Jubilation — beyond 2005

Jubilation — beyond 2005

At the December 11, 2005 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business (MWB), the ad hoc Jubilation Committee presented their “Final Report from the Jubilation Committee”. At this Meeting, the ad hoc committee was laid down, with expressed appreciation for their Spirit-led work.

From this report, and the collective wisdom of TCFM Friends, the Clerk’s team selected three pragmatic issues as starting points for discerning next steps in the Jubilation process:

  1. Paid staff — are TCFM Friends ready to consider one or more paid staff to assist in our work?
  2. Size of Meeting — what is the optimal size of Twin Cities Friends Meeting (TCFM)? Are we too big? What would it mean to form “bud Meetings” or to divide Meeting? How would this be done?
  3. Physical space — the number of young Friends has grown at TCFM. Does our current physical space accommodate this wonderful energy? What are our short term and long term goals?

Weaving through consideration of these practical concerns are the queries “How does Spirit lead us?” and “What are the best structures to support the ministries at Twin Cities Friends Meeting?”

And as convenient and simple it may appear to consider these issues one by one, TCFM Friends are aware they all interrelate. At the January 8, 2006 MWB, one Friend spoke of the relationship of our community concerns being like an amoeba. In order to make movement as a community, realistically, we can only move one pseudopod forward at a time.

This was beautifully articulated in an article printed in the Second Month, 2006 TCFM Newsletter. The Personal Voices essay, “The Amoeba Analogy” was written by Richard Fuller, as presented at the January 8, 2006 MWB.

Personal Voices The Amoeba Analogy by Richard Fuller

It seems to me that in the year ahead TCFM should move into its new directions in a manner similar to the way an amoeba moves.

Amoebas are single-celled animals that are basically fluid inside a flexible skin. They move by pouring part of their fluid into some stretched area of skin and then flowing the rest of them in behind the first part and pulling up the extra skin that was where the fluid used to be. That fresh stretched area of skin they pour themselves into is called a “pseudopod” (fake foot).

As an amoeba begins to move in a new direction, it may send out a couple areas of early stretched skin and start flowing into both of them, even though there is not enough inner fluid to fill them both, and it is not capable of moving in both of the directions at once. Then, as its sense of direction develops, a choice is made for one pseudopod and the fluid is pulled back out other and its stretched skin is re-gathered.

I think TCFM will want to proceed in a similar fashion, further exploring the idea of part time help, while not making a final commitment to it at this point, but also extending ourselves in other directions which may turn out to be mutually incompatible in the end, such as setting off one or more bud meetings. I think it is only by putting ourselves into tentative motion that some people will say, “Oh my God! This will never do!” or “Oh yes! We should have done this years ago!” I think it is only by putting the community into motion in tentative directions that we can get the feedback we need to discern which way we really ought to go.

How is our amoeba moving?

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