Today was my first Meeting at Amawalk. Unlike last time, there are many Meetings around to choose from; I think this one and I will be a good fit.
It's an old building, heated by wood stoves (I've been warned that the bathroom is outside and unheated!). This lead to an interesting moment, when about halfway through the Meeting someone had to tend the stoves. I started thinking about how this is very like what happens during worship: the fires need to be built, and tended, and sometimes there's a fiercely hot flame and other times there's a warmth and still other's have more of an afterglow. Elders (or pastors or whatever you call your clergy) help tend the flame, ensuring the sparks don't set a fire or that the warmth doesn't die out.
Very a propos for Holy Week, isn't it?
What draws me to this Meeting was a deliberation we had during Meeting for Business. There had been a vigil during which names of those that have died in Iraq were read out - a process of several hours - and two members were moved to write a letter to Senator Clinton asking why she didn't feel obliged to account for her vote "approving" the war. The Newsletter Editor wondered if this was appropriate for inclusion in the newsletter.
In my previous Meeting, the sentiment would have been "of course". No discussion. The assumption would have been that everyone in the Meeting was opposed to the war, opposed to Senator Clinton's stance, and that this letter spoke to all our conditions. Here, the sentiment was "does it speak for all of us?". Perhaps not all opposed the war. Perhaps not all felt owed an explanation. Perhaps it came close to endorsing another candidate (one person mentioned that we assume we know that Barak Obama would have voted against the resolution, but that he could have just as easily voted for the resolution: it's moot, because he wasn't there).
What a wonderful, reasoned deliberation. And what an introduction to a new Meeting.