Dear Friends, I hope you are all staying safe and warm during these cold winter days! As we come to the end of December, this is a time when many reflect on the year. What was good? What was hard? What do we want to bring with us and what would be better left behind?

I have also been reflecting on my time so far at New Garden Friends Meeting. When I started in September, I set two priorities for my first 100 days here. The first was to have a service of thanks and blessing for former pastor Margaret Webb. We were able to do that in the beginning of October. It was so good to see Margaret and her family, to thank her for her ministry, and to bless her as she goes forth.

The second priority was to assess the pastoral care needs in the community and find ways to provide this care to those in need. I have been working with Caring Friends, Deborah Suess, and others to improve communication about pastoral care needs. I am looking forward to the training by Judy Haughee-Bartlett and Marcy Reid-Smith on pastoral visitation (please let me know if you are interested!). And I am grateful for all those who have volunteered to visit and to provide rides, meals, and cards!

We now have a strong sense of who needs care, what care they need, and the people and resources to bring them that care. I think that the improvements we’ve made to communication, including coordinating the services we offer, will have powerful effects on our ability to support one another. When I started, it wasn’t uncommon to get “you missed this person!” calls from various Friends. We still get those calls, but they’re rare now…and it turns out that most of the time we have been in touch with the Friend needing care and it’s the caller who doesn’t know!

Focusing on these priorities has brought us together as a community, in ways that were sometimes surprising! I am glad to know you all better and to see the ways you care for each other.

And I am looking forward to the next year. This will be a time of going deeper and discerning how God is calling New Garden Friends Meeting and what kind of settled pastor you will call. We are building a strong foundation together, with Spirit leading.

Blessings, Ashley
[email protected], 336-338-1986
Office Hours: 2-4pm on Mondays and by appointment