The State of the Meeting Report
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
* * 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
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