Augusta Friends Worship group, located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, provides a spiritual home to 20 attenders. Meeting for Worship continues to be the time that binds us together as a group. We come from many different faith perspectives and find commitment to the silent expectant waiting gives us the space to know one another in a deeper way. While there are not often verbal messages, there is a spiritual connectedness that underlies and defines us. We are becoming more aware of the spiritual power of “being present” as it gives us refreshment and joy no matter the individual place we are in to begin any given First Day. As an outreach to some who could not attend meeting activities because of health, we began a midweek opportunity for worship in Harrisonburg twice a month.
Further exploration and connectedness occurs as we share at the rise of Meeting. These may be statements of what has occurred internally during the silence, joys, concerns, or just what has been happening in the rest of our lives. Often, we are able to be of assistance as we learn of needs in this way. Then, individual connections occur as we gather for fellowship and the “kitchen conversations” that happen spontaneously. We genuinely like and respect one another and are happy for the opportunity to be together.
We meet together for discussion and food either in evening potlucks or after meeting lunches where we can explore more fully a specific topic. We have looked at articles from Friends Journal and of late, have been considering the queries and advices that have been proposed by the Yearly Meeting committee. Any time we do this we are made richer by the diversity of thought and ideas.
Once again our holiday worship sharing took the form of adding flowers and greenery to a central bowl of water. Our individual selves were represented by the stems and our common spirit was symbolized by the water. This experience provided much for Friends to contemplate and gave rise to many messages of growth and hope.
We mark with sadness the passing of an attender Rich Ridgway, a birthright Friend, this fall.. His memorial service provided the opportunity to reach into the community as well as celebrate his remarkable life.
We also took a step into the community by jointly sponsoring with two other groups the “Eyes Wide Open” display from the American Friends Service Committee. We gave money, labor and time to be with the exhibit. This experience reminded us of our need to move from our spiritual base into the issues that Friends have long supported. We may do this individually, but we also know the power of corporate witness.