Charlottesville Friends have benefited from several recent visitors. In June we welcomed David Niyonzima of Burundi, the founder of Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS), who was here as scholar in residence at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee will be focusing this year on issues of trauma and healing from war, and David’s experience and reflections were valuable to us. Also in June we welcomed Sylvia Graves, General Secretary of FUM, and were able to talk with her about our continuing concerns over FUM’s personnel policies.
May and June brought high school and college graduations for a number of younger Friends. We celebrated the wedding of Michele Mattioli and Tom Ward. We grieved at the death of Amzie Sullivan, who enriched both Charlottesville and our Meeting with her Help Increase the Peace Program (HIPP).
The renovation and enlargement of our Meeting House continues to occupy us; after many months of planning, we expect to be breaking ground shortly. We are still involved in sheltering the homeless through the interfaith organization PACEM, and are exploring other possibilities for interfaith work. We are conscious of a need to find ways to better support our First Day School program and maintain our links with elderly members and attenders.