Pittsburgh Friends Meeting work

​A Look at the Work of the Meeting
Eric Starbuck, from work by Elise Yoder
Have you ever considered how many needs our meetinghouse meets? And the support required for it?
One weekend in December 2012, our meetinghouse was used by different groups for worship, meetings, a memorial service, and two concerts, plus guests in the Sojourner Rooms. Staff worker Tim Field set up for all these with some help from those involved.
There were about 180 people on Saturday and maybe 360 on Sunday.
Elise Yoder tracked all this and gave a summary to the architects with whom the Building Spiritual Space committee has spoken.
For Saturday (December 1) Tim set up rooms for Tai Chi, Sai Baba, and the AFSC Benefit Concert. Tai Chi and the Concert were both in the main meeting room. And, naturally, required very different arrangements.
Sunday, December 2 was far more complex:
Sunday, Dec 2 Group / Event
9:00 am – 10:00 am Early worship service
10:30 am – 11:30 am Worship service 50‐90
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Hospitality – following Worship
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Memorial Service
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Hospitality – following Memorial Service
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm AFSC Youth Group
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm (setup starts 3:30 pm) Ellsworth Ave. Children’s Choir concert
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (setup starts 6:00 pm) MCC worship service
Friday and Saturday evenings
Overnight guests in Sojourner Rooms (third floor)
This was busier than most days, but not that much. The memorial service and children’s choir were unusual. But Sundays require multiple setups every week for meeting and Metropolitan Community Church. Including cleanup after hospitality and meeting activities.
How many groups do most churches work with? Take a look at a typical weekday at our meeting, and you’ll see we fit 3‐5 groups or committee meetings into almost every day and evening. More than a dozen each week.
It’s quite a variety of groups. Check with Tim for details, but we host (among others) the MCC church, a couple of dance groups, yoga classes, the Welsh Society, meditation groups, Pitt continuing education classes, the aforementioned Sai Baba and Tai Chi, and Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s quite a variety of groups.
Speaking as a member of Finance committee, it shows in our budget. This year such groups have given the meeting $58,000.
We have spent $77,000 on personnel and contractor expenses, utilities, and house maintenance. Thus community groups have supported ¾ of the expense of our building, including Tim’s pay and repairs.
It truly is a meetinghouse, in more than one sense of the word. I feel that this community service is as important, in its way, as our donations to outside groups, or our work with social justice.
(Contact Elise if you want to see layouts of our various meeting room configurations, taken from drawings done by Tim.)

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