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Report from Fall Creek at Pendleton

Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 04:04PM by Registered CommenterMarshall Massey in , | Comments2 Comments

The route from Noblesville, Indiana, to Pendleton feels much like a continuation of the route from Lebanon to Noblesville: much the same topography, much the same sort of exurb.

Pendleton, though — a town whose first settlers were Friends, back in the 1830s — holds a little pocket of some loveliness, a park in its center built around a place where the local creek spills in gentle low falls over sedimentary outcrops. The old Friends meetinghouse there has been extensively renovated, and Fall Creek Friends Meeting (affiliated with Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting [FGC]) worships there. A smaller group of unprogrammed Friends who feel drawn toward the Conservative Friends tradition worship there once a month.

fall creek meeting house.gifI stayed in Pendleton with the clerk of the monthly meeting, who shares her house not only with her family but also with a young housemate, a woman newly come to Quakerism. My hostess had invited other members of the meeting to join her in meeting with me, but in the event, the only other one present was this housemate of hers. This tiny called meeting was exceptionally deep in centered worship, and while less was spoken there than in other meetings I have had along my way, what was said was serviceable indeed.

As always, I began by talking about the nature of corporate discernment, and by setting forth the questions I was asking that our discernment center on.

One Friend began by asking for clarification, however: “Is the question, how do we live in harmony with nature?” This was interesting to me, because Friends elsewhere have responded in these called meetings as if that was the question, even though I have tried to make it clear that it is not. I’m not sure how to deal with that problem generally! But we were able to get it cleared up in this particular meeting right at the beginning — and that did prove to make a difference.

A Friend observed that when she is thankful for something she takes better care of it than when she takes it for granted. She also said, she doesn’t know if doing ordinary everyday sorts of conservation and recycling will be enough.

A Friend observed that to overcome anything (like, for example, a pattern of environmentally wrongful behavior), we have to overcome the illusion that there is a separation or disconnect from God, a separation that needs to be overcome. We’re not separated from God; the only way we’ll overcome anything is if we find ourselves in love with God. When this happens we cannot deny love to anything in Creation. “For God so loved the world” — not humanity alone, but the world.

A Friend remarked that she wants to love and respect everything God loves and respects. Sometimes in her busyness she takes Creation for granted. Care for Creation has not been one of her focuses, and really should be.

A Friend said that the only way to unite people is by opening hearts, showing them how to open their own hearts. We have to increase the love between us. Once that process begins, the power of love increases. People find it very hard to reject someone they love.

A Friend said, if we just lived simpler, would we not be living more in harmony with nature?

In the morning, my hostess prayed over me before sending me on my way. I felt much blessed and cared for!

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Reader Comments (2)

Your experiences continue to amaze me as blessings poured forth from the smallest of meetings for discernment. I was also deeply touched and blessed by the simplicity of the rhetorical questions and genuine sharing of feelings that were spoken by Friends there. “Where 2 or 3 are gathered….” What an amazing insight, that in our busyness we take Creation for granted realizing that creation is taking place every nanosecond of our lives and that we will not overcome anything unless we Find Ourselves in love with God.(capitalizations mine), and Friend speaks my mind when she said that we take care of things for which we are thankful. We of Upper Fox Valley of course continue to hold you and your travels towards the flooding east coast communities in the light.

-- comment posted by john hackman
June 29th, 2006 at 8:39 p.m.
Sep 3, 2006 at 08:24PM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey
Hi, John! Yes, the Fall Creek Friends I met with were well grounded in inward consciousness, and this made for an exceptionally deep meeting. I’m glad you could pick up on it from my terse report.

-- comment posted by Marshall
July 5th, 2006 at 9:52 a.m.
Sep 3, 2006 at 08:25PM | Registered CommenterMarshall Massey

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