Sunday, May 29, 2005

Langley Meeting

Another beautiful experience this morning: Ellie and I dropped in on the Langley Friends Meeting (BYM) in No. VA. Saw many old friends, elicited many fond memories. We dropped in there in 1983; our first unprogrammed meeting, and I immediately realized that "I've always been a Quaker." We left the area in 88, but we come back now and then and always love it.

We've been in many good and beautiful meetings since, but none quite the equal of Langley. A small meeting in an old white frame one room Methodist Church. The headquarters of the CIA is right down the street. In fact Margaret Scattergood, an old Quaker saint sold the property to the govt years ago, but maintained the right to live there until she died. Knowing her was a rich experience.

At Langley I resumed preaching-- and found that the best sermons are about three minutes long-- the Quakers call them messages. Langley had the best messages. Someone would break the silence at about the half hour, set a theme that would be developed by a half dozen others with suitable silence in between.

One Sunday Pardee Lowe, a CIA employee broke into Ode to Joy-- in German no less; it was electrifying! Pardee sought membership. The meeting spend a year working with that conundrum, and then we admitted him-- a weighty Quaker he is.

I wish everyone could have the experience we had there, and perhaps find out that they have always been Quakers.


Liz Opp said...

What a great story! Has Pardee written about his experience of seeking membership, by any chance? ...I would've loved to have been a fly on that wall!

Liz, The Good Raised Up

Larry said...

Gee, Liz; I don't know if Pardue has written about that; I'll try to find out.

For a number of years Pardue, John Surr, Judith Larsen, and I and a few others wrote for a small quarterly that John put out. Pardue was strong on poetry as I reacll. I don't have an email of his, but I'll check with John.

Thanks, Liz, for your kind attention to my blog.

anonymous julie said...

It sounds lovely. Also reminds me of one of Kathleen Norris' descriptions of monastic prayer-time, that part about attention to silence... something I deeply appreciate at my current church as well.