Query 3: Meetings for business (Response for 3rd month, 2012)

Queries

  1. How can we hold our meetings for business in the spirit of love, understanding and patient searching for unity without becoming frustrated by differences of opinion or the pressures of time?
  2. How do we respond when no one else in the meeting seems ot hold the views that we do on an issue?
  3. How do respond to a dissenting minority?
  4. How do we share responsibilities among Friends inour meeting?
  5. How do we serve our meetings?

Advice #3 was read. All five queries were read once, and then again later in the conversation. Friends responded to all five queries. The following three themes were heard as Friends shared.

 

Celebrations

We are happy that even though we may falter at times, we have seen God’s grace and love in our meeting for worship with attention to business.

In our meetings for worship with attention to business, Friends have recognized from time to time ways to listen to others’ perspectives, times to set things aside for rest and seeing what arises, and a clearness and easiness when time was right for action.

There is gratitude for God’s working out of God’s love through the practice of meeting for worship with attention to business. Specific mention was made of the use of the word “love” and the concern for practical love in various aspects of our business for First Day School.

Friends appreciate times when we can be at ease, even laugh at ourselves at ourselves, while honoring God’s leading and really listening to one another. Through the years there has been a progression in learning to hear others’ voices better without a loss of a sense that we’re listening for God’s will.

Friends appreciate the various ways in which our smaller size and relatively few group commitments (rent, childcare, etc.) contribute to a greater ease and unity in following God’s lead.

 

Challenges

Meeting for worship with attention to business is difficult for some who do not hear well. They often miss much of what is said. It was suggested that Friends raise a hand if a speaker is difficult to hear so that the speaker may speak louder or more clearly.

Friends recognize struggles with the First Day School’s ministry. At the same time we recognize that over the years the First Day School ministry has yielded gifts and grace that are felt within and outside of the meeting.

We have trusted committees and individuals to season issues so that we may go deep in our meeting for worship with attention to business and not get caught up in completing items on our agenda. We have found both success and struggle with this through the years.

 

Questions

Meeting for worship with attention to business may take a long time. This is difficult when Friends feel the pressures of daily responsibilities together with pressures for action on deadlines for “practical” matters of concern to the worship group. How do we work and live with God’s time?

It may be well for Friends to revisit the fittingness of the ministries of Friends on behalf of our worship group. We want not to cause Friends to “write a blank check with their time” as they seek to serve within the meeting. How do we support one another in service within the meeting so as to encourage simple and healthy living?

Some of us have had the experience of not being clear on other Friend’s needs, feelings, or struggles with particular issues during meeting for worship with attention to business. Are there ways we can support clearer and deeper sharing?

Meeting for worship with attention to business may be seen as an exercise in practical application of the habit of discerning of and dependence on God’s guidance. This is difficult in a culture in which individual responsibility and action are considered paramount. How may we continue to deepen our habit of dependence on God’s guidance?

(Brad, recorder)