Two from Little Rock Friends Meeting joined about ten others from around Oklahoma at Lake Wister State Park for our fall quarterly meeting. Most stayed on site in the A-frame cabins with bunk beds, but Kelly had great things to say about the benefits of renting one of the park's cabins up by the dam, namely the dark sky that allowed for excellent stargazing Saturday night and before dawn on Sunday.
Highlights of the weekend included: meeting newcomer Sonja and eleven-year-old Batman, the Rat Terrier of Noel and Jack from Norman; a bonfire that inspired a Great Horned Owl to call; collaboration on a very challenging jigsaw puzzle that was completed just under the wire; gifts of bracelets lovingly handmade and blessed by Kathleen's sister; a wild persimmon tree heavy with fruit (whose seeds may or may not hold the secrets of the upcoming winter); Green Country's pancakes with real maple syrup; homemade bread; an apple crisp that required an extra drive into town but which will be remembered for years to come; worship sharing in the morning sun as Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, and an imposing kettle of Black Vultures whirled overhead; and, ancient chants that moved more than one person to tears. Our beloved late friend Sue was deeply missed.
As the air cools and we dig sweaters and hoodies out of storage, the month of September is one that always finds Little Rock Friends Meeting with many reasons to get out and get active. Starting as early as June each year, the John and the Peace and Justice committee stay busy reminding us all of the great array of peace-oriented events happening just as summer turns to fall. Ninth month this year was no different. We also began to remind one another of the upcoming Arkansas-Oklahoma Quarterly Meeting so that arrangements might be made for carpooling and the coordination of shopping for our meeting's meal rotation duty.
On the third, Amanda launched our exploration of Quaker missionary Thomas Kelly's classic text, "A Testament of Devotion," and started us off with a focus on the section entitled "The Light Within." She shared an Internet Archive link to a copy made available for free download to all who wish to join in on this journey into the work of this American Quaker educator and mystic. Between Zoom and the meetinghouse, there were nine of us present that Sunday, and the spirit-led discussion centered on our joy on experiencing and being in relationship with the Inner Light.
On second Sunday, John Coffin led a discussion of South Central Yearly Meeting's draft Faith and Practice document, eagerly gathering our reactions and suggestions, while SCYM continues the monumental task of crafting a Faith and Practice document that provides guidance on how we Quakers in SCYM practice our faith. Any wishing to see how this process is coming along can view a copy of the current draft on the SCYM webpage. This was also the day that Young Friends made proofs of their linocut designs first on scrap paper, then on very old tee shirts, and finally on good tee shirts. We are happy to be learning as we go. Announcements after worship included plenty of opportunities for us to get involved in restoring defaced sections of our city's seventh street murals, attend interfaith events, and help hang up our colorful Arkansas Peace Week banners on our historic rock and wrought iron wall. It was also potluck Sunday!
Third Sunday is now our regular day to hold meeting for worship with attention to business and is no longer our potluck day, but food was once again part of our fellowship at the Rise of Meeting when the Chamberlins so graciously provided sandwich trays in support of the Meetinghouse repair project, which in turn took place thanks to Liz and husband Dave, our traveling Friends from Oklahoma.
The parking lot was full on the 24th as eleven gathered in the worship space for Compassionate Communication, marking the end of Peace Week with an open house that drew two visitors! Three met in the Young Friends space for a continuation of sewing lessons.