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1.24.2008

State of the Church Report

Freedom Friends Church
For the year 2007
Approved for general publication January 13, 2008

To Friends Everywhere:

Freedom Friends Church is 3 years and 9 months old! With God’s help we have successfully formed a community where the default setting is grace, inclusion is a functional reality, and where all are ministers.

We represent 18 households and having sent a couple of folks on to different locals we have maintained our size of about 30 attenders. We took in two new full members by convincement, making 16; at the end of the year we had two more in the membership process. Most of our attenders are new to Quakerism.

We often make new Quakers through the process of resurrection, We reach out to those who were on a path to death and walk with them on a better path; we make a place for those who have been dead to the Church and the life of the Spirit, and make faith community possible for them.

Our worship continues to be lively, honest and Spirit led. We are learning to settle down and center down even when physical stillness and quiet are not entirely possible.

Our community life this year was seasoned with potlucks, movie nights, occasional Arts nights, a Men’s retreat and a six-week study on the Sermon on the Mount. We had music several Sundays from Derek Lamson of West Hills Friends, Portland. It was the year of Peterson Toscano; he was here three times and brought theatrical ministry that was deep, stretching and humorous.

We sent our Pastor to Burundi for two months at the beginning of the year, representing our concern for the healing and peace in the world. During her absence the community shared pastoral duties, and the meeting did just fine, but we were glad when she came home to us. In June our pastor was asked to open the State Senate with Prayer, and kept the Senators of Oregon on their feet for a full minute of Quaker silence. Our pastor also spoke at a regional Quaker women’s conference in Oklahoma. Our pastor is a Quaker diplomat and we enjoy that.

Two of our favorite traditions have become our birthday party on the last Sunday of March, and a candlelight Service on Christmas Eve. This year’s Christmas Eve miracle was the gratitude of a mother of a 13 yr old autistic boy. She told us that she had two children in their 20’s who had spent every Christmas Eve of their childhoods in Church, but that this boy was having his first such evening because there had never been a church that would let him sit in service, because of his vocalizations. We were so pleased to have enlarged our silent worship to include him. This is the reason we exist.

We spent a lot of business meeting time on the continuation of the writing of our Faith and Practice. We revised the outline and read, seasoned and approved six new sections. Friends owned this process and contributed much to the writing, taking the liberty of sending things back to the task force for further work if need be.

We had our first wedding in the community with the marriage of Megan and Bart. It was a fabulous Quaker hybrid wedding in a grove of firs west of Salem, and the whole community attended filling up an entire section of the forested ‘church’. Their joy was our joy.

We helped our Friends T. Vail Palmer and Izzy Covalt celebrate their 80th birthdays.

We worked for equality this year, seeing anti-discrimination legislation, and a bill that will allow same-sex couple to have legal unions pass the Oregon legislature. At the end of the year we still await the implementation of the second law, but we trust in the triumph of truth and justice.

We were visited by Quakers from many places, but were especially pleased by the visit of Margaret Gottlieb, of Seattle, a mother in Israel, and a Quaker mother of our meeting who blessed us from our conception. She died in the fall, and her visit to us was one of her last public appearances, and we were honored. Later in the fall we were visited by Hubert and Vivian Thornburg, from Newberg, spiritual parents to the pastor and the clerk, Vivian served on the clearness committee for the birth of our meeting. Another member of that committee, Pamela Calvert of Oakland, CA, also visited with us twice this year.

We ended the year financially in the black, even after having our rent increase in the middle of the year to 1400. a month. Our budget for the year was about 23,000.00. We have 6,000. in savings at the present time. We start to dream about having our own building.

Actions of 2007
We met for worship 52 times and another 12 times with attention to business.
We had 11 movie nights
100 pounds of food were donated to Marion Polk Food Share
We sent two donations to groups outside our meeting.
We furnished a room for children.
We celebrated our 3rd birthday
We had three Arts nights
We improved our worship space with cabinets and furniture
We approved seven sections of our faith and practice
We sponsored three performance ministries by Peterson Toscano
We received two new members by convincement
We had a table at the Capitol Pride Picnic
We had a six-week Bible study
We had a weekend Men’s retreat
We hosted a gathering about justice with the Mennonite Church
We celebrated our first wedding
We celebrated Christmas Eve

Comments:
So glad to be part of your 2007! Thank you for the opportunity to share my work among you and thank you for all the wonderful vegan food!!!!
 
I really enjoyed reading this.
 
Sounds like Freedom Friends is really adding value and strength to Quakers as a whole, and that is a beautiful thing to witness. Congrats on the great times past, and the exciting future ahead. You are doing wonderful things :)

Laurie
 
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