This weekend I had the blessing of visiting with Acadia Friends. I arrived Friday evening for a weekend of workshops and conversations (and potlucks!) regarding digital presence and outreach. I left them well equipped with information and next steps, and a willingness to experiment with some new platforms and forms of connection. I appreciated their tender concern for making sure all their members remain connected, and still trying to find additional ways of connecting with their wider community and Maine Friends.
After a full weekend, I worshipped with Acadia Friends on Sunday morning at the Community House in Northeast Harbor Maine. There were 15 of us, a welcoming place warmed with a fire that various Friends tended to throughout the worship. It felt like appropriate metaphor for us that morning – Friends gathered in the Presence, yet also attending to the human and practical of fire tending. There was one quiet hopeful message and gathered waiting worship. At the entrance on a small table, Friends had a box of “inspirations” – short Quaker sayings and quotations that might serve to prompt some thought and mediation in worship for the morning among attenders. I liked the idea of providing a simple flexible prompt for those who it might be helpful to. At the rise of worship the clerk read my travel minute, and it was enthusiastically endorsed.
After meeting I engaged in a number of conversations around my visit, and learned more about their work in their community and the wider Maine and Quaker worlds. I remained for their Peace and Social Concerns meeting, and was pleased to hear of all the work and growing edges of service supported by the meeting. These converstions and topics were all grounded in a more hopeful concern for bringing a “Quaker” sense of unity and hope and deep listening to their interactions with community members, each other, and local politicians and groups. There was a discussion of the YM Carbon Calculator, the continued conversations and work around white supremacy, and a discussion about the immediate needs of climate change and impacts on the most vulnerable especially in rural Maine.
Acadia Meeting is “small” by some standards in the winter months, and has more regulars and occasional visitors during the summer tourist season. It does seem year round to be filled with Friends supporting each other in their personal faith journeys and shared concerns, and I was grateful for the opportunity for this visit so far north. The distance itself was also a reminder that we as YM Friends often gather at quite a distance from the outposts of our yearly meeting body – and Friends still find a way to be connected to the Quaker Way and find faithful paths in their own context. While most of these Friends have never attended a YM gathering, they are often active and travel to their Vassalboro Quarterly Meetings and deeply value those connections.