Pittsburgh Friends Meeting Building Spiritual Space

A Space That Reminds Us of Our Purpose
by Elise Yoder, for the Building Spiritual Space Committee
(Chris Hollingshead, Dale Keairns, Von Keairns, Darryl Phillips, Kathryn Sitter, Elise Yoder)
“Turn to the person next to you,” Brent Bill said, “And ask them, what are your most memorable, life‐giving experiences from Pittsburgh Friends Meeting?” Memories tumbled out – of a powerful silence; of weddings and memorial services; of giving one’s first vocal ministry; of hearing Eliza Critchlow sing.
On Sunday afternoon, October 7, at the meeting house 40 people attended the first workshop hosted by the Building Spiritual Space Committee. Brent Bill, our facilitator, used paired one‐on‐one interviews, individual discernment, smallgroup discussions, and a ready sense of humor to help us start “re‐imagining” our meeting room.
Much of the time, we spoke about physical things: Natural light; an unobtrusive, handicapped‐accessible entrance; acoustics; temperature; seating. We want an environmentally conscious structure that accommodates our future growth.
But the spiritual dimension was always present. “We want a space—and a process of envisioning it—that reflects our testimonies of stewardship, equality, simplicity, and non‐violence,” one group reported. Others said, “The space should help us enter into centered worship as quickly as possible.” “It should feel like our spiritual home.”
The Committee will use what arose from this first workshop as we start formulating concrete design recommendations. We’ll be finding ways to communicate the ground we’ve covered and what we see ahead. Now as always, we welcome your input; just contact any of the Committee members.
The workshop left us with windows full of Post‐It notes, easel papers draped over clotheslines, and a powerful sense of expectancy: In what directions will the Spirit lead us next?


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