A few Monthly Meeting Clerks have responded to an invitation, from SEYM staff to share stories of how their meeting is coping with the physical distancing required to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the responses so far. Check back for updates!
March 28, 2020
“Orlando Monthly Meeting has been combining coordinated worship at home with fellowship on Zoom,” writes Clerk Liz Jenkins. “Twelve Friends were able to join the online fellowship on 3/22/2020. This week, on 3/29/2020, we hope to have both worship and fellowship on Zoom. Friends in the Orlando area have also stayed in touch through our weekly “Quaker Notes” newsletter, our Facebook page, e-mails, phone calls, texts, and “snail mail.” We even had a “newcomer” join us as a result of communication through Facebook Messenger! We have been able to hold a Worship and Ministry committee meeting and a Care and Community committee meeting using Zoom, so, necessary Meeting business is going forward. Very significantly, members and attenders joined together in holding a Friend in the Light, when he was hospitalized with serious pneumonia. He has now sent news of effective treatment and the start of his recovery.”
Gainesville Meeting is now holding worship online.
St. Petersburg Meeting is now holding worship and Adult First Day School online.
March 21, 2020
The George Lakey workshops that were to be held at Palm Beach and Miami Meetings have been cancelled. His visit to Florida is rescheduled for mid-October
Sarasota Monthly Meeting clerk Dave Hilsheimer says they have taken several steps to address the present crisis. He writes, “Given the age demographics of our meeting, we have suspended Meetings for Worship for the time being. I have been exploring and sharing several online meetings for worship as alternatives to our regular worship.”
St. Petersburg Meeting is, for now, holding Meeting for Worship in a park a block from the meetinghouse—a beautiful setting on Tampa Bay. They also plan to have Adult First Day School on Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform.
Clearwater Meeting Clerk Rick Brice writes: “This past week, we encouraged Friends to enter into silence at our usual time. Although we were not physically together, there was still a sense of uniting in spirit. Friends are calling to check on one another, and our Digital Communications committee is looking into ways to hold group video gatherings.
“Hoping that your meeting is doing well. Because we rent space for our weekly meetings, we do not have access to a building where small groups could gather if they chose to. So, we trust the Light to nurture our community for the foreseeable future.”
Quaker Meeting of Melbourne clerk Hope Ascher writes: “Quaker Meeting of Melbourne is not going to meet physically for the next 30 days. Instead, those of us who are led to do so will gather at our individual locations (home, beach, yard, etc.) and worship in spirit from 10:30-11:30 on First Days.”
“I don’t think any of us have ever experienced anything quite like this. Those of us who have faced down hurricanes know a little bit more about a state of emergency, but there are just not that many similarities.”
The Palm Beach Meeting newsletter announced they are closing the Meetinghouse until this health crisis passes. The Tampa Meeting website announces that “All meetings, including Spiritual Reflections on Wednesday, First Day School, Adult First Day Program and Meeting for Worship are suspended for the foreseeable future. We encourage f/Friends to worship at our regular time in their homes.” The Gainesville Meeting website announces that they will be having meeting for worship outside at the benches in the woods.
SEYM Staff writes:
How is your Meeting doing? How are you adapting and finding ways to worship? How are Friends staying connected while practicing social distancing?
Now, and in the coming weeks, SEYM staff would like to hear from you. We invite you to share your news, experiences, and stories with other SEYM Friends—through the SEYM Office, eNews and website—so that we might offer each other encouragement, ideas, and a sense of support from our wider Quaker community.
Let’s stay in touch!
For questions, or just to ‘check in:’
Susan Wade, SEYM Administrative Secretary
For news, SEYM website & eNews:
Vicki Carlie, (acting) website & eNews
For youth, family, young adult, and religious education support and resources:
Kody Hersh, Youth and Young Adult Coordinator
407-850-8457 (text or call)
FB: Kody Gabriel Hersh; IG: kodyhersh
For environmental questions, information, and projects to keep your family busy:
Beverly Ward, Field Secretary for Earthcare