A Teaching Meeting

A former member of San Francisco Friends Meeting transferred his membership to his new meeting last year. In his letter requesting transfer, he wrote very movingly of the importance of the meeting to him, and how it served as a teaching meeting not only for him but for many other Friends.

This Friend had himself truly grown and deepened in the nearly 15 years he had worshiped with us. He had eventually quit his job as a management consultant for a very large corporation, made other work arrangements that reduced his hours substantially, and used the time freed up to make himself useful to Friends in all sorts of ways. He now consults part-time for Quaker organizations.

We miss him, but I'm glad our paths crossed and we became friends as well as Friends.

Because the cost of living in San Francisco is so high, our population is more transitory than in many cities. Add to that the appeal of its culture, its weather, its many startup companies, and its rich array of nonprofit community-based organizations and arts groups, we get a lot of young people cycling through, checking out Quaker meeting for the first time or -- if they grew up Quaker -- for the 1000th time.

Finally, because San Francisco is a popular destination for tourists and for conferences, our meeting also has a regular stream of visitors from other areas.

Suffice it to say, it's not always easy to keep track of any individual who starts attending. We do our best to be welcoming and talk to new people. (For a recent reflection on this topic by Robin M., see "Worship with My Eyes Open".) We also offer a session called "Frequently Asked Quaker Questions (FAQQs)" for 15 minutes after the end of meeting for worship, so that's a chance for people to plug in.

On 2/13, we had a visitor who introduced herself as someone who had attended our meeting for about six months in 1997. She then moved elsewhere, and stayed involved with Friends. She said she is someone who would gladly be involved with Quakerism every hour of the day, or words to that effect. She is now the clerk of Ministry and Counsel for another yearly meeting on the East Coast, as well as a member of their Faith & Practice revision committee. She was enthusiastic to be back where she had started with Quakers.

It was rewarding to know that her experience with us had stuck with her.

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings in my life, including San Francisco Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

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