Submitted March, 2020
Worshiping together in community at Celo Friends Meeting helps us to find home, faith, understanding, and energy to meet the world’s challenges with love and Light. This year the Meeting has been blessed with many new attenders and young families who bring vigor and new perspectives. The following offers a few highlights from a year of spiritual and physical growth.
Attendance has increased in our First Day School Program with children of all ages. We were overjoyed when a new attender with a great deal of child care experience and experience with Friends volunteered to take on the role of coordinating all aspects of the FDS program. The First Day School Christmas play was a brilliant and hilarious rendition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The children reached consensus on how to spend the money raised by the performance, sending more than a thousand dollars to a fund for families who lost their homes on Ocracoke Island during Hurricane Dorian.
Our Nominating Committee continued to help us define committee roles for our growing meeting so that we can more effectively do the work to support operations as well as the spiritual life of the community. With guests visiting the meeting almost every Sunday, we’ve added a Welcoming Committee, which has updated packets of information on Quakerism to give to interested visitors. We are never without a greeter now, which has made entering the meetinghouse even more of a joy each First Day. Our monthly newsletter regularly profiles a new- or old-timer, and often includes a question, such as “How do you prepare for meeting for worship?” and “What kinds of vocal ministry most move you?” with responses from 10-12 members and attenders. A newly reorganized End-of-Life Committee has become very active in encouraging Friends to make their last wishes known and continues to keep us informed of the many alternatives available while taking the lead on interacting with families and organizing burials and memorial services following a death.
Last winter the Adult Religious Education Committee led a series of monthly programs based on the Quaker Testimonies. As a basis for learning, the committee distributed copies of Living the Quaker Way by Philip Gulley, which, combined with thoughtful presentations by Friends and attenders, provided deep insights into the testimonies as lived. In late fall, the ARE began this winter’s program based on the questions, “How Does the Truth Prosper among You?” and “What does God require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) The ARE committee also initiated an ongoing series information sessions, including dinner and child care, for young adult Friends and attenders.
Friends continue to support peace and social concerns. For the second year in a row, CFM and individual Friends have contributed substantially to bringing the World Peace Games to the South Toe Elementary School. WPG is a life-changing week-long process whereby school children think globally in order to solve complex world problems with the goal of world peace. This year the entire Yancey County School system trained 4th and 5th grade teachers to lead their classes in the WPG yearly. Friends are also active in wider Quaker organizations and in local endeavors that help unify the wider community toward peace and justice. Friends “let their lives speak” through Feed-a-Child and by supporting community organizations that help immigrants find security. One of our
members has continued her ministry with a concern for unity among all Friends and has visited both FGC and FUM meetings carrying the specific concern for climate justice.
Our meeting welcomed three new members during the year. We lost our beloved Jenifer Morgan to death. A memorial service was attended by many, many members of the wider community whose lives have been touched, inspired, and enriched by Jenifer’s tireless outreach.
As always, our members and attenders cherish the Meeting for Worship, cherish the silence, and cherish the movement of the spirit. We are, as always, grateful to be part of a vibrant and active Meeting where we are all growing and learning together in the Light.