San Francisco Monthly Meeting
Meeting for Worship
The weekly meeting for worship seems grounded and full as we wait upon the Holy Spirit. Vocal ministry varies widely in quantity, and yet the quality seems generally at a good level. One recent week we had no vocal ministry and a week or two later we had ten different pieces of vocal ministry.
The Tuesday evening meeting is small but centered; it recently moved to Wednesday evenings, to be closer to midweek.
We continue to hold an extended meeting for worship from 9:30 to noon on the fifth Sundays of a month. The longer times often lead to a greater depth of worship for Friends.Meeting for Business
Visitors have remarked that our meeting for business seems grounded and spiritual. In a major piece of business, we took several months to discern at some length about a service project – opening a neighborhood food pantry at the meetinghouse. The time seemed right, given the recession and the increased need, and unity was reached in March. At our first pantry in April, a lot of outreach was done in the neighborhood, and we served more than our goal of 50 households the very first time. We are engaging with the SF Friends School community in finding volunteers; other people have found us through our volunteer management signup page on the internet.
A new feature at business meeting in the past year has been brief reports from ministers among us. These have uplifted us as we realize the depth and breadth of ministry among the members of our meeting, ranging from an art gallery internship program for at-risk teens, to republishing classic Quaker works, to convening the Quaker study and Bible study groups at our meeting for 20 years.Witness
We welcomed Rolene Walker home from her Walk with Earth. It was wonderful to have her back among us, as we learned more about the lessons and learnings she gained from her time between California and Chile. Meanwhile, Rolene likes to remind us that people who have leadings to go out into the world also need people to stay home to “tend the fires.”
Several Friends have been following a leading to resist the payment of taxes to fund wars. Two of our members have spent many weekends traveling to other meetings in College Park Quarterly Meeting to raise awareness of this issue. A distant member visited and spoke of his own path, including a federal lawsuit he has filed. A minute was approved by the meeting that recognized the variety of ways people have followed this leading, and affirmed our support for this witness.
Our vigil for peace outside the federal office building continues into its ninth year. Fortunately, we have support from American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Episcopals, Buddhists, and many others, as our meeting’s presence at the vigil is often fairly small.Comings and Goings
Our large urban meeting is blessed with many visitors, and many newcomers, and many people who move on to other places or other activities. Efforts to welcome newcomers a few years ago have paid off in the last year as several new members joined the meeting. We still have to remind ourselves from time to time to welcome newcomers, and repeat visitors, and help them feel included. We strive to be a teaching meeting, whereby people who sojourn with us for a spell may feel refreshed or inspired or willing to experiment. We have had a number of convincements in the past year.
Other long-time members have moved away, or had their memberships transferred, and we are glad to support them in their new meetings.Children
Our community truly feels intergenerational. We have a lively group of young children at the meeting these days, and the children’s religious education committee strives to serve children at the nursery, young elementary, and older elementary levels. It is our hope to continue to engage the older children as they mature; we will need help to do that. We are blessed to have a dedicated and talented childcare worker who grew up in La Jolla Meeting.Finances and Building
We dealt with a budget deficit in 2009, as donations were down significantly. Our building continues to receive significant use, through tenants AFSC and Institute for Public Accuracy, and through building rentals by community groups. Our building manager has kept the usage of the building high even with the recession, and has managed several improvement projects in the past year.
As part of an ongoing effort, the Treasurer identified a baseline of funds needed for operation of the meeting and for prudent building reserves. An ad hoc committee is looking at possible uses for the funds in excess of that baseline. We hope to examine this prayerfully in the coming months.
The possibility of renovating our kitchen remains a topic of discussion. In the past year an ad hoc subcommittee wrote queries for all to consider, and convened a worship sharing session. In the coming year we will discern what our calling, if any, might be around improving the kitchen.Community
Our sense of community is sustained by our fellowship hour; study groups; the annual meeting retreat; and other activities, such as Friendly 8’s potluck groups. Many San Francisco Friends participate in the wider world of Friends, often in leadership roles, including through organizations such as Quarterly Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting, Friends General Conference, Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Concerns, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers Uniting In Publications, AFSC, and Alternatives to Violence Project (not officially Quaker but started by Friends).
We are not at all perfect, but we are usually able to communicate clearly with one another when our feelings are hurt or our expectations are not met. This is helpful in creating a sense of trust, and giving us a glimpse of the Beloved Community among us.Summary
The spiritual state of San Francisco Monthly Meeting appears to be healthy and vibrant. We pray for the Spirit’s continued blessing and guidance, that it may truly be so and that it may remain so.
Chris Mohr, Clerk