Next Seekers Group, “Conflict Resolution,” April 30, 2014

The next Seeker’s Group meeting is on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 pm in the Community House. 

At our most recent gathering, we talked about unconditional love and forgiveness.  We shared some experiences of forgiveness and agreed it is a complicated, un-linear process – and part of our human experience.  Being in relationship invites us into an ever-deepening vulnerability, where we will be hurt – and will hurt others – at times.  Honestly admitting our hurt, rather than brushing it off as ‘nothing’, provides opportunity for true healing by both parties.  But this is scary for many of us to do, especially with those in our inner circles at home, work, and Meeting.  Humility seems to be a necessary quality (and gift).

We sincerely marveled at those who can reach forgiveness when they have been deeply and tragically hurt by another.  We honestly shared our own heart-wisdom, as well as the teachings of Jesus and others, around seeing that of God in every person.  This led to some personal stories about moments in our daily lives when we have been able to connect with individuals whom we and others have found challenging.   Compassion is so powerful; transformation often happens when another feels simply heard.

How can we, as Friends, take love and forgiveness, compassion and humility, onto a more national level?  How can we as individuals more fully live it in our daily lives?  We decided that we want to explore aspects of conflict resolution at our next meeting, perhaps learning some specific techniques or steps, thinking that it might provide some tools for more fully living out our faith in our daily lives.  Stay tuned for more information and suggested readings for this next discussion – to which all are most sincerely welcome!

Gretchen Baker-Smith

Seekers Group Meets Next on March 27, 2014 at 7PM!

Hello Dear Friends,

The next Seeker’s Group meeting is on THURSDAY, March 27 at 7pm in the Community House.

At February’s meeting, we talked about our personal understanding and connection to Jesus, Christianity, and our early religious experiences in other faith traditions. We also shared knowledge and questions about ‘the historical Jesus’ and the writings of the Gospels, and we touched on Friends’ understanding of continuing revelation.  Most wonderfully, we had a young man knock on the door in the middle of it all, asking if Hope lived there.  (True story!)  We laughed with joy at the hope and fellowship that most definitely is in our circle, even if the young woman he was looking for wasn’t physically with us.

We ended our conversation on the challenges of loving those who are hard to love and those who don’t love us – whether they are individuals or large groups of people.  We agreed that we struggle to attain the love that Jesus taught.  And, we also struggle to forgive.  We decided that our topic for this coming month would be unconditional love and forgiveness.

With the help of some NEYM Friends, I have found several short readings.  Please email me if you would like copies of these.  There will also be some copies available in the foyer of the Meeting House.  I did put together a play list of 7 songs on love and forgiveness, since music is really part of my theology. See playlist HERE.  Please bring other bits of writing and your own stories (and music titles) to our meeting.

Our conversations have been so rich, and the community amongst us is really sweet.  I so hope many of you can join us.

Note!  There has been a request to consider changing our meeting day from the last Wednesday to the last Thursday of the month on a regular basis.  Please let me know if this would work for you (or maybe even another Thursday).

All are welcome to join us!

Love,
Gretchen

Invitation to Special Program March 22, 2014

Shared Potluck Meal and Conversation

Dear Friends of Allen’s Neck, Smith’s Neck, and Westport Meetings,

You are invited to join with Friends for a potluck meal and conversation with Noah Baker Merrill, New England Yearly Meeting Secretary.  Noah will be visiting with Friends in the area, and invites Friends to share news of their meetings, and hear of happenings among Friends in the Yearly Meeting over a shared meal.

The potluck and conversation will be held from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on Saturday March 22 at Westport Meeting. 

Friends are asked to bring an item to share, and to RSVP for planning purposes to Kathleen Wooten by March 20.

We hope to see many Friends there!

Questions or more information, or to RSVP –

Please contact Kathleen Wooten

(781) 640-1269

sessions-coord@neym.org

Seekers Group Meets Feb 26, 7-9 PM

The next Seekers Group Meeting is Weds. February 26, 2014 @ 7pm in the Community House.

At our January meeting, we had a wonderful conversation around vocal testimony in worship. We shared personal experiences of messages arising within and of trying to faithfully discern whether they are meant for us alone or to be spoken aloud. Some also honestly shared experiences – a few hours or days after speaking out of the silence – of clarity that the message we spoke was from us and not the Spirit. We agreed it can be spiritually painful when this happens but that we are all learning and striving to be faithful, and are always human – and sometimes make mistakes. We spoke about hearing beyond the spoken words of others, with compassion and mercy. Near the end of this fruitful discussion, a question arose regarding just where do these messages come from?

We agreed that our next conversation would begin here: What was early Friends’ understanding and experience of Christ, what is contemporary Friends’ spectrum of understanding and experience of Christ, and what is ours — personally?

Randy has provided a short reading from The Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers), second edition, 2012, The Scarecrow Press, which offers a historical context of how Friends have grappled with the role of the Bible and Jesus in worship. Please be in touch with Gretchen if you would like a copy.

Friends might also find it helpful to look at chapter 26 of Britain Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice – particularly numbers 46-60 — for a broad range of contemporary connections to Jesus and Christ.  The entire F&P is on line.  Here’s the link to the chapter:  http://qfp.quaker.org.uk/chapter/26/

The Seekers Group meets the last Wednesday of every month. All of us are seekers – all are welcome to join us. If you have questions or suggestions, please be in touch with Gretchen Baker-Smith, convener.

Gretchen Baker-Smith

Next Seekers Group Meeting January 29

Hello dear Friends,

It seems best that we let go of trying to find a meeting time for December.  The last Wednesday is Christmas, and for various reasons, others can’t come the week before……it is a very busy time of year!

However, at our small gathering last week, Randy, Buddy and I agreed that having something to read has proven to be very helpful, and I know that some Friends who can’t join us for the actual meetings feel connected to us by the readings.

In light of that, I want to offer this piece by Thomas Kelley, titled The Gathered Meeting,  for you all to consider in the weeks ahead.  Though it not once mentions the word “Christmas,” it is very much about Love arising amongst Seekers awaiting with intentionality, trust, and humility.  In a very real way to me, the Gathered Meeting is Christmas.

I would love for you to share other readings with us.  If you have something, just hit “reply all!”

Our next in person gathering of the Seekers Group is on for January 29th.  I look forward to many informal conversations between us before then.

With much love and gratitude for the fellowship deepening between us….. sometimes in our gatherings I feel rather like those shepherds under the stars, in awe of what gets shared and illuminated.

Next Seekers Group Meeting

Hello Friends,

The next 2 meetings of the Seekers Group will be on alternative dates to our usual last Weds. of the month due to where Thanksgiving and Christmas fall in the calendar this year.
Our November meeting with be on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7pm.
Our December meeting will be on Weds. Dec. 18 at 7pm.
We meet in the sitting room in the Community House.
Attached are two short readings for our November meeting.  We agreed we wanted to do something on discernment and vocal testimony in worship.  Thanks to Randy for helping to discern these readings, too!
Our conversations continue to deepen, and there is a wonderful sense of fellowship and connection growing between us.  Hope you can join us!
love,
Gretchen

Next Seekers Group Meeting Oct 30, 7-9 PM

The next meeting of the Seekers Group is on October 30, 2013, from 7-9 pm in the back of the Community House.

Last month’s conversation centered on Brother Lawrence’s little book The Practice of the Presence of God and our efforts at finding moments of grace and clarity in our daily lives.  We decided to read something by Mary Rose O’Reilley for this month’s meeting.  Please be in touch with Gretchen Baker-Smith, the convener of the group, for a copy of a couple of small sections from O’Reilley’s book The Love of Impermanent Things.

The Seekers Group is a small circle of members and attenders who gather on the last Wednesday of each month for worship, conversation, and mutual spiritual nurturing.  We are all spiritual seekers, with both wisdom to share and places within us to stretch and deepen.  We are all striving to live faithfully.  Our conversations are rich and honest, and we would love to have other Friends join us.

Gretchen Baker-Smith
Email
508-287-6441 – cell

Welcome to our new site!

Dear friends and visitors,

Please bear with us (me, actually!) while I continue to work out the kinks in our new site. On October 1, 2013, we moved from one hosting platform to our present host so that our Meeting’s Web site would be mobile ready…which it now is. I’m still patching and replacing a few links here and there that are not working properly, but hope to have us squared away very soon.

Thank you,

Kevin Lee, Web guy for Westport Friends Meeting

Next Seekers Group June 26

Hello dear Friends,

Our next Seekers Meeting is this coming Wednesday, June 26, from 7-9 in the Community House.  We will have a special guest and presenter with us.  Deborah Nixdorf grew up in Westport Meeting and now lives in Oregon with her husband Oscar.  She still feels that Westport Meeting is her grounding and first spiritual home, and she has always remained in touch with us.  Buddy, Marion, and I decided to invite her to join our Seekers group – knowing others would join us as well — to hear about her recent trip to Guatemala.  In her own words, here is what she will be sharing with us:
 I will be bringing photographs from my recent volunteer medical trip to guatemala this past May.  With the photos i will be introducing the beautiful mayan people i met and some of their everyday challenges.  I would like to share my personal challenges and gifts of being a foreigner volunterring abroad and how to to truly be of help to individuals in need.

I really hope many of you will be able to join us for what I am sure will be a gift for the eyes and heart.

Love,
Gretchen

Next Seekers Group Meeting April 24, 2013

Hello
Dear Friends,

The next gathering of our Seekers Group is on Wednesday, April
24 from 7-9pm in the Community House.   As we did last month, we'll meet
in the back room — it's smaller, quieter, warmer, and more conducive to tender
conversation and worship.  I've gathered a few quotes
and bits of wisdom that seem connected to our last meeting and where we thought
we might head this next time. Please see quotes HERE.  But, after the events of the past week, I
am open to us "going" wherever the Spirit and our hearts take us.
 I hope many of you can join us.  Last month's meeting was a very
sweet time.

If any of you have writings or referrences that you would like
to share with us, please do!  We loved hearing one Friend talk about
Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God.  

With much love and thanks for each of you in our tender, aching,
and beautiful world,

 Gretchen

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