Minute of Gratitude for AFM from the Atlanta QVS House 2013

We wrote this minute in profound gratitude for Atlanta Friends Meeting, and read it at the rise of meeting this morning:

We, the inaugural Quaker Voluntary Service house, would like to thank each of you as part of the Atlanta Friends Meeting community for your faith and presence with us this year. We are grateful to you for taking the risk to enter into relationship with QVS and with each of us as individuals. We have felt mutual respect and trust as the Atlanta Friends Meeting body walked alongside us as a vital partner. You nurtured, shared, and witnessed our journey.  Your collective and individual support has allowed us to experience this year fully, with profound faith that our spiritual and tangible needs would be met. Relationships we have witnessed within the Atlanta Friends Meeting community have served as important models of the richness and possibilities of community life. We feel a deep urgency to thank you for your ministry of welcoming and weaving community.

Notes From Our Worship Sharing While Writing the Minute

  • Spiritual practices days, supported in seeing and being able to learn about other people’ talents and skills. Members of AFM who shared their gifts with us.

  • Astounded by and grateful for how generous people from AFM have been with time, experience, support. As someone who has often had trouble asking for support, its been incredible to experience such incredibly open people, to feel what its like when people genuinely enjoy being present for others, its a beautiful model to feel held without feeling like you are imposing.

  • Excited to be at a phase of life when I have a fuller bucket to pay it forward

  • Having a corporate project to be engaged in together as a meeting community has been really wonderful–people are able to engage in their own unique ways to support QVS

  • So valuable to be able to hear people’s stories–spiritual journeys, vocation, stories of transition–all of this has been a great place to grow from.

  • Tangibly amazing with everything we needed–furniture, popcorn poppers, mixing bowls, bike, etc.

  • AFM retreat–I never once felt like an outsider. That has been my experience throughout, never felt like an outsider, always felt welcomed, it is cool to feel like an important presence and be valued in the community.

  • They want us to be involved in them as much as they want to be involved with us–doing childcare, sharing our journeys, all sorts of things but they are also very understanding when we can’t do things.

  • They were welcoming us at a level newcomers don’t usually see because they were anticipating us. They also understood and knew the balance, helping us find our way. Getting to know each other.

  • They automatically knew some things about us, they knew what we were here for, and so could welcome us.

  • In meeting for business, they have been accepting of what we have to bring even though we are new. They want to hear our voices. They acknowledge the experience I am bringing even though I am only 24, they want to be in conversation about new ideas. An old body in constant transition.

  • They have supported us as a body in a very radical way, and also in individual ways. Fulfilling specific roles and also being roles themselves. Many have, in their own ways, decided to be friends, and not in an overbearing way. Its been a gift to notice where I am and what I need right now. Its always there in the meeting. Folks are comfortable being themselves and then offering that up.

  • From the beginning I did not feel like I was very far along in my journey as a Quaker, but immediately feeling an intense sense of connection and welcome. Having a sense of home somewhere that is really far away. And that they are willing to share that with us so openly and lovingly.

  • I hit AFM at a time when I was cynical about trusting life and feeling like I had to do everything myself or no one else would. AFM taught me the opposite of that/ The timing was great.

  • The house when we arrived felt so ready for us, it felt like love had been put into it.

  • The spiritual nurturers program-we each had individual support, we were paired with people who were devoted to us, effort was put into making good pairings. That was a real commitment of energy and support from the meeting that was remarkable. People stepped up and said they would be there for an individual for a year and give myself to this.

  • How do we create opportunities for giving, inviting people into experiences of support and nurture, so they can say “yes.”

  • First time that I had the opportunity to slowly learn about people and their stories, but not based around a certain task. Deepened my appreciation of depth and complexity of people. Needing to sit longer with people than I would have otherwise found myself doing.

  • Neat to gain such respect for such a diverse group of people, and yet everyone comes together for a shared set of values.

  • Risks, big and small. Some members lent a car for a week. The meeting decided they wanted in on this whole project. Its  a risk. Its something they clearly believe in, and its scary to work for something you believe in, cause what if it does not work, thats scary.

  • The faith it takes to take that risk.

  • This is such a unique opportunity for Quakers our age. In the yearly meetings I have been a part of there was a separation between the YAF community and the meeting community. Its been remarkable that AFM has created such an open and flexible space to reach out to people in our age group.

  • An investment–emotional and monetary, physical and spiritual. feeling like they are invested in what we do next.

  • The level of commitment they are giving is not just about this year. They are in this, for the long haul. Even a year is a long time to be so invested and energetic about the whole thing. they will be able to make this investment next year and the year after.

  • Letting them know how important their support was for us in being successful will hopefully help them stay excited about future groups.

  • Exploring and developing a faith vocabulary with such a diverse group of people has really helped me feel part of a faith community. Differences and similarities I have seen gives me a sense of freedom to find what suits me.

  • Its easy to feel afraid or like its hard to approach people, but I’ve never felt that people were unapproachable.

  • Not being known and then suddenly welcoming in people you’ve never met. Never felt scary to need something. There is a level of trust where you don’t even have to give it a second thought. You don’t find that many places.

  • Such a level of respect for where everyone is in faith or life. Walking together but not necessarily on the same path, accompanying each other.

  • Our wish for you is to feel connected to each other through the corporate work of supporting such a beautiful experiment. It is important for us to show you our gratitude as a reminder of your communal journey with us, as individuals, and with QVS.

  • AFM’s sustainability: Our wish for them is for this to keep going. It is important for us to show this as a reminder for their communal journey with us and QVS.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: