MEETING FOR WORSHIP: Every Sunday at 10:30 am. For many of us, Quaker meeting for worship is the central, defining experience of our community. Our worship is unprogrammed and led by the Spirit. We have no professional ministers; all are encouraged to share and develop their gifts of spoken ministry as they are led. The newcomer packet has more on Quaker worship.
OUR LOVING COMMUNITY welcomes all who wish to join us in sharing spiritual journeys with each other. We strive to nurture each other and be nurtured in living more fully in “that of God” or the “Christ within” or the “Inward Light” in all of us. We have no creed; we seek fresh and continuing revelation of divine Truth. We try to listen deeply to the Spirit and each other, seeking to discern and embrace God’s will for us individually and for our community. We strive to let our lives speak Truth and Love. We embrace the core Quaker testimonies of equality, integrity, peace, simplicity, and community. Baltimore Yearly Meeting, a broader, regional Quaker community, has developed a guide called Faith and Practice, which is available on the hallway table, in the library, and at http://www.bym-rsf.org/publications/fandp/. This guide contains “queries” that we use to examine our faith; the newcomer packet includes these queries. Consistent with Quaker principles, we welcome and hope to achieve a genuine diversity of religious outlook, race, age, sexual orientation, income level, education, physical and mental ability, and other human qualities.
SHARING INFORMATION: Our Silent Announcements are one of our primary tools for sharing information. The clerk prepares and distributes them each first day. They are also posted to our email list. If you have information to share, please contact the clerk. The silent announcements include key contacts. (Also see committee assignment list on the bulletin board and in the directory for committee and position assignments mentioned below.)
Our website is located at www.patapscofriends.com (where com = community). It has a calendar, committee information, our journal, resources for our spiritual journey, and more.
Our occasional journal, The Quaker Heron, has discussions on a theme by various Patapsco Friends, book reviews and suggested readings, and other items.
LEARNING TOGETHER: Children worship with the adults from 10:30-10:45am, then leave together for First Day School. We also have childcare for children under 3. For more information about the First Day School program, contact the clerk of the Religious Education committee or see our website.
Periodically, we have adult discussion groups as way opens. As our committees or individual friends are led, they propose discussions on topics or readings and invite all to participate. Watch in the Silent Announcements and on our blog for these discussions.
There are many opportunities for retreats, conferences, and other gatherings sponsored by other Quaker organizations and Meetings. These include Friends General Conference, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting, Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, William Penn House on Capitol Hill, Friends Wilderness Center, and Pendle Hill (a Quaker study and conference center outside of Philadelphia). There are also camping programs for children in the mountains of Virginia and Maryland. Explore the literature tables and the links on our website. The Meeting sponsors participants to attend such activities because they inevitably benefit the whole Meeting; contact the clerk for more information.
CHILDCARE: Our desire is to provide childcare for any activity where it is needed. However, since childcare is not always needed and is generally provided by adult volunteers, prior arrangements are necessary. If you need childcare to participate in an activity, please let the coordinator for that activity know in advance.
CARING FOR EACH OTHER: Especially as a small, volunteer community, we all share responsibility for supporting, nurturing, and caring for one another. The Ministry and Care committee tries to facilitate these efforts. Clearness Committees are one standard Quaker practice to assist individuals in sorting out decisions they need to make. The Meeting also has a limited fund for personal assistance for regular attenders. If you would like help with a personal crisis or just thinking through some thorny issues in your life, please speak to a member of Ministry and Care.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP: After worship, all are welcome for a SIMPLE LUNCH of bread, soup, or whatever our volunteers bring. A sign up sheet for simple lunch is on a bulletin board in the hallway. On the last Sunday of the month, lunch is potluck.
Friendly Bunches are groups of 3-5 households that gather occasionally for potluck dinners. These bunches are re-formed periodically, but people can join at other times as way opens. Contact our clerks.
Some Friends have formed small Spiritual Friendship groups that arrange their own meeting times and topics. The library has pamphlets describing these groups. If you are interested in joining such a group, feel free to invite others to join you or ask a member of the Ministry and Care committee for guidance.
MEETING COMMITTEES: Many opportunities for fellowship, growth, and participation in the life of the Meeting occur as individuals come together for committee service. Since we have no paid staff, volunteers do all the work of the Meeting, especially through the committees. The newcomer packet includes a description of each committee. Committee and position assignments are listed in the directory and on the bulletin board. All are welcome at any committee meeting, except those of the Personal Assistance Committee and, on rare occasions, Ministry and Care, for privacy reasons.
THE LIBRARY: The Meeting library is located in a small room across from the top of the stairs. To borrow an item, please fill out the card in the back of the item and place it in the small box on the bookcase.
BULLETIN BOARDS, TABLES, AND LITERATURE RACK: Materials relating to various committees and other Quaker organizations and concerns are posted on bulletin boards and laid out on tables in the hall and meeting room. Next to the welcome table is a literature rack. These pamphlets are free; gently used items may be returned to the rack.
THE MEETING DIRECTORY contains names, addresses, and phone numbers for participants in our Meeting; it also lists assignments for committees and other positions. The directory is periodically available on the hallway table.
CONTRIBUTIONS: We welcome your contributions in any amount to support our operating budget. Contributions may be mailed to or given to the treasurer or put into the specially marked box in the hallway.
QUESTIONS, COMMENTS? Please contact the clerks for any information or needs, especially if you don’t know where to turn. Also, please share any comments about the newcomer packet with a member of the Advancement and Outreach committee.