Summary of the Past Year’s Meetings
Mattaponi Friends Preparative Meeting, which meets at Dayspring Farm in Cologne, Virginia, enjoys the support of nine families, couples, and individuals and the regular bimonthly attendance of approximately eight adults and five children as well as the occasional attendance and guest attendance of various others in the surrounding communities. The meeting typically follows a pattern of gathering together in song followed by silent worship for the first hour, with Young Friends exiting ten to fifteen minutes into silent worship for fellowship, and alternating meeting for business with adult discussion during the second hour. A potluck lunch follows second hour on the third Sunday of each month. Meeting sometimes meets on fifth Sunday for fellowship, committee meetings, and/or other specially planned activities.
Over the past year, through reflection and discussion the meeting has come to recognize that we are in a place of transition. Some regular attenders have, for various reasons, reduced their attendance; at the same time, new attenders have shown regular attendance. In addition, the dynamics of our youth attendance has changed significantly with a reduction in number and an age shift to teenagers. Coincidentally but not insignificantly, our group has also moved physically from its meeting space in the Maloney family home to the new meeting room in the newly constructed barn. This move occurred in late April 2007. Much time has been spent on discussing and identifying the transition and on reflecting about the path for this group.
Summary of the Current Spiritual State of the Meeting
Despite the current transition in the meeting, all Friends and attenders who voiced their spiritual state continue to value the environment that Mattaponi meeting offers for engendering spiritual growth. Friends value the atmosphere of interpersonal respect as well as the harmony of the physical location on the farm. There is some uncertainty, however, in the general organizational state of the meeting.
Currently we are still exploring the possibilities of how we want to grow as a community of Friends. We acknowledge these challenges for the group: expanding membership/attendance, providing opportunities for spiritual growth for Young Friends and attenders, providing opportunities for intergenerational interaction, and conducting more service projects. We expect to continue to be flexible and open to and respectful of the changing needs of our group and to search for ways to help meet those needs in order, in the end, to uphold not only the physical, social, and emotional state of the meeting but also the spiritual state of the meeting.