Meeting History: A father's memories of the 80s and 90s
An assortment of memories from Roger Walmsley, now in Perth, Australia:
The closeness and warmth of the Meetings for Worship. Steve Gable stoking up the fire during the brisk winter months. The silent and vocal ministry that drew me in. When we first arrived in November of 1984 we would leave Elizabeth, age 6, in the first day school and go on to Meeting for Worship. It must have been a month before we realized that first day 'school' consisted of David Samuels and Steve Gable attending to their own children! We were embarrassed and got involved. How wonderful it is to read in the newsletter that the Meeting is bulging with children!
My first Meeting for Business. George Garrettson and I were the first ones to make our way into the Meeting room. I asked George how long it would last. He said, "We never know." Coming from a background of university committees, I remarked, "Any committee that cannot finish its work within an hour doesn't know what it is doing."
"Well," said George, "In Meeting for Business there is more to it than that." It was only years later that I realized I had been 'eldered!
The camaraderie of the Saturday morning clean-ups. I used to glaze windows while Stan Myers pruned shrubbery. There would be a faint smile on his face that would strike terror in the roots of everything that grew!
The glory of Christmas breakfast with its smells, tastes and constant buzz of conversation and bustle to the accompaniment of a tape of a variety of Christmas music I made for the occasion. And I'll never forget the Christmas pageants the children provided under Jim Alexander's benign, unflappable and infinite patience.
There are memories of weightier matters, of course. The Sanctuary we provided for 'Paz' from El Salvador, the shelter we provided for the homeless in the Meeting House, the annual decisions of stewardship of the Yarnall funds. But for me the greatest gifts of the Meeting were the many personal relationships, both spiritual and social, that gave me a sense of place and nurture as a Friend.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHESTNUT HILL MEETING!!!