Spiritual State of the Meeting – 2010

The Menallen Monthly Meeting, in preparation for the annual report on the spiritual state of the Meeting, decided to use a questionnaire to involve as many of the members possible. The members were asked to consider a variety of questions having to do with the different aspects of the Meeting’s life. The questionnaire was an imperfect tool, as not all members responded, so the opinions were limited to those who did. The afternoon set aside to collate the answers proved to be bad timing for most members, so we did not have the hoped for worship sharing exercise to discuss the questionnaire.

Predictably our members had a wide variety of opinions, because they are a unique group of thoughtful, intelligent people committed to the Quaker ideal. Most members felt that there has been slow but steady growth in the Meeting and it has been a good year despite our financial problems. Future growth of the Meeting will depend on who is attending and how much effort they are willing to invest. Some members worry about over-commitment in their own lives that limits what they can do for the Meeting. But, they trust that they can rise to the occasion and devote time and energy into an important issue, as it arises.

Most members feel nourished by Meeting for Worship and some use it as time to gain insight into their personal problems. At the same time there is a desire to find a way to better attend to our spiritual needs and to re- establish a spiritual connection with members who do not come. We have 44 members but less than half that number ever come.

Most members felt that the First Day School meets the needs of the children adequately.

Menallen’s community out -reach consists of the preschool, special events and the tours all of which serve to tell our story and raise money for our needs.

Most members have careers that speak to the service of others and our retired members are active volunteers in the community. Our members express their faith in their careers and how they live their daily lives. We share common values. Those who do serve the Meeting’s stewardship needs are faithful and work very hard.

The questionnaire did show that there were two key areas where Menallen Friends were in total agreement. Members and attenders try to let their lives speak for their faith and the Quaker testimonies are extremely important guideposts in our lives.

Our challenges are monetary because of our stewardship responsibilities and there are some membership issues. But for a very small Meeting our accomplishments are remarkable. Please find the appendix that describes some of our activities for the year 2010.

Respectfully, Mary Gemmill, clerk

Appendix:

A Brief Summary of the Activities of the Menallen Monthly Meeting for 2010

  • We sent letter of congratulations to President Obama on his receipt of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. We invited his family to worship with us when they use Camp David, but they declined as they feel their visits are too disruptive.
  • Additionally the Meeting sent a letter to the local newspapers expressing our opposition of the proposed casino in the county.
  • The Meeting sent a contribution to the local soup Kitchen and the local ambulance club, but the limited resources of the Meeting do not allow us the luxury of making contributions to other worthy causes. Individual members are encouraged to contribute to them as they see fit.
  • The Meeting formed two new committees. One committee called, Friends of Quaker Valley, sprang out of the training some members took with Sacred Places. The committee acts as a fund raising arm to provide money for the needs of the Meeting. This committee is also making plans for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Redlands Meetinghouse on August 14th 2011, see www.redlandsreunion.com ; and the Blackburn family reunion celebrating the 275th anniversary of the arrival of Quakers in this valley to be held over the weekend of June 21 -24, 2012. Approximately 300 members of the Blackburn family could possibly attend.
  • The other committee called, a “committee of suffering” modeled after a committee that used to exist in this Meeting in 1848, was set up for the purpose of helping those families of the Meeting in financial need.
  • Warrington Quarterly Meeting was held at Menallen in the fifth month. A presentation of “Ten Tips for Peace of Mind was given. Menallen again hosted the Quarter at Redlands Meeting house in the eighth month following a very successful cleanup day on the previous day. Robinne Gray, development director for Baltimore Yearly Meeting was the speaker for that Quarterly Meeting.
  • At the Menallen Meeting House the annual History Meets the Arts camp met for a week in June.
  • A memorial service for Shirley Stubbs Martino was held and her ashes were interred in the Menallen cemetery.
  • A member read his books with a Quaker twist to the children today in the First Day School. The other topics for the children have included: a study of the Underground Railroad with an emphasis of the members of Menallen who were involved and a study of the world religions.
  • A history professor from the University of Maryland and his historical architecture students have been collecting data and documenting the three Meeting Houses under our care. This work is in preparation for getting the properties on the National Historic Registry.
  • The Menallen Friends Preschool in its 38th year of providing a unique nursery school experience in the under- served upper Adams County area, operated at full capacity. The Meeting held a barbeque to raise funds for supplies and a new play set.
  • The Friends of Quaker Valley had a fundraiser held at Beechwood Orchards, which is run by descendents of one of our founding families.
  • We received a grant from a Friends Meeting House Fund toward the amount needed for our new furnace.
  • We have a book group for adults. We just finished reading about Sonnie Cronk in A Lasting Gift.
  • Menallen hosted the fifth annual Concert for Peace in July performed international music students.
  • Our members participated in a dedication of a plaque at the Elkhorn Inn and a reenactment of the kidnapping of Kitty Payne, with Kitty being portrayed by her great granddaughter, who came from Wisconsin for the occasion. Menallen Friends were responsible for obtaining her release in 1864.
  • We now have a Web site for our Meeting www.menallenfriends.org
  • Underground Railroad Tours of Adams County are continuing and tour proceeds are given to various non-profits groups in the Gettysburg area. Several thousand dollars was provided to Menallen Friends Meeting for various purposes, like plumbing. Some money was used to help pay for the furnace, the memorial scholarship fund at the Menallen Friends Preschool and some was used for general expenses. Girl Scouts are helping too as several troops took the tour to earn their Underground Railroad badges since the badge requirements are covered during the tour which takes them inside the historic 1880’s Menallen Friends Meeting House.
  • Students from the local college helped with outside work. And we hired two archival interns to help catalogue our books and preserve our documents.
  • We had a visit with Deborah Haines a member of Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s ministry and counsel committee, to discuss the long range vision for the Yearly Meeting.
  • The clerk attended at the annual session of Baltimore Yearly Meeting in Frostburg, Maryland.
  • We participated in the FUM Chain of Prayer in March.
  • At Huntington Meeting House a presentation on the history of the Underground Railroad was given to school children from a Mennonite school as a gesture of thanks to one of their member who repaired the slate roof for us at no cost. As we struggled to meet the repair needs of that Meeting House we learned that the Meeting now has a bequest that will be set aside to pay for the needs of this historic Meeting House and cemetery. Later in the year, the building was repointed, the lot cleared, and the fenced was replaced. The Meeting holds concurrent Meetings for Worship there once a month from April to November.
  • At the Redlands Meeting House the repair of the fence was completed. A workday resulted in the painting of 920 square feet by volunteers from throughout the Quarter with the Meeting’s gratitude. The cemetery there and at nearby Newberrytown are in need of attention.
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