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Spiritual State of the Meeting 2016

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Spiritual State of The Meeting 2016
Miami Friends Meeting

2016 was an active year in the spiritual life of this Meeting. We offer this report as a reflective document
that seeks to state where we are at the present from a spiritual perspective. This reflection will include
instances where we feel that we have done our best to further the creation of a Beloved community, and it
will also highlight areas where we think we can do better in achieving the same.
We are a faith community that is led to frequently ask questions of itself. Therefore, this report will follow
in the time-honored Quaker practice of presenting queries.
1. Is the vocal ministry in our meetings exercised under the leading of the Spirit?
Last year there was concern that our post-worship announcements were taking an excessive amount of
time and were hindering the overall worship environment. In an effort to create a more spirit-led
environment and to leave more time for fellowship, the Meeting was asked that announcements be
channeled through a member of Worship and Ministry. We decided that requests for joys and sorrows and
the closing of the Meeting for Worship would be handled each Sunday by a W&M committee member. We
also asked that joys and sorrows be given while we were still within worship.
The implementation of the new format created conflict in the Meeting. It was a good idea but the
implementation was confusing for many people. Membership, Care and Counsel committee brought this
to the attention of W&M, and what was discussed at a joint meeting led to a retreat on communication,
facilitated by Cece Yocum. The Meeting also decided to hold regular meetings for learning on Quaker
faith and practice. In retrospect, the workshop opened us to a renewed respect for taking the time to
share and to listen to each other before moving ahead, even with a good idea.
2. Are meetings for business held in the spirit of meetings for worship?
This is topic that our Meeting has wrestled with as of late. Business meetings sometimes feel like secular
meetings instead of what they are: meetings for worship with a concern for business. Recently, we have
discussed ways of making our meetings for business more like a meeting for worship, through
encouraging all present to speak only once on a given matter, and to leave a space of silence after
someone has spoken.
3. How do we foster a spirit of community among the meeting’s members and attenders?
With home and hospital visits, phone calls, and cards, we have continued to do our best to attend to the
needs of Friends who have mobility issues and other challenges. We also work with people who want
clearness and/or or support around important decisions in their lives, such as a marriage or membership.
Each member of the Ministry, Care, and Counsel committee tries to stay in touch with his/her care list that
includes a portion of the local and out-of-town members as well as frequent attenders. Committee
members are then in a position to alert our full committee about situations where people need and have
requested help.
To facilitate communication among members and attenders, we have updated information about the
members and frequent attenders and about the changed committee membership. We initiated a revised
updated edition of the Meeting Directory and distributed it to the members and attenders.
To help people care for each other, we have been posting (in the weekly email newsletter) the names of
people who have asked to be held in the Light. A few interested members and attenders who cannot
access email have requested hard copies of the newsletter be mailed to them.
We are grateful to the people in the wider Meeting who are supporting members and attenders. Some
caregivers both in and out of our committee give so much of themselves that we are considering thinking
through strategies for preventing burnout and supporting the caregivers.
Though the number of children present at each First Day School varies from week to week, there has
been a focus towards creating community, cooperation and collaboration rather than competition amongst
the youth. We have a good children’s library and good spaces for indoor and outdoor sessions. We want
to draw in more children and young adults. We also need other people in our Meeting to work with the
To create opportunities for building community, we provide refreshments at the rise of meeting. We also
make a point of greeting newcomers and people who return to Meeting. We have continued with our
monthly eating meeting.
4. How do Friends meet our responsibilities to the community and world?
To nurture our community and to reach out to others, we have been taking many different approaches.
In the spring the Outreach committee took over the Meeting’s weekly newsletter. Every week we have
been sending out an email newsletter with information and photos to members and attenders and other
interested people in the community. We’ve had a positive response.
We worked with the Internet committee to start a new website hosted by FGC’s Quaker Cloud. There are
still some issues with the website, but we are working them out.
We also used Facebook to outreach to the Meeting and to the outside world. We created Facebook
events to advertise Meeting events, such as the FCNL workshops. We avoid sharing sensitive material on
social media.
We did some networking with local organizations that we will grow in the future. One example was
creating a connection with the Tropical Audubon Society around our mutual concern for the health of the
Eduardo Diaz is co-clerk of MCCJ, an interfaith clergy organization. At his invitation, MCCJ has been
holding its meetings at our Meeting House. This aligns with our values regarding working collaboratively
and respectfully with people from different faith communities.
In connection with these values, an outgrowth of last year’s Miami International Bookfair is a connection
with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Miami. At the Muslim Community’s invitation, women from our
Meeting attended a couple of program at their mosque. We plan to reciprocate.
We are bringing forward our concern for having a habitable Earth for our children and grandchildren, and
the generations after them, and of having this concern higher in our awareness as pressing, and as
urgent and as in need of constant productive attention. Increasingly, we feel called to hear and observe
more, to reflect more in group worship, and to seek leadings, such as opposing the Sabal Trail pipeline
project. Questions arise: What is our way forward? What actions do we discern as necessary and timely
now? When do we see it as crucial to act? Who will provide the informed leadership? Why are so many in
our larger culture somehow not as concerned? How do we share our leadings outside the Meeting
In line with this concern, in recent weeks the Peace and Social Concerns has been holding Meetings for
Learning on topics related to the care of the Earth.
We created a Minute in support of the Protectors of the Water at Standing Rock. One of our members
made two visits to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Several members of our meeting are active in social justice and earth care work at the Yearly Meeting
and national levels. This exposure to the practices and concerns of Quakers elsewhere has enriched the
breadth and depth of our meeting’s own faith and