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1.18.2009

5th Annual State of the Church Report

State of the Church Report
Freedom Friends Church
For the year 2008
Approved for general publication January 11, 2009

To Friends Everywhere:

Freedom Friends Church is 4 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 20 households and having sent a couple of folks on to different locals we have maintained our size of about 30 attenders. We took in three new members by convincement, making 19. One of our members has been sojourning with University Friends Meeting in Seattle, Washington, which gave us the opportunity to correspond with that meeting and define our process when we have a Friend at a distance. One of our founding members received a minute of transfer this year and we changed her status from Convincement to transfer. Two thirds of our members are convinced Friends.

Our worship continues to be lively, authentic and Spirit led. We continue to work on settling down and centering down even when physical stillness and quiet are not entirely possible. But it is our intention to practice a spirituality on Sunday that can be replicated on any day of our lives. And so we seek to learn to listen better regardless of the external circumstances. We have mixed results.

We have been experimenting with moving directly from Meeting for Worship into Worship with Attention to Business on the second Sunday of each month. We have found that this improves both the attendance and attitude of our business meeting. We have found that good food immediately at the rise of the meeting also helps. Our clerk has become skilled at putting our business agenda in a projected presentation. We have found this helps the visually attuned, and keeps us focused. Including significant Faith and Practice work, we rarely stay in business longer than 90 minutes.

Our Faith and Practice is nearly complete. It has been our major work for the year. We expect to publish it in time for our 5th birthday in March of 09. In addition, we adopted a child protection policy.

Our members have been active in the world. Sarah Hoggett, is serving on the editorial board of the Quakers United in Publishing Youth Book Project. Ashley Wilcox is co-clerk of the 2010 Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference. T. Vail Palmer is writing a book which we believe will be a significant contributor to scholarly Quaker thought; it is called Friends, God and the Bible. These three Friends were granted minutes of service by the meeting. We sent three women to the 2008 Women’s Conference including the first transgendered woman to attend that event.

This year we submitted considerable documentation to the international Membership Committee of the Friends World Committee for Consultation, asking to affiliate with this organization. FWCC is the only world-wide organization of Friends that includes all branches and categories of Friends. They encourage intervisitation and they are the only organization to make an accounting of Friends in the world. We feel it would be a good affiliation for us and that we have a testimony to the Quaker Continuum that is unique. We await their discernment.

Our community life this year was seasoned with potlucks, movie nights, occasional Arts nights. We had a rummage sale. We had a booth at our local Pride Picnic – this year the picnic was downtown at Riverfront Park. It was great to see this event grow and become just a part of the civic life of Salem. We continue to have an active presence on the internet. Our Church site is well-visited. Our forum is useful to us, and a good number of our community are bloggers.

We had our second wedding in the community with the marriage of Sarah Molloy and Owen Lloyd. Sarah and Owen had an extremely simple ceremony in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. They have moved to Eugene for school, but we still feel they are a part of us, they visit regularly and stay in contact on line. Sarah was 16 when her internet curiosity led her, and then her entire family to be with us. We have always been grateful for that curiosity.

It was a difficult financial year for many people in the meeting. Several have lost jobs and several more are underemployed. We have struggled to make our expenses and had to use savings to balance our books. Our income for the year was $21, 371.27, while our expenses were $23,708.68. We were grateful that we had saved during a good year to get us through this year, and we hope for better times to come. The meeting is committed to maintaining a public presence in Salem.

Actions of 2008
We met for worship 52 times and another 12 times with attention to business.
We had 6 movie nights
We sent two donations to groups outside our meeting.
We received a donation of some padded church pews.
We celebrated our 4th birthday
We had two Arts nights
We finished the draft of our Faith and Practice
We were visited by Quaker Earth walkers and other visitors
We received three new members by convincement
We had a table at the Capitol Pride Picnic
We celebrated our second wedding
We celebrated Christmas Eve
Comments:
Hooray! So much hope and alive-ness. Congratulations. :)
 
What do you show at movie nights? I've hosted one for my meeting. We watched *The Angel and the Badman*, which has a Quaker character. I own a copy, if you'd like to borrow it.

We may do another one or two.
 
Our movie night facilitator has always been a young person. The choices have been very ecclectic. Not at all Quaker themed. Some God themed, if you keep that theme real loose.
Tonight we are going to watch a couple episodes of the cancelled HBO series "Dead like me" - very funny.
 
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