Our Meeeting has had a number of attempts to form closer community feeling in more or less smaller group settings, for instance "Food and Friends" in which designated groups met once a month to share a meal, whether potluck in a home or going together to a restaurant of different types. Participation in that particular effort seemed to be good and it was enjoyed for a season, then tailed off and died. This seems to be a regular event. The one program of this nature that seems to continue working is our Wednesday night "Simple Meal" before the various bible study groups, and even there it is sometimes difficult to fill the preparation duties with volunteers. I have been wondering about the possibility of shared interest groups and whether there might be a more organic sense of community if there were loosely organized interest groups. I have been thinking about gardening as one, and have started sharing extra plants started for my own garden and talking about gardening in breaks and informal gatherings and the like. I'm sort of casting off from shore here with no real idea of direction. Maybe looking for models, or ideas or whatever.
Thoughts?
In His Love,
Nate

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Nononono, Cat, yer spozed to tell me about programs. You are suggesting that I BE the change I want to see. Darn good advice. The more I am intentional about including Meeting members in interests and activities, the more connections are going to occur naturally in a ripple effect.....maybe. I like the Facebook idea. I DO have a few connections that way, and it would be a good way of sparking/finding out about shared interest as I post what I am up to and pay attention to the same thing in other people's posts.
Thank You Kindly
Hello Friend!
Our meeting has also done a number of community building activities. Starting with Friendly 8s, we evolved into Friendly Circles, Circles of Trust (smaller more intimate sharing), Friends and the Arts, a Seekers group for those wanting more conversation about our spiritual paths. All have been attended by a small number of people each, who enjoyed the surroundings they chose. It does seem important to always have some activities going on that are of interest to members, and to not worry too much how many attend as long as there is interest and excitement in the group while it is going on. Interestingly, with the 275th anniversary of our Meeting, Hopewell Centre, we decided to do a number of planned activities which would be a combination of celebration and outreach into our community. They required quite a bit of work in committees, planning the various different activities. These committees and subsequent activities were the best attended of all our attempts at building community, and they were most widely attended by both members and attenders as well as people from the outside community. I think having a focus helped us make the space for gathering, and we all enjoyed sharing our journeys with "outsiders" immensely. The best attendance was at a community talk, one of four in a month, on simplicity. Our format for these public talks was to open with 15 minutes of silent worship, have a panel share for about 5 minutes each on their own experiences on the topic, and then open it up for questions and dialogue. It was impressed upon me that the time we all seemed to feel the most a part of community was when we had common tasks to do and a reason to share our journeys!

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