with Nature Committee, in conjunction with our Hospitality Committee, reminded us of our responsibility to preserve God’s creation. Therefore, as the Meetinghouse moves toward “going green,” we are beginning workshops to help us take that message into our own homes.
In order to connect to other faith communities, our Meeting has been a founding member in Loudoun Interfaith Bridges, an effort by several churches, mosques, temples, synagogues in the county to find common ways to serve the community and encourage tolerance.
While the War in Iraq continues to be an ongoing concern, we became more personally connected to it through sending care packages to a young man in our Meeting community serving in the military.
The Way continues to open in beautiful and unexpected ways, as illustrated when a windstorm knocked out all electricity in the area the night of our Christmas Evening Potluck. Nevertheless, when more than 100 people arrived, our inspired Hospitality Committee ingeniously improvised, creating a candlelit evening of food, fellowship, and song, transcended by a divine light we’ll all remember.
As we proceed into the unpredictable future, we hope to remain in this Divine Light and to be vehicles of it to a needy world in even more faithful and creative ways.