Last First Day I had the deep blessing of worshiping with Friends at West Falmouth Preparative Meeting, part of Sandwich Monthly Meeting. As additional blessing, I was able to meet with Mark Condo and his family. Mark is pastor of the Mansfield First Friends Church in Ohio (EFC – Eastern Region). We met at Pendle HIll a few years ago, and it was great to reconnect with him and welcome him to a part of New England Quakers!
Cape Cod in the summer is a busy place. I arrived early, and drove through a bit of the town center. – a bustling town green, folks walking and chatting, enjoying the day already. When I arrived at meeting I was warmly welcomed by a greeter who asked where I was from, and told me a little about the meeting. I sat for a few minutes in the worship room, centering down and feeling the quiet space. I was still early for worship, so I got up and took a walk around (and met the Condo family outside).
About 40 of us settled into worship that morning. There were a number of kids, who were accompanied out of the meeting after about 10 minutes. I noted the Condo family children were also welcomed to come with the other kids of the meeting.
The worship felt deep and comforting the morning breeze wafting through the room. There are a number of short messages of simple gratitude, for the day, for the life of a member who had recently passed. Her life was lifted up as an example of quiet and faithful service. I wondered how many of our meetings are filled with these Friends, attending each week, being a part of the meeting and modeling the Love for all. Friend Mark also shared a message of deep encouragement, He shared how he had learned a brand new, confusing skill this week on vacation (clamming!) and how things went so much better when he dropped his expectations and just agreed to follow and risk. In this time, many Holy applications for us all.
After meeting announcements were filled with reminders about pastoral care, and local upcoming events. Wider events in our YM (such as Adrian Moody’s upcoming visit, and a talk at Beacon Hill Friends House) were also shared. The meeting seemed interested in both local work and the wider Quaker world. I was grateful to have the opportunity to share with the meeting how they might access video recordings of some of the upcoming events.
Fellowship was lively and filled with food and good conversation. I felt warmly welcomed, and learned much about the meeting.
And lo and behold – today was an exciting day. The wall was scheduled to be put up! A treat! A number of meetings in New England have a wall that can be raised. This unique feature in West Falmouth has a beautiful pulley system, and it takes the work of a number of Friends to get that wall up! The wall was meant to separate the men’s and women’ meeting for business originally In many meetinghouses now, the wall is kept down to separate fellowship and meeting sides, and can be raised for large events or to allow better airflow n the summer. Note the young guests were allowed to help! What a welcome to New England quirky life on the Cape.
Video of the wall going up here:
This meeting was filled with tender moments, deep worship, a warm welcome to visitors and lively fellowship. As I was leaving, the meeting was gathering to hear Friend Eric speak about Elton Trueblood (another New England greatest hit!). I left my travel minute there with the clerk of meeting to be endorsed.
This visit was a reminder for me of the simple, quiet joy that happens in community. I still am called to visit and worship with Friends across New England. Every visit I make confirms this call.