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The WHF Essentials

The vast majority of responses fall into one of two categories. The first category is WORSHIP and SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT:

1. "Worship as active practice for hearing and following the leadings of Spirit."
2. Meeting for Worship is a weaving together of all our voices, sharing how God is speaking to us, allowing God to speak through us, etc. We all can hear God's voice so much more clearly when we all share in these ways (through music teams, open worship, messages open to all to give, etc.).
3. "Provides the space, time and silence to worship in community and listen for God's voice."
4. "Worship & music variety (i.e. lots of leaders)"
5. "Discernment (Quakerly, corporate) Open worship, Biz Mtg., Clearness Mtg's, Worship Sharing, Small Groups
6. "Meeting for Business"
7. "The '3-legged stool' on which Quaker decision-making and discernment are seated: personal insight, the community's reflections, and the light to be found in holy writ."
8. "Prayer chain"
9. "Open Worship: extended silence."
10. "First Word."
11. "I would love to see a worship committee begin - perhaps to meet monthly - to prayerfully plan worship - all the elements - 1st Word, music, message, - have people who are involved in worship that month meet together and plan together."
12. "Holy Easter Nonsense"
13. "Open Worship"
14. "Open Worship time"
15. "Open worship combined with a time for music"
16. "Music - variety, singing together, gifts of songs, harmony."

The second large category is COMMUNITY and INCLUSION:

1. "Learn to know each other - opportunities to share who we are with each other."
2. "Fellowship"
3. "Respect."
4. "That we honor and respect the Light within each of us, even as we celebrate the variety within in our community."
5. "Community - everybody knows everybody and helps each other."
6. "Our corporate relationship with Jesus and between ourselves." (NOTE: this could also be in the 1st list)
7. "...At West Hills, one might sit among 100 people and feel close to many of them..." (NOTE: This is the thesis sentence of a lengthy, three-paragraph reply).
8. "Opportunities to connect with each other and the greater community, at various levels, inward and outward, individual and structural, at all levels of human need."
9. "Religious/Spiritual tolerance - accepting people wherever they are in their journey, openly, without dogmatism.
10. "Being permitted and to be loved when wounded AND being permitted and to be loved when healed."
11. "The interaction and proximity of all ages in our community is my first response..."
12. "Community as an expression of the Spirit, as celebration, as loving our neighbors as ourselves."
13. "Diversity of people."
14. "Personal reports (concerns & celebrations) at the end of worship."
15. "Potluck Sunday is a precious celebration of our beloved community, our birthday people, and our new visitors. I can't imagine WHF without our potluck Sunday."
16. "Acceptance/diversity/no pressure to conform to a particular creed or doctrine."
17. "Ways to connect (retreat, other social outlets; Sunday mornings are hard, because I'm always trying to keep track of the kids; I know this will be easier when they're older...)"

Care for CHILDREN and YOUTH is either a subcategory of "Community" or as the start of a third category:

1. "Sunday School for our kids is essential to me. My kids are now grown and don't need it, but I wanted Sunday School there when they were young. That's part of why I teach Sunday School."
2. "Healthy, vibrant, meaningful, and fun children's and youth programs."
3. "Youth Group"
4. "Child care!"

The remaining replies tend to focus on shared values:

1. "Simplicity"
2. "Opportunity for outreach in the local community."
3. "Service"
4. "Attention to Friends values."
5. "Laughter"
6. "Community-wide efforts to work for justice are essential to me."
7. "The clear focus on peace testimony -- keeping it a vital and visible part of our testimony."
8. "The one essential thing of WHF is the meeting and caring of new people. I remember several people who would have visited once if not encouraged to return."
9. "Freedom to take on a concern and run with it (i.e. limited bureaucracy)."
10. "Mike, your stories are essential to me."
11. "Erica"
12. "Mike"
13. "Peace and social activism concerns."
14. "Simplicity (I feel more comfortable when there are fewer committees/activities going on, because I feel less pressured to be doing something; I feel guilty when I'm not, if there are lots of needs being expressed)."