As summer draws to an end and local farmers' market tables brim with late summer bounty, so too it seems we as a meeting are coming into a period of harvest. A lot of time, devotion, and energy has been poured into our little meeting of late, and we are seeing some of the fruits of that labor of love.
At our first August meeting, we concluded a months' long journey into Jim Pym's book Listening to the Light: How to Bring Quaker Simplicity and Integrity into Our Lives. The last section we read included Quaker Testimonies, Simplicity, and an Adventurous Life. The appendix includes the Advices and Queries.
All arriving at the meeting house on the morning of the 13th were greeted by the long-awaited sight of the SCYM traveling quilt hanging in the southwest corner of the worship room. In addition to artfully representing all the meetings that make up South Central Yearly Meeting and beautifying the space, Zoom attenders reported a noticeable improvement in sound quality that day!
Having already reached unity behind our 2023-2024 budget the previous month, Second Sunday found us continuing the final piece of our budget discussion by reflecting upon the organizations that Little Rock Friends Meeting supports. A list of those can be found on our website under ABOUT US - "Our Meeting Supports". The Alban Institute at Duke Divinity School asks the question of congregations "How do we take [our] assets and use them to establish justice, and for the right reasons?" This question helped frame our discussion. We ended the day with a potluck.
Third Sunday was, as is now the custom, our meeting for worship with attention to business, and the last Sunday of August was an energized and very well attended open discussion. In fact, the presence of sixteen people caused some to muse whether we ought not weave open discussion time into the first-hour slate more often. Among those present were two Friends in the process of moving to Little Rock--one from southeast Arkansas and one from Texas. A few newer attenders are also contributing to the recent swell in attendance, something in which we all unequivocally rejoice and welcome.
While the animated open discussion was taking place in the front of the house, three were gathered in the Young Friends space to learn to use our donated sewing machine. We are exploring ways in which learning to sew connects to many of our Quaker testimonies, so often represented by the letters of the word SPICES. Which of these six values--simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship / sustainability--do you think is/are related to learning to sew? (Yes, this blog has a comments feature!)
Friend Liz Lesher gave a report on the memorial meeting that was held for Sue Garzon in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on the fifth. Liz' grandchildren, who had loved Sue, took great care in making cookies for the memorial meeting. Jan Michael, Sue's widower, was moved by how well-attended the gathering was and was especially touched by the fact that his siblings had driven a great distance to be with him at this time.
Little Rock Friends Meeting ended the month in a spirit of gratitude for our beloved community and for the fact that more seem to be finding us. We look forward to Arkansas Peace Week commemorations and gatherings, including many opportunities to break bread with those of other religious backgrounds at a number of interfaith meals planned in September.