2009 STATE OF SOCIETY REPORT, OAK PARK FRIENDS MEETING
Attendance at First Day Meeting for Worship has been stable at around 20 adults this year. We have been blessed by many powerful messages shared during Meeting. In the absence of stable participation by children, we have been focusing more attention on attracting more young families to our meeting. In November we experimented with a special intergenerational programmed meeting with music and a group art project; it was well-received. We have no new members this year, and some former regulars have not been attending. However, we have welcomed several new regular attenders.
Tom Dix's illness has led some to meet with Tom, his mother Marti Matthews and their extended family member M.P. McKenzie for worship and prayer, sometimes in hospital rooms and sometimes at Marti’s home. We join with many others who steadfastly hold Tom and his family in the Light.
The Peace and Justice committee seasoned several projects for us. Some projects led to service, but there have also been challenges. Last June we collaborated with the Oak Park Art League to sponsor a Peace Tower (with collected paintings on the theme of “peace”) at Oak Park’s A Day in Our Village, winning a prize for most original, interactive exhibit. In October we enjoyed our first family canoe trip on the Chicago River. We have taken on creation and ongoing stewardship of an herbaceous garden at Cook County Forest Preserve’s Trailside Museum in River Forest, and will again sponsor a table at A Day in Our Village this year, offering materials and instruction for making origami cranes.
Tom Dix initiated an Adult Religious Education series focusing on understanding and relating to the words and thoughts of early Quakers. Additionally, under Helen Dickinson’s leadership, a group of six worshipers formed a Spiritual Support Group in a member's home during the winter - spring.
We have continued to support Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) with evening meals on 5th Fridays; the Oak Park River Forest Area Food Pantry, with volunteer staffing; and other programs of the local Community of Congregations. Patricia McMillen and Wil Rutt led workshops at ILYM on abolition of the death penalty and on health care reform.