Monday, 16 March 2009

How does the truth prosper in me?

An email arrived yesterday from our elder, reminding everyone that the Area Meeting was approaching, and asking for views on the question that would be asked there: 'How does the truth prosper in Durham?'

It's quite hard for me to answer this from the point of view of the Meeting generally, as I can't attend the main Meetings for Worship, and for Business. I have noticed that we seems to have blossomed this year, though. We now have a midweek Meeting, with a shared lunch, as well as a monthly discussion group that meets after MfW. Both of those have started in the last few months. We have a singing group which goes out to lead community singing in residential homes, and we're starting Quaker Quest soon. And of course, there is also the new monthly MfW in my home, and another in an older member's home. These I know from editing the Newsletter.

One thing I don't know is how much practical ministry we provide. I know there are prison visitors, and even a Quaker prison chaplain (we have an 'ordinary' prison (with a women's wing), a Young Offenders' Institution, and a high security prison, all within Durham). I'm sure there will be many other things going on that I don't know about, because people don't tend to 'blow their own trumpet' - but I think these are the kinds of activities which need to be in the newsletter just as much as the accounts of the discussion groups and Meetings for Business.

And me? Well, this was the year in which I became a Member, so it has been a very special year for me. Having the monthly MfW in my home has made me feel much more a part of things, and has helped me forge friendships with a larger number of people. Being given the task of Newsletter Editor has really brought me into the heart of things, and now I find out about all sorts of activities that are happening all over the area, not just in Durham. I was rather daunted by the task at first, but now I love it, and look forward to putting the newsletter together every month.

Spiritually, the longer I am a Quaker, the more I feel at home. I love the feeling I get in Meeting when I know that what is inside me must be spoken, even though it scares me. I really appreciate the gentleness and genuineness of my fellow Quakers. The testimony of simplicity speaks to me more and more clearly as time goes on, and I am supported by the knowledge of being surrounded by people who believe in it as much as I do, and who won't look down on me for not having the latest gadget or the newest clothes.

I love it that God is honoured by people knowing I can be relied upon to tell the truth, or to keep a confidence without gossiping. I hate it when I let him down, and pass judgement on people, or make a sarcastic comment. I'm not perfect, but I know he loves me anyway.

How does the truth prosper in me? I know that it has its roots deep within me, and I can see it flourishing in many areas of my life. With God's help, I hope to see the day when it flourishes in all of them.


Jan Lyn said...

I really enjoyed this, Heather. I am so glad it's been a special year for you with membership and the newsletter involvement as well. I can sense your love of things Spiritual and your growth and am humbled to know you. Now I have to go ponder that important question myself...

Mary Sharpe said...

This is a fun post as well as a deeply serious one.

'How does the truth prosper in Durham?' - the way it is asked makes me smile.

And I would never have thought of Quakers leading community singing . . .

So I'm going away thinking - and happier than before I read it.