On February 1, 2009, South Mountain Friends Fellowship, in Maryland Correctional Institution, Hagerstown, celebrated its fifth year of meeting as a worship group. South Mountain Friends Fellowship began as a conversation between two inmates, Richard and Joe, about their experiences with Quakers at Patuxent Institution. In the spring of 2003, Richard contacted Patapsco Friends to request that a meeting be started at MCI-H. Susan Rose, member of Ministry and Oversight, took the request to her heart and it became her leading to bring Friends together at MCI-H each week in silent worship. Silent worship began in the prison in 2005, with two Patapsco Friends traveling to Hagerstown each Saturday morning. Susan Rose was often one of the two.
Susan Rose’s passing on April 1, 2009, led to a heartfelt sadness in our Fellowship. She will be missed for her constant support and love, wisdom of her years and depth of spirit. Our grief led us to write remembrances of her which became a summer 2009 issue of Patapsco Meeting’s journal, “Quaker Heron.”
A lengthy lock-down in July canceled several weeks of meetings. Lock-downs and other prison events continue to occasionally prevent our Saturday morning meetings. We continue to meet each Saturday morning at 9:30, meeting with one Patapsco Friend each week. One member of Herndon Meeting has also attended South Mountain Friends on occasion. Our Meetings begin with silent worship, then “rounds,” when each attender gives a short report on personal and prison events in the past week. A discussion of a topic of interest follows. In the fall, we began to read the 1988 Baltimore Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice as our curriculum.
South Mountain Friends Fellowship looks to a future of weekly meetings, and welcomes others in Baltimore Yearly Meeting to join us.