Affirmation from meeting for business today

Today San Francisco Meeting's monthly meeting for worship with a concern for business, the first in 2010, went rather smoothly.

We heard about the internship program two members run for at-risk, low-income teens at their art gallery (a fine example of multiracial, cross-class organizing!), approved two new members, approved the 2010 budget, and heard the latest about a possible service project we're discerning whether or not to take up, among other things. The report on the gallery was particularly moving, as another Friend spoke about a recent performance he had attended, where the youth performed monologues they had created. He also talked about how the youth just adore Anne and Tony, the Friends who run the gallery and the program. He was fighting back tears as he said this, and as a former criminal defense attorney, he isn't prone to doing that often.

Business meeting was over in a bit less than two hours, I think, and in any case, it felt relatively short for the amount of business we conducted.

This is in sharp contrast to last month, when we had extensive conversation about the budget and didn't approve it; discussed the service project, and approved submitting an application to work with a service partner but were not ready to approve actually participating if we are accepted; and reviewed whether the minutes from the month before had appropriately recorded a difficult issue that month. It lasted over three hours, closer to three and a half, and was probably the longest one I've clerked in a bit over two and a half years of clerking.

Yet the meeting never descended to argumentation or bitterness. It was just long, and rather draining.

With today's meeting as a frame of reference, it now seems to me that last month we were plowing fertile, if perhaps fallow, ground. We had to break up the clods and ready the soil for the seeds. And so today the sprouts were appearing.

A first-time visitor from a small Friends meeting in Australia, who has moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for the next year or so, stayed for meeting for business. At the end, during "Affirmations, Joys, and Concerns," he said he had found our meeting for business to be spiritually grounded. I was grateful to him for saying so, and to San Francisco Friends for providing the evidence that prompted him to notice.

God, thank you for your many blessings!

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