Sunday, October 16, 2005

Attending Unfamiliar Monthly Meetings - First Impressions

It's amazing how easy it is to let two weeks pass before writing again.

Before coming to Wellesley, I had not attended any monthly meeting other than my home meeting, Durham Friends Meeting. I've certainly gone to meeting for worship at larger gatherings, which allowed me to be comfortable with worshipping with unfamiliar Friends, but never a new monthly meeting. I have since attended Wellesley Friends Meeting three times (it's right near campus), Northampton Friends Meeting, and now, as of this morning, Cambridge Friends Meeting.

I was visiting a f/Friend with another f/Friend in Northampton (at Smith College) last weekend during my Fall Break, so naturally, we went to meeting in Northampton on Sunday. I found Northampton Friends Meeting quite a lovely, comfortable place, and would love to go back again sometime, whenever I'm next in that area.

Wellesley Friends Meeting is easiest to get to, but I find myself having trouble relating. I'm not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it's because the last two times I had to rush out right after we broke for fellowship so I wouldn't be late for a club soccer game and have thus not yet had the chance to meet people, but I think it may be something else. I think it may be a lack of people my own age. There are other college-age Friends here at Wellesley that I need to get in touch with more, but I don't think there's any way to "fix" this particular problem. I still plan to attend Wellesley Friends more to give it more of a chance. I've begun to reach a point in my Quaker spirituality where I need meeting for worship, so if I were to decide not to go to Wellesley Friends Meeting, this would be quite a problem.

This morning, I attended Cambridge Friends Meeting for the first time, and it was fantastic for me. I felt very comfortable, and was excited to discover a couple familiar faces - the wonderful result of having attended multiple national gatherings over the last few years, and also to meet three fellow bloggers in person, finally - Jeffrey Hipp, Amanda (Of the Best Stuff, but Plain), and Rob (Consider the Lillies), *waves*. I also spoke to a few Friends I'd never met before, which was also wonderful. I quickly felt a much greater connection to Cambridge Friends than I have with Wellesley Friends, and hope to go back rather often - eventhough it takes a 40 minute bus ride (which costs $2 each way) followed by another 10-15 minute walk to get there, and then the bus takes about an hour on the way back (there are other stops after Harvard Square). (It's really not that bad, though - definitely worth the commute!)

I recognize that it takes more than a couple times attending to get a decent sense of a meeting, but these are my first impressions. Since all I have right now are first impressions, I'll just have to do some more attending. I'm so glad to have found a couple Quaker communities up here; it's incredibly comforting and important to me. I also hope to get a little involved with NEYM YAFs - many opportunities there.

Well, that's it for now - it's getting late and I have a couple tests tomorrow, a paper to write, and.. well, I'm sure I've made my point.

Love and Light,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep testing-out those meetings for us, Claire. We will be moving up to Lawrence-North Andover right before Christmas and we will be looking for a meeting. I look forward to hearing more about your perceptions of the various meetings. Take care, Andrew

16/10/05 7:55 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

*Waves* back at you. I hope you can come again!

16/10/05 10:15 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It was fun to meet you too, Claire. You know, it's funny, since I've met most of my best friends (not to mention my boyfriend!) through blogs and the like, but I still have a hard time getting over that initial moment of "um...err....not a stalker...but...I know"

After that moment though, it's always a blessing! :)

17/10/05 12:16 PM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hey Amanda, there's that reverse stalking too. Like at this year's Gathering when this guy I've never seen before passes me & Babe Number One and says "Oh so here's Theo." I set myself up, I know. But still! I'm glad you all have met. Now with Rob back and Claire braving the commute, you all are making Boston look so attractive...

17/10/05 8:38 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Awww, I'm jealous! It suddenly feels so lonely here in the midwest! smile

Glad you are having a nice mix of Opportunities among Friends, Claire.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

18/10/05 12:36 AM  

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