In December Charlottesville Friends hosted a group of local homeless women, providing them with warm food and a safe place to sleep over a two-week period. This was part of our contribution to the local PACEM program (People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry), and we were partnered with a United Methodist Church nearby. The arrival of two feet of snow on the last scheduled day of our hosting offered us an unexpected challenge, but thanks to the commitment of our volunteers we were able to offer our guests shelter for two additional days. Friends found the experience a powerful one. As one reported, “it’s hard to say just who it was receiving the gifts … In the enigmatic way of the Spirit, we all discovered something divine.”
One issue we have been wrestling with lately as a meeting is whether committee clerkship and membership of certain committees should be restricted to recorded members, as advised in Faith and Practice. This has not consistently been our practice in the past, and the question is one on which we are still seeking unity going forward.