Roanoke Friends are now meeting at the Alexander/Gish House at 641 Walnut Avenue in Roanoke. It is an old house, built around 1840, owned by a neighborhood alliance and situated in a 32 acre park. We plan to rent it Sunday mornings for at least a year. There is now a room for our small children’s program, and friends are enjoying spring walks in the park. Last fall, we began taking a look at our personal resources and budget as we plan for our future.
Our most recent meeting project has been to work Martin Luther King Jr Day and one other Saturday clearing an area of an overgrown cemetery, hoping to give some dignity and recognition to those buried there. Many of the graves were unmarked or only marked with a metal frame. The Meeting continues to lend a hand in a number of ways to an Eritrean family “adopted” by the Meeting four years ago. We are looking forward to co-sponsoring the Virginia “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit with Plowshare our local peace advocacy group, and a number of folks are active with the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, trying to reduce individuals’ and our various municipalities’ carbon footprints.
Roanoke Meeting took on the tending of an Eritrean family nearly three years ago. Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and others in the meeting have lent them support in many ways. The family is healthy and their language has come on well. We had a picnic in August where we shared food, conversation, frisbie and a good wade in the Roanoke River. Also in August our Meeting joyfully oversaw the marriage of two attenders who are based in Richmond, Va.
Advancement and Outreach is planning a Third Annual Welcome-Welcome Back meeting in October followed by potluck to keep contact with previous attenders.
The Space Committee continues to seek a meeting space more hospitable for our Children’s Program. There are now three infants affiliated with our Meeting.
Based upon responses from a number of Friends regarding the Spiritual State of the Meeting, the following common themes have emerged.
Growth in a sense of harmony and cooperative spirit
There is a sense that the community has grown in self-awareness and confidence. What seems to be occurring is that matters of difference do not cause a great deal of upset; rather these occasions are seen as stages on the way towards unity. People have become aware of Friends’ process.
As the Meeting has grown in its maturity, we have gotten to know each other in our personal stories in more detail. These things have promoted a sense of harmony. Continue reading