Valley Friends celebrated the planting of our peace pole, with a community reception that included children’s activities, reading of peace prayers by representatives of those whose language was included on the pole, music, food and fellowship. It was truly uplifting to be part of such a diverse group all sharing the same longing for peace and enjoying each others company. This event was well covered in our local paper.
Our coffee house-style talent show gave us opportunity to see different facets of Meeting personalities and provided a great intergenerational activity for all to enjoy.
On Memorial Day weekend we joined with the local chapter of Veterans for Peace, Trinity Presbyterian Church and the JMU Gandhi Center to bring the Virginia section of the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit to Harrisonburg. This three day event was well publicized by local media and visited by many. Our thanks to Friends at Charlottesville for their help with the project. This collaborative effort to produce an event that both honored and informed was rewarding to all who participated and gave added strength to the exhibit’s message.
We enjoyed sharing worship and getting to know the two recipients, from Africa, of our scholarships to Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peace Building Institute. As they shared their experiences they reinforced our commitment to this program. We encourage other Friends to consider helping us build this scholarship fund which is used to help people who are connected with Friends learn methods of spreading peace in their home country.
We enjoyed hosting the Blue Ridge Gathering of Friends in November and would like to see this group continue as it provides Friends of the valley an opportunity for wider Quaker fellowship.
Helping to protect the environment has become a Meeting concern. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are now available for purchase at the Meeting. We are considering how we can participate with other congregations in the area in providing a warm bed and a simple meal for homeless people during the winter months.