Well, we have done a whole lot since my last update so here goes.
We spent 5 days in two tiny villages in Mgeta in the Uluguru mountains. The mountains were absolutely beautiful. My host family’s house was literally 40 minutes straight up the mountain. I swear, some of it was far too steep to walk on but my family would run up and down without a thought. And then our house was right on top of the mountain. The view was absolutely breathtaking. None of our families spoke any English and we were pretty isolated so it was a pretty intense experience. My host family was very nice, however, and it was an experience which I wouldn’t change for the world.
After that we headed to Iringa for our long homestays. I stayed with the family of a Lutheran pastor which was a very interesting experience. They were very nice but made it clear that anything from not being christian to wearing pants would send you straight to hell. They had 4 small children who were tons of fun to play with. Iringa is a really lovely town. It is one of my favorite places that we have visited.
Next we went to Ruaha National Park. We went on a short game drive and saw tons of crocodiles and scorpions. At one point I thought our Iringa coordinator, Geofery was going to be eaten by a croc. He went right down by the water and all of the crocs on the other river bank dove in toward him. It was quite the experience.
We spent the rest of our time in Iringa in our beautiful hilltop lodge writing papers. It even managed to be somewhat relaxing.
After that we started independent travel. 3 other girls and I decided to go back to Mwanza (by Lake Victoria) to work at an orphanage that we visited when we were here before. We took a bus, which was a bit of an adventure. At one point we blew a tire and had to fix it. Also, the man sitting next to me invited me to stay the night with him and told me he would buy me the biggest fish. I also had to kiss a guy on the cheek as payment for using the bathroom. But we made it just fine and are staying at there guest house with Canadian volunteers who are originally from Denmark.
The Swiss Canadian neighbors had us over for dinner one night and it was the most amazing food I have ever had in my life. We have spent our days relaxing and hanging out with children. One day we got to work on the farm that the orphanage owns. It rained all day so we took off our shoes,dug our toes into the thick soil and planted watermelons.
Tomorrow we head back to Arusha to meet up with the group. Wish us luck for the 16 hour bus ride!
This week is Sandwich Sunday at Meeting, loaves and fishes for all!
Please bring a homemade or wholesome store-bought item to share. Don’t
forget there’s a collection box in the foyer where you can share
non-perishable food items with folks all over WNC as well. We will also
have the opportunity to participate in another round of “table
conversations” over our shared meal. This month the query is “What kind
of service work do you do, in the Meeting and in the wider community?”
A week from today we will have a shared meal at the Meetinghouse,
affectionately known as “Orphans Thanksgiving”. The following Tuesday,
Dec. 1, will be the second meeting of the Extended Worship group.
A group of Friends gathered together Tuesday November 3 from 7-9:30 at Asheville Friends Meeting for an experience of extended worship. Joining in the worship were David Clements, Rylin Hansen, Bobby Carter, Laura Collins (SVMM), Margaret Farmer and Evan Richardson.
We sat in a deep silence for 2 hours and then broke to share a bit about our own experiences, which varied. No one was led in vocal ministry on this evening. For some this was a ministry all in its own, while others recognized the role vocal ministry can play in helping to ground us as we seek a depth in worship and reported missing it.
Some Friends brought comfortable seating to support themselves during the extended time of sitting. Such accommodations are welcome, including getting up to go to the bathroom or even doing some kind of grounding movement or stretching during the worship.
Two requests were made to change the timing of the monthly worship from the first Tuesday. This accommodation cannot be made for December, so please feel free to join those of us who gather together on Tuesday, December 1 at 7 pm. Some Friends may not be able to stay for the entire time and this is fine — please do not let this keep you away if you are interested in checking out the experience.Beginning in January, we will move our gathering time to the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm — 1/12/2010.
If you have any questions about this offering, please feel free to contact Evan Richardson at email@example.com or 242-2779. Please note, a pamphlet about extended worship, called Invitation to a Deeper Communion by Marcelle Martin should be available in the foyer at AFM. Feel free to check it out too! ——————————
Starting next year, Gjeorge intends to offer his “Skeptical look at the
Bible” series, looking at the Bible as a historical document. He intends
to start with the first five books of the Old Testament – the “Torah” –
and then cover the first four books of the New Testament – the
“Gospels”. The group will meet over a brown bag supper at the
Meetinghouse, around 6 p.m., on a day/date to be determined by the
participants. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preference for meeting day and
Coming up on 11/26 at 2 p.m. we will have a shared meal at the Meetinghouse,
popularly known as “Orphans’ Thanksgiving”. Gjeorge will be providing a
turkey, and other Friends will be bringing seasonal foods of various
colors. All are invited, with or without other family members. If you are not already signed up, please contact Steve Livingston to let him know what dishes you will be bringing.
This morning, a number of Friends from AFM provided food, and several lended their hands for a breakfast for the homeless in a downtown Asheville park. AFM participated this Sunday along with the Asheville UU Church, and it is planned that we will participate in this offering on a quarterly basis.
Another opportunity for all of us to contribute is to bring canned goods to Meeting on First Days, as a collection box is in the entryway for all who wish to drop off canned or packaged food for those in need.
This First Day a discussion on right livelihood, right sharing, and sustainability was held, under the auspices of the Spiritual Enrichment program. The discussion was facilitated by Tom Edelson and Jim Barton. Tom and Jim each spoke for about ten minutes, followed by questions and discussion.
Tom spoke of being employed by a company whose policies toward their employees were not fair and equitable, but a cavalier attitude prevailed about that within the management. he spoke of his decision to resign rather than continue in their employ, thus being in a sense complicit with their actions.
Jim then spoke on the subject of the ratio of petroleum based energy used, in calories, to the calories present in the food thus produced. He spoke as well of the carbon and energy impact of other goods we use, and spoke of the concept of the transitional city vision.
Participants spoke on both their personal experiences in seeking a more sustainable lifestyle and on their hopes and visions for where the future direction of sustainable options might offer opportunity for more choice both on a personal and larger societal level. A member spoke of having bought an alarm clock made in China, only to have it stop working as soon as it had fallen on the floor once. She reported feeling quite conflicted about this, and having spent money that went into the Chinese economy, which is exploitative of its people. Another member spoke of her sense of both hope and inspiration for action on her own part by the younger generation of Friends, particularly those she had met through SAYF. Yet another member spoke of what she had learned living in Central America from the residents there about living on a very simple level. Another spoke on how sometimes choices can be conflicted by economic pressures.
Members present were positively affected by ideas on how we can move toward greater involvement. A mention was made of further presentation possibilities to be put together by the recently formed ad hoc Sustainability Committee. Further updates will follow on that endeavor.
This coming Sunday we will have our monthly Meeting for Worship with
attention to our Meeting’s business. All Meeting members are expected to
participate. If you cannot attend, please hold us in the Light as we
seek to set aside our personal opinions and discern what is the Way that
we are led by Spirit in our decision making. This process of seeking in
our meetings for business is what ultimately sets us apart from any
other religious denomination.
Those who are participating, please be sure to let our (new) clerk,
Katherine Kowal, know if you have any items for the agenda: committee
reports, action items, or personal concerns that warrant the attention
of the gathered community. A phone call is most appreciated. If you want
Katherine to be able to read your written report, remember her vision is
impaired, and print in 16 point type or larger. As always, written
reports should be emailed in advance to recording clerk Jen R. Ward.
Minutes of last month’s meeting for business are posted on the website
at their usual location. You can always find past minutes by clicking on
the “minutes” tab at the top of any page, or follow the link below to
the most recent month:
All members of the Asheville Meeting community are invited to share any and all matters relating to their spiritual lives and well-being on the Asheville Meeting weblog. The views expressed here are not intended to represent the Asheville Meeting as a whole.