The Medford Friends were actually worshipping in a building in 1759, but their "new" building was constructed in 1814, so on Sunday, June 8th, they celebrated 200 years of "people from the generations who have lived lives of faith and service" and have met to share their worship at the Meeting house at 14 Union Street, Medford, NJ.
I arrived early which gave me the opportunity to read the display boards that described some of the many worthy programs the members have set their hearts, hands, and minds to over recent years. There was a program to collect useful home items for the needy, a letter campaign for various causes including the ceasing of nuclear weapons proliferation, a writing campaign from the youngest members to survey members thoughts over what they would be willing to give up or go to jail for, the way various worthy social heroes have, such as George Fox and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as what things we might feel were essential to take with us if we had to flee.
My answer was that I would be willing to go to jail for what I believed in and in jail, I would use my college degrees and experience to work in literacy programs. The things I would take with me if I had to flee would be my dependent animal companions who love me and need me.
After an one hour un-programmed worship (which is like meditation in that you free your mind to allow the inner light to show you something meaningful) in true Society of Friends tradition, we enjoyed a very well researched lecture by a Friend who is a professor of religion and an author of several books on religion. Unfortunately, I couldn't find my pen during the lecture to take notes, and I've forgotten his name, but two of my friends attend this meeting and when I talk to them, I'll get the name and add it. He did a marvelous lecture on writings of published Quakers who had visited the Medford Meeting as they traveled in the ministry. He was entertaining, well spoken, charming and enlightening.
This was followed by a delicious lunch. Two other friends of mine, who are also vegetarians, were there and we wondered if there would be anything vegetarians could eat, but as is so often the case these days, most of the many tempting dishes provided were vegetarian.
After this delicious luncheon, we were treated to a folk music concert by a very talented couple who are members of the Meeting.
There was outdoor fun for all ages following the concert but both my back (the hard benches and long time sitting) and responsibility to my dog, demanded that I get in the car and head home. It was a wonderful day. And during the Meeting for worship, with my mind clear and my attention free to relax, I was given the thought that a birthday is a signal of new life and that every minute of every hour of every day is an opportunity for a beginning, a new birth, a chance to change, to be changed, to start anew.
Happy Trails! Jo Ann