Agate Passage Friends Meeting

Bainbridge Island & Kitsap County

The State of the Meeting Report 2005
Agate Passage Friends Meeting
North Kitsap/Bainbridge Island, Washington

April 9, 2006

 

Agate Passage Friends Meeting began in the 1960's as a small, silent worship group serving people living on the North Kitsap Peninsula and Bainbridge Island. For nearly 30 years they met in participants’ homes for worship and fellowship. Since the early nineties the Firstday meeting place has been Seabold Hall, an historic schoolhouse/community center on the north end of Bainbridge Island near Agate Passage Bridge. In early 2002 our group was accepted by Pacific Northwest Quarterly

Meeting as a Preparative Meeting, and after a year and-a-half of seasoning and study, we were
established in 2003 as Agate Passage Monthly Meeting. As we gather for worship and for business, we strive to act by traditions that apply to our Monthly Meeting status.

Our list of members and attenders numbers about forty-seven, eleven of whom are members and
the remaining thirty-six are attenders. Between 18-25 attend on a typical Firstday. Since becoming a full fledged Meeting, we have lost several members who moved from this area. We recognize that many, if not most, attenders (and some members as well) may have limited knowledge of Quaker history and religious beliefs, so we are presenting a series of informative talks and discussions on what Quakers believe and how we practice. We feel this will have a positive effect on meeting attendance, enrich the quality of our meetings for worship, and strengthen our sense of community. Though at times we may have differences of opinion, we try to be honest, striving together to come to clearness and consensus. We often sense that we are prompted by the Inner Light.

Our Firstday meetings are still at Seabold Hall on Komedal Road on Bainbridge Island at 10 a.m., Sundays. Business meetings are on the third Sunday of each month at 11:30 a.m. following silent meeting for Worship. Minutes of all Business Meetings are available on our web site at www.agatepassagefriends.org, as are Minutes adopted by the Meeting on special issues. Several Committees have been established to serve the internal needs of the meeting, as well as our social concerns. Activity reports of the Committees are contained in the Business Meeting Minutes.

In our efforts to attract and serve families with children, a portion of one Firstday each month we
have been experimenting with an "Intergenerational" program. The plan is to offer a time of
Worship/sharing for adults, and then children and some of the adults will work together to
share/present an activity, story, or project, such as a "dramatized" version of a story we have heard.

In the area of Kitsap County in which we live, we continue to express our concerns as Quakers
in various ways:

* * Persons from our meeting often join in Peace vigils and other gatherings that address social justice issues, both national and local. The Meeting gave support to the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple (Buddhist) peace walk from Hanford nuclear facility to the Bangor Trident Submarine Base. The month-long walk was completed on Hiroshima/Nagasaki day, August 8th.

* * A movement to raise the national Minimum Wage, “Let Justice Roll”, was brought to our attention and prompted the writing of a Minute on The Livable Wage. This Minute was adopted by the Meeting and is available on our web site.

* * Members of our group who belong to the Suquamish Olalla Neighbors in the Port Madison area where they live share with us information on activities of the Suquamish Tribe. A number of us have attended tribal events on the reservation and have given support to the successful effort to restore to the tribe Old Man House Park, the former location of the Tribe’s longhouses.


* * Others among us give support to The Freedom Project, and to other needed work in prison reform in Washington State. One couple has met and kept in communication for several years with persons still incarcerated.

* * Members of Our Peace and Social Concerns committee have been holding meetings to counsel young people seeking Conscientious Objector status, addressing the possible reinstatement of a military draft.

* * One of our Meeting members maintains the web site for the Friends Committee on Washington State Public Policy (FCWPP), the Friends organization that lobbies in the State Legislature on issues of concern to Quakers in our state. The Meeting supports the action of FCWPP and members can follow the FCWPP’s Action Alerts and respond to them.

* * We keep in touch with and support the Sí a la Vida - Nicaragua Street Kids Project and its cofounder, Jon Roise. Jon has become an “at-a-distance” member of Agate Passage Friends, and visits our meeting when he comes to Bainbridge Island. The Sí a la Vida project is now in its twelfth year of giving care and rehabilitation to glue-sniffing street children in Nicaragua.

Last summer we approved a Minute supporting Guilford College senior, Evan Welkin (son and
grandson of Agate Passage members) who received a grant to do a month-long survey of some smaller Friends Meetings on the East Coast. Evan traveled by motorbike, visiting mostly unprogramed meetings from Florida to New England to learn about their differences, styles of worship, etc. On his return to Bainbridge Island, Evan reported that these Friends meetings at times experience disagreements and conflicts among their membership and often struggle (even as we do) with what it means to be a Meeting. He sensed that these Friends often “wanted and needed a cohesive sense of community, in and beyond the meeting for worship”. Evan said that though the survey experience was not easy, it was well worthwhile.

In October we co-sponsored with Shir Hayam and the local Interfaith Council a remarkable
event, “Sharing Sacred Seasons”, an autumn festival celebrated at the Filipino American Hall. It
brought together many people from more than a half dozen faith communities, including Jewish,
Moslem, Buddhist, B’hai, Native American and Quaker, as well as folks from other Christian
congregations. Afternoon outdoor activities for adults and children included songs, games, crafts, and harvest rituals. The group moved inside for a time of sharing music, prayer, and breaking the daily fast of Ramadan, before enjoying the potluck meal.

Through this past year, our meeting has been enriched by several activities, including potluck
supper/meetings, a summer picnic at Eagledale Park, and a book study group. We gave support to a public “slide photo” presentation by a couple from Montana, sharing their recent revisit to Nicaragua where they saw the continuing disastrous consequences of the Contra War.

In conclusion, it has been a challenging productive year for the Meeting. We feel a closer bond
and a greater awareness of our common needs and interests as Friends in the truest sense of the word. We look forward with the confidence that our Meeting will grow in strength and a clearer understanding of our Quaker roots and faith.

Millie (and Bob) Royce
April 9, 2006