Spiritual State of the Meeting 2023

The Jacksonville Quaker Worship Group at the Beaches

State of the Meeting 2023

Considered by Heidi Lowey-Ball, Dan McLaughlin, Jim Prettyman, Scott Matthews, Sandra Clark, Howard Brodt, Scott Peeples, Jessie Weaver, Aleksei Weaver, Mimi Carlsosn

Our Meeting has been growing and evolving.  We now list 18 in our census with four of these unable to attend our Meeting but wishing to remain associated with us. Our Worship Meetings usually have 8-14 attending.  We continue to have visitors and seekers join us for a time or two.

We continue to explore the possibility of becoming a Monthly Meeting.  Part of this exploration will include a study of the Faith and Practice and discussions of the Queries from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting which serve to focus us on our readiness to take this step.

Some items from business meetings during the 2023 year:

After discussion among Friends, it was the sense of the meeting that Heidi Lowey-Ball is to be CLERK of the Worship Group and that Dan McLoughlin is to be the Financial Officer/Treasurer.  –

The Jacksonville Quaker Worship Group at the Beaches recognizes with gratitude the service of Friend Jim Prettyman outgoing clerk.

Books may be purchased to start a small library in our meeting place. Individuals may submit their requests to either the Clerk or the Librarian who will approve the purchase. The Treasurer will then refund the purchase price of the books.

The Clerk named Scott Matthews as Archivist and Librarian. Howard Brodt was named to clerk a new committee called “Peace Justice and the Environment.”  This Committee has been added to the website.

The Worship Group has changed its physical place for Meetings. We now meet at the “The World Christian Meditation Center”, 1112 Third Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266.  Our mailing address remains 133 Lora Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266

Our web page was updated to show these and other changes.

Selected Queries for the Spiritual State of the Meeting:

  1. How do we support each other as members of this beloved community?

We have actively become involved in learning about our Quaker roots and beliefs.

We have established monthly reading groups with discussion of important Quaker readings. During this past year we have meet and had directed discussion concerning the following readings:

  • Quaker 101, Including discussion of selected chapters of “Friends for 300 Years” by Howard Brinton.
  • The Journal of George Fox
  • The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman

Our intent is to continue these discussions in the upcoming year with attention to readings in Faith and Practice We believe that our regular Meetings for Worship, our coffee mornings with attention to Business, and our reading groups have brought us closer together.  Our spiritual growth has been nurtured and enhanced due to these activities.

  1. What was our Meeting’s witness in the wider community in the last year?

We have established a committee of “Peace Justice and the Environment.”. A link has been established on our WEB site for the reporting of this committee.

Our WEB site serves to identify us to the community. We have an increase of Attenders to our Meetings due to our being visible after an internet search. We now have a younger and more diverse group of individuals. We normally have approximately 8-14 attendees for our Meetings. Our Meetings are conducted in person and via Zoom.  It appears that we leave each of our meetings with a closeness and peace with one another and are brought together by the Spirit.

  1. Are we taking stock of the meeting’s financial health and planning for ways to help those in need?

Our financial holdings are meager, and with a very limited number of donors, our budget is in a slight deficit yearly. We feel that we can continue this way for a while but that we are currently unable to contribute to the needs of those outside our community.

  1. What needs to be different to help us attend Meetings more regularly? What makes it difficult to attend Meetings?

We are now meeting in a new venue. Jacksonville covers a large geographic area. Most of our regular Attenders come from the Beaches area. Distance is a problem for some wishing to attend our Meetings and some of them attend via ZOOM. Choosing a proper time to satisfy everyone’s needs is an ongoing problem. Our Worship Meetings occur every other week on Sunday evenings and our book discussions and Meetings for Worship with Concern for Business occur every other week on Friday mornings.  We are considering the efficacy of having a Meeting for Worship on alternate Friday mornings so our Attenders who are on Zoom can attend in person.

Respectfully submitted by those listed above

Heidi Lowey-Ball

Clerk, Jacksonville Quaker Worship Group at the Beaches