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Friends Gather for Living Faith
"In times of so much grief and fear, spending a day among people striving earnestly to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God was balm for the soul. I'm grateful to be able to root my work in the world in the spirit of Friends."—Cat Chapin-Bishop (Mt. Toby, MA, Friends Meeting)
More than 125 Friends gathered for a day of community-building, worship, workshops and fellowship on Saturday, October 27th at The 224 EcoSpace in Hartford, Connecticut. We began the day with a game: groups of 8 had to stack 10 paper cups into a pyramid, but could not touch the cups. Instead, each person held one end of a string tied to a single rubber band that the group could use to grab the cups (see photos). "As eight of us played an intergenerational game, we collaborated so lovingly, and did not fall into competition, judgment or complaint. What a joy to be with such caring and supportive Friends—a much-needed break from the lack of compassion in the news." —Brenda Shaw (Storrs, CT, Friends Meeting)
Hanifa Nayo Washington led us in worshipful singing, sharing songs and chants from her album, Mantras for the Revolution, as our entry into waiting worship. "What better way to prepare for worship than to place hands over my heart, breathe intentionally, sing Hanifa Nayo Washington's Mantras for the Revolution, fall into the eyes of another, and meditate? As a gathering we softened; this LFG matched exactly what I most hoped would happen—Friends came together in unity: giving and taking."—Scott Rhodewalt (Mt. Toby, MA, Friends Meeting)
The children gathered for a lively and fun youth program. "The commitment to offer child care and youth programming at every event is far more meaningful than mere logistics. It is an open-hearted invitation for children to be a part of the blessed community, and it is a welcome for parents and guardians to be present in the fullness of who they are. So inspiring."—Newell Isbell Shinn (Mt. Toby, MA, Friends Meeting)
For the last part of the morning, older Friends joined in worship-sharing, explored The 224, enjoyed informal fellowship, or shared about their spiritual conditions or the spiritual condition of their meeting, and then prayed for each other. "A gathering very simple in structure and very powerful in Spirit."—Gordon Peters (Wellesley, MA, Friends Meeting)
After lunch, Friends participated in workshops on the spirituality and money, the role whiteness plays in our lives, digital outreach, nurturing ministry and ministers, spiritual practices for hard times, and art as a practice of worship. "My experience made me appreciate how important it is to gather and share with the larger community; a lot of good to reflect on and bring back to our Meeting." —Jane Cutting (Worcester, MA, Friends Meeting)
We closed with another gathered worship and a final song. "It is so lovely to have these moments for fellowship, to learn, form and nourish each other throughout the year and not only at Sessions." - Eppchez Yes (Northampton, MA, Friends Meeting)
Do you have ideas about how we can welcome more Friends to participate in these opportunities for relationship with the wider community of Friends in New England? Do you want to help make sure all our events are fully accessible? Do you have a vision for how Living faith can continue to grow and develop? Do you have a call to meet Friends’ spiritual hunger?
The Living Faith Planning Team is looking for Friends to join in this work. Please contact us.