Concern for Quaker Living Working Group (CQL)
Contact: Jing Jia
The Concern for Quaker Living Working group (CQL), under the care of the Ministry and Counsel committee of the New York Quarterly meeting (NYQM), recognizes and appreciates that our entire community is enhanced by and dependent on our oldest Friends. We seek to enable older Friends who want to remain in NYC to do so, rather than having to locate elsewhere.
Exploring how NYQM Quakers might help provide for the care, housing, dignity, and well being of our oldest members we came to understand that people of other age groups and diverse backgrounds share many of the same issues, thereby enriching our purpose. Furthermore, we seek to enable our meetings to broaden Quaker life to encompass a caring community that extends spiritually to explore all of our life experiences, including death. Broadening our views and sharpening our vision, we continue to support our older friends and the uniqueness of each person, within the context of a pluralistic community.
Introduction to CQL
We began meeting in 2015, troubled that so many of our members were moving away. Through word of mouth and informal contacts, we found each other. We came from 15th St, Brooklyn, and Morningside Meetings to share our concerns. We spent time getting to know one another and to share our stories. Our group has a list of about 30+ people, with a core group of about 10 who have met regularly for 7 years. At some point, to give us a home and funding for workshops, when needed, we became a working group of the NYQM’s ministry and counsel committee.
During this time, we hosted many workshops on issues of health and dying, dementia, planning for death, including what to do with the body, financial concerns, housing issues, life after COVID, and several worship sharing sessions at the Quaker cemetery, etc. We hosted a potluck meeting for eating and deepening fellowship, and a concert. Our intent was to foster fellowship and learning on important issues that affect our lives.
We also ran focus groups and surveys to learn what friends needed and if we could help. This work led to two project proposals — a feasibility study for housing and a plan to hire a social worker to assist the pastoral care work of our meetings.
Equally important, we developed trust and friendships among our steadfast members. Our committee has shared leadership. Our worshipful check in format has provided a chance to listen and truly hear one another and to deepen our trust. We open our committee meetings with silent worship, and seek to make our time together spirit led. Our process has been a wonderful experience of Friends’ faith.