Each year I submit a staff report to the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. It feels right to share it more widely, here as well.
Much of my role of events coordinator has been a mix of “chairs and pizza”. Considering logistics around many gatherings this year, including our second year in this new space at Castleton College for sessions, has been a continual challenge. There have been numerous meals and countless cups of coffee, multiple space reservations, and yes, hundreds and hundreds of chairs. The expansion of this staff position this year, to include planning and logistics for so many gatherings beyond YM sessions, has proved a necessary and welcome step to many as we have a “point person” to cover the complicated moving pieces of how we gather.
In this year of service there have been great spiritual gifts. For how we gather, when considered with deep intention and rightly ordered – leads us back to the why of gathering. I have been taught, time and time again, that there is no “mere logistics” in lieu of more “spiritual” endeavors. In each moment, no matter what the shape of service, there is always the opportunity for faithful engagement in beloved community. This sometimes has been a true struggle for me – often it seemed like while so many Friends were centering in worship, I was racing around on a golf cart, or propping a door open, or answering an emergency phone call. Those places on the edges, those places of service, are not solitary ones. When I have been opened to how I might be used in those situations, I am accompanied – always by God, but as often also by another Friend who might themselves need a bit of support, or have for me a bit of treasured insight. This has truly become a shape of service that I am drawn into.
In that myriad of details is how we might experience God. How we welcome each other, how we balance a budget of tangible needs, how we deal with space issues and accessible childcare and deep, radical hospitality for all as we seek the Beloved in community. We are not there yet. We have much work to do. But I have been shown that when we move with intention, in faithful effort, we can trust in God to partner with us in these Holy arrangements. We experience that Presence between us, and Providence does move in strange ways. I look forward to living into those ways in continued service in this role in NEYM.