Clerking matters

My first area meeting as clerk gives me a lot to consider about my second.

We received reports on the Visioning New Fire conference: here is its epistle, and the threshing group reports which I had not previously seen. However at the previous meeting, clerked by my predecessor, “The future of the Society” came up. I anticipated ending the meeting with ideas for further discernment, or questions, for a fuller discussion at the next meeting next month. Here are the questions, as I drafted them in my minute:

How may we renew and strengthen our spiritual fellowship?
How may we make our office bearers and actions fit the legal requirements, including of the Charities Commission?
Is there value in cooperating with other area meetings, for example in trusteeship of our meeting houses following the example of Six Weeks Meeting?
How could we organise our meetings as an Area Meeting to improve the spiritual side of the meeting?

No-one questioned this draft, but it could be that after 2½ hours they were nearly asleep.

The Presence in the MidstMy questions did not address Outreach. There is a lot of spiritual hunger, and a lot of people seeking to satisfy it- Buddhists, New-Agers, workshop-leaders of all kinds as well as us, but we Quakers feel we have a particularly good answer to it. There are many natural Quakers, we reassure ourselves. How may we let them know who we are, so that they might wish to join us?

I could also raise the efficient use of our members: we had some difficulty filling the role of assistant clerk, though it is not an onerous task. Could we streamline all the roles we give ourselves?

I said to myself, before the meeting, that I should not be attached to any particular outcome. The ideal of our meeting is that we discern together the leadings of the Spirit, or the highest Good for us now. For that, we need to put aside desire for any particular outcome. Sometimes a way emerges in the meeting, and “we unite behind it”- someone in the meeting proposes a new way of proceeding, and we all feel as if that is Right.

But in particular, I as clerk should not be attached, because it is my role to discern when we have reached unity, and to record in words our decision. I cannot do that if I want a particular outcome, even for entirely non-selfish reasons. I am plagued with thoughts of what could go wrong, and have to let those go, too,

hoping that if we do go wrong, eventually that will be obvious and unbearable, and we will improve.

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