Monday, May 11, 2015

State of Society Report 2014-2015

University Friends Meeting (UFM), Seattle WA

State of the Meeting Report 20142015

The 2014-2015 year has been an active one for University Friends Meeting, with many activities and decisions nurturing the presence of the Spirit in our community.
The Meeting approved a recommendation from Worship & Ministry to renew our ecclesiastical endorsement of Natasha White Marsh's chaplaincy at the Swedish Medical Center, Group Health Hospice, and at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which is required to maintain her board certification as a chaplain. The Meeting approved and supported member Pablo Stanfield’s continuing peace ministry in Cuba teaching mediation skills and other classes and then united in recognizing this ongoing ministry here as well. We recognized and celebrated the longtime service to our preschool children of our First Day School teacher Katherine Spinner.

Thoughtfully and patiently working through a number of issues in our community has helped us understand the distinction between consensus and sense of the Meeting. Friends affirmed the need to address each other respectfully and to value the perspective of those who are unable to unite with decisions of Meeting.

Financial support is part of being involved in the life of the Meeting and the Treasurer's report indicates cash and total assets are healthy despite some fairly substantial building maintenance expenses. A major contribution also helped maintain the building fund.

Work on the UFM building grounds replacing plantings with native species and removing or
trimming trees is almost complete with many people volunteering time. Friends Center
Committee continues to provide twice-monthly light lunch, organizes the summer picnic,
sponsors a Thanksgiving meal, hosts the Christmas and other potlucks, and helps with retreats and memorials.
UFM planned and hosted the fall Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting on the theme “Weavin
Together Our Inner Journey with Our Outer Life and Action”.
The Education Committee has promoted intergenerational connections within the Meeting by inviting members to sign up for opportunities to match families and older adult members. They have also participated in joint meetings with the parents and children from Salmon Bay, South Seattle and Eastside Meetings. QuEST continues its mentorship program for their Fellows, matching interested Fellows and mentors from the Meeting. Work is underway exploring the possibility of building connections between QuEST and Quaker Voluntary Service.

Friends from UFM have been actively involved in Friends Committee on Washington Public
Policy, which supports and coordinates Quaker participation in public policy development and implementation in Washington State. In February, more than 20 persons traveled to Olympia to participate in Quaker Lobby Day, meeting with legislators to share their views on criminal justice, economic justice, and environmental issues.
UFM Peace and Social Concerns committee is working with Olympia Friends in their work supporting the New Friends Underground Railroad in its work supporting LGBTQ Ugandans
fleeing their homeland. P&SC also prepared a letter expressing support for repeal of the Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF), in the same spirit as the one endorsed by 2014 NPYM at Annual Session.
Members of the UFM community have also been participating in the U District Improvement

Area meetings in anticipation of a rapid rise in density of the U-District as the nearby light rail station is completed and high rise offices and condos are built in the neighborhood. How can UFM maintain itself as a spiritual community nurturing its members and providing care for the homeless in the midst of heavier traffic, less parking, rising living costs and a new mix of people nearby?
Junior Friends from Eastside, South Seattle, and University Friends Meetings meet each month at UFM to spend Quaker-style time together, worship together, and plan activities. A Junior Friends room has been designated and is being decorated with pictures, Friendly phrases, and a Quaker history map. To raise money for a service trip to Guatemala, Junior Friends from all three Meetings hosted a Guatemalan Dinner attended by over 40 people, offered Parents Night Out childcare events, and solicited donations. The trip to Guatemala with other Junior Friends in NPYM was a success, including touring sights, living with local families, doing service work with a women’s cooperative, and worshipping together in beautiful surroundings of the Maya highlands.
UFM continues its relationship with SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort), providing space in our worship room for homeless persons to sleep each night.

By providing inclusive, spiritually centered activities in multiple ways, including committee
spiritual sharing groups, Quaker 8 dinners, adult religious education, Junior Friends meetings, intergenerational childrens’ education, two gathered worship sessions each First Day, evening mid-week worship, and support of the SHARE homeless project, UFM weaves networks of connection among members of its community. Common to all these activities is time taken to open ourselves to the presence and motion of a loving Spirit and letting it guide us in our decisions.

During 2014-2015, UFM gained four new members while losing 7, for a total of 151
members. We mourned the loss of long time members Mike Yarrow, Faith Adams, Lenore Arnautoff, and Bill Long.

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