Quaker thoughts

Email from Charles Hankin
(This email is a response to the previous post on “The Lost Meeting,” an installation created by a collaborating group of artists spearheaded by J. Morgan Puett and including the collective spurse and the composer David Lang).

I hope to see the meetinghouse at Abington. My family were members of the Hicksite Meeting which is still in use across from the Art Center. The Orthodox Meeting is the one that was closed when the Quakers reunited in 1951, after the separation. It was abandoned by the Township after they were given it by the Rosenwalds.

Jim Turrell’s
art seems to reflect Quaker values better: “My grandmother used to tell me that as you sat in Quaker silence you were to go inside to greet the light. That expression stuck with me” (see images of Turrell’s art here) (image top right, Turrell’s “Kielder Skyspace”).

From Artblog:
“The idea of carrying your message outside your house and into the world…is what Quakers (and all religions) try to do.” Artblog.

From “Faith and Practice of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting,” E. Ministry of Outreach

What are we doing as a Meeting to communicate our presence and our principles to the community around us? Does our Meeting’s ministry of outreach lead Friends to share their spiritual experiences with others? …Do I seize opportunities to tell others about the Religious Society of Friends and invite them to worship with us? Is my manner with visitors and attenders to our Meeting one of welcome?

…What opportunities have I taken to know people from different religious and cultural backgrounds, to worship with them,and to work with them on common concerns? What opportunities have I taken to know, to work, and to worship with Friends outside of my own Meeting?

I find it funny that people take liberties with a religion that they would not with others.

I wonder if the artists took the time to attend Meeting across the road on Sunday morning?

One more thing (in a second email)…

It is not the place (house) that matters. Some of my favorite Meetings were held outdoors while attending summer camp at Quaker camps. Sitting in the woods on a quiet sunday morning with just the birds speaking is a great way to commune with nature.

In my mind the abandonment of the Little Meeting is not the important part because those families rejoined the Abington Friends Meeting across the road. The Religious Society of Friends is a living community as represented by the active Meetings.

…Like many religions that have had their communities change, i.e.. the Jewish removal from the Strawberry Mansion section of North Philadelphia, churches get recycled or torn down. Religion is a living thing while buildings are simply vessels that shelter those communities.

–Sculptor Charles Hankin is an Artblog contributor